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First Look: The new Roku 3: overhauled interface, faster chip and private listening mode

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First Look: The new Roku 3: overhauled interface, faster chip and private listening mode

2:43 /

The newly announced Roku 3 ($99) is the company's flagship streaming-media box, with a completely redesigned user interface, a faster processor and a neat new feature that lets you plug in headphones to the remote.

Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and we're gonna take a quick look at the just announced Roku 3. This is Roku's new flagship streaming media box and it's shipping starting today for $99. What's most exciting about the new box is the completely overhauled user interface. It's a totally new look for Roku and it's a big improvement. Gone as the old filmstrip look replaced with a menu bar and a grid of channels. The new layout lets you see a lot more channels at once, making it much faster to find exactly what you're looking for. Roku's channel store is also now integrated right into the main menu. Instead of having to load a whole separate interface which took forever on the old Roku boxes. Overall, just about everything feels better and faster on the new interface and the best part, Roku's rolling out this new look to all current gen Roku boxes in April. The box itself has a slightly updated look with an even glossier finish than before and new rounded edges on the side. You'll also notice it's a little bit heavier than the old boxes and Roku added that weigh on purpose to help the Roku 3 from getting pulled by heavy HDMI cables. Inside it has a new processor that's claimed to be five times faster than the Roku 2 XS's chip. Now, some have speculated that maybe a faster chip would finally allow Roku to add YouTube to its channel store but for whatever reason that's still not the case so, there's no YouTube on Roku 3. The other internal improvement is dual band WiFi, which is a nice upgrade that Roku fans have had on their wishlist for a while. Around back, you'll find just an HDMI output and Ethernet jack, a micro SD card slot and a power port, plus there's also a USB port on the side. There's no more analog video output on the Roku 3. So, if you still need an analog connection, you'll need to step down to another model. Roku has also added one more neat feature to the Roku 3 and that's the private listening mode. Plug in some headphones to the jack on the side of the remote and you can listen to anything you're streaming on your Roku box. Your TV's line is automatically muted and you can control the headphone volume using the rocker on the side. It's a really smart edition of Roku's feature set and they're even including a pair of earbuds in the box. So, all together, the new Roku 3 feels like a very polished update to a series of streaming boxes that were already excellent. I'm gonna continue testing the new box and the updated interface. To check back for a full review soon to see how it stacks up to its main competitor, the Apple TV. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and that was a quick look at the new Roku 3.

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