Monday, February 13, 2017

Roku Stick Full Review: How We Pay $0 For My Son's Cable!

So today I was going to go ahead and do another "Mommy Moments" (if you don't know what that is, check out my post HERE to read all about it), but instead I decided to pay tribute to my one year anniversary - which happened this past Saturday - by reviewing a product from the company that started it all for me! Well, sort of. 

One year ago, February 11th 2016, I started a blog. I didn't know where the heck I would go with it, I didn't know how far I'd get, and quite frankly I thought I would've given up by now. It's not that I wasn't confident in myself, it's just that I really didn't think anyone would be interested in reading and I'd be talking to air. Well after sticking with it, I started to notice how many of you guys actually DO read the blog! 

Even through the tough times, the lame posts, the boring storytime's, and the " I don't know what to post" posts, you guys have stuck with me. I can't even begin to tell you guys how much it means to me that I have such an amazing audience like you all. I'm incredibly proud of each and every one of you and I truly mean that. 

One year ago when I started the blog, I decided to start off by jumping in and reviewing a product that I myself hadn't heard about or seen as a popular item. Of course, I wasn't paying too much attention, as I had cable and didn't even know that streaming was a thing. 

After some research and trying to figure out how to cut down bill costs, I came across this company called "Roku". I did a little background check, watched a few YouTube reviews, read quite a few blogs, and came to the conclusion that this was something I had to try. If all I needed was internet - which is something I use for more than just streaming, obviously - but I could skip the other add-on's (mainly cable itself), then why the heck WOULDN'T I want to try it?! 

I consulted my mother on the idea and both decided I should dive right in to see if the claims are truly real. I experienced it for a good while and after ultimately deciding it was the perfect fit for me, I had to share with you all. I included a lot of information about the company, how I chose Roku (and why) over the other competitors, and showed you all how to set it up (you can check out that post HERE).

Fast forward to now and not only do we still adore our lovely Roku, but we decided to purchase ANOTHER device from the same company, except we went with a simple streaming stick. My concern was that it wouldn't be as good as service (maybe it wouldn't link to the internet as well and consistently keep buffering?) or that it wouldn't provide the same channels my son likes to watch. This was a worry of mine, but I purchased my stick through Target and was told that if I didn't like it, I could return it. How true that is, I'm not so sure, mostly because of Target's seemingly strict return policy on electronics. However, it was on sale and I was a little tired of constantly watching Disney channel all day long. 

One hour, that's all I asked. One hour of the news or Judge Judy or something. I know it's a big risk trying to get my toddler to adhere to this request, but I didn't have much else to loose. Except maybe a couple bucks. Which is a lot when you're on a budget. I tried alright. 

We picked up the Roku Streaming Stick and whisked ourselves home to set it up, hopefully with good results. I was skeptical, but hopeful nonetheless. After opening up the box and seeing that it was just as simple as our first Roku to set up, my hope increased.

I plugged in the stick to my son's TV using the HDMI outlet, plugged the wall outlet cord into the streaming stick (looks' like a phone charger almost), plugged the cord into the wall, put the included batteries into the included remote, turned on the TV and waited. 

After a few moments things were going. I set it up under my previous account and it automatically downloaded all those channels onto the streaming stick. I was so incredibly relieved when I realized that nothing was missing and that my son could get all his channels. 

One downside is that since I logged in with my previous info, I can't alter, add or delete any channels to either one of the Roku's without the other doing the same thing. What I mean by this is, I have CNN on the living room TV. It's also on the Roku Streaming Stick in my son's room, but I can't delete it from the streaming stick or else it will also delete on the living room Roku Box. This is a little inconvenient seeing as how I wanted it to be personalized for my son, but I found out that I can go ahead and log out of my account, create a new "parental controlled" account (I would just set up a new account and set up a passcode again, so certain things couldn't be watched or downloaded) if I needed to. For now though my padawan doesn't have any interest in clicking on the channels he doesn't watch. Disney, YouTube, Nickelodeon, Netflix, he's on it. Anything else, he says "it's too boring" so he doesn't click them. So for now, it's not a horrible downside. In the future, it will only be a mere inconvenience that is easily resolved. 

The only real difference between the streaming stick and the Roku Box, is the remote itself. The Roku Box's remote came with headphones and a headphone jack in the actual remote. This allowed for you to walk around the house with your Roku remote in hand, listening to your show through the headphones. There is even a volume control on the side of the remote, giving you ease and access whenever necessary. It also allows you to watch TV while the little ones are sleeping on the couch (my son likes to play "tent sleepover"in the living room), without creating noise while they slumber peacefully. Also if you have a small house and don't want to wake up anyone else, but actually want to hear what's going on, the Roku Box remote was the perfect solution. The streaming stick however, does not have this feature. 

I do understand that this is a "lesser" version in a way, so having all the fancy gizmo's and what not's aren't to be expected. I feel that this streaming stick, does make for the perfect go-to TV option when it comes to bedrooms, which could eliminate the need for headphones anyways. 

Another really awesome feature about this, is that you don't need any additional items to set up your Roku. With the Roku Box - and I'm not degrading it in any way - you need to purchase an HDMI cable, to hook it up with your TV. The streaming stick is already a device that connects directly into your TV, so no added cables are required. 

Something to also keep in mind, is that the streaming stick is completely portable. You can easily unplug your stick and outlet cord, grab your remote, and pack the small items into your purse or bag to take with you to any hotel. Most hotels these days are equipped with HDMI outlets in their TV's, so you would essentially do the same thing you'd do at home. Plug it in the TV, plug it in the wall, and turn it on. You may need to switch the input on the TV (same for when you're at home) to whichever input is labeled "HDMI". In some cases, you may need to switch between a few different HDMI inputs, to find the one you're plugged into, if the TV itself has multiple HDMI outlets. 

Overall I think the streaming stick is an excellent device. Now I can watch an hour of Judge Judy - which my son hates - while he has "padawan time" in his bedroom with his toys and TV, which is almost always on YouTube watching "Hobby Kids TV". It's his favorite. 

Compared to the Roku Box, it may not have the bells and whistles, but it's just as good. It has 1080p HD quality, hooks with the Mobile App to give you voice search, allows you to send your videos from your devices onto the TV through the streaming stick (see HERE to understand completely what I mean), and costs absolutely nothing to run. Well maybe some electricity, but that's far cheaper than paying a cable bill! 

I give the Roku Streaming Stick a 5 out of 5. I knew I was getting a simpler version of the Roku Box, so nothing was unexpected - like the remote for example - and I needed it to be simple since it was just for my son's room. That's exactly what I go and I couldn't be happier with this purchase!

I know there are a few other streaming sticks out there, but I really prefer my Roku. I've experienced others through friends, but I just wasn't sold. That doesn't mean that Roku would be number one for you guys, but you never know! 

Do any of you use a streaming stick or streaming device? If so, which one(s)? Let me know your thoughts down below in the comments or on social media! Happy Monday everyone and Happy Valentine's Eve! May the force be with you all, you beautiful Jedi's and thank you for a year of heavenly blogging. I couldn't do it without you.

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