The rule of thumb is you only need one streaming device, but I actually have two: a Playstation 4 and a Roku. The PS4, which can stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Disney+, and more was fine for years — but then I got Shudder, which is indispensable for any dyed-in-the-wool horror nut, and was sad to discover that there is no Shudder App for the PS4. Once I sprang for a Roku (I paid full price, missing the $10 discount currently available at Best Buy) it immediately became my go-to for all streaming. Why?
It’s just much better. Our very own Corey Foster thinks so, and I’m inclined to agree, albeit for different reasons.
Roku – Premiere 4K Streaming Media Player – Black – bestbuy.com
Roku Streaming Stick+ – bestbuy.com
First of all, it doesn’t just come with the Shudder channel missing from my PS4, it came with a bunch of other free channels as well. There’s news, Crackle, YouTube, and several “Roku” channels that show a variety of movies. The night I plugged it in, I watched “The Perfect Storm” for free. Sure, there were ads, but I’m a Millennial so ads sorta make me feel nostalgic for my childhood.
Second of all, it has a ton of great features like voice-command, integration with Amazon Echo, and an underrated feature that turns on subtitles when you hit the “ten-second rewind” button. That means when you miss a line of dialogue like I’m prone to, you’ll get some helpful closed captions to clear things up. Closed captions that turn off right when you’re caught back up.
Yes, you read that right. I don’t know why this innovation doesn’t get more press — it’s the great breakthrough in streaming technology since the “skip intro” button appeared in 2017 or whatever.
Right now at Best Buy, you can also get the Roku Streaming Stick for $29.99, and the Roku Streaming Stick Headphone Edition for $59.99.
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Joshua Sargent is an editor for Hearst Newspapers. Email him at [email protected]