UFC 162 was this past weekend, and it was also the first time that I was able to use the UFC.tv channel on my Roku. I ended up watching the fights at my brother’s house, so I was unable to stream the event live, but I did come home and watch the post-fight press conference on my Roku. Hopefully in the very near future I will be able to stream an event live to get the full experience of UFC.tv on the Roku, but I can say that I was pleased with what little time I did spend using the Roku’s UFC.tv channel.
The interface for UFC.tv on the Roku is much like all other channels: very plain with a horizontal interface. It’s easy to use, but it’s not as pretty as it could be.
When you first load up the channel, you’ll be presented with a number of menu options, including PPV Events, Fight Library, Featured Fighters, Fights By Weight Class, UFC En Espanol, Free Video, Search, and My Account. What you’ll want to do first is go to My Account and link the Roku with your existing UFC.tv account. Essentially what you’re doing is logging into your UFC.tv account so you can purchase events and fights.
Curiously some options are missing on the Roku compared to the UFC.tv app that I use on my phone, such as News and TV Schedule. Fortunately I was able to find what I was looking for using the search feature despite it not being listed within the app itself.
As I mentioned, the UFC.tv interface on the Roku seems to be slightly crippled for whatever reason. Aside from live fights themselves, there aren’t direct links to other live events, such as weigh-ins or pre or post-fight press conferences. You can use the search feature to find them, but it would be nice if there was a menu option in the channel to link directly to other live events that UFC fans would be interested in.
Curiously all prices listed in the UFC.tv channel on the Roku are for the old prices before UFC.tv raised them. Live Pay-Per-View fights had a single price of $49.99 compared to $59.99 on the UFC.tv website for a high definition stream. I can’t say for certain whether this price would purchase the standard definition version of the stream, but I will find out in the near future.
The video quality of the UFC.tv app on the Roku was impressive. In the past I would stream events and press conferences on my computer through the UFC.tv website in my web browser connected to my TV via HDMI. I always found that the video looked a little off, as if the frame rate was a little choppy. The quality itself always appeared to be HD, but the frame rate was slightly jerky. I didn’t experience any of this on the Roku. It was basically silky smooth, just like watching a regular TV channel.
As a huge fan of the UFC who doesn’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, the $100 price tag for a Roku is more than worth it. You can stream weigh-ins along with pre and post-fight press conferences live, along with live preliminary fights and the events themselves. The quality of the video, while it does depend on your internet connection, is fantastic. For me, the Roku UFC.tv channel by itself is worth the cost of the device.
Please keep in mind that I don’t have an Xbox 360 or a PS3, so I cannot compare the Roku to these two consoles.
I have spent some more time using the UFC.tv channel on the Roku and had to update this post to point out a few things.
First, I originally griped that it was difficult to find videos like preliminary fights, weigh-ins, and pre and post-fight press conferences. However, I discovered an easy way to find them. All you have to do is go to an event that’s listed in the UFC.tv channel, click on it, and then choose related video. From there you can view all of the preliminary fights, weigh-ins, and press conferences.
One thing thing that’s also worth mentioning is that you can view the Facebook fights that aren’t available on TV through the Roku box. Typically, you have to go to the UFC’s Facebook or YouTube page to do this. But, using the Related Video method I mentioned above, you can find these Early Prelims available to stream for free.
In terms of pricing, while the UFC.tv website lists different prices for standard and high definition, the UFC.tv channel on the Roku only lists the lower of these two prices. Fortunately, despite it being a “standard definition” price, the events stream in 1080p. The picture quality is fantastic and far beyond what I’ve seen in the past when watching events through a cable or satellite set-top box. The one caveat is that you do need a fast internet connection. For reference, I have a 20Mbps connection and I’m able to stream at 1080p.