Heads up, set-top streamers: Roku 3 revealed with new UI, processor boost

Roku 3
The trifecta: set-top box, remote and peace and quiet

Roku outed its latest set-top box player Tuesday night, the functionally named Roku 3.

It's sort of a two in one deal - users not only get the rounded-edged Roku puck but a new remote packing private listening capabilities. The brick comes complete with headphone jack, so users can listen as loud as they like without fear of familial reprisal.

OK, the whole offering is really more of a three in one as the Roku 3 carries a completely re-imagined user interface that will make its way to all Roku 2 models - the Roku HD (model 2500), Roku LT and Roku Streaming Stick - in April.

Customers hellbent on getting it now can order it for $99.99 through Roku's website, Amazon and a smattering of other leading online retailers. Major retail chains will see system land starting next month.

Ready for change

The idea of drilling a headphone jack into a remote is admittedly clever, though by no means the most jaw-dropping feature we've ever seen.

Roku was thin on hardware details for its third-gen obsidian cube, though it was sure to make the claim that this is the "most powerful, responsive streaming box we've ever built." It has over five times the processing powers of previous players, or so Roku said.

There's also 1080p support, dual-band wireless, Ethernet and USB ports and a microSD slot - in other words, the features you would expect.

Though there isn't much to write home about on the hardware front, what really marks the Roku 3's incarnation is the redesigned stripped down interface, featuring a streamlined layout for better viewing and quicker access, crucial for those times you just have to watch your favorite show.

The Channel Store and Search are now fully integrated members of the home screen, with both undergoing a redesign to match the revamped Roku look.

Roku is pretty proud of its work, putting this video together to show it all off:

While the Roku 3 might not blow off your bonnet, it could give Apple TV and it's iOS-inspired UI a run for its money, especially with that headphone jack-packing remote. It's sounding more and more appealing the more we think about how happy our neighbors might be.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.