I was gifted a Roku Express Streaming Player in exchange for this review. All of our channel subscriptions have not been gifted.
All opinions are my own.
With the rising cost of cable and the larger selection of streaming options we decided to eliminate cable in our house. The Roku Canada Express Streaming Player retails at approximately $39.99. It can be ordered online or purchased from stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, etc.
The box comes fully equip with everything needed for set up so it was very simple to attach to the TV. We also found that the remote worked right away with our TV, unlike some where you have to push a series of buttons to find your TV code before it can be used. When attempting to do the set-up, you will need your phone or laptop to register your device and channel options. Roku Canada does require WIFI to work. PayPal and credit cards are accepted as payment options for subscription based channel options. The box is very small so if you have a wall mounted TV or TV stand filled with devices already storage won’t be a problem.
Roku offers thousands of free and subscription-based channels. There are several different movie & TV options. There are also games, music, shopping, sports, travel and more. For free channels my daughter loves YouTube. We will pay just over $700/annually for our current channel subscriptions. In our home, we have an adult, tween and senior citizen so our interests are very different. We can have all of our devices linked to access the same streaming options but also set guest mode so people can log into their own accounts if visiting us. I can also set a PIN to enter prior to making any purchases so that my daughter or grandmother can not accidentally order something. Each individual channel may offer additional parental lock options as well.
These are our current subscription channels:
Netflix $13.99/month for 2 screens at a time.
Prior to getting Roku, when Netflix was a channel option we had from our cable provider, it was primarily all we watched. I do find for the cost vs available Canadian content I struggle on whether to keep it. I do like how user friendly it is compared to other streaming options.
Prime Video (with StackTV) $12.99
I love that Prime has more newer released movie options and a large selection of their own content. They have a lot of older TV shows. We have recently binged shows like 2 Broke Girls and Revenge. It has a large selection of cheesy made-for-TV movies too which are great. I find it to be less user friendly to scroll through to find available options as it feels endless because you don’t end up where you originally started scrolling. You can add channels that you can access through Prime and so we added StackTV. StackTV gives us Global TV, W Network, Showcase, Food Network, HGTV, Slice, Adult Swim, History, National Geographic, YTV, Teletoon, and Treehouse.
Hayu Canada is all reality shows. I wish it included MTV reality shows. It has a wide variety of different genre of shows. It includes all seasons of a show so you can really see the cosmetic surgery progression of the Real Housewives of everywhere and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. They offer new shows in the same week that they would air on cable and older shows that no longer air. Mostly shows from E Network and Bravo but also a mix of international dating shows and real crime mini series.
This is a must have for all ages content. My daughter loves going back and re-watching the shows she grew up watching, such as Good Luck Charlie, Jesse and Girl Meets World. The channel features Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic content. I do find this channel to be quite glitchy when watching. We often find that it freezes and we have to re-open it. The sound from certain episodes of older shows can be distorted and make it hard to watch.
This is something that only the senior citizen in our house watches. I find it really expensive for what it is. My grandmother only watches Canucks games. While she has access to thousands of other games, it is unfortunate that the subscription options aren’t more customizable. There are 10 games that she cannot watch on the day that they are played, without a subscription to a different subscription service and has access 48 hours after. It isn’t easily advertised on the website which games are included for same day access.
Cineplex Store (no subscription fee but renting a HD movie is approximately $6)
As a scene member, I get a promo code emailed to me after ordering combos from the concession that I can use to rent movies. You can also use PayPal, credit cards and gift cards to rent or purchase movies. Cineplex offers thousands of new and older titles. They also offer discounted rental options, pre-order options, French titles, and movie bundles.
My only critiques of the remote are very much first-world problems. Overall it does what it needs to do. It is very simple and user-friendly. The remote that comes with the Express Player is very small and the buttons are all accessible from the range of motion in your thumb while holding the remote in your hand. I wish that all Roku remotes had a power button to turn off the TV/device and volume controls and the Express remote does not. It has an automatic 20 second rewind button but my preference would have been a 20 second fast forward option to skip theme songs when the option doesn’t automatically appear. It also has 4 main channel options which are pre-programmed (Netflix, Roku channel, Google Play, CBS All Access) and I would have preferred being able to set my own channel preferences.
If you have a Roku, let me know in the comments which channels are your favourites or if you have any specific questions that I didn’t cover.