Roku Smart Home Starter Kit Review: Impressive Performance at an Amazing Price

The Lowdown

Would I recommend the Roku Smart Home Starter Kit? Absolutely. It is crazy to me that you can get an HD camera, two smart plugs, and two smart bulbs for less than $55. The bulbs and plugs are as good as the ones I have throughout my house, which cost more than twice what the Roku versions will set you back.

Overall
4.8

Pros

  • The price is very affordable
  • Smart and elegant design
  • Ease of installation and setup
  •  Video quality
  • Google Home and Alexa voice control

Cons

  • Roku devices are only compatible with Google Home and Alexa through voice control (not controllable directly through those apps as devices)
  • They must be installed on a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network

Roku is best known for its TVs and streaming devices, but it also manufactures related audio devices and accessories and makes smart home products. The Roku Smart Home Starter Kit contains a Roku Indoor Camera, two Roku Smart Bulbs, and two Roku Indoor Smart Plugs; at $53.97, it is a very aggressively priced way of making your home a bit smarter.

Roku Smart Home Starter Kit

Roku Smart Home Starter Kit Contents

Roku Indoor Camera SE

  • Indoor Camera SE
  • Wall Plate
  • Power Adapter
  • USB Charging Cable
  • Screw Kit
  • Mounting Tape

Roku Smart Bulb SE

  • Two  Color Smart Bulb SEs

Roku Indoor Smart Plug SE

  • Two Indoor Smart Plug SEs

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Roku Indoor Camera SE

The Roku Indoor Camera ($21.99 when purchased separately) is a small, black-and-white cube with a clean, modern design. Though lightweight, it feels solid in your hands.

Roku Indoor Camera SE

The front of the camera enclosure is gloss black and is comprised of the lens in the center with a status light above and a microphone below. The back of the unit has a speaker above the power cable.

The enclosure stands on legs that, when folded down, form a base for the camera and, when extended, allow the lens to point up and down but not swivel. With the legs extended, the MicroSD slot and setup button are exposed, as is the ¼” mount. The base of the legs has a mounting hole for use with screws when hanging the camera on walls.

View from the Roku Indoor Camera SE of the author's back yard

The camera provides 1080p HD video, which looks very good during the day. At night, the camera employs color night vision, which, depending on the circumstances, ranges from very good to decent.

The black-and-white night vision is surprisingly good, albeit with one drawback.

When pushed against a windowpane pointing outwards, the night vision fails, as the lens picks up the night vision sensors and transmits an image that looks like the HAL computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey; although this is not a big issue as this is an indoor camera and will most likely focus on interior spaces.

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The Roku Indoor Camera SE features motion and sound detection with customizable zones, which I found very sensitive. The camera provides instant notifications for motion detection, smoke, and carbon dioxide detection, all without a subscription.

Subscription plans are available starting at $3.99 per month per camera or $39.99 annually. Purchasing a camera subscription plan grants you several features, including intelligent detection of people, packages, vehicles, and pets, event filtering, and cloud recording of video clips, which can be stored for 14 days.

With a subscription, there is also no delay between detection events. Without a subscription, this delay is five minutes. The camera comes with a three-month subscription, which is $12 in value.

The Roku Indoor Camera SE also features enhanced two-way audio and can stream to your Roku TV™ or Player. Voice control is available through Roku Voice, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Roku claims that the camera works with Alexa and Google Home, and this is true as far as users can set up voice commands in either of those apps once the device is set up in the Roku Smart Home mobile app.

The device requires the app and a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, and setup is very quick and easy. Once plugged in, you press the pairing button on the camera’s underside and click “add device” within the app. In my case, I was able to locate and pair with each device without incident.

Roku Smart Home app

Screenshot

You cannot add Roku devices to Alexa or Google Assistant directly as Roku is not present in the list of available manufacturers. I found that adding the voice command within the Alexa app requires more patience than straightforward pairing with the Roku app.

Roku Indoor Camera SE Specifications

Dimension and Weight
  • Length: 2.1″ (52 mm)
  • Width: 2″ (51 mm)
  • Height: 2.3″ (58.5 mm)
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces (98.8 g)
Video 1080p HD
Horizontal field of vision 130°
Night Vision Lights 4×940 nm, 4×850 nm
Built-in Siren 80db
Audio Built-in speaker and microphone
Motion Detection Yes
Power
  • Plug-in
  • Power adaptor 5V/1A
  • 6′ USB cable
Storage
  • Local: MicroSD card Class 10 (not included)
  • Supports up to 32GB FAT32 format
  • Cloud: A Roku Smart Home subscription is required
Weather Resistance Indoor only
Compatibility
  • Requires Roku Smart Home mobile app
  • iOS 14.0+/Android 7.0+
Voice Compatibility
  • Roku Voice
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
Connectivity Wi-Fi 2.4GHz (Required)
Operating temperature -5°F – 113°F (-20°C – 45°C)
Warranty One year
Model CS10005 | CS1000P25

Roku Smart Bulb SE

The Roku Smart Home Starter Kit comes with two Smart Bulb SEs, which sell for $17.99 when purchased separately. I can remember a time, not very long ago when smart bulbs such as these sold for more than twice this price.

Roku Smart Bulb SE pack of two

The Roku Smart Bulb SE is a full-color bulb that can display over 16 million colors. It is perfect for finding the right tone of white light, from the coolest to the warmest, and equally able to create any other color when you are in the mood.

You can control the brightness of the lights up to 1100 lumens or dim them down to a subtle 30 lumens from the app; don’t use these bulbs with a dimmer.

As with the other Smart Home Starter Kit devices, the bulbs have many smart skills. You can create and save custom presets, set your own schedule, or select sleep or vacation mode so it always looks like someone’s home.

Once you have set up the bulbs with the Roku app, you can use voice control with Roku Voice, Alexa, and Google Assistant as with the camera and Smart Plugs.

Setting up the bulbs is just as easy and quick as the other components of the Roku Smart Home Starter Kit; you’ll simply plug the bulb in and open the app. Click the “+” icon, select “add device,” and pick the new “smart bulb color” from the Lights and Power menu.

The entire process takes seconds. As with the other components in the kit, a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network is required.

Roku Smart Bulb SE Specifications

Dimension and Weight
  • Length: 2.5″ (63.5 mm)Width: 2.5″ (63.5 mm)
  • Height: 5″ (127 mm)
  • Weight: 4.96 ounces (140.6 g)
Lumens 30 – 1100
Color 16 million
White Light Tunable (1800 – 6500 Kelvin)
Dimming Down to 30lm/2W
CRI Accurate colors 90+
Bulb Shape A19
Base Type E26
Life Expectancy 25, 000 hours
Compatibility
  • Requires Roku Smart Home mobile app
  • iOS 14.0+/Android 7.0+
Voice Compatibility
  • Roku Voice
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
Connectivity Wi-Fi 2.4GHz (Required)
Power 12 watts
Operating Temperature -4°F – 104°F
Model BC1000P2R

Roku Indoor Smart Plug SE

The Roku Indoor Smart Plug, which sells for $13.99 when purchased separately, allows users to power devices they can remotely control using the Roku Smart Home mobile app.

Roku Indoor Smart Plug SE

The setup is similar to that of the cameras in that the device requires the app and a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network. As with the camera, the smart plug works with Alexa and Google Home through voice commands once it is set up in the Roku Smart Home mobile app.

Roku Indoor Smart Plus SE controls

Once paired with the Roku app, you can create and save custom schedules to control whatever is plugged into the smart plugs. You can even set it in Vacation mode to make it look like someone’s always home, even when they are not. Using the multi-plug sync feature, you can power up or down a whole room at once.

Roku Indoor Smart Plug SE Specifications

Dimension and Weight
  • Length: 2.7″ (68.6 mm)
  • Width: 2.0″ (50.8 mm)
  • Height: 1.5″ (38.1 mm)
  • Weight: 5.3 ounces (150.3 g)
Max Load 15 A
Weather Resistance Indoor only
Power 100-120 VAC, 60Hz 15A
Energy Monitoring No
Number of Outlets One
Compatibility
  • Requires Roku Smart Home mobile app
  • iOS 14.0+/Android 7.0+
Voice Compatibility
  • Roku Voice
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
Connectivity Wi-Fi 2.4GHz (Required)
Operating Temperature -4°F – 104°F (-20°C – 40°C)
Model PS1000P2R

A Word About Wireless Networks: 5Ghz Wi-Fi vs 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi

Like many of today’s smart devices, the components of the Roku Smart Home Starter Kit only connect to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. You may run into issues connecting the devices if you have a 5Ghz wireless network in your house.

The culprit is SON, which stands for Self-Organizing Network, and it’s how routers like those provided by FiOS work. If you enter your router settings, you can turn off SON and name the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks separately. Then, when you connect the devices, you will select the newly named 2.4 GHz network.

Should You Buy the Roku Smart Home Starter Kit?

Would I recommend the Roku Smart Home Starter Kit? Absolutely. It is crazy to me that you can get an HD camera, two smart plugs, and two smart bulbs for less than $55. The bulbs and plugs are as good as the ones I have throughout my house, which cost more than twice what the Roku versions will set you back.

While for indoor use only, the camera delivers very respectable performance in terms of clarity and color. It can capture stills and videos and sends alerts with a subscription. I’m not sure what more you could expect in this price range.

Roku’s Smart Home products also include a whole range of other devices, including outdoor cameras, floodlights, doorbells, light strips, and solar panels.

The Roku Smart Home Starter Kit sells for $53.97; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: The price is very affordable; Smart and elegant design; Ease of installation and setup; Video quality; Google Home and Alexa voice control

What Needs Improvement: Roku devices are only compatible with Google Home and Alexa through voice control (not controllable directly through those apps as devices); They must be installed on a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network

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About the Author

Charles Kliment
A lifelong gearhead, as a teenager Charles was obsessed with high-end audio and musical instruments and through the years has focused on computers, mobile devices, 3d printing and drones. Both in his career and hobby, he employs a wide range of video, still and VR cameras. An avid gamer, dog lover and father of three adult sons, Charles is married to Jane Randel and lives in New Jersey.

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