I think the Roku 3 is a solid device. It makes streaming easy and is small, easy to use, cheap and offers access to a ton of content. While it has been succeeded by the Roku 4, there are still thousands of these little boxes in use around the world, including in my home office.
The Roku 3 is a small device that plugs into your TV. It comes with a remote control and requires only power and an internet connection to work. Most configuration is taken care of for you and you can just start it up and begin watching right away. You can do more if you want to but that is entirely optional.
The Roku 3 does have a lot of features but it is missing one crucial one. An On/Off switch. Apparently the idea was to keep the box powered on so it could receive updates when you weren’t using it. That’s a great idea if those updates came thick and fast, but they didn’t. Even when not in use the Roku 3 needs power and if you don’t use it every day, it is not an effective use of your electricity.
Turn off your Roku 3
You have a single option to turn off your Roku 3. You can unplug it from the wall socket. That’s it. There is no other way I know of to turn off the device completely.
You can use a remote control command to reboot it though. If your Roku 3 is slowing down or glitching but still responds to remote control, try this.
The command is a little convoluted but it works.
- Press Home five times.
- Press the up arrow once.
- Press the rewind button twice.
- Press the fast forward button twice.
When you finish you should see the Roku screen scroll and then go blank. The Roku 3 is rebooting. After a few seconds you should see the Roku screen again and be loaded into the system.
The Roku 3 is not the cheapest streaming device but it is one of the best. It has an HDMI port, USB and Ethernet as well as a microSD slot. Enough for most home setups. A typical arrangement would be network into Ethernet, HDMI into TV and media storage into USB.
Once set up, you will need to go to the Roku website and create an account using a computer or phone. Once registered you will see a four digit code. Add that code into your Roku using the remote to sync. Once synced, channels will be added, updates downloaded and any extra apps or features added. This can take a few minutes depending on your network.
The Home screen is very simple and should be familiar if you have used any other streaming device. Menus on the left side, search at the top, content in the center. You can add a bunch of channels from the Channel Store to increase your range of content.
Image quality is excellent if your network can handle HD. The HDMI connection ensure digital goodness into your TV and selecting an HD TV show or movie should deliver exactly that. I watch almost entirely HD content and have never had an issue with picture quality.
Sound quality depends entirely on your TV. Flat panels are notoriously flat sounding if you don’t use a sound bar and the Roku, while decent won’t improve on that.
The remote control is very plasticky but competent. Mine has survived some rough use and while some of the print has come off, everything works as you would expect. Having the headphone socket on the remote is genius although it can quickly wear down the batteries. If you’re into late night viewing, it is a very convenient feature.
The remote uses Bluetooth and can also act as a motion controller for games. I don’t use my Roku 3 for games but there are plenty available. It isn’t quite a Wii experience but the response is similar.
While the Roku 3 has been succeeded, first by the Roku 4 and then by the Roku Express, it is still a good bet if you don’t want all the latest features. The Express is wireless which adds some flexibility and it has more powerful hardware but the Roku 3 is still plenty powerful enough for streaming TV. It is also compatible with MP3, MP4 and other video formats if you want to play your own media.
Knowing how to turn off the Roku 3 won’t do a lot for your energy bills but it means you get to control how it works and when it’s on or not.