Roku - is the Express sufficient?

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Triple digit golfer
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Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:59 am

I have PlayStation Vue now, but it is being discontinued in January.

I am considering YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV as alternatives.

I have two devices: Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick. Both are old, first generation and therefore I believe do not support YouTube TV.

Would a cheapo Roku Express (the $30 version) work well with YouTube TV, or are they generally slow and therefore a higher end device is recommended?

If anybody has experience with operating YouTube TV on a 5-7 year-old "dumb" TV with a Roku Express, please chime in and let me know your experience.

Jags4186
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:12 am

You can purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for $24.99 with promo code 4KFIRETV. I recommend going that route. I have two of those now...As a former Apple TV user I cannot for the life of me figure out how I used to pay $159 for a streaming box. An Apple TV 4K costs $179-$199!

michaeljc70
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:14 am

I cannot directly answer your question, but I am in the same boat with PS Vue and just bought a Firestick 4k. YouTube TV works very well on it. They offer a 2 week trial for free. I am buying 2 more on 11/24 as they will be $25.

I also have a Roku stick that is around 3 years old. It also ran YouTube TV fine. There are a few things that stuck out to me since Fire/Roku are very similar:
-Amazon has more advertising and it is more in your face. This is not in apps but on the home screen.
-The Roku cannot control a soundbar or receiver directly. Fire can. This was important for me.
-The Firestick can run Kodi if that is something you are interested in. I use that to watch/listen to my personal library.
-The Roku can send the sound to your phone and you can use BT headphones already paired to your phone to listen. Firestick you have to pair your headphones to it directly. I much prefer the former.

I saw Amazon had the Roku stick + for $25 this week so just look for a deal. The Express has a simpler remote, no 4k and will be slower. I bought the Firestick 4k so it is more future proof (though at $25 this isn't a big consideration).

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:16 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:12 am
You can purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for $24.99 with promo code 4KFIRETV. I recommend going that route. I have two of those now...As a former Apple TV user I cannot for the life of me figure out how I used to pay $159 for a streaming box. An Apple TV 4K costs $179-$199!
I saw that code on a deal site. It doesn't work for me. It says "The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase." I just tried it again.

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:19 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:12 am
You can purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for $24.99 with promo code 4KFIRETV. I recommend going that route. I have two of those now...As a former Apple TV user I cannot for the life of me figure out how I used to pay $159 for a streaming box. An Apple TV 4K costs $179-$199!
Excellent. Thank you!

Stupid question: The Fire TV Stick 4k will work fine on an old 1080p TV, right?

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:52 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:14 am
I cannot directly answer your question, but I am in the same boat with PS Vue and just bought a Firestick 4k. YouTube TV works very well on it. They offer a 2 week trial for free. I am buying 2 more on 11/24 as they will be $25.

I also have a Roku stick that is around 3 years old. It also ran YouTube TV fine. There are a few things that stuck out to me since Fire/Roku are very similar:
-Amazon has more advertising and it is more in your face. This is not in apps but on the home screen.
-The Roku cannot control a soundbar or receiver directly. Fire can. This was important for me.
-The Firestick can run Kodi if that is something you are interested in. I use that to watch/listen to my personal library.
-The Roku can send the sound to your phone and you can use BT headphones already paired to your phone to listen. Firestick you have to pair your headphones to it directly. I much prefer the former.

I saw Amazon had the Roku stick + for $25 this week so just look for a deal. The Express has a simpler remote, no 4k and will be slower. I bought the Firestick 4k so it is more future proof (though at $25 this isn't a big consideration).
Thanks so much. Very helpful. I have a soundbar in the living room, and it would be nice, if I got a remote that controls volume, to actually be able to do so. The Firestick 4k seems to be able to do that.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:03 am

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:52 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:14 am
I cannot directly answer your question, but I am in the same boat with PS Vue and just bought a Firestick 4k. YouTube TV works very well on it. They offer a 2 week trial for free. I am buying 2 more on 11/24 as they will be $25.

I also have a Roku stick that is around 3 years old. It also ran YouTube TV fine. There are a few things that stuck out to me since Fire/Roku are very similar:
-Amazon has more advertising and it is more in your face. This is not in apps but on the home screen.
-The Roku cannot control a soundbar or receiver directly. Fire can. This was important for me.
-The Firestick can run Kodi if that is something you are interested in. I use that to watch/listen to my personal library.
-The Roku can send the sound to your phone and you can use BT headphones already paired to your phone to listen. Firestick you have to pair your headphones to it directly. I much prefer the former.

I saw Amazon had the Roku stick + for $25 this week so just look for a deal. The Express has a simpler remote, no 4k and will be slower. I bought the Firestick 4k so it is more future proof (though at $25 this isn't a big consideration).
Thanks so much. Very helpful. I have a soundbar in the living room, and it would be nice, if I got a remote that controls volume, to actually be able to do so. The Firestick 4k seems to be able to do that.
Sure. I am frankly surprised that Roku doesn't offer that functionality as many people have a surround sound receiver or soundbar these days and having to juggle multiple remotes is no fun.

Another thing I'll add is the Amazon remote looks like something designed by Apple. The Roku remote looks like something designed by RCA. My Roku remote has 4 buttons always in the way for things like DirectTv, Pandora, etc. They are paid advertising and cannot be changed and are very prominent on the remote.

head gamez
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by head gamez » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:05 am

We have 8 Roku devices (plus 2 TCL Roku TVs). Two of the devices are Roku Express +, and they work very well with YouTubeTV. If you are still considering Roku, then I would recommend getting the "+" model of whichever version you go with. The + remote can be programmed to turn on your tv and control volume.

When we first started with youtubeTV I bought the expensive Roku box (2 of them) because I thought they would stream better (wifi). I've since purchased the streaming sticks (+), and a few Express (+) and wish I would have just went with them to begin with.

Edit - I mentioned Roku Premiere but mean Express. Corrected now.
Last edited by head gamez on Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SmallCityDave
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by SmallCityDave » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:11 am

I have the Express and Premium +. The Express will be fine but if you spend an extra $15 you can get the premium + or Streaming Stick + they have 4k and a separate power & volume buttons for the TV. The power button doesn't really matter because my express turns the tv on but it's nice not to have to find the tv remote to turn up the volume.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:29 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:16 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:12 am
You can purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for $24.99 with promo code 4KFIRETV. I recommend going that route. I have two of those now...As a former Apple TV user I cannot for the life of me figure out how I used to pay $159 for a streaming box. An Apple TV 4K costs $179-$199!
I saw that code on a deal site. It doesn't work for me. It says "The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase." I just tried it again.
Yes it’s targeted. I had it on my account but my wife didn’t have it on her account. Fortunately my mother did so I was able to get 2 for the $24.99.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:29 am

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:19 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:12 am
You can purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for $24.99 with promo code 4KFIRETV. I recommend going that route. I have two of those now...As a former Apple TV user I cannot for the life of me figure out how I used to pay $159 for a streaming box. An Apple TV 4K costs $179-$199!
Excellent. Thank you!

Stupid question: The Fire TV Stick 4k will work fine on an old 1080p TV, right?
Yes I use it on a 1080p TV.

michaeljc70
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:31 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:29 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:16 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:12 am
You can purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for $24.99 with promo code 4KFIRETV. I recommend going that route. I have two of those now...As a former Apple TV user I cannot for the life of me figure out how I used to pay $159 for a streaming box. An Apple TV 4K costs $179-$199!
I saw that code on a deal site. It doesn't work for me. It says "The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase." I just tried it again.
Yes it’s targeted. I had it on my account but my wife didn’t have it on her account. Fortunately my mother did so I was able to get 2 for the $24.99.
Ha. I emailed my mother 15 minutes ago to try it on her account :D

I've read it will be $25 on 11/24 also, but I will be out of the country and probably not have internet access.

nesta
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by nesta » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:57 am

If you go with YouTube TV, which I highly recommend, the Roku Express is more than enough. We use 2 of them in our house. And I just got my 67 year old mom signed up for YouTube TV with 2 Roku Expresses for her TVs. More than enough and cheap set-up.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by jpsfranks » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:57 am

The Express is fine for YouTube TV and all other viewing. For me the main drawback of it is the remote which is IR and doesn't have the voice feature. I don't use voice that much, but the IR remote has to be roughly pointed at the device which is a bit less convenient than the RF remotes that come with the stick Rokus which don't really need to be pointed at anything, since the sticks are made to be behind the TV with no line of sight.

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:38 am

Thanks to all for your responses. Very helpful information.

I ordered an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k for $25. I would like another one for our upstairs TV, but looks like it'll have to be $50.

For now, I'm going to set it up on the main TV, subscribe to YouTube TV and give it a shot. Assuming all works well and I like it, I'll probably pony up the $50 for another Fire TV Stick.

I tried my wife and my dad and neither's Amazon has the offer. :x

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:52 am

Consider the Fire TV Cube for your main/primary TV. (after your testing trial).

Faster, more RAM, etc. TV power and Soundbar power. Volume control. Alexa can turn on/off your TV and soundbar.

The sticks work fine, but they are not quite as fast/powerful. More $$ obviously. Alexa also controls the lights in our main family room. Alexa, turn on light 1.

YouTube TV on the Fire TV Cube is blazing fast. A big improvement over PS Vue (3.5 years on it).
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Silence Dogood » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:01 pm

I have a Roku TCL TV.

I have no complaints. I particularly like how it works with my TV antenna.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by staustin » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:05 pm

PSVue user here also. amazon's choice to run ad's in the firestick background is extremely annoying. at least with Netflix it's shows you have previously watched. The roku is much more pleasant..

regarding the + and use of microphone remote, I've had luck with simply downloading the app, linking it to a roku and using that for a voice control. you can also simply purchase an upgraded remote if you like.

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:18 pm

I see that the regular (non-4k) Fire Stick is $34.99. Considering I don't have a 4k TV upstairs and likely won't for years, seems like this is a good solution. I would have loved another $25 4k stick, but $35 for essentially the same functionality is better than $50.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Marylander1 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:26 pm

This is incorrect, at least for my Roku:
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:14 am
-The Roku cannot control a soundbar or receiver directly. Fire can. This was important for me.
I have a Roku Premier, and the remote control also runs my Vizio TV & soundbar. I didn't configure anything; it just worked when I plugged it in.

I also found an undocumented feature: by pressing all 5 buttons below the purple cross simultaneously, I can turn off the TV. (It automatically turns on when I activate the Roku, so this means I can do everything to the TV I want with the Roku remote, and don't need the Vizio remote.)

Marylander1

michaeljc70
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:32 pm

Marylander1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:26 pm
This is incorrect, at least for my Roku:
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:14 am
-The Roku cannot control a soundbar or receiver directly. Fire can. This was important for me.
I have a Roku Premier, and the remote control also runs my Vizio TV & soundbar. I didn't configure anything; it just worked when I plugged it in.

I also found an undocumented feature: by pressing all 5 buttons below the purple cross simultaneously, I can turn off the TV. (It automatically turns on when I activate the Roku, so this means I can do everything to the TV I want with the Roku remote, and don't need the Vizio remote.)

Marylander1
As I understand it the TV would be doing that and not the Roku (if you have the right equipment).

https://support.roku.com/article/115013 ... rol-my-tv-

"Your Roku enhanced remote is designed to control volume and power for your TV. It cannot directly control other devices connected to your TV, such as an audio/video receiver (AVR) or soundbar.

However, your TV may be able to issue volume commands to your AVR or soundbar using a technology called HDMI CEC. In these cases, your Roku enhanced remote can indirectly control volume for your AVR or soundbar."

My audio stuff is too old so it doesn't work on any of my 3 tvs (one has a receiver and two have soundbars).

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by ponyboy » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:51 pm

4k fire stick is going to be available on bf from most places for $25. As of now, target, bestbuy, amazon...im guessing walmart when they release their flyer.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by KyleAAA » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:55 pm

I use a Roku Express in conjunction with Hulu live tv on one of our TVs and it works great. I don't like that I still need to use the TV remote to control volume, but other than that it works just as well.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:10 pm

ponyboy wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:51 pm
4k fire stick is going to be available on bf from most places for $25. As of now, target, bestbuy, amazon...im guessing walmart when they release their flyer.
I am hoping they get more in stock. When I checked a couple of hours ago Amazon was completely out of the 4k Firestick. I have to imagine they planned for black friday though.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by lostinjersey » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:18 pm

We switched to YouTubeTV last year. At the time, the Amazon Firestick was not compatible with YouTubeTV. Maybe that has changed; I don't know.

We use the Roku Ultra and are very happy with the setup.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:48 pm

lostinjersey wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:18 pm
We switched to YouTubeTV last year. At the time, the Amazon Firestick was not compatible with YouTubeTV. Maybe that has changed; I don't know.

We use the Roku Ultra and are very happy with the setup.
The Fire TV app was release ~1.5 months ago.

It does not work (no app to install) on the first gen Fire TV Box and Fire TV Stick. 2nd Gen and up and the 2 Fire TV Cubes.
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by GerryL » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:58 pm

I bought a Roku Express a few months ago. From Amazon. It arrived and I had it installed within 24 hours of placing the order!

Easy to install (although I only have 2 HDMI ports and had to unplug a little-used device) and easy to figure out how to use. The Express remote does not have voice control. I don't really care about voice control, but you can use the smart phone Roku app for voice control if you do. I have a non-smart tv.

I wanted something economical that would include access to the Kanopy app (for movie screening through local library) and PBS Passport. And now I have more viewing options than I can ever possibly exhaust. Oh, and no cable here.

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:44 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:10 pm
ponyboy wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:51 pm
4k fire stick is going to be available on bf from most places for $25. As of now, target, bestbuy, amazon...im guessing walmart when they release their flyer.
I am hoping they get more in stock. When I checked a couple of hours ago Amazon was completely out of the 4k Firestick. I have to imagine they planned for black friday though.
Really? I just ordered one today. Wow, people really swallowed them up.

I'm going to pick up another one on Black Friday for $25.

michaeljc70
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:09 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:44 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:10 pm
ponyboy wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:51 pm
4k fire stick is going to be available on bf from most places for $25. As of now, target, bestbuy, amazon...im guessing walmart when they release their flyer.
I am hoping they get more in stock. When I checked a couple of hours ago Amazon was completely out of the 4k Firestick. I have to imagine they planned for black friday though.
Really? I just ordered one today. Wow, people really swallowed them up.

I'm going to pick up another one on Black Friday for $25.
It shows available now. Maybe they play games with that. They obviously play games with their promotions. My mother wasn't able to apply the coupon code nor was I. She doesn't even have Prime. Not sure what their criteria are for using a coupon.

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:00 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:09 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:44 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:10 pm
ponyboy wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:51 pm
4k fire stick is going to be available on bf from most places for $25. As of now, target, bestbuy, amazon...im guessing walmart when they release their flyer.
I am hoping they get more in stock. When I checked a couple of hours ago Amazon was completely out of the 4k Firestick. I have to imagine they planned for black friday though.
Really? I just ordered one today. Wow, people really swallowed them up.

I'm going to pick up another one on Black Friday for $25.
It shows available now. Maybe they play games with that. They obviously play games with their promotions. My mother wasn't able to apply the coupon code nor was I. She doesn't even have Prime. Not sure what their criteria are for using a coupon.
I tried my dad and my wife and neither could do it. I had a guy here at work try and he couldn't either. It must be a targeted promotion somehow. Geesh.

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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:59 pm

Just for the heck of it, I downloaded YouTube TV to my 3 year old cheapo Amazon Fire TV Stick and it works. The YouTube TV website says only second generation is supported. It also works with my 3 year old Fire TV device.

michaeljc70
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:24 pm

One thing I've noticed with my new Firestick is that if I am watching a show on YouTube TV (but I think in any app) and I have to pause for whatever reason (phone rings, doorbell rings, need to run an errand) it goes back to the home screen after a short time period (maybe 15 minutes?) This is very annoying. It should stay where I am regardless of how long it has been. I think they just want to go back to show more ads.

Both (Fire and Roku) have ads. The Amazon are more intrusive as they are nestled between the menus, The Roku are more of a separate pane.

Overall, I like the interface (other than the ads) and remote on the Fire better than the Roku. I like the less intrusive ads on the Roku but since the remote has paid advertising buttons and doesn't control my soundbars it wasn't a hard decision for me. If I can get these devices on sale for ~$25 I could see changing to something else in the future if improvements warrant it. $75 to outfit 3 tvs is pretty cheap. My guess is they lose money on the hardware and are making it up on subscriptions, selling things (movies, tv, music) and ads.

It is also annoying that the skip ahead is only 15 seconds on both devices (at least in YouTube TV). However, if you use the voice control on the Amazon (haven't tried the Roku) and say "skip 3 minutes" it will work for most shows skipping commercials (these are DVR'd shows). It would be nice if you could make the default skip time for the remote 30 seconds or more.

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by tawebacon » Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:57 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:59 am
Would a cheapo Roku Express (the $30 version) work well with YouTube TV, or are they generally slow and therefore a higher end device is recommended?

If anybody has experience with operating YouTube TV on a 5-7 year-old "dumb" TV with a Roku Express, please chime in and let me know your experience.
The regular YouTube app works fine on the Express. I doubt YouTube TV would be any different, but I never tried. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon work fine as well.

indexfund56
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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by indexfund56 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:06 pm

Wait for Black Friday. Roku Ultra is expected to be $50. A worthwhile investment.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/best- ... 0-6471647/

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Re: Roku - is the Express sufficient?

Post by searle7 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:16 pm

indexfund56 wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:06 pm
Wait for Black Friday. Roku Ultra is expected to be $50. A worthwhile investment.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/best- ... 0-6471647/
I just got this and we love it! We upgraded from the Roku Special edition which was slow. Some of the features we love:
Remote finder button; Push the button on the Roku and the remote chirps so you can find it. So helpful when you have kids that always misplace the remote
- I can turn on TV, adjust my sound bar with the Roku remote. One remote!
- Voice search; No need to type in a show your looking for. Also looks for the Movie/show across all the apps so you don't have to go searching for it.
- User interface; We have an older smart tv and an old roku special edition and the user on the Roku Ultra is MUCH better
- Option for hardwired Ethernet connection. Don't know if other streaming devices can but can plug in the Roku as to not bog down the wifi.

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