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Are you hunting for the Best Roku streaming device to augment your home entertainment experience? If so, our insightful blog post targets individuals like you who wish to make the right decision.
Throughout our detailed analysis, we’ll explore the features, the pros and cons of multiple Roku devices, and the measures Roku is taking to remain a leader in the saturating streaming market.
Very Helpful: Roku Comparison Chart: See Every Roku device compared
By the end of this post, you’ll have everything you need to know to pick the right Roku streaming device that perfectly aligns with your viewing needs.
At a glance – Top Roku devices
Below, you’ll find a list of all the top Roku streaming devices:
- Roku Streaming Stick 4k Plus
- Roku Express 4k Plus
- Roku Ultra
- Roku Express
- Roku TV
- Roku Streambar
- Roku Streaming Stick
- Roku Smart Soundbar (Discontinued)
7 Best Roku Streaming Devices
One of the world’s leading streaming platforms, Roku, continues to take television to new heights. It is an open platform that widens your entertainment prospects with a lineup of award-winning live TV, popular films, and much more.
Understanding this universe can be bewildering with the myriad of options available. Thus, we’ve handpicked the top seven Roku streaming devices to help you enhance your viewing experience.
Roku Streaming Stick 4k Plus
Kicking it off is the Roku Streaming Stick 4k Plus, the front-runner of this pack. This device stands apart with its stunning visual quality, symbolizing Roku’s commitment to excellence. If you’re after a visual feast, this gadget leaps beyond the standard High Definition to 4K Ultra High Definition resolutions.
See our Full Review of the Roku Streaming Stick 4k plus model
And there’s more – its Dolby Vision support nudges the color and contrast a notch higher, encapsulating even the subtler shades. However, one significant drawback is the absence of Dolby Atmos, resulting in a less immersive audio experience.
There’s also the “non-plus” model, the regular Roku stick model, which typically $5 less. See our review Roku Streaming Stick 4K Review: One of the best Models?
What we liked: The Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus, slim and compact, is ideal for users seeking unwavering performance despite its deceptively small package. If you’re frequently on the go, the portability of this streaming wonder will be a game-changer.
Side note: An awe-inspiring feature of this powerhouse is its 30% faster app launch rate, invaluable for users seeking quick access to their favorite shows. The only downside was that it’s not as powerful as the Roku Ultra in regards to speed (buffering/lagging)
Pro tip: This streaming stick pairs splendidly with the Roku Voice Remote Pro. Its programmable voice-controls translate to curated content at your command. This model’s successful pairing with this dynamic remote sets the stage for an upgraded viewing experience.
Roku Express 4k Plus
Now consider the Roku Express 4K Plus. This device redefines the world of affordable 4K streaming. One advantage for people working with a budget is its exceptional performance versus price ratio. It proves that enjoying stunning 4K HDR streaming need not break the bank.
See our Roku Express 4k Review (And if its worth it)
Crafted to please the eye and deliver on performance, the Roku Express 4K Plus shines in delivering high-quality imagery at a friendly price point. Yet, that’s not all – this device’s remote control rates highly in being user-friendly. It comes primed with voice-control functionality that kicks lazy browsing habits up a notch. Despite its awkward design, this device’s performance makes it a worthy contender in any race.
One drawback of the Roku Express 4K Plus is its lack of support for Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos. Keep in mind that these features streamline visual and audio experience, so their absence might influence your buying decision.
Up next, we have the Roku Ultra. This is a premium offering that consolidates your streaming experience sans fuss. This model scales up with an Ethernet port that minimizes buffering hiccups, creating a seamless viewing experience.
See our Full review: Is the Roku Ultra worth the investment
The advantages of the Roku Ultra do not end with image and sound quality; its accessory game is strong too. This device packages the best of Roku’s remote controls, the Voice Remote Pro, in its box. The remote not only processes voice commands but also comes with customizable buttons for tailored functionality.
Keep in mind, that while the improvements from its predecessor appear minor, they significantly enhance the user experience.
In the end, the Roku Ultra might weigh heavier on your wallet, yet the investment pays off for those seeking premium entertainment – The Roku Ultra LT is another model to consider, which is less expensive and has many of the same features as the standard Ultra model (see our comparison of the Roku Ultra vs Ultra LT).
Roku Express (non-4k)
Let’s wind things down with the most pocket-friendly option – the Roku Express (non-4k). As an entry-level device, this model serves your basic streaming needs while still delivering decent performance.
See our full, in-depth Roku Express Review
Reiterating Roku’s commitment to mindful entertainment, the Roku Express wins the race in pocket-friendliness. The device’s strengths lie in its simplicity and adequate performance, proving again that top-tier entertainment need not come at exorbitant prices.
The Roku Express (non-4k) lacks a power adapter, which can be a stumbling block for some users. It also does not provide HDR support. Nonetheless, for newbies seeking an entry-point into the streaming universe, this model is an ideal pick.
One key player in the world of smart TVs is Roku TV. A pivot from streaming devices to manufacturing smart TVs, Roku has quickly imprinted its name. A distinct aspect of Roku TVs is their user-friendly overlay, making navigation uncomplicated for everyone. The second thing to note is the enormous volume of free and subscription-based channels provided via the Roku Channel Store.
See our Review of the Top Roku TVs
Loaded with extensive features like an in-built TV tuner for over-the-air channels, Roku TVs allow you to blend traditional cable content with modern streaming services. Side note: Another selling point is the private listening feature on the companion Roku Mobile App.
This feature enables users to stream their favorite films and shows without disturbing others. An advantage of Roku TVs is that they come in a wide range of sizes and resolutions, making it a worthwhile consideration.
Here are all the brands that have produced Roku TVs:
- TCL: TCL is one of the biggest manufacturers of Roku TVs. Their models range from basic to high-end 4K and QLED televisions.
- Hisense: Hisense also offers a number of Roku TVs, varying in size and specifications.
- Sharp: Sharp has several models of Roku TVs available, including both HD and 4K TVs.
- Insignia: Insignia, a Best Buy brand, offers Roku TVs with a variety of screen sizes and features.
- Onn: Onn is a Walmart brand that has released several budget-friendly Roku TV models.
- JVC: JVC offers a line of Roku TVs that are available in a wide range of sizes.
- RCA: RCA has a few models of Roku TVs, mostly in smaller sizes.
- Philips: Philips offers Roku TVs with a wide range of screen sizes and quality levels.
- Hitachi: Hitachi’s Roku TVs are available in a wide range of sizes, from smaller sets to larger, more feature-rich models.
- Westinghouse: Westinghouse Roku TVs come in a variety of sizes, from compact 32-inch models up to larger 65-inch models.
- Sanyo: Sanyo has a few Roku TV models in different sizes.
Far from a mere tech novelty, Roku TVs cater to all user types, from novices to advanced tech users. Drawing from Roku’s expertise in building streaming devices, these TVs cleverly integrate the TV and streaming functionalities into one. Interestingly, the TVs boast quick response rates, reducing lag time and amplifying the entertainment experience.
Moving on to Roku’s innovation in sound technology – the Roku Streambar. This product cleverly amalgamates a compact soundbar and Roku’s powerful streaming technology. An advantage of this combination is that it ensures consumers can elevate their audio-visual experience in one fell swoop.
See our review: Is the Roku Streambar worth it?
The Streambar is capable of supporting incredible 4K HDR streaming, producing crystal-clear sound and rich detailed images. Keep in mind that it’s compatible with various TV brands and sizes, showing Roku’s commitment to accessibility. The voice remote functionality provides an added layer of convenience, proving that Roku’s venture into audio technology is far from lackluster.
There’s also a Pro version of the Roku Streambar, view our review… see the difference between the Roku Streambar Pro and the Standard model
Not just a soundbar, the Roku Streambar, with its Bluetooth-supporting feature, also doubles as a standalone speaker. This means you can swiftly switch to jamming to your favorite tunes from your paired devices, enhancing your music experience. All these features combined in a compact and stylish design proves that Roku’s Streambar adds an upgrade to your entertainment system.
Roku Streaming Stick (non-4K)
In the world of portable streaming, the Roku Streaming Stick stands out. This simple, plug-and-play device enables you to gatecrash the streaming universe without a lot of fuss or expense. Bypassing the need for 4K, the non-4K Roku Streaming Stick delivers quality HD streaming fit for casual viewers.
The Roku Streaming Stick comes with a Voice Remote, which simplifies navigation and search. One advantage is it also has the capability to control TV power and volume, making switching between traditional cable and streaming content a breeze. Also, it serves hands-free controls, adding its list to the ever-growing convenience.
Though non-4K, this streaming stick does an excellent job supporting HD streaming. It provides access to a host of free, subscription, and rental viewing options, catering to diverse viewer interests. Compact and travel-friendly, it reinforces the notion that high-quality, personalized streaming doesn’t necessarily need a big screen or a sizeable device.
Roku Smart Soundbar (Discontinued)
Wrapping up our list is the discontinued Roku Smart Soundbar, a blend of Roku’s sound and streaming technology. The key selling point was the home cinematic experience it provided through its clear and spacious sound. Keep in mind, availability might be limited due to its discontinued status.
Despite being discontinued, the Smart Soundbar left a lasting impact. Delivering rich sound and 4K streaming, this device surely improved viewers’ entertainment experience. Side note: The integration of Roku’s interface within the soundbar also meant users could benefit from Roku’s extensive Channel Store.
The remaining stand-out feature was its smart capability, enhancing voice clarity during dialogue-heavy scenes and automatically optimizing sound to suit varied genres. The Smart Soundbar was applauded for aligning convenience with superior streaming experience lending to an incredible home entertainment system.
How to Choose the Right Roku for Your Streaming Needs
When making a choice from Roku’s wide array of offerings, keep your usage requirements in mind. Start by identifying your viewing habits – are you mainly streaming or do you occasionally switch to cable? Your device choice will differ based on your answer. For example, if you’re a strict streamer, Roku TVs provide an integrated solution for you.
Secondly, consider the type of content you typically enjoy. If 4K or HDR content is a priority, select devices like the Roku Streambar or Streaming Stick 4K. Sound also plays a vital role. If you’re an audiophile, Roku’s audio-centric devices like the Streambar or Smart Soundbar could be great additions, despite the latter being discontinued.
Think about your space constraints and budget – Compact devices like Roku Streaming Stick and Streambar are advantageous for small spaces. However, bear in mind that your optimal Roku device must be a balance of your needs, your viewing habits, the features it offers, and most importantly, your budget.
Pros and cons of using a Roku device for streaming
When it comes to the swiftly evolving world of streaming media, Roku devices have emerged as a popular choice. One advantage of Roku devices is their sleek interface that cuts through the complexities of modern streaming, offering a user-friendly experience. They make it simple to search across multiple apps, making sure you get an extensive media library right at your fingertips. Technical aspects like resolutions from HD to 4K Ultra HD and Dolby Vision HDR support, heighten the viewer’s experience. Roku also boasts thousands of channels, ticking off major names like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
But, like any technology, Roku has its share of drawbacks. In terms of device compatibility, the experience isn’t always seamless with all TVs. Also, while Roku offers a variety of models catering to different budgets and needs, this variety can be a double-edged sword. With options ranging from sticks, boxes to entire TV sets, the device range can be a bit confusing for customers.
All in all, while Roku comes with some limitations, its powerful combination of wide-ranging content options, user-friendly interface, and diverse price range makes the advantages more significant.
Roku device comparison chart
Navigating the sea of Roku devices can seem daunting at first. An effective way of comparing the different Roku devices is through a detailed comparison chart. This visual tool can provide a snapshot of essential aspects such as device type, resolution, ports, audio support, and price, among other factors.
See the full chart: Roku Comparison: Differences Between Each Roku Device
For instance, comparing the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and the Roku Express 4K Plus reveals that while both devices support 4K resolution, the Streaming Stick 4K offers Dolby Vision, which is absent in the Express 4K Plus.
A comparison chart can also bring forth subtler differences between the various models. For example, certain Roku devices are ultra-compact and therefore more travel-friendly, while others may house additional ports for diverse connection needs.
Cost comparison between Roku devices
While Roku devices generally stand out for their affordability, there’s still a significant price disparity across the different models. The Roku Express, for instance, is the most budget-friendly option, usually retailing under $30. On the other end of the spectrum, you have models like the Roku Ultra and the Roku TV, which cost well over $100.
Intermediate devices like the Roku Streaming Stick+ and the Roku Premiere offer a middle ground regarding pricing. They may not have all the bells and whistles of top-tier Roku models, but they still deliver robust performance while keeping the pricing relatively moderate.
Cost-effectiveness and value for money
If you are looking for a balance between affordability and performance, consider mid-tier Roku options. While they may not have the ultra-high-end features of flagship Roku models, devices such as the Roku Premiere and the Roku Streaming Stick command lower prices but still offer substantial streaming capabilities.
On the other hand, Roku’s high-end models like the Roku Ultra, which packs 4K and HDR support, improved Wi-Fi performance, and Enhanced Voice Remote, provide superior performance and features at a higher price point. However, keep in mind the law of diminishing returns; these premium models may not always translate to proportionate improvements in viewing experience for every user.
Going beyond just the streaming devices, Roku has an array of nifty accessories that amp up your gadget’s potential. The cherry on top of these offerings are the Roku Voice Remote and the Roku Mobile App – these little marvels have been instrumental in making sure Roku retains its top rank in the streaming arena.
Roku Voice Remote
Over the years, Roku has been steadily adding new functionalities to itself, and the Roku Voice Remote is a testament to this evolution. With this remote, you can navigate through the TV wizardly with just your voice – yes, you heard that right! Say goodbye to tirelessly typing out each letter and move towards more effortless streaming. One advantage of this is that it simplifies the search process – instead of scrolling through multiple titles, just say it and watch it! A bonus feature is the TV controls on the remote, a feature users have long asked maintained, and Roku delivered.
Roku mobile app and gaming controls
Most tech enthusiasts have access to a world-class mobile device right in their pockets. Rather than creating yet another piece of hardware, Roku has astutely used these ready-made resources by crafting the Roku mobile app. Think of all your phone abilities now being accessible through your TV! Want to listen privately or control your TV with only your touch? The Roku mobile app has got you covered. The app also includes a keyboard for easy typing and the ability to add new channels directly from it. Side note: The app gives you gaming options, turning your device into a gaming control center.
Third-party accessories for Roku
While Roku offers an impressive array of first-party accessories, third-party Roku accessories are also there to supplement and enrich your Roku experience. From cooler remotes with more functions to stands and cases to protect and personalize your Roku device, third-party accessories take care of various individualized needs and tastes. Keep in mind to only purchase from reputable brands to protect your device and ensure high-quality performance.
How we chose and ranked the Best Roku streaming devices
Identifying the best Roku devices for you is like picking that perfect match. There’s no one-size-fits-all; instead, it’s a journey driven by individual expectations, budgets, and technological needs. Let’s dive into understanding what makes a specific Roku device fit for one scenario over another.
Types of Roku Devices
Roku boasts a vast range of devices, from compact sticks to set-top boxes. It is also embedded in their Smart TVs, a boon for tech minimalists. This variety is reflective of the wide array of Roku users. For instance, a user looking for portability might lean towards the Roku Streaming Stick while another user, looking for a more versatile and robust option, might find the Roku Ultra an ideal match.
It was not an easy task to rank the best Roku devices among the numerous offerings available. While the emphasis was primarily given to the performance and quality of the device, other aspects were taken into account too.
Factors such as ease of use, form factor, remote functionality, and price were also considered in this ranking. Some of these devices are excellent for basic streaming needs, while others are more suited for a high-end home theatre system. With that said, the aim has always been to offer a balanced view in selecting the best Roku device for a given scenario.
How to use a Roku
Getting started with a Roku device is relatively straightforward. The first step is connecting the device to your TV through an HDMI cable. Make sure your TV is compatible with the Roku player you’ve chosen. Once connected, power up your TV and your Roku player. Your television should detect the device automatically and walk you through the setup stage. Side note: the Roku device must be connected to a wireless network for operation.
During setup, you’ll be prompted to create a Roku account if you don’t have one already. A Roku account is essential as it links your Roku device to the content you want to watch. You can download channels and apps via the Roku channel store accessible through your account. You’re now ready to start streaming your desired content.
Operation of the Roku device is primarily through the remote provided. Navigation on the Roku interface is made simple by the clear and concise menu items. For instance, you can check your wireless signal strength through Settings > Network > About. Keep in mind that knowing to operate your Roku device can be empowering, giving you control over your viewing and listening experience.
While Roku devices are user-friendly and often problem-free, at times, like any tech device, they might present a glitch or two. Common challenges include Roku device not powering on, an issue that might necessitate checking your power adapter or the power port.
Considering how many small issues there are, we made a guide to help you fix any issue you may have with your device, you can find it here at Roku Not Working: Every Roku Problem Solved (Full list)
Occasionally, for reasons that range from accumulation of cache to failure to connect to servers, your Roku might give you a black screen. Often, this can be resolved by doing a system restart.
Wi-Fi connection problems are another frequent issue many users encounter. If your Roku isn’t connecting to the internet, it could be due to incorrect network credentials or router problems. You can attempt to resolve these kinds of issues by resetting your router or confirming your network credentials.
At times, an error message might appear after activation indicating that your Roku cannot connect to your account. This issue might be resolved by applying corrections or updates on your account through Roku customer service or via the Roku website if you have access to another device. The key to troubleshooting your Roku device effectively is understanding these common issues and knowing how to rectify them.
Alternatives to Roku
While Roku is well-loved for its user-friendly interface and extensive channel offerings, it’s not the only player in the streaming device market. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is one alternative. One advantage of this alternative is the integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, offering extensive smart home orchestration. The Fire TV Stick also offers 4K streaming at an affordable price, matching the capabilities of some Roku devices.
Related: In the battle of Roku vs Firestick, which comes out on top? Read our comparison to find out.
The Apple TV 4K is another noteworthy contender as it integrates seamlessly with other Apple devices. This could be a selling point for anyone already invested in Apple’s ecosystem, as they can enjoy features such as AirPlay and Apple HomeKit. However, the Apple TV 4K does come with a higher price tag when compared to Roku devices, which may be a deterrent for some.
Google’s Chromecast with Google TV is also a worthy option. Its edge lies in its strong suggestion algorithm. Google effectively uses machine learning to recommend personalized content. In the arena of over-the-top (OTT) streaming devices, having alternatives ensures that you can choose a device that best aligns with your streaming habits.
Analyzing User Reviews
When choosing a Roku device, a useful resource can be the user reviews available online. Reading various user reviews provides an authentic perspective on the performance and reliability of the device. For instance, the compact size and affordable price of the Roku Streaming Stick have commonly been praised in reviews.
Most users appreciate the diverse channel options offered by Roku and the easy-to-navigate interface, but remember that the individual’s frequency of use and quality of internet connection can affect the device’s performance. For example, intermittent streaming issues can occur for some users due to an unstable Wi-Fi connection, while others with a strong signal can enjoy uninterrupted viewing.
Some customers have also mentioned positive experiences with Roku’s customer service, which can be a vital aspect when purchasing a tech device. Online user reviews can paint a real picture of what to expect from a Roku device, but do also remember that different devices will suit different people, and the highest rating doesn’t always mean that device is the best for you personally.
In-Depth Look at Roku Line-Up
The Roku line-up has a range of devices which are geared towards different use cases and user requirements. From the compact, portable Roku Express whose tiny footprint allows it to easily fit behind any TV setup, to the more powerful and robust Roku Ultra, aimed at heavy streamers and those seeking a top-of-the-range experience.
One advantage of the Roku Express is its affordability, making it an enticing choice for budget-conscious shoppers looking to get into the streaming game. Despite its low price, it still offers Full HD streaming and access to countless apps through the Roku channel store.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K, on the other hand, offers higher performance with 4K streaming capability. The Streaming Stick 4K also includes features such as voice search through the bundled Roku Voice Remote, adding to the convenience of usage.
Lastly, the Roku Ultra stands at the top of the line-up. It comes packed with premium features such as 4K HDR streaming, an Ethernet port for the best network performance, and a USB port to play local files. The Ultra also comes with the Roku Voice Remote Pro for easy navigation and advanced voice search capabilities, making it Roku’s crowning jewel.
What is the most recent and impressive Roku model?
The latest and most extraordinary model in the Roku family is the Roku Streambar Pro. Launched in 2021, this model successfully caters to the niche of individuals who appreciate a hybrid gadget capable of delivering augmented audio quality and a remarkable streaming experience in tandem. When considering its design, the Roku Streambar Pro is a minimalistic and compact piece of tech. Its esthetic understated vibes can seamlessly blend with a variety of interior styles boosting its appeal.
When it comes to features, this mighty gadget surpasses all expectations. It holds the power to transform your humdrum TV speakers into an audio powerhouse, delivering clear, room-filling sound through its speaker-set containing four 2.5-inch full-range drivers. On the streaming front, the Roku Streambar Pro makes no compromises. It delivers a crisp, detail-rich 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) streaming experience, validating Roku’s legacy as a streaming veteran.
One of the unique facets of the Roku Streambar Pro is the Roku OS, a user-friendly interface that offers effortless navigation, rapid search capability, and personalized recommendations. Side note: It’s worth mentioning that the recommended content encompasses over 500,000+ movies and TV episodes across free and paid channels.
Which Roku device offers the quickest performance?
When it comes down to performance, the crown goes to the Roku Ultra. Often branded as the speediest Roku device, the Roku Ultra operates on a quad-core processor paired with a dual-band wireless system, making sure that channels open faster and videos stream seamlessly. The impressive processing power facilitates a zippy interface navigation experience that stands out.
Another performance enhancer lies within the Roku Ultra’s Ethernet 10/100 port. This feature gives users the flexibility to establish a wired connection, directly resonating with enhanced streaming speed. The significant reduction in buffering rates further amplifies the overall user experience.
One advantage of the Roku Ultra comes in its option to use voice commands via the included enhanced “point anywhere” remote for an elevated binge-watching experience. From opening a streaming app to searching for your favored shows, the voice command feature helps in managing your streaming device optimally.
How do different Roku models compare?
Postulating a comparison among the top-tier Roku models requires a keen assessment of their features and functionalities. For instance, the diverse range traverses from the budget-friendly Roku Express, offering basic HD streaming on a simplistic interface, to the Roku Streambar Pro, a blend of robust 4K streaming with a soundbar, enhancing audio performance.
While the convenient and affordable Roku Express marks the entry point providing high-definition streaming, Roku Premiere takes a step further, introducing 4K HDR quality into the streaming mix. Their compact, lightweight design contributes to their portability.
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus and Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus take a strive in innovation by adding advanced wireless receivers to their design. This enhancement improves signal power and reduces buffering, making a considerable impact on the overall streaming performance.
Considering all contestants, the Roku Ultra poses as the comprehensively robust model. Offering speedy performance, access to 4K HDR content, a lost remote finder feature, and robust connectivity options, it stands out amongst its brethren.
What is the most premium Roku device available?
If the pinnacle of luxury is at the forefront of your streaming ambitions, then the Roku Ultra stands as the most premium Roku device on offer. Embracing an abundant stack of features, it caters to the tech-savvy streamer with all needs covered. The device supports 4K HDR streaming – including Dolby Vision and HDR10+ – alongside Dolby Atmos compatibility for an advanced audio setup.
One distinct feature of the Roku Ultra is its lost remote finder, a noteworthy inclusion for those who often misplace their remotes. Once activated, the remote produces a sound, guiding you to its location. Interestingly, Roku Ultra goes a step further by including a complimentary pair of premium JBL headphones in the packaging, enhancing the private listening experience via the remote’s headphone jack.
As a side note, the premium Roku Ultra supports USB drive, increasing streaming versatility by allowing access to your own music and videos. Therefore, if you are seeking an indulgent display of technological prowess packed in a compact box, then Roku Ultra should certainly be considered.