Roku stands out in the world of tech devices which help stream shows and movies to your TV as it is not owned by a major tech company. In a world that has a Chromecast from Google, the Fire TV from Amazon and the Apple TV from Apple, the Roku streaming device manages to carve its niche since it supports every platform with no corporate rivalry hampering its products.
The most attractive option for anyone wanting to shop for a streaming device, the Roku streaming device ensures that you are able to watch YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and soon, Apple TV+ all on a single device. The Roku streaming device comes in several models, with these models offering variations in design, utility and pricing, with many of them looking nearly identical. Here, we will help you pick the best Roku streaming device to match your need.
The most basic Roku streaming device priced for just $30 is the Roku Express. This Roku device comes as a small box that you need to connect with your TV using an HDMI cable. You get a basic remote with this Roku device that has shortcut buttons for common streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Sling.
Before buying this Roku streaming device, please note that the Roku Express only works on 1080p televisions and can only be connected through HDMI. The Roku Express does not work if you have an older TV that uses composite cable (the older-style red, white, and yellow plugs) or if you have a newer 4K TV.
Roku Express +
The next Roku device is the Roku Express + which is more or less identical to the Roku Express. It has the same remote, HDMI port, and collection of streaming apps as Roku Express with the only difference being that it allows you to connect with a composite cable too.
However, if you think of it, the Roku Express + which is priced at $35 saves you a lot of money as it allows you to hook up to an older TV using the composite cable. This way, by paying just $5 more for this Roku streaming device, you avoid the cost which you would have borne to upgrade your TV to be compatible to your streaming box.
People with a 4K TV can go for the Roku Premiere. Priced at $40, this is the cheapest model that supports the full resolution capabilities of your TV. If your TC supports 4K and HDR video, then this device certainly is powerful enough to stream them. Looks-wise, this Roku streaming device is very similar to Roku Express and, likewise, can only connect to your television with an HDMI cable.
The Roku Premiere comes with the standard Roku remote which has streaming app shortcut buttons in it. For a 4K streamer, the Roku Premiere is a pretty basic device since there are other Roku streaming device models that come with Ethernet connections or improved Wi-Fi. These are very beneficial when it comes to steaming the heavy bandwidth load that 4K video brings. However, for those interested in keeping 4K costs to a bare minimum, the Roku Premiere is a safe bet.
At $50, the Roku Premiere+ charges an extra $10 over the Roku Premiere. But by paying this extra $10, you get an upgraded remote which supports voice search. This feature lets you search for shows and movies without typing out their titles, thus giving you an enhanced experience. The remote also mounts volume and power buttons for your TV, thus reducing the need to juggle between multiple remotes and have a more enjoyable viewing experience.
Other than the remote, this Roku streaming device is functionally identical to the Roku Premiere. Supporting all the same apps, the Roku Premiere+ has all the same ports, and streams 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos just like its scaled-down version.
Roku Streaming Stick
The Roku device range has more to offer beyond a box-type Set-up box. The next offering from the Roku device range is the Roku Stick. A sleek looking thing, it helps you do away with the box altogether as this slim gadget plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port, also saving you space in the process. All you need to do is to plug one end of the power cord into the small end of the Roku Streaming Stick and the other end into the TV’s USB port or the included power adapter, which plugs into a wall.
This Roku device is a basic stick and hence it only supports 1080p videos. This means that if you have a 4K or HDR TV, you won’t be using your television to its full potential with this Roku device. The Roku Stick does, however, come with a fancier voice remote, giving you a smoother experience for a regular HD device.
Roku Streaming Stick+
At first look, the Roku Streaming Stick+ looks same as the Roku Streaming Stick. However, it is on the inside that the difference comes alive. Priced just a little more than the Roku Streaming Stick, this Roku streaming device supports 4K and HDR streaming. This makes the Roku Streaming Stick+ a more rewarding device. So, if you have a 4K TV and want an unobtrusive stick that you can hide behind your TV, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is just the device you have been longing for.
The Roku Streaming Stick+ comes with an external wireless extender that sits in the middle of the power cable. With this device, you do not need to worry if you are further away from your Wi-Fi router since this receiver greatly extends the range of your Roku. Since 4K streaming can be very demanding on your internet connection, a stronger Wi-Fi is much needed, and therefore it is nice that this Roku streaming device comes with the external wireless extender.
The crown jewel of the Roku streaming device range, the Roku Ultra packs a punch when it comes to performance. Priced at $100, this Roku streaming devices most resembles a proper set-top box than any of the other boxes in the Roku streaming device range. Boasting the company’s most powerful video processing capabilities, the Roku Ultra has been designed for 4K HDR streaming and comes with an Ethernet port to enable direct connection with the router for an ever-reliable signal.
The Roku Ultra comes with a microSD card slot and USB port. These let you expand the local storage on your box so that you can load them up with your own media to play locally when you are not in the mood to stream. The Roku Ultra also comes with the extra powerful Wi-Fi receivers to ensure solid internet connection for 4K video steaming.
A highlight of the Roku Ultra is its remote which comes with a headphone jack. This allows you to listen to your TV’s audio without disturbing anyone else. The remote is also mounted with two NES-style gaming buttons. To get started, download some simple games from the Roku Games channels. Then, turn your remote sideways and enjoy gaming.
For those of you who consider themselves forgetful or have a habit of losing your remote in the couch cushions, the Roku Ultra’s player has a button that helps you locate the remote. Packed with the maximum features, Roku Ultra is the most highest-priced Roku streaming device in the market.