Saturday, April 30, 2016

Full of surprise, perhaps?

The other day, I was visiting family and a cousin asked my opinion about the new Roku 4. This is a man who, in all intents and purposes, is an Apple Fanboy. He likes his iStuff, and he is proud of it. He also is proud of the fact he does stringent research on everything he is interested in, before he purchases it. Therefore, when he starts asking about streaming devices other than the Apple TV, you know something has peaked his curiosity.

I was asked if I have done anymore research on any of the Roku devices or other streaming media. More specifically, have I looked into the Roku 4, and what do I think of it? I told him the honest truth - since I am still working out the fun stuff with my 3, I haven't looked in to upgrading. I'm not the kind of person that feels compelled to buy the newest model every 6 months when it comes out. He said that he was seriously looking in to it, because he wants an upgrade to his smart TV, but also doesn't want to wait too long for any new Apple TV sets to come out. He is really thinking about the Roku 4, but the reviews are turning him off of it.

What's wrong with the reviews?

The main (and seemingly only) gripe with the new device, is plain and simple: because it is running on a quad core processor (much like the updated stick), it now has a fan built in (not like the stick or previous versions. This is a first). Due to not having a power on/off button, Roku devices stay powered on 24/7, unless you unplug it from the wall outlet (all the devices have this issue). Therefore, the fan is constantly running and as I type this entry, I read a review saying "it sounds like a vacuum" or "I didn't know I bought a diesel". Other users have stated "the obvious" as well - the fan kills any type of enjoyment of the service at hand. People are having to turn their sound up, literally to 11, to be able to hear conversations in what they are watching. In these cases, I reckon that if you're alone and streaming something, the headphones-in-the-remote feature is a definite nice feature.

Outside of that, one of the cool new things is the "find my remote" button. Should you lose the remote in the house (psst... it's under the couch cushions with your pocket full of change), there's a button on top of the box that you press and it sends a signal to the remote and you can hear it. Almost like the "Find My iphone" app for the iPhones, this can do something good. Also good? "Supported Resolution" is "Up to 4K Ultra HD", for those who are currently getting on the 4K TV bandwagon.

I guess there's nothing more for me to comment on, as it's all a rehash of what I've currently read and what my cousin has said. I've got no other research to comment on, but I can say that my current gripe about the 3 would be this: signing in to the apps once a month is a little bit of a pain. I know you're scratching your head so let me explain.

About once a month, I'll get a "user not authorized" or some similar message on my screen. This means I've got to sign out of the app I want to use (on the Roku), and re-sign in (thus logging on to my computer to enter the activation code the app is giving me), and once I log in with my correct email, the screen changes and I can watch whatever show I was looking for.

Still sound confusing? It's as if the activation code the app gives out, is only good for one month at a time, and 29 or so days past that first activation, the code expires and I've got to re-activate the app. It's been on all of the ones I've frequently been using (NatGeo, Showtime, HBO, A&E, etc). The code doesn't hate, but I grumble a little bit, especially when I've just shut down my laptop for the night (and my laptop takes a good 3 minutes to fully load once powered on).

I guess that's about it for today, so I'll check in again at some point in the near future.