In a world of streaming TV devices on the market these days, which one is the best to get for a person in their mid 60’s who doesn’t own a smart TV or a games console.
Throwing up the pros and cons of Amazon fire sticks and google chromecasts it became clear a physical device controlled with it’s own remote control was going to be the winner here. Despite my Mum being pretty nippy with her iPhone and laptop I just didn’t feel comfortable having to load more apps and then teaching her how to ‘cast’ to the device. So this pretty much ruled out the ChromeCast.
The Amazon fire stick I decided to eliminate purely on the basis that it was an amazon eco system device. It did everything I needed it to do, and it was also cheaper than the Roku box, all the alexa stuff also threw me off the scent. I wanted something that was feature rich, but also wasn’t filled with pointless features she wouldn’t use. This brought me to the Roku 2.
The Roku 2 (2015 model) is approaching it’s 3rd birthday, but is still a popular streaming box. All of the common terrestrial tv apps are available, along with things you’d expect to see like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Bizarrely, Amazon Prime was the main reason for the purchase, which may seem odd considering I had eliminated the fire stick from the potential choice of purchases!
Setting up the Roku 2 was simple. Connect it all up, put batteries in the remote and follow the on screen instructions. Go to the Roku site, enter the code you’re given and then continue to register the device. It’s worth noting you can’t skip adding payment details despite the fact all the apps I wanted to use were free of charge. This was slightly annoying.
The same can be said when adding the Amazon Prime Video app, if you don’t allow one click purchase then it signs you back out! How annoying.
Setup was complete is several minutes without me even having to open the instruction booklet. I can’t remember the last time I managed that to be honest. So well done to Roku for making the installation overly simple, except for the insistence on adding payment details.
The picture quality from the Roku is superb. 1080p videos come down as just that. There’s no waiting for it to buffer, and there’s no annoying pixelation at the start as it attempts to sort itself out. Even on my Mum’s 10Mb Broadband it was quick to start streaming at the highest quality.
The added benefit of the Roku is also being able to plug in an external USB stick. Using the Roku Media Player app you can play files from external devices including mkv and mp4 files. This will enable me to put some files on an external device and my Mum will be able to view them. The Roku Media Player app can also discover files on DLNA enabled devices in order to access shared media.
There’s not really much else to say about it, in the sense that if you want a streaming box for a more elderly person that is simple to use, easy to set up, and pretty much just get going, it does exactly that without being too fancy.
Final score: 4/5.
Loses a point purely for the insistence on asking for card details during device registration. Without this it would have been a perfect score.
*Item purchased with my own hard earned money for the usage of my eldery mother so she could use catch up tv apps on her basic HD TV as well as access my Amazon Prime subscription via family sharing.