The Roku 3 Is Nearly Upon Us

Dave Zatz —  February 27, 2013

roku3-march

Roku’s been updating their website this week… and just accidentally spilled the beans on the Roku 3, given this new support site. We presume the new model is the same 4200x Engadget turned up via the FCC a few weeks back. Of course, beyond a name and model number, we’re most interested in new functionality. And perhaps the Roku 3 sports the beefier processing power required to run YouTube and overdue UI refresh. Further, we may be looking at a Broadcom chip that will also power Miracast. Regardless, we can’t imagine the wait will be long now… given the support rep volunteered March 6th availability.

UPDATE: We’ve got new intel, posted here – covering both Roku 3 hardware and software enhancements.

UPDATE 2: The Roku 3 is now here!

36 responses to The Roku 3 Is Nearly Upon Us

  1. Roku’s pulled the support pages down. Which is why we always take screengrabs. ;) We’ll continue to investigate…

  2. I bet this is when DirecTV and Comcast finally add HBOGo support. ;)

  3. You’re the man Zatz.

    YouTube would seem a natural, I’m assuming a new UI would work on the older boxes too, or at least the current gen.

  4. March 6th…..isn’t the Tivo Mini coming out that same day?

  5. I just bought a Roku 2 XS to replace my old HD XR and it still needs to be rebooted periodically to work. I’m not upgrading again Roku. Sorry.

  6. yes, hopefully they put a little more effort into increasing reliability.

  7. TiVo eclipsed again.

    At this point it just seems fitting. Roku does what TiVo promised to do.

    TiVo really needs to have Bob, the TiVo programmer, work for more than one half-day a week. LOL

  8. Love our Roku LT. Bought another for daughter as well. We have three Tivo’s but have increasingly moved to Roku for most entertainment.

    I have to think real hard about TiVo 5 and TiVo Mini rollout in house.

  9. Morac brings up an interesting point… What must a Roku 3 possess to get folks to upgrade? Hm.

  10. “What must a Roku 3 possess to get folks to upgrade?”

    3D with no glasses and no special teevee. Plus, all 3D – even content that wasn’t created with 3D in mind.

    That’d be a must-upgrade, and considering the naming of the box, I’d say it’s likely what we’ll get, no?

  11. I guess on March 6th I’ll be getting a Roku 3 along with a TiVo Mini. Hopefully Best Buy gets a healthy supply of these units.

    I wonder if it will still only output DD+ or will it be able to transcode from DD+ to DD?

  12. What’s this reliability issue people are posting? My two Roku2 boxes have been extremely reliable. The only time it’s been rebooted is when there is a software update. And one of my Roku2 boxes I got around launch. The Roku2 XS. I hope the Roku3 continues to be as reliable as the Roku2 has been for me.

  13. Yeah, my Rokus have been solid – no lockups or need to reboot. Wonder if it’s app specific?

  14. “What’s this reliability issue people are posting?”

    I’ve been averaging about one crash/reboot per month. Considering how quick the reboot process is, the rare crash/reboots don’t affect my overall satisfaction with the box.

    “Wonder if it’s app specific?”

    Rare enough that it’s hard to tell, but I seem to recall them happening in HBO Go.

  15. I don’t know if it’s app specific, but I’ve have my Roku XS reboot itself a few times if I don’t use it for a while.

    The other day when I tried running the Vudu network speed test, it kept failing over and over again (network speeds kept dropping to zero) until I unplugged and plugged it in. I happened to be talking to Vudu support for an unrelated reason and was told they don’t recommend using Roku if you have another supported device (like a PS3 or something).

    Other than that Roku XS is okay. Actually my old XR HD was fine as well, but I upgraded because that model wasn’t getting new apps.

  16. “What must a Roku 3 possess to get folks to upgrade?”

    It really boils down to app support. As long as my LT supports the apps that I care about, I’ll keep it. The only app that it’s currently missing is YouTube (for my kids :-), but by itself that’s not a big enough gap to persuade me to upgrade.

    However, I’m considering buying a second Roku for another TV, and YouTube support would probably push me to buying a Roku 3 as long as the cost is reasonable.

  17. I don’t know what it would take for me to get a Roku. I think I would want better buffer for streaming so you can jump around during playback as efficiently as you can on a local file.

  18. Brennok, interesting you mention that – I feel like the WDTV Play I have here for review does Netflix slightly better. Wasn’t sure if it was the specific Netflix app, local storage, or something else. When Arrested Development shows up and I resubscribe, I’ll revisit. Assuming I remember. :)

  19. What they need to fix in order for me to upgrade is fixing the output range issue they caused with the 2 and the pink screen. roku 1 outputs YCbCR and the 2 outputs in RGB. the RGB causes soft colors and might be causing the annoying pink or in some cases green screen.

    its been pointed out to death on the roku forums but the sheep wont listen and the staff blame the TV’s for not rendering RGB properly when all consumer devices output in YCbCr. or at least give us the choice like the apple tv and others do.

  20. Our Roku2XS gets heavily used in our house, and 95% of that is Netflix. Netflix will occasionally crash, rare, but it does occur and require a hard reboot, but again this is rare, or at least rare now, it used to be more frequent. More frequently it do a soft crash, where it will need to re-cache all the program icons, this is disruptive, but not enough to have me looking at other options, or at up-grading.

    If the Roku3 supports Skype, I’ll pick one up on March 6th, and likely a second and third. I can’t justify $199 for the Logitech TV Cam HD, but I can justify $99 for the Roku3 and the same again for a decent camera.

  21. On the subject of what they would add to make a 3 a worthwhile upgrade, I’ve been wondering that too. The Roku is so small and light, there isn’t much to improve with the box.

    It would be kind of cool if they looked at what WD did and let you play files off a flash drive or something. I’d love the ability to play all of my ripped DVDs I have on my NAS… though that’s more of a software thing.

    I guess they could give it more power and add in something like OnLive?

  22. I still have a Roku HD-XR and it plays Netflix, Pandora, MLB.tv, HBO Go, and Amazon just fine. I don’t see a need to upgrade.

    Of course, if I was going to get one for a second TV, I would buy the latest model.

  23. @Dan S you can play files of a USB drive attached to the XS today… unfortunately only the XS has the USB port….

  24. And the codec support is pretty limited…

  25. @d_glynn, you’re right, I totally forgot about that

    @Dave, I just watched your WD review, and I kept thinking “now I have a better idea of what an updated Roku would do”

  26. “And the codec support is pretty limited…”

    Unless you employ Plex Media Server on your LAN, of course…

    —–

    “I don’t know what it would take for me to get a Roku. I think I would want better buffer for streaming so you can jump around during playback as efficiently as you can on a local file.”

    Upon further investigation, I now find I was wrong upthread when I asserted that the ‘3’ in Roku 3 was for all 3D all the time. It turns out that the Roku 3 will come with an internal 3TB platter drive, thus ensuring the same kind of ‘total buffer effect’ you can experience with a TiVo. It’s a radical notion for an OTT box, but I, for one, am fully on board.

  27. I have always been surprised that TiVo doesn’t incorporate buffering this way since they have the storage already available. As soon as I start a Netflix movie it should begin to store it on the drive and permanently delete it when I stop the movie.

    You don’t even need that much storage since I doubt the streamed movies take more than a gig or so. I just want enough that when I play a movie I can skip around rather than how it works now.

    As someone who jumps around in shows constantly I can’t stand streaming unless I do it on the PC where I can let the buffer build to a 100%. This was my original fear when it came to TiVo and MRS.

  28. “I don’t know what it would take for me to get a Roku.”

    If you subscribe to HBO and/or Amazon Prime, a desire to easily gain access to free premium content with minimal hardware cost? (At least, that’s what did the trick for me.)

    “As someone who jumps around in shows constantly I can’t stand streaming”

    I’m also no fan of streaming. When I buy or rent a-la-carte, I use Amazon as my vendor and download to my TiVo. But I can certainly stand streaming when it’s free premium content…

  29. All that free premium content though I already have recorded and stored on one of my servers or my Synology NAS. I dropped Netflix Streaming for the disc plan since I never used the streaming and found 1-2 movies a week is enough for me these days. I have access to Prime and HBOGO, well not on Roku, but it is easier to PyTiVo a show to my TiVo than switch inputs and fire up the app.

    I think if I was still a movie addict and not a TV addict it would be a different story. These days I could easily never watch a movie again.

  30. “All that free premium content though I already have recorded and stored on one of my servers or my Synology NAS.”

    I’m with you, but with FIOS flipping the HBO CCI byte, I can’t do that anymore for new HBO content. And, of course, Amazon Prime content isn’t locally cached on my LAN.

    “I have access to Prime and HBOGO, well not on Roku”

    Assuming your access is via some lean-back device with a usable UI, then:

    Aha! In that case, I fully concur that you, sir, have zero need for a Roku.

  31. I have access on my Panasonic Blu-Ray at least I think it has access to HBOGO. My access to HBOGO would be through DirecTV who doesn’t support Roku so I couldn’t even use it for that.

  32. Brennok, while I think we are in full agreement that you have no need for a Roku 2, there are some new features in the Roku 3 that may appeal to you:

    3) The Roku 3 will be the exclusive platform for the massively hyped new game Angry Birds: Muncie, Indiana Edition. This alone may be reason enough to purchase.

    3) Since three is a magic number, all buyers of the Roku 3 will automatically become as good at magic as Job Bluth.

    3) The Roku 3 will affirm the consubstantiality of the trinity, (a sublime bit of theology, IMHO), thus protecting all buyers from allegations of Arianism. This should give Roku a real shot at fighting off TiVo’s Tim Tebow attempt to make inroads among evangelicals.

    As you can see, we’re looking at a pretty big upgrade here that may change your calculations.

  33. I have a 1st gen and 2nd gen roku. They both run YouTube flawlessly. Back when the first roku came out you could add YouTube as a private channel. Then they removed the option, but since I already added YouTube to my account it was never removed. All I have to do is log in on each box with my username/password. So do not let them tell you it can’t be done without more processing power. I’ve been doing it for at least 2 years.

  34. Edouble, As do I. However, Roku indicated Google’s current YouTube licensing requires a HTML5 (or Flash/Air?) app. Can’t vouch for the accuracy, but the original YouTube app mirrored Roku’s UI, but YT’s … and may not have supported advertising, which seems to be a current thrust of YouTube and their partners.

  35. Thanks for letting me know this was coming. I returned my previous generation Roku to Amazon and just ordered a Roku 3!

  36. patriotrumblings1776 August 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I am really doubting their reliability. I bought a Roku3 two months ago. I now have had 2 units quit working on me. Roku customer service had me switching cables, devices, tv’s, HDMI ports and power cycling every option. After an hour of switching cables, powering off cable boxes, turning off Rokus and pairing the handhelds, it seemed that Roku service was more interested in what they could convince me to do for them. Next I expected them to suggest I put one cable in my mouth and the other in my belly button and jump up and down. Seriously an hour to try and diagnose the problem when the unit would not turn on to the Roku menu and the handheld would not pair seems fairly obvious to me that the unit had a catastrophic failure.