Several of the nation's top retailers are offering different Roku models at a discount for Black Friday, and we've sorted out the deals and the models available to help you decide which is the best one for you.
Roku is the top brand of streaming media player for the holiday shopping season 2014 according to Adobe Digital data survey which measures social media buzz around products to determine the most popular brands.
First, let's take a look at the Roku models currently available, the Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3 and Roku streaming stick. The Roku 3 is the flagship model streaming player for Roku, and is their most expensive item, retailing at $99.99. At that price, it contains all the bells and whistles. In addition to the convenient headphone jack located on the remote, so you can watch TV without the noise bothering your roommate or family, the Roku 3 has a USB port, an SD card slot, and even an Ethernet port. It also sports dual band wireless, and its remote has motion control and gaming capabilities. The Roku 3 sports the latest versions of the Netflix and YouTube apps, and runs them speedily while a lot of less powerful streaming players can't accommodate them.
The Roku 2 is a streamlined, less expensive version of the 3, and retails for $69.99. While it's missing the SD card slot, USB and Ethernet ports, and the remote gaming and motion control capabilities, it does have an analog port for use on older TVs, and comes with the much -coveted headphone jack. Its speed using Netflix is fine but that's also because it uses an older, slightly dated version of the Netflix app.
The Roku 1 is the simple, budget version, priced at 49.99. Its speed is ok but because it doesn't support dual band wireless like its more expensive counterparts, the 2 and 3, it is slower than them. It also uses the older version of the Netflix app, and has analog ports for older TV's.
The Roku streaming stick is Roku's answer to Googles Chromecast, and consolidates the great Roku features into a stick that plugs into your TV's HDMI port and stays there. It uses Wi-Fi direct for its remote as opposed to infrared, so even though it on the back of your TV you can still control it. The big compromise on the stick is speed, particularly with Netflix, which is typically the most-used app with the device.
So what about those Black Friday deals? The Roku 1 is on sale at Walmart for a great price of just $28, which is almost half off the retail price of $49.99. If it's a Roku 2 or 3 you're after, none of the major retailers are offering a Black Friday deal on those versions, but you can pick up a Roku 3 at Best Buy right now, before Black Friday, for $84.99, a $15 savings.
If you're looking for a Roku streaming stick on Black Friday, you're definitely in luck, because three of the big electronics retailers, Best Buy, RadioShack, and Staples, are all offering the stick at a $10 savings, for $39.99.
As the holiday season continues beyond Black Friday, we're sure to see some other great deals on Roku streaming players and other hot tech items, and we'll be sure to sort them out for you as they are announced.