Roku 3 vs Android Mini PC
Media Streaming devices are one of the hottest smart-home technologies today. In a nutshell, they turn any TV into a Smart TV. They allow us to stream media from Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo and many other sources, watch internet TV or even (in some cases) browse the internet on our TVs. Video is streamed from the Internet, so we are less dependent on cable TV and satellite subscriptions. And let’s face it, who isn’t thinking about cutting the cable these days?
There are many options for streaming media players: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Android Mini PCs, WD TV Live and more. Each device offers an amazing streaming experience and a great selection of content, but they also have their limitations. We’ll discuss two of these in terms of their features, similarities and differences. Here’s our comparison of Roku 3 to Android Mini PC.
What is Roku 3?
Roku 3 is a streaming player by Roku Inc. It provides selected content on TV via internet streaming. Roku collaborates with several companies to provide the content on your TV. This means you can enjoy movies, TV shows, music, games and more on your TV using Roku 3 – all without a cable TV subscription. There are over 1000 channels available, right out of the box, with more being added regularly. Setup is simple: plug in the power adapter to Roku and connect it to TV using HDMI cable. Connect it to the Internet via either Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable and start streaming channels on your TV. It comes with a motion control remote for motion control games (think of a Nintendo Wii remote) and a headphone jack on remote for private listening.
What is an Android Mini PC?
I’m guessing you already know the answer to that question, since you’re here. But for those of you who are new to the game, an Android Mini PC (sometimes called an HDMI dongle) is a device the size of a USB stick that has the full Android operating system on it. This means that it can turn your HDTV into a computer with internet, game system, music library or video player. It gives you the flexibility of surfing the internet, using the Apps, playing games and much, much more. You can also make video calls with Skype or IM using WhatsApp. Anything you can do on your phone or tablet, you can do on one of these devices.
Setup is a little more involved than a Roku. However, what it loses in simplicity, it makes up for in flexibility. It’s also a simple Plug and Play device. Plug in the power adapter and connect it to the TV using HDMI Cable, or some even connect directly to the HDMI port. Using a mouse or a keyboard and your TV Screen as a monitor you can connect to the Wi-Fi and start downloading apps. That is where an Android mini PC gets more complicated. Think of it as a “blank slate” that you can configure as you wish. The catch is you kind of have to know what you’re looking for.
Differences Between Roku 3 and Android Mini PC
Both Roku 3 and Android Mini PC, convert your TV into a Smart TV with the capability of internet and video streaming. There are certain features which make each unique:
- Android Mini PC allows you to browse the internet apart from using the built-in apps and games. This isn’t possible with Roku 3 at the time of writing this article. You can use Facebook, Google and much, much more using an Android Mini PC
- Roku 3 has around hundreds of free channels to enjoy content on TV using internet streaming. It takes TV viewing to a whole other level by providing you access to loads of channels with rich content. Few channels do have a subscription option for content viewing. On an Android mini PC, it can be hit-or miss what channels you have access to, depending on your location and what apps you choose.
- Roku 3 comes with a motion control remote for motion control games and a headphone jack for private listening. The Android mini PC will require a separate keyboard, mouse or game controller to help you navigate and choose the content to play. This gives you more options with the Android, but I must admit, it’s pretty nice to have an integrated unit like the Roku.
- The Roku 3 is built (and supported) by one company: Roku. As you can see from our comparison guide, you can get dozens of different kinds of Android Mini PCs, each with their own different configuration.
- Though Roku 3 comes for around $100, you can pick up an Android Mini PC for as low as half that price.
Similarities Between Roku 3 and Android Mini PC
Despite of the differences in these products, some of the features are quite similar in both, making it a tough choice for buyers to decide what to choose. (Editor’s note: Which is why we’re here!)
- Neither the Roku 3, nor Android mini PCs have a subscription plan. This means the total cost of the device is, well…the cost of the device. There are, of course, premium apps for both devices. But, there are no monthly recurring costs that you have to pay to enjoy the service.
- Both Roku 3 and Android Mini PC require an HDTV. If you don’t have an HDMI port available on your TV, you’re out of luck without some sort of adapter.
- Both have a very easy to physically set up.
- They both allow you to save on expensive cable TV subscriptions while still watching TV shows.
Although both the Roku 3 and Android mini PCs are streaming media players with similarities, but there is a huge difference in their purpose. Roku 3 gives you a Smart TV viewing experience by using the Internet to provide you content and channels instead of cable provider. An Android mini PC gives your TV a computer like experience, allowing you to configure it as you like.
If you are looking for rich TV content like Movies, TV shows, Sports, Games from multiple channels to choose from then Roku 3 is something that can give you an almost perfect solution.
But, if you are looking for a device that you can set up and tinker with as your tastes change, while letting you browse the Internet on a bigger screen – your HDTV, then an Android mini PC might be the better option for you.