Q. I am a senior citizen living on a fixed income through Social Security. My niece tells me that I should get Roku because it doesn’t cost much money after you hook it up. What is the cheapest Roku player I could get? — Renee, Oxnard, California.
Renee, your niece is right. Roku streaming devices offer thousands of channels over the Internet, and many of them are free such as The CW, Peacock, YouTube, Pandora, CBS News, PBS, PBS Kids, Crackle, Pluto, WeatherNation, Sky News and NASA. You can also subscribe to pay services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. (Peacock also has a pay plan that offers more programming than the free version.)
The best thing about Roku is that once you buy it, there are no monthly fees. You connect it to your TV and start watching. (Assuming you have the Internet, of course.)
Roku is included in some televisions such as certain TCL models, but the cheapest Roku player is the Roku Express, which is now $24.99. That’s $5 off its regular price.
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The Roku Express, which streams HD video, comes with a high-speed HDMI cable which connects to the television. There’s also a remote that includes buttons that have short-cuts to popular streaming services such as Netflix.
While the Roku Express today is the least expensive model, note that Roku will sell its Premiere player for just $24.99 from November 20 to November 30 as part of a Black Friday sale. The Premiere, which is normally $39.99, comes with a headphones-enabled remote so you can listen to your shows without interrupting anyone. It also plays both HD and 4K video.
And that’s not all. Roku plans to sell a Roku SE streaming player for just $17 exclusively at Walmart during the Black Friday sale. The limited-edition SE has all the channels that a more expensive Roku player has and it comes with a spiffy white finish.
So, Renee, if you must buy a Roku today, the Express is your choice. But if you can wait a few days, you could get the faster (and headphones-enabled remote) Premiere for the same price, or the SE for $7 less.
Hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann