What else is new?
On the outside, the new Roku 3 box is rounder and ever so slightly larger the Roku XS it replaces. It still supports a USB port for video, audio and photos. It also has a cat 5 port for internet, and a micro SD slot for storing games and channels. What it lacks, however, is any video or audio output other than HDMI - the composite video breakout jack has been removed. Inside, the new processor moves you through the new user interface quickly, as well as speeding up channel, app, and game loading. The remote looks and functions the same as the Roku XS Bluetooth gaming remote, with the addition of the headphone jack on the side. And there is also a wireless upgrade to Dual-Band wireless.
So the questions are, who should upgrade to the new Roku 3, and what model should new owners purchase? Well, the new menu would be a good reason for current users to upgrade. Except that on May 18, ALL Roku 2 users will be upgraded to the new menu. So that leaves a faster interface, dual band, and headphone remote as reasons to upgrade. There is ONE big reason to hang onto your old Roku - if you need a composite breakout. The Roku 3 only supports HDMI. If you are using it on an older TV or use the RCA audio output jacks to get audio to an amplifier, you will want to skip this upgrade. Otherwise, the only way to get video and audio to a non digital device is with something like this: HDMI to Composite Video Converter, or Two Input HDMI to RGB Component YPbPr / VGA 2x1 Switch Converter Support 5.1CH Surround Sound - both of which work just just fine, but are pretty pricey solutions.
For those looking for their first Roku, or a second Roku for another room? Unless you need composite video, I would choose the Roku 3. Now, if you're on a tight budget and can live with 720p, I would recommend the Roku LT.
Here's a comparison:
Compare Roku models
|Composite Video Out|
|Built-in wireless (Wi-Fi b/g/n )|
|New on-screen experience *|
|Plays 720p HD video*|
|Instant replay control on remote|
|Plays 1080p HD video|
|Remote with headphone jack|
|Motion control for games|
|Dual-band wireless, Ethernet port & USB port**|
And, if you want the current Roku 2 XS, get it while you can. It will probably be discontinued soon - but for now I found the Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player on Amazon for $79.99.