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Roku 2 review: A cheaper Roku with nearly everything you want

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The Good The Roku 2 has nearly all of the important functionality of the Roku 3 for $20 less. More than 1,000 channels are supported, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player and Vudu. It also has cross-platform search that scours several major TV and movie services to find content. And the Roku 2's nifty remote has a built-in headphone jack that lets you listen without disturbing others.

The Bad Some services, including Netflix, have an outdated interface compared with what's on other streamers. The Apple TV still works better within Apple ecosystem. And the Roku 2 is slightly slower than the Roku 3.

The Bottom Line The Roku 2 offers tons of content sources and an innovative remote with built-in headphone jack for less, but the Roku 3 is still our favorite pick.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Ecosystem 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Value 9

Editors' note, April 22, 2015: As of now in the US and May 2015 in the UK, the Roku 2 reviewed below has been replaced by an all-new version, also called the Roku 2. The new version performs much faster, includes an Ethernet port and has a few other minor improvements, but it now lacks the old version's point-anywhere Wi-Fi remote with headphone jack, as well as its analog outputs.Check out the full review for more details.

All of the information in the following review applies to the older 2013 Roku 2, not the new 2015 Roku 2.

Here's the pitch for the Roku 2: it has nearly everything you love about the Roku 3, including the remote with a headphone jack, for $20 cheaper.

It's a tempting offer. You don't get geek-friendly extras like the SD card slot, Ethernet jack, or the USB port, but those seldom-used features aren't worth the extra money for most buyers. The Roku 2's remote doesn't have a built-in motion-sensing or gaming buttons like the Roku 3's remote does, but there's not much gaming to be had on the Roku, aside from the occasional Angry Birds session. The Roku 2 even one-ups the Roku 3 by including analog video jacks, making it compatible with older, analog TVs.

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