Roku Express | Easy High Definition (HD) Streaming Media Player
- Simple setup with an included High Speed HDMI Cable
- Easy-to-use remote, intuitive navigation
- 500,000+ movies and TV episodes, with voice search across 1,000+ top channels. Plus, catch hit movies, popular shows and more with no subscription or fees on The Roku Channel
- Tons of streaming services available. From movies and series on Netflix, Prime Video, HBO NOW and SHOWTIME to cable alternatives like Sling TV or YouTube TV to live sports and news on CBS News, ABC News and ESPN
- Free Roku mobile app for private listening, voice search and more
- NOTE:Kindly refer to the user manual provided as a PDF manual in the product description section
What is Roku Express?
Roku Express delivers a smooth HD streaming experience on your big-screen TV. It’s easy to get started, just plug it into your TV with the included high-speed HDMI cable, connect to the Internet, and start streaming. Use the remote to search for your favorite shows and discover channels. Enjoy 500, 000 Plus movies and TV episodes, including blockbusters, award-winning original Series, kids’ shows, live network TV, and more. TV Compatibility HD TVs – Up to 1080p (1920 x 1080) with up-scaling from 720p.
The Roku Express’s only ports are HDMI and micro USB 2.0 for power. That means no Ethernet connectivity for more-stable service, and no VGA cables for other TVs (which the $40 Roku Express+ includes). This Roku’s wireless functionality is also cut-rate, as it packs an older 802.11b/g/n specification, not the faster dual-band 802.11ac chip in the $50 Roku Streaming Stick.
Design and build
The Express is a compact unit and very nicely designed. It’s not heavy enough in comparison to the power and HDMI cables in order to stay flat, but a sticky strip is provided in the box to help you keep it in place. Power is via USB (handy if you have a spare port on your TV, otherwise you’ll need to keep it near a power outlet).
It’s ever so slightly larger than the Roku Streaming Stick, but whereas that device is concealed at the back of your TV set where it hangs on for dear life the Express is on the show for all to admire (and so the remote works, of course). It’s not at all a bad-looking device, built from a matte black plastic with the Roku logo on top and a shiny black plastic fascia.
As has been the case for many years, Roku’s streaming device interface hasn’t changed, for better and for worse. Its purple background still feels playful, and you still drag and drop home-screen channel icons to keep your favorites easily accessible.
Unfortunately, you can’t stop the Roku from showing you ads for programming and streaming services when you scroll through your channel apps. Roku also advertises during its default screen saver, though you can opt for the digital-clock screensaver or the clunky-looking analog-clock option.
Roku claims this year’s Express provides performance gains of up to 500 percent versus 2016’s version, and we’ve seen some of the benefits with our own eyes. For one, menu navigation is now smoother, dropping the hiccups in last year’s model. Back then, the cursor took a split second to move and merely clicking on items caused delays.
The Roku Express includes a relatively thin and comfortable remote. The remote control here is mostly identical to the remote you’ll find in any Roku box, with dedicated buttons for Netflix, Amazon Video, Sling TV, and Hulu (the dedicated buttons often change throughout the year) — though there are no dedicated headphone jack or TV control buttons. The remote’s layout, with “Home” and “Back” buttons up top, is par for the course.
Admit it: You’ve misplaced a remote at least once in your life, but you’re much better about remembering where your smartphone is. That’s why a remote app is an essential part of a streaming box. Another perk of the Roku app is the option to use a swipe-based virtual remote instead of one that only lets you tap virtual buttons, which is nigh impossible to do without looking at your phone.
The key difference with Roku over its rivals is that it comes with a handy remote control and a very user-friendly interface, which makes it easy to access streaming services, as well as a universal search function. However, Its infra-red remote means you need to be in the line of sight of the box, and it features no volume buttons or headphone jack as we have seen on previous Rokus. There remains a free mobile app, too, which additionally supports voice search.
Roku Express vs Streaming stick
The new Roku Express and Roku Streaming Stick+ replace all previous devices in the Roku family performance. However, Roku Express feels notably faster than the original Streaming Stick.
Content and Apps
Most importantly, Roku offers practically every major video-streaming service, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, HBO Now, DirecTV Now, Disney Movies Anywhere and CBS All Access. The only options it’s missing — YouTube TV and Apple’s iTunes store — aren’t available on most streaming devices anyway.
Though you will need to subscribe to additional services such as Amazon Prime, NowTV and Netflix if you wish to use these on the box, there are also plenty of free apps to enjoy in the Roku store. Earlier this year the TVPlayer Freeview app was introduced, which means you can now ditch the other controller and stream all your content via the Roku Express.
It is also useful even if you want it only to enjoy catch-up TV and YouTube on a TV that doesn’t support an internet connection or mirrors your phone or tablet’s screen on the TV (a new function in this second-gen device).
Overall, Roku Express works great. It’s not the fastest streamer, but it’s reliable and packs a ton of great features.