Ever feel like your smart TV isn’t quite cutting it?
Let’s not misunderstand, smart TVs are definitely cool high-tech gadgets. However, they’re not without their issues, and they haven’t quite hit their full potential yet.
No matter the brand, today’s smart TVs have their share of shortcomings. For one, the user interface (UI) often leaves a lot to be desired— it can be clumsy and unintuitive. And over time, it doesn’t keep its speed!
Plus, there might be some of your favorite apps that you just can’t access. Or, there might be apps that you don’t want but can’t delete from your smart TV’s menu.
This is where Roku streaming devices come into play.
Do I need Roku if I have a smart TV?
Well, you don’t absolutely need it.
But, if you’re looking for a wider array of streaming options, a more intuitive interface, quicker load times, the ability to delete unwanted apps, more consistent updates, a simpler yet improved remote, and portability, then you might want to consider getting a Roku device.
What is Roku?
Roku is a brand that makes streaming devices.
These devices, which look like USB sticks or small boxes, plug into your TV’s HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi, and come with their own remote control.
When you use a Roku device, you get access to thousands of movies and TV shows via numerous streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video, and HBO Max.
You can download and organize any streaming app according to your liking.
Moreover, you can even use Roku devices with non-smart TVs. Once you plug a Roku streaming device in, your regular TV gets a smart makeover.
What are the different Roku models?
Here’s a table of some of the different Roku models available today:
|Roku Express||Full HD 1080P||Simple||$29.99|
|Roku Express 4K+||HD, 4K, HDR 10+||Voice with TV controls||$39.99|
|Roku Streaming Stick 4K||HD, 4K, HDR10+, Dolby Vision||Voice with TV controls||$49.99|
|Roku Ultra||HD, 4K, HDR10+, Dolby Vision||Rechargeable voice remote with TV controls, private listening, shortcut buttons, and lost remote finder||$99.99|
Consider taking a look at Roku’s website for a full rundown of their streaming devices on offer.
If you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Roku Express or Roku Express 4K+ as they are the most reasonably priced options.
However, if money isn’t a concern, the Roku Ultra is their top-of-the-line device, boasting the most sophisticated remote.
Why should I get Roku if I have a smart TV?
1. Extensive streaming content options
If you think smart TVs offer more content compared to cable TV, just wait until you explore the plethora of content available on streaming devices like Roku.
While smart TVs do offer a fair amount of built-in and downloadable streaming apps, they don’t necessarily cover all bases. Some streaming apps sign exclusive deals with certain TV brands.
However, Roku streaming devices break that mold.
As Roku offers affordability and user-friendliness, streaming apps make sure they’re included on its platform. They understand the need to be where their audience is.
And that’s why you’ll find a wider range of streaming content options on Roku.
So, if you find yourself switching between several streaming apps or you’re just after an almost limitless variety of content options, it would be wise to hook a Roku device to your smart TV.
2. User-friendly interface
TV manufacturers have their roots in building the physical aspects of TVs, not in software development. This really shines through with smart TVs.
Even though smart TVs are always improving, their interfaces often leave a lot to be desired. They can be clunky and a bit tricky to navigate.
It all boils down to the fact that for these TV manufacturers, smart features or streaming capabilities are still considered add-ons.
But that’s not the case with Roku.
Roku was created with one primary goal in mind—streaming content.
That’s why they’ve designed their user interface to be crisp, clean, and incredibly user-friendly. Roku realized from the get-go that customers shouldn’t struggle to navigate their platform.
In other words, because Roku is entirely focused on catering to streaming users, they have a real edge when it comes to a user-friendly interface.
3. Faster loading or response time
You’re likely already aware that smart TVs aren’t exactly known for their lightning-fast response or load times, especially when using streaming apps.
A lot of smart TVs house mediocre or subpar processors, which can’t always keep up with the demands of streaming apps like Netflix or Prime Video.
Additionally, some streaming apps don’t prioritize optimizing their software for lesser-known smart TV brands.
These factors largely contribute to the slow load and response times you encounter when streaming on a smart TV.
But with Roku, speedy load and response times are a given. As mentioned earlier, their entire focus is on streaming, so they strive to provide the best user experience for streaming customers.
4. Option to remove unwanted apps
You know what’s really irritating? Not being able to delete those pre-installed apps on your smart TV that you never use. I find it incredibly annoying!
These superfluous apps that come with your smart TV can oftentimes be an unwelcome sight. They’re just sitting there, never getting any use, and yet you don’t have the option to remove them from your smart TV menu.
This can get under your skin, especially when all you really want is to have easy access to the apps that you do use regularly.
Now, here’s the good news. With Roku, you’re in charge. You can delete any apps that you don’t use. Plus, you can organize the apps on your menu exactly the way you want.
5. More consistent updates
Unfortunately, updates for smart TVs have a habit of petering out over time.
This applies to both your smart TV’s software and specific streaming apps. The updates just cease after a certain period.
Once the updates stop, you wave goodbye to any new features or performance enhancements. Any existing bugs and glitches in the software or specific streaming apps will persist.
But with a streaming device like Roku, updates are frequent and dependable. You can rest easy knowing that bugs are quickly addressed, and the smooth user experience is preserved, if not enhanced.
6. Simpler yet better remote
Smart TV remotes can be a bit too much to handle.
They’re loaded with buttons, many of which you don’t even need for your daily TV watching. It’s almost as if TV manufacturers didn’t get the memo that “less is more.”
Now, contrast that with the Roku remote. It’s sleek, straightforward, and easy to operate. It only has a few buttons, but every one of them is crucial.
The Roku remote also has designated buttons for popular streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Apple+. This means you can fire up these apps with just one button press.
Some high-end Roku models even include a microphone button, allowing you to control the device or search for content using voice commands.
With Roku, you can take your “smart TV” on the go.
Roku streaming sticks are highly portable. They’re so compact that you can easily toss them in your backpack.
So, if you’re constantly on the move and finding yourself in hotel rooms, just bring your Roku along. It’ll provide you instant access to all your favorite shows from home.
Is there a monthly fee for using Roku?
The answer is no. There’s no ongoing monthly fee for using Roku. You just pay for the streaming device upfront.
However, keep in mind that some streaming services on Roku may require a subscription fee.
Why should I not get Roku?
Of course, there are also valid reasons why you shouldn’t get a Roku.
You shouldn’t get a Roku device if you haven’t cut the cord and don’t plan to use any streaming apps.
You also don’t need Roku if you have gaming consoles like PlayStation or Xbox. These gaming consoles have built-in streaming apps in their systems.
And if your smart TV has Roku built-in, then you definitely don’t need a Roku device. Some smart TV brands with Roku built-in are TCL, Hisense, and Philips.
How to set up Roku on a smart TV
Setting up Roku on your smart TV is a breeze.
Inside the box, you’ll find a Roku streaming stick (or box), a power cable and adapter, a USB extension cable, a remote control, two AAA batteries, and a Quick Start Guide.
- Connect the power cable to your Roku streaming stick.
- Attach the power adapter to the power cable. (Note: Plug the USB extension cable into the power cable first, if needed.)
- Plug your Roku streaming stick into your smart TV’s HDMI port.
- Then plug the power adapter into your power outlet.
- Turn on your smart TV and choose the right HDMI input source.
- Insert the two AAA batteries into the remote.
- The green pairing light on your remote’s battery compartment should flash.
- Follow the instructions on your smart TV screen.
- Activate your Roku player by entering your Roku account email address.
- Click the device activation link in your email.
- Follow the rest of the instructions on your smart TV screen.
You should now have your Roku up and running with your smart TV.
While having a smart TV doesn’t necessitate the need for Roku, you might want to think about getting one if you’re seeking:
- Extensive streaming content options
- User-friendly interface
- Faster loading or response time
- Option to remove unwanted apps
- More consistent updates
- Simpler yet better remote
Then buying a Roku might just be a good move. Roku itself doesn’t come with a monthly fee. You only need to purchase the streaming device once. However, be aware that some streaming apps on Roku may require subscription fees.
On the flip side, if you’re not interested in using streaming apps, or if you have gaming consoles like the PlayStation or Xbox (which have built-in streaming apps), then getting a Roku device might not be necessary.