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CNET First Look
Roku 3 review: A fresh voice improves the best searchRoku's most feature-packed streaming player is still called the Roku 3 and still costs $99. But now its remote offers voice search. Can it retain its crown as our favorite streaming device, period?
[MUSIC] So after two years of being our favorite streaming box, the Roku 3 is getting an update. But don't worry cuz Roku didn't ruin a great thing. It still offers more apps than anyone. The same fully customizable interface that doesn't prioritize one service over another. And the same speedy response time. The new 2015 Roku 3 still costs the same 99 bucks as the old 2013 Roku 3 and it adds just one major new feature: voice search from the remote. Much like on the Amazon Fire TV, when you touch this button and speak into the Roku 3's clicker, you get search results. It's not that much easier that typing into the traditional search window, but it does work well. And like Amazon, recognized most of my test searches with no problem. Roku's big advantage is that it's search combs through 17 different services, including Netflix, HBO GO, FXNOW and Vudu. Amazon search, and that of Google's Android TV, doesn't hit any of those services. Roku's search results also clearly reveal what services cost money and which ones you can get for free as part of your subscription. For example, when I look for the Lego Movie only Roku told me it was available on HBO Go for free, or the other services charge me to watch it. The Fire TV has HBO Go, but its search results only show me the pay version on Amazon. That's a big advantage only Roku offers and it's available on every Roku device. Nice. Another new feature coming to all Roku devices is called My Feed. It allows you to follow upcoming movies and be notified when they're gonna appear on Roku fro streaming. The Roku 3 also has a jack on the remote control so you can attach a pair of headphones, such as the purple ones included in its box for private listening. The on voice search on the remote and private listening, Roku 3 is basically the same as the new Roku 2, which costs $30 less. Both are equally speedy and every bit as responsive as other streaming devices and much faster than older Rokus. So as good as the new Roku three is, I now consider the the Roku two a better deal over the new Roku three. I'm David Katzmaier for Cnet.