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Summary:

The Roku 3 is here: The new video streaming box features a revamped UI for better content discovery and a remote control with a headphone jack.

Roku-3-with-Headphones

Roku officially unveiled its third-generation streaming device Thursday night. The streaming box, simply dubbed Roku 3, comes with a new user interface as well as a remote control that features a headphone jack for private listening. It will go on sale immediately for $100 on Roku’s website and Amazon.com, and find its way to retailers in April.

The device’s new UI should help a lot with content discovery. Finding new channels had become a bit of a challenge on existing Roku device as the company grew its number of content partners to a total of 750. Check out a demo of the new UI in this company-provided video below:

The addition of a headphone jack for the remote control is a more curious choice. Roku hopes that the feature will help consumers who want to watch TV without disturbing others — but one could argue that consumers have already made their iPads the viewing device of choice for that kind of use case.

Roku has said that the new UI will come to second-generation devices next month. Speaking of existing products: A company spokesperson told me that Roku intends to continue to sell the Roku LT, Roku HD, Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS devices alongside the new Roku 3 as well as the streaming stick.

The launch of the Roku 3 was a bit of an open secret: Not only had the device cleared the FCC last month, but a Roku customer service representative told gadget blogger Dave Zatz a few days ago that it was going to launch this week.

One feature still absent from the device is the ability to mirror content from PCs and mobile devices in an AirPlay-like fashion. We reported last week that Broadcom has been touting Roku as a partner for its Miracast wireless streaming technology, with a Broadcom spokesperson confirming that the hardware of the recently-introduced Roku Streaming Stick was Miracast-capable.

Roku didn’t want to comment about Miracast at the time and didn’t mention the technology in its Roku 3 press material. However, both the Streaming Stick and the new Roku 3 support Wi-Fi Direct, a technology Miracast is based on, so we shouldn’t be too surprised to see both get a Miracast update some time in the near future.

This story was corrected Wednesday 10:00 am with the following information: Roku’s hardware partner is Broadcom, not Qualcomm.

  1. “The addition of a headphone jack for the remote control is a more curious choice. Roku hopes that the feature will help consumers who want to watch TV without disturbing others — but one could argue that consumers have already made their iPads the viewing device of choice for that kind of use case.”

    Lets see, 46” tv or a 10” tablet … The headphone jack is an awesome idea.

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  2. It’s 2013. Flash video? Really? We have iPads and Androids now. Geeze.

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  3. Haha, the day after I order a set of wireless headphones. Oh well…

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  4. I have an Apple TV, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, iPad, and original Roku, so… plenty of options for consuming video (mostly Netflix). However, the headphone jack on this Roku’s remote just might be enough to make me buy it. At least twice each week I find myself opting to not watch a show because there will be no comfortable way for me to enjoy it on my 60″ TV at night without disturbing my sleeping wife.

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  5. Yeah, I have to agree with the others above that the headphone jack is a great idea. I have a Roku 1, returned the Roku 2, and will probably get Roku 3 for the new UI (it’s long overdue) and for the headphone jack.

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  6. Rob Klaproth Monday, March 11, 2013

    Great update. Can you stream content from a server or network attached storage? Does it have a USB port? These have always been the two things that have made me steer clear of roku and go with wdtv live. AirPlay is over rated. 99 percent of the video content I consume on my iPad wont airplay due to drm restrictions. Amazon only airplays audio. The tv apps such as wb don’t even have airplay enabled so what’s the point???

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