The Roku 3 is the official must-have device for cord-cutters. With a library of over 750 channels, an entirely new, simple user interface, and excellent hardware, the latest set-top box from Roku ($100) is the one thing you need if you’re getting your media from the internet. And even if you insist on paying large sums for a cable subscription, the Roku 3 should still be plugged into your HDTV.
The new Roku has some improved software that solves the sluggish interface problems of previous Roku devices. The new processor, a Broadcom ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core chip that does away with those “press a button then wait, wait, wait, wait, oh there it goes” headaches. Paired with the newly designed on-screen interface that arranges all your channels in a grid, switching between services and scrolling through menus can now be accomplished with nary a hiccup.
And flipping through those services more quickly is more important than ever, since there are now 750 media “channels” (apps, basically) built for Roku, and that number is only growing. While Apple continues to crow about its strong ecosystem and the wide variety of content available for rent or purchase in its online store, the Apple TV is still trapped in a pre-third-party-app world. The Roku platform, on the other hand, is open to developers and has a robust library of available services for you to install at your own discretion.