2019 Roku Express Plus (3910) Review
The Roku Express Plus (3910) is a streaming device that was released in October 2017 (R). This streaming device is not a stick or a dongle. It is a tiny set-top box that needs to be visible to be used. The Roku Express Plus is the best way to connect an older TV without HDMI connections to a streaming device to access popular streaming services such as Netflix, Sling TV, fuboTV, and others.
Roku Express+ Hardware
The Roku Express+ streaming device connects in two different ways: via an HDMI cable or with analog AV cables with red, white, and yellow connections (included). The device must be powered by using a micro USB adapter and cable or you can power the Express via the USB port on your TV; however, this will slow down the device. Micro USB adapter and cables are included.
The device is powered by a two core ARM Cortex A53 processor with 512MB RAM. The device has an 802.11 (b/g/n compatible) single-band wireless antenna so it can only connect to the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band and not the 5 GHz band.
Also included is the standard Roku remote without voice controls. The remote uses IR, so you’ll need to be within line of sight of the box, unlike newer devices which rely on Bluetooth. The remote is matte black and very lightweight. The remote contains directional arrow buttons, a back, and home button, and also has reverse, fast-forward, and play buttons.
The remote also includes four shortcut buttons at the bottom that allows you to go directly to a streaming service app such as Netflix or Sling TV. Depending upon where you get the Roku Express these four buttons may be different. Roku also offers the Roku mobile app which allows you to use your smartphone as the remote, which also offers some advanced capabilities such as voice search.
Roku Express+ Performance
The performance of the Roku Express+ is becoming outdated but that doesn’t mean it’s a poor experience. The device is by no means sluggish and is just as good as comparable versions of Amazon Fire TV. The device is fully capable of delivering a very sharp 1080p HD picture over Wi-Fi with little to no buffering. However, with analog connections, you will only get a 480i resolution which will appear very fuzzy on newer TVs.
The performance of the Roku is largely determined by the Wi-Fi antenna, processor, and Roku platform. The Express can’t access less-crowded 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, just standard 2.4GHz ones. If your home Wi-Fi network is spotty or weak, this will affect start-up and load times.
The processor is middle-of-the-road but is capable of handling just about any app or video.
The platform is where Roku absolutely nails it. It’s lightweight and fairly minimalist. The platform is not cluttered making scrolling smooth and quick.
Roku Express Plus Setup
Getting set up with the Roku Express Plus is very easy. Simply plug in the device, connect the HDMI cable to your TV or analog connections, and follow the on-screen instructions. The device will ask you to connect to your Wi-Fi and then it will check for firmware updates and will optimize the resolution. The resolution may start out in 720p and could appear fuzzy, but do not worry because the device will automatically adjust to 1080p.
After you have connected to Wi-Fi and run the initial setup you will be asked to go to Roku’s website to register the device. You can pick and choose which apps you want to download to your Roku. You can go back and change this at any time. Roku will start you off with a handful of apps at first but there are thousands of apps available.
Once set up, simply select and open an application and you’re ready to start consuming your favorite content.
Roku Express+ Channels
Roku’s platforms give cord-cutters access to over 5,000 different channels and applications. This includes both free and premium based content. Roku arguably has the greatest ecosystem of applications and games. All of these can be downloaded at no cost from the Roku Channel Store.
Mainstream content includes streaming services such as Sling TV, fuboTV, YouTube TV, Hulu, Netflix, and more. Users also get access to free content such as PlutoTV, tubi, PBS, Crackle, and more. Roku offers users the capability to listen to music, watch TV and movies, and even get up-to-date news and weather information.
The Roku mobile app gives users extra features. Use your iOS or Android device to enhance your streaming experience. Additional features include:
- The Roku Channel: Stream hundreds of hit movies, TV shows, and more—anytime, anywhere.
- Voice Search: Just say it to search by title, actor, or director across 1,000+ channels.
- Private listening: Use headphones to listen as loud as you want without disturbing the house.
- Cast to TV: See your photos, videos, and music up on your big screen.
Roku Express Plus Technical Specs
|Networking||802.11 (b/g/n compatible) single-band wireless|
|TV Compatibility||HD TVs – Up to 1080p (1920 x 1080) with up-scaling from 720p|
|Ports||Micro USB for power, |
|Audio||Digital stereo over HDMI®, DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI®, Dolby pass through over HDMI|
|Size||1.4 x 3.3 x 0.7 inches|