Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Photo Illustrated Review

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Photos and Review

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Package Contents
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Package Contents. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Now that internet streaming is becoming increasing more a part of the home theater experience, there are dozens of devices that are available for accessing online audio and video content - from Smart TVs and Network-enabled Blu-ray Disc players, to external media streaming boxes and even plug-in streaming media sticks (such as Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and BiggiFi.

Of course of the most well-known makers of media streaming devices is Roku - which provides several practical options for accessing streaming content for viewing on your TV and hearing on your home theater system.

Roku's most well-known products are their familiar family of media streaming boxes, but they also offer two streaming stick options, as well as a new option in which the Roku operating system is actually integrated directly into a TV.

The option that I am spotlighting in this report is their MHL Streaming Stick  (Model 3400M).

To start things off, above is a photo of the box that the MHL Streaming Stick comes in and its contents (Streaming Stick, Warranty Documentation, Wireless Enhanced Remote Control). A Get Started Guide is also included but is not shown in the photo.

Also, in order to use the Streaming Stick, you also a need access to a wireless internet router (associated with a broadband internet service), as well connection to a compatible TV, video projector, or Blu-ray Disc player that provides an MHL-enabled HDMI input connection (example shown in bottom left corner of the above photo).

Here are the basic features of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version:

1. Access to up to 2,000 streaming apps.

2. Compact form factor that looks like a USB Flash Drive, but has an HDMI (MHL-enabled) connection instead.

3. Power is supplied via the HDMI-MHL connector.

4. Video resolution output up to 720p or 1080p (content dependent).

5. Audio output: Stereo LPCM 44.1kHz/48 kHz, Dolby Digital 5.1/7.1 channel bitstream output with compatible content.

6. Built-in WiFi (802.1 a/b/g/n) for accessing streaming content (wireless router and ISP broadband service also required - 3mbps speed or higher suggested).

Wireless Remote Control provided - can also be controlled via compatible iOS and Android devices.

Proceed to the following pages for info on how to set-up and use the Roku MHL Version Streaming Stick.

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Connection Example

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Connection Example
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Connection Example. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown in this photo is an example of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL version, plugged into a compatible device, in this case, an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema video projector that provides an MHL-enabled HDMI input.

Once plugged in, and synched with a wireless internet router, operations of the stick can be controlled via the projector's remote, the remote that is provided with Streaming Stick, or via a compatible iOS or Android Smartphone.

For a look at some of the operating menus of the MHL version of the Roku Streaming Stick - proceed through the next group of photos...

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Settings Menu

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Settings Menu
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Settings Menu. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown above is a look at the Settings Menu for the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version.

On the left side are the menus for content access, which I will explain in more detail in the following photo, but in the center of the photo are the menu options that you use to set-up the Streaming Stick for use.

About: Software version, hardware version, serial number of the unit, etc... as well as enabling you to manually check and update the software.

Network: Set or change Wifi Settings, which enables the Streaming Stick to access the internet.

Themes: Provides several menu display look options. For more details, Check out the video explanation provided by Roku

Screen Saver: Several screen saver options are provided including the setting of activation times and some customization.

Display Type: Sets the Aspect Ratio (shown in photo later in this report)

Audio Mode: Sets the Audio Mode (Shown in a photo later in this report).

Sound Effects Volume: Provides volume adjustments for the Menu prompt sound effects - can also be disabled.

Remote Pairing: Synchs Streaming Stick with compatible remote controls.

Home Screen: Takes you to the My Channels Screen.

Language: Sets the Menu Language to be used to operate the Streaming Stick.

Time Zone and Clock: - Date and Time Settings according to your location.

Let's take a closer look at the Display Settings, Audio Mode Settings, My Channels, Search, and Roku Channel Store menus proceed to the rest of the photos in this report...

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Display Settings Menu

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Display Settings Menu
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Display Settings Menu. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page is the Display Type Settings Menu provided on the Roku Streaming Stick MHL Version.

As you can see, the setting options are pretty straight forward (4x3 standard, 16x9 Widescreen, 720p or 1080p HDTV.

Roku even provides a prompt telling you what the best selection is for your TV.

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Audio Settings Menu

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Audio Settings Menu
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Audio Settings Menu. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page is the Audio Mode Settings Menu for the Roku Streaming Stick.

Here you have two options, Surround Sound or Stereo. Also, just as with the Display Type Settings, Roku provides further guidance what to select if your TV is connected to an external audio system via a Digital Optical connection or if you are using the TV's built-in speaker system.

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - My Channels Menu

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - My Channels Menu
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - My Channels Menu. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page is the My Channels Menu. This menu shows all the pre-loaded apps provided by Roku, as well as any that you have added via the Channel Store (to be shown later).

You can view all of the selected Apps (or channels), or scroll through and views the channels according to their category (Movies, TV Shows, News, etc...).

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Search Menu

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Search Menu
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Search Menu. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page is the Roku Search Menu. This allows you to find individual movies or programs and which services they are on in your selected channels. For a more detailed look, check out the video provided by Roku.

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Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Channel Store Menu

Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Channel Store Menu
Photo of the Roku Streaming Stick - MHL Version - Channel Store Menu. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Finally, here is a look at the Roku Channel Store. This store provides about 2,000 channel apps that you can add to your My Channels listing.

However, it is important to point out that although many channels may provide free and also provide free content (YouTube, Crackle, PBS, Basic Pandora), some channels can be added to your My Channels list for free, but require a monthly subscription fee to access content (Netflix, HuluPlus), or, some channels may be free to add, but require a fee to view each individual program (Vudu, Cinema Now, Amazon Instant Video).

Also, some channels, such as HBOGO, Showtime Anytime, Watch ESPN, and TWC TV, require that already be a cable/satellite subscriber to those services in order to access content.

When you click on a channel that you want to add, that information will be provided to you.

Final Take

The Roku MHL-version Streaming Stick is available to consumers in three ways as part of their Roku Ready Program. The options include an optional purchase that can be plugged into an MHL-enabled TV, video projector, or other compatible device, as an included accessory for some TVs, or as a pre-installed option on select TVs and TV/DVD combos.

Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon.

More Roku Options

Streaming Stick - HDMI Version

In addition the MHL version of the Roku Streaming Stick (Model 3400M), another option that is available is what Roku refers to as the HDMI Version Streaming Stick (Model 3500R or 3600R).

The difference between the two is that HDMI Version does not require an MHL-enabled HDMI port, but can be plugged into any TV, video projector, or other compatible device via any standard HDMI input.

This enables more TVs and compatible devices to take advantage Roku's Streaming Stick option as the operation and content access are identical between both types of Streaming Sticks - However, there is a caveat.

While the MHL version is powered directly by the device it is plugged into, the standard HDMI version requires plugging into an external power source. Roku provides two options for this: USB power or AC power adapter. Roku provides the appropriate cable and power adapter for both options.

Read Report - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon.

The Roku Streaming Media Player (aka Roku Box)

There are several Roku Box models available, most of which can connect to any TV with at least composite video inputs. However, the Roku 3 does require a TV with an HDMI input exclusively. Roku also offers both wired and wireless internet connection options, depending on the model. However, it is important to note that while Roku boxes can access content form the internet, they cannot access content stored on your PC or MAC, or portable USB devices. For more details on the features and operation of the Roku players, check out the Official Roku Product Page.

Buy From Amazon on the complete selection of Roku Boxes.

Roku TV

Another interesting media streaming option offered by Roku is the Roku TV. These are TVs that actually have Roku operating system built into the TV for both using the TV and accessing internet streaming content.

The Roku TV concept was first demonstrated at the 2014 CES. As of late 2014, Roku has brought the Roku TV concept market in partnership with Hisense and TCL - Official Product Page.

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