Friday, October 29, 2021

How long should your streaming device last?

I don't know if I'm the best person to suggest how often you should expect to replace your primary streaming device. You see, in the early days of streaming, I got a new Roku device every year, when the new ones were released. In 2010, I bought the Roku XDS, which was the top of the line device.

Less than a year later, I replaced it with the Roku 2 XS, the new top of the line device. That stayed tops in Roku's lineup for two years.

In 2013, Roku introduced the Roku 3, which I bought and retired the Roku 2 XS. When they updated the Roku 23 in 2015, I didn't replace it, since the update was really just the headphones, or earbuds. The device didn't have any appreciable change, hence the keeping of the Roku 3 name.

Where all this changed was later in 2013 when the Roku 4 was released. I heard early reports of issues with the device, and was really happy with my Roku 3.

Don't get me wrong, I was happy with my Roku XDS and my Roku 2 XS when I replaced them. However, in my experience, the Roku 3 had fewer problems. I never noticed problems with the earlier Roku devices I had, at least not until the lack of problems with the Roku 3. The XDS and 2 XS required occasional reboots, but many devices do. But the Roku 3 seemed to require a lot fewer. Enough fewer for me to notice.

So, when the Roku 4 was released, I didn't run out and buy one. I waited, and saw early reports of issues. Roku replaced the Roku 4 with the Roku Ultra a year later, keeping the same appearance as the Roku 4, but changing the device on the inside. The Roku 4 had a fan and power button. It's the only Roku that had that, and the fact they did away with them indicated to me that they were very aware of the issues.

I didn't buy that first version of the Roku Ultra. I didn't hear anything bad about it, I didn't see anything it brought to the table for me. I didn't need the optical output, and that's really the only thing extra it offered. When I needed to buy an additional (not a replacement, just an addition) Roku, I bought the next version of the Ultra in 2017.

I used the Roku 3 after getting the Ultra. A change of TV watching habits and my beginning to manage TV at multiple households meant the retired devices weren't retired, just moved. The Roku 3 stayed in service for years, as did the Roku Ultra. In fact, I only recently retired the Roku 3, and the Roku Ultra is still operating. I've not purchased a newer Ultra. I still have the 2017 model.

I purchased some other models for secondary TVs, and they are still in operation. I've found Roku devices to be very reliable, at least the models I've purchased. Note that I've not used the low end models, only the higher end devices. Maybe that's why.

But, to the topic at hand. How long should your streaming device last? I'm going to say four years. I almost said five, but I think four is more reasonable.

That is not to say you should replace your streaming device every four years. I'm saying you should be prepared to if necessary. Or if you just really want to. But I would expect any I purchase to last four years.

It's been four years since I bought my Roku Ultra. Am I going to replace it? One day, sure. But not today. I expect my devices to remain in my Streaming Life for some time yet.

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