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Komag
Level 9

What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

If I had to only test on 3 or 4 Roku models for a wide range of detailed performance feedback, what are a good batch of models to try?

I've tested so far:
- Roku 2 XS 3100X - my own
- Roku XD 2050X (classic) - my friend's

I'd like my game to work decently on classic Rokus (it's a throwback type game, it just makes sense!), although I may abandon this goal later if it leads to too many compromises.

Should I try streaming stick? Can streaming stick even play games? Older Roku LT? New Roku LT? New Roku 1, 2, 3? (Is the newest Roku the same as the older Roku 3?)

Thanks.
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13 Replies
TheEndless
Level 7

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

There are five distinctly different platforms, particularly when it comes to 2D development:

  • Legacy device (any device running 3.x should be sufficient)

  • Roku 2 XD/XS and/or Roku Streaming Stick (The stick seems to be the same chipset, but that's been debated. I'd suggest having at least one of both.)

  • Roku LT/HD, previous generation (2450 or 2500. This is a dog, and seems to have similar performance as the current gen Roku 1/2, but it's a different chipset, and can produce wildly different results... particularly with alpha blending.)

  • Roku 1 or Roku 2, current generation (These are basically the same hardware, so either one should be sufficient.)

  • Roku 3

And if you want to be completely thorough, you might want to pick up a Roku TV. The 32" TCL is available for $188 right now at Walmart (http://www.walmart.com/ip/TCL-32S4610R- ... V/39512294). You could even use it as your display device for the other models (with the addition of an HDMI switch).
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BradC
Level 7

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

I test on

Roku 1 - N1000 (for games that support legacy players) Can be bought off ebay.
Roku (1.5) HD 2500
Roku 2 XS 3100
Roku 3 4200
Roku stick 3400
Roku TV 5101

at home,

...then a few other models depending on who I can get to do some external testing for me during development and how complex the code is. Seems like every player has it's own issues in one way or another. Keep in mind that stuff that works great on one player will not on others.



If you are going to support first gen players, you'll need to test on one of those of course for performance issues -they are very different than other players. Some major compatibility problems were fixed a while back, so the main issue I see now is performance. There is still some stuff that won't work (by design since they are old) or a few incompatibilities can crash the players, but mostly you just have to make adjustments for slowness -- like leave out animations, skip frames, etc. whatever works. Another major issue is space on these players. (My own personal rule is that I won't release anything over 750 KB on first gen out of courtesy to avoid hosing those users, though I don't know what the actual limit is. ) The roku2 + players have a feature that automatically loads stuff as needed, so it isn't so much of an issue for them.

the 2500 is a very solid player imo. It has some compatibility issues, especially if you develop on newer players.

Roku 2XS / Roku 3 - sound issues are big on these. They have gotten better but still some real annoyances there. Make sure all samples are 44k mono wav files. If you find any sound tricks, please let me know.

Roku 3 - timing is off, you may have to make adjustments if you rely on this.

Roku Stick - kind of slower, like the XS, but perfectly capable for moderate stuff.

Roku TV - Overall seems to be a fairly fast player that can handle a lot. Sound issues are the same as other models, plus sometimes a sound will play just fine some days and other days the same sound won't play properly. Again stick to 44k mono samples to minimize this.
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Komag
Level 9

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

Wow, both of those are really useful replies, thanks!
I'll probably pick up both of these for only $30 ea:
http://www.groupon.com/deals/gg-roku-lt ... ng-stick-1

and I'll keep on the lookout for other deals over the next few months maybe. I'm tempted by that TV too.

I haven't done my sounds yet, music or fx, and I didn't expect there to be such issues, I'll have to test it a lot.

I was planning on some precise timing, what is it about Roku 3 that's off with timing?
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EnTerr
Level 9

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

"TheEndless" wrote:
  • Roku 2 XD/XS and/or Roku Streaming Stick (The stick seems to be the same chipset, but that's been debated. I'd suggest having at least one of both.)

Debated by whom? I haven't seen serious question on that. Roku 2 HD and MHL stick are also in this group. Overall this is a solid group "A" to test for, consisting of model# 2400, 3000, 3050, 3100, 3400, 3420, 3500 - it includes current models (HDMI stick and MHL stick), as well as #2400SK "NowTV" white-box for BSkyB. Any one model from it (like your Roku 2 XS, Komag) should suffice for testing.

Another group "B" is the 2013 lineup of 2700, 2710, 2720 (current players) - to which in the interest of minimizing number of groups i will lump 2450, 2500 (mid-RokuLTs; these are same architecture, albeit slower). Getting Roku LT 2700 from teh Groupon deal should cover this base, Komag. Now this is a leap of faith - but i will speculate the "RokuTV" sets are based on this architecture, albeit a faster version.

Somewhat optional group "C" would be sole #4200 (Roku 3), which seems very close to "A"... except 3-4x faster. And it's a dual core - here be dragons, some thread syncs may cause issues... would be nice to have one and test just in case.

Optional group "D" are the "old generation" (circa 2008-2011) players #1000, 1050, 1100, 1101, 2000, 2050, 2100. The ones "stuck" in firmware 3, programming for them nowadays is a PITA because RokuCo has stopped updating their API even with the easy things, so the rift between them and the rest keeps growing. But if your app can support them, no harm in doing so. Also, they are about 3-4x slower than group "A".

I know, the grouping is not awfully clean but there has been a wealth of models. IMHO, absolute minimum on shoestring budget is 2 players, one from groups A and B. But if possible, i recommend 4 players - one of each A, B, C, D. Or even more - as patience, resources and sanity permits.
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TheEndless
Level 7

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

"EnTerr" wrote:
Debated by whom? I haven't seen serious question on that.

I don't have a source. I only recall seeing it once in a somewhat official counter to the assertion, but I could be recalling that incorrectly. The fact that the stick has the new Netflix, however, would seem to support it to at least some degree. For ~$50, it's worth having one if for no other reason than more portable development.. Smiley Tongue

"EnTerr" wrote:
to which in the interest of minimizing number of groups i will lump 2450, 2500

I would not do this. I've seen distinctly different behavior on the 2450/2500 vs the 27XXs, again particularly with respect to the 2D API and alpha blending (usually on top of video), albeit several firmware versions ago. You'd probably be safe grouping them, but I'd err on the side of caution, personally. But then, that also depends on how critical it is. Roku QA will usually let you know if there's an issue there, so you could wait for that type of feedback.
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EnTerr
Level 9

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

"TheEndless" wrote:
[re HDMI stick being substantially different platform from 30xx/3100]
I don't have a source. ... The fact that the stick has the new Netflix, however, would seem to support it to at least some degree.

If memory serves me right, HDMI stick has 2x the memory of the other players in the group. That alone can explain Netflix exceptionalism for it, without even resorting to conspiracy theory (i.e. "Roku Inc wants you to always keep buying the newest player"). Also, 34xx/35xx have different radio chipsets from the rest but that's not enough for me to de-group them from "A". See below for the practical reason why i clustered them so.

"TheEndless" wrote:

I've seen distinctly different behavior on the 2450/2500 vs the 27XXs, again particularly with respect to the 2D API and alpha blending (usually on top of video), albeit several firmware versions ago.

Your practical experiences are always appreciated! (Ditto, BradC - read your notes with interest).
But let me ask you this: if one was to develop for only 1 Roku model, which one should that be?
If one is to develop/test on only 2 models, which one should they pick? And so on for 3, 4 - but no more.

It's easy to say get one of everything but let's work it within 1-4 restraint. Imagine a higher power is sending you to a deserted island (with electricity, TV and internet Smiley Happy) and you can take only 1 (or 2, or 3, or 4) Roku player with you. Which one would you pick to work on?

My answer based on the above clustering would be somewhat like ordering from Chipotle's menu: pick any 1 from group "A", then you can pick 1 from group "B", then you can add the one from "C" and if you fancy, one from "D". I don't expect your choice to match mine - rather i expect to learn from difference in opinion. Will you share your picks?
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TheEndless
Level 7

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

"EnTerr" wrote:
But let me ask you this: if one was to develop for only 1 Roku model, which one should that be?

I'd pick the most common current generation model. Not sure which that is, but if I were going to limit myself to one, I'd go with the Roku 3, but I wouldn't be foolish enough to assume that what I developed on that would be acceptable for wide release to all models. If you're serious about developing for the Roku, then it's a bad idea to limit your development and testing to a single model. In the "or 2, or 3, or 4" scenarios, I'd start with current generation and work my way back down the line based on chipsets used... So that would be, in order, Roku 3, Roku 2, Streaming Stick and/or Roku 2 XS, Roku LT/HD, Legacy.

In a broader sense, I'd go for one of each model that has a different chipset. Currently, per Wikipedia, there are four different chipsets across the entire line... PNX8935, BCM2835, BCM7208, BCM7218, and BCM11130. Amount of available memory is really only relevant with regards to how carefully you code/manage the memory, not to how the box itself will interpret and execute your code. If you're comfortable assuming that the BCM7208 and BCM7218 are similar enough not to produce different results, then I'd opt for the current generation version first (BCM7218).
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EnTerr
Level 9

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

Your picks make sense too, thank you.
"TheEndless" wrote:
... In a broader sense, I'd go for one of each model that has a different chipset. Currently, per Wikipedia, there are four different chipsets across the entire line... PNX8935, BCM2835, BCM7208, BCM7218, and BCM11130. Amount of available memory is really only relevant with regards to how carefully you code/manage the memory, not to how the box itself will interpret and execute your code. If you're comfortable assuming that the BCM7208 and BCM7218 are similar enough not to produce different results, then I'd opt for the current generation version first (BCM7218).

Not coincidentally, in my bunching:
Group A = BCM2835 (ARM)
Group B = BCM72x8 (MIPS)
Group C = BCM11130 (ARM)
Group D = PNX8935 (MIPS)
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Komag
Level 9

Re: What 3 or 4 Rokus should I test game on?

I ordered the Roku LT 2700X, so combined with my Roku 2 XS 3100X and my friend's Roku XD 2050X, I got most bases covered, just need a Roku 3 at some point.
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