All Images: Christina Warren/Gizmodo When the very first Roku launched in2008, the bulky box had a clunky interface that only played Netflix. How far we’ve come. That initial idea ended up spawning an entire genre of streaming devices andset-top boxes that have basically helped change the way we watch movies and TV at home. Roku has sold millions and millions of devices based on its ease of use and great content support for the video services you use.
Until now, a Roku has always cost at least $50. That changes with the newRoku Express. At just $30, the new cheaper Roku is finally approaching a price point so cheap that anyone can afford it. It’s not the best streaming device you can buy, and it’s got still competition in the busget space from Amazon and Google, but what it can do for just $30 is incredible.
Diminutive in size, the Roku Express is slightly larger than theRoku Streaming Stick and its designed to affix (with included tape) below your TV’s bezel or to sit on a TV stand. It connects to your TV using an included HDMI cable. It also comes with a micro-USB port for connecting to power. If your TV has its own USB port, it can probably be used to power the Roku Express. Otherwise, you’ll need to be sure you’re near a power outlet.
The Roku Express is positively tiny. Look at how much smaller it is than an Apple TV 4 or an Amazon Fire TV. For users who are still using TVs with composite cables—you know the red, white, and yellow wires—Roku is selling a Roku Express+ at Walmart stores. It includes a tiny breakout box that will connect to your old-school TV. If you’re using a TV that isn’t HD or doesn’t have a spare HDMI cable, you should buy the Roku Express+.
The included remote uses RF, so you’ll need to have it in line of sight in order to use it. You can also use the Roku app for iOS or Android to control the Roku Express. This not only makes it easier to enter in text for app logins or search, it means you can use the included voice search feature to search for content across services.