CNET First Look
Faster Roku 2 masters the streaming universeA nearly perfect mix of speed, features, price and ecosystem make the Roku 2 our favorite streaming device yet.
[MUSIC] For a streaming device you use every day, speed is one of the most important attributes. When you're itching to watch that next episode, or movie you just paid for, or browsing around looking for something new, delays stink. The new Roku 2 is really fast. Just as fast, in fact, as the Roku 3. And, easily as speedy as any other streaming device out there. It beats the less expensive Roku One and streaming stick delivering the speediest access to Roku's superb platform and that platform is so good you'll probably end up using it every day. Roku's advantages over other streaming platforms include the ability to fully customize the interface, moving apps wherever you want and removing the ones you don't use and the fact that it doesn't favor one content provider over another. It also has more apps than anybody else, and a new app search window makes them easier than ever to find. Finally, Roku offers the best universal search period. Roku's big advantage is that it's search comes through 17 different services including Netflix, HBO Go, FX Now, and Vudu. Amazon search and that of Google's Android TV don't hit any of those services, and Apple TV doesn't even have a service. Roku's search results also clearly reveal what services cost money and which ones you get for free as part of your subscription. It's a great feature only available on a Roku, and one that can actually save you from mistakenly paying for something you would already own the rights to stream but may not know about. Compared to the Roku three, the Roku two is missing voice search and the headphone jack enabled remote control. But most people probably won't miss those additional extras. Compared to the old Roku two, the new version has an ethernet port. Yes it still does wi-fi too, and drops the analog output. And let me repeat it's much faster than before. That combination of superior speed, platform and an affordable price make the Roku two our favorite stream box for now. I'm David Katzmaier for CNET.