This past year I got a chance of coming across this small gadget that has revolutionized TV at least to me. Of course there were others that came before the Roku Stick like the Chromecast dongle from Google, Amazons Fire TV and the Apple set top box. What is the Roku Streaming stick? The Roku streaming stick is an internet decoder for lack of better terms. It resembles a Flash disk or USB stick of which its not.
Connecting the Roku Stick to your TV
The Roku Streaming Stick has a HDMI port that you can connect directly to the back of your TV. In fact it is made for wall mounted Televisions. Next, you connect it to power. There are two ways you can do this. Firstly is by using the supplied USB cable that you connect to the Roku Stick on one side and the other side to any USB Port on your TV. If your TV only has one USB port then you can power the Roku stick using the second method which is Adapter Power.
After doing these connections, you will not see your Roku Stick for a very long time. (Or do you regularly check the back of your TV often).
The Remote control uses two size AA batteries of which you have to press a button on the remote control for the two to connect. But this is done only once. You can Control the Roku Player or Roku Streaming Stick from your phone or tablet with the same easy-to-use buttons you’ll find on the standard Roku remote, including play/pause, forward/back, instant replay, and the option buttons. you can get this app from the Apple appstore, google play store or windows phone store.
After connecting it to your TV and choosing the HDMI port on your TV one should proceed to setting up the Roku to a Network.
Oh! You need fast internet connection by the way to use the Roku stick
And not just any internet. You need Unlimited internet connection with WiFi for the Roku stick to connect to the internet. I am not talking about Safaricom expensive bundles here although if you can afford it then you can also enjoy Roku TV. The best type of internet to use with Roku or any decoder in Kenya at the moment is Zuku at about Ksh4299 per month for 10Mbps.
Although it can work with lower speeds, the HD channels and movies will simply not work and the SD channels will keep freezing like the North pole :).
It takes some time for the channels to get updated but once updated, things start to get very interesting. Oh and you also need a Roku.com account for all this to happen.
What is a TV channel?
Before I met the Roku streaming stick I thought that a TV channel is a station like citizen TV. To Roku a channel is a collection of TV stations or video files. For example Netflix, HuluPlus, YouTube and Break.com are a channel on Roku. A channel that has million’s of video clips. So in Roku there are two types of channels, streaming channels and the normal vintage channels where you have to be there at a particular time in order to watch a movie.
Video on Demand
With the Roku HDMI Streaming stick, you can watch what you want whenever you want on their streaming channels. Or alternatively you can be old school and wait for the news to be read to you on traditional media. Imagine you want to watch the Terminator movie right now. If you had the Roku stick then you can search for the movie and start streaming it right away. What’s interesting is that if you pause the movie and decide to continue viewing it tomorrow, you will watch it from where you left even if you left the channel to watch funny clips on break.com
Not all channels are free on Roku, you can choose to pay for premium content on the likes of Hulu Plus or watch free stuff like the one crackle, Vevo and PBS offers.
Do much more with the Roku Stick than streaming TV and Movies
You can beam photos, songs and videos from your phone or tablet to your TV. This is the little that I could gather in the few hours of watching Roku last year.