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Review : The Roku Streaming Stick – making streaming effortless

Streaming made simple - The Roku Streaming Stick

It’s that time of the year at which we all have to admit that summer has passed and accept that the long dark evenings are fast approaching. Although all is not doom and gloom, thanks to Roku’s Streaming stick which can solve the “there’s nothing on TV” dilemma.

Providing streaming services from Sky Sports (via Now TV), Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more with over 1000 channels to choose from and games also available to play there’s something for everyone – but the all important question when it comes to new technology is, how usable is it?

Roku have won the challenge of preventing long periods of set-up with the whole experience from unpacking the box to watching my first movie taking all of 22 minutes – admittedly 5 of which were due to my indecisive choices over which movie to pick.

It works simply and effectively ; the stick discreetly slots into a HDMI port on the TV and is then powered by either a USB or a power adaptor and as simply as that it connects and pops up on your TV. After a few simple set-up steps including a quick pop to your laptop/tablet device to register a Roku account and you’re away. It really is as simple as that.

Working your way around the Roku menu is effortless, after a quick read of the user manual and inserting the two AAA batteries (that were provided – a big, convenient tick from me) the RF technology remote provided, is ready to go.

The dual-band wireless provides a robust extended-range wireless connection that throughout trial allowed seamless video streams of up to 1080p HD allowing a frequent change of channels with no stress. Roku also supports Photos and Videos from Facebook and other social media streams allowing you to share with others on the screen what you’ve been up to  via free Android, Windows and iOS apps to connect your smartphone to the TV.

How does it look? Well, the Streaming Stick once plugged into the TV was so discrete I forgot it was there, whilst the Roku standard remote control is lightweight, compact and subtly enhanced with purple hues. However it does have a fabric label on the bottom of the device which personally I found slightly irritating as it sits in the palm of your hand, a printed logo would be sufficient on the remote itself.

The Roku Streaming Stick is sleek and compact, presenting little distraction to the eye whilst being functionally apt for enjoying those long dark winter evenings. At an RRP of £49.99, along with other costs for certain services including Sky Movies, Netflix and Now TV subscriptions, it’s the gadget at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to streaming. A definite gadget must-have for this winter.