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How to Choose The Best Roku Devices That Suit Your TV and Budget?

Best Value

Roku Express

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Best Choice

Roku Premiere

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Premium Pick

Roku Streaming Stick Plus

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As one of the most popular streaming box brands out in the market today, Roku naturally gets a lot of questions. The brand offers several products at different price ranges, so it can be hard to determine which one suits your needs best. Additionally, not all Roku devices are compatible with all television sets. Beyond that, some Roku devices understandably have their downsides, too. So, if you find yourself wondering which Roku device is the best for your TV and budget, here are the best Roku devices you can get today.

 

What Is Roku?

In today’s world, streaming is the primary method most people use to consume content. Roku, Inc., an American company, recognizes that trend. Therefore, the company came up with a line of digital media players, now referred to simply as Roku.

The very first Roku model released in 2008. It was made in partnership with streaming giant Netflix. Since then, the company has manufactured and released multiple models and variants designed to allow consumers like you to stream content on the big screen without the need for a smart TV.

With so many iterations, though, it can be difficult for a regular consumer, especially one unfamiliar with Roku, to choose which model suits their needs the best. There are a few things to consider when shopping for a Roku device: price and features. But if you need an idea of how Roku works, here’s what you need to know. Otherwise, take a look at the best Roku devices out in the market today to see which one is right for you.

 

What to Look for When Buying a Roku?

Price and Budget

A good factor to consider is always your budget. That’s as to how much you’re willing to spend for a product and how much you’re willing to pay to maintain the product. Of course, most products are priced according to their functions, quality, and many other factors. But it’s always great to know that what you’re paying for and if the product that you paid for worth the money. Realistically, the more you pay for, the better the quality it is. That said, if you have a higher budget, we recommend you get the Roku Premiere, though only the Roku Premiere+ comes with a voice remote control.

Consider the Product Functions

Most of the Roku products work more or less the same. Though some are more compact, have better playback support, and add on features like TV HDMI connection, voice remote, and so on. Ultimately, you should always ask ‘Do I really need HDMI connectivity?’ or whether if a voice remote control is essential to search content through spoken commands.

 

Reliability and Durability

We all want a product that lasts. Even though all of Roku products are manufactured from the same factory, all of the products aren’t entirely the same. Let’s begin with the design. For example, Roku Ultra is designed and encapsulated with a harder case and it’s larger in size to support high-end formats and better launch rates. While Roku Streaming Stick is much more compact and comes in a flash-drive size for the ease of transport.

 

Compatibility

Another good thing to take note if to make sure your TV is compatible with the Roku devices you intend to get. You wouldn’t want to get Roku Premiere then only realize your TV does not support 4K and HDR playback. All in all, you should always make sure both your TV and the desired Roku is a match before proceeding with the cart checkout.

 

1

Roku Express

Retail Price: $29.99

Fans of the original Roku 1 will know Roku Express. Aptly named for its simple features and small design, the Roku Express is the cheapest of the Roku devices that offer streaming services. The remote itself is quite compact, fitting your hand just enough to make it comfortable. It gives you access to some of the most popular content providers, such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and more.

Additionally, the Roku Express is fairly affordable. In fact, it will not make a significant dent on your budget at all. For a mere $30, you can get easy access to streaming services on your TV in an instant. Apart from that, the Roku Express comes with a smartphone app that works great. You can even use it for private listening.

However, that does not mean the Roku Express is without its fair share of faults. This Roku device is only compatible with a standard HDTV, which means it does not support 4K Ultra HD. It is also a bit on the slow side, especially when it comes to Netflix. Navigating the menu can also give you headaches, as the process slows down and periodically lapses. Plus, it does not come with an Ethernet port, so you can only use it on Wi-Fi, which can sometimes be unreliable. Moreover, its Wi-Fi antenna is somewhat weaker compared to other streaming boxes.

Another con is that the Roku Express does not come with the extra features found on other Roku devices. This model does not have voice search, and you have no ability to adjust your TV’s volume using the remote. You also need to use the remote within visual sight of the Roku box because it relies on infrared signals to transmit. Otherwise, you are out of luck.

 

In Summary: Roku Express

     Pros

  • –  User-friendly
  • –  The most affordable Roku streaming box
  • –  Comes with a convenient smartphone app with private listening
  • –  Offers several streaming apps

 

Cons

  • –  Only compatible with standard HDTV
  • –  On the slow side, particularly when it comes to Netflix and menu navigation
  • –  No Ethernet port
  • –  Weak Wi-Fi antenna
  • –  No voice search
  • –  Inability to control your TV’s volume with the remote
  • –  Remote needs to be in visual sight of the Roku box to work

 

2

Roku Premiere

Retail Price: $49.99

If you like the features of the Roku Express but want something that plays high-resolution 4K content, then the Roku Premiere is the device for you. It costs only $10 more than the Roku Express and gives you vibrant colors. Most televisions sold nowadays offer 4K Ultra HD resolution and HDR, and the Roku Premiere really pairs well with them.

Since the Roku Premiere has pretty much the same features as the Roku Express, you already know what to expect. The Roku Premiere is easy to use, offers numerous streaming apps, and pairs with a convenient smartphone app. It also looks the same, design-wise. So, the only real difference between the two models, apart from the price, is the compatibility with 4K resolution and HDR10 support. It is also relatively quicker in terms of performance.

The similarities between the Premiere and the Express do not stop there. The Roku Premiere shares the same disadvantages as the Express, except for its resolution. It lacks an Ethernet port, has a weak Wi-Fi antenna, and does not offer voice search. Additionally, you have no ability to control the volume of your television, and your remote needs to be within visual sight of the Roku box to operate normally.

If you already have a 4K television, then you may be better off spending your money on a much more capable Roku device. However, if you are on a budget, the Roku Premiere is a great compromise.

 

Bonus: Roku Premiere Plus

If you like the Roku Premiere but want a microphone-equipped wireless remote that also lets you control your television, then get the Roku Premiere Plus. It will only cost you $10 more than the regular Premiere, giving you the features you want without sacrificing affordability.

Pros

  • –  Compatible with 4K Ultra HD televisions (supports HDR10)
  • –  User-friendly
  • –  The most affordable Roku streaming box
  • –  Comes with a convenient smartphone app with private listening
  • –  Offers several streaming apps

 

Cons

  • –  No Ethernet port
  • –  Weak Wi-Fi antenna
  • –  No voice search
  • –  Inability to control your TV’s volume with the remote
  • –  Remote needs to be in visual sight of the Roku box to work

 

3

Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Retail Price: $49.99

A lot of consumers consider the Roku Streaming Stick Plus as one of the best Roku devices in the market today. It supports both HD and 4K HDR televisions, which means you do not need to worry about device compatibility. This Roku stick can also connect into your television’s HDMI port, and a second cable can plug into a USD port to give it power. Unlike the Roku Express and the Roku Premiere, this Roku player comes equipped with voice search, the ability to control your television with the remote, and long-range Wi-Fi support.

Apart from that, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus also performs very quickly compared to its cheaper siblings. Additionally, you can take your pick from a smorgasbord of content at the Roku Channel Store. Due to its HDMI limitation, though, you must make sure your television has an HDMI port. Otherwise, you have no way of using this Roku device. Most televisions nowadays, though, have HDMI support.

On the downside, this is one of the Roku devices that offers no support for Dolby Vision HDR. The remote control also does not have an audio jack, and you have limited options in terms of the 4K HDR content. Though some users complained that Roku remote doesn’t work occasionally, the reasons aren’t mainly due to product faulty. But rather due to wear and tear over time.

 

In Summary: Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Pros

  • –  Affordable
  • –  Fast performance
  • –  Full 4K HDR support
  • –  Ability to control television with Roku remote
  • –  Plenty of content at the Roku Channel Store
  • –  Voice search
  • –  Long-range Wi-Fi support

 

Cons

  • –  Require HDMI support
  • –  No audio jack on the remote
  • –  No support for Dolby Vision HDR
  • –  Limited 4K HDR content
4

Roku Ultra

Retail Price: $79.99

With how affordable Roku devices have been the past three numbers, you may be surprised at the $80 price of the Roku Ultra. However, the high price is well justified. The Roku Ultra not only supports HD and 4K HDR, but it also comes equipped with all the features of previous Roku devices and then some.

In terms of design, the Roku Ultra is on the larger side, but that is only because it has more features. It boasts voice search, dual-band Wi-Fi support, fast performance, and the ability to control your television with the remote. The Roku Ultra also has an Ethernet port onboard, which makes for a more stable and reliable wired connection. Apart from that, this Roku device also has a headphone jack on the remote, allowing you to watch content well into the night without waking everybody up. Other features include a USD slot, MicroSD support, a remote finder, a night listening mode, and gaming buttons straight on the remote.

Additionally, if you get the 2019 model of the Roku Ultra, you can program two favorites buttons so suit your needs. That means you can easily launch an app with just the push of a customizable button. 

Of course, the Roku Ultra is not perfect. There are some downsides to this device, such as the lack of Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support. The voice-programmed shortcuts can also lag behind, so it can really test your patience. In terms of voice features, the Roku Ultra is certainly no Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

 

In Summary: Roku Ultra

Pros

  • –  Supports HD and 4K HDR
  • –  All features of previous Roku devices
  • –  Faster performance
  • –  Ethernet port
  • –  A headphone jack on the remote
  • –  USD slot
  • –  MicroSD support
  • –  Remote finder
  • –  Night listening mode
  • –  Gaming buttons on the remote
  • –  Two programmable favorites buttons

 

Cons

  • –  No Dolby Vision support
  • –  No HDR10+ support
  • –  Slow response of voice-programmed shortcuts</span

 

5

Roku Smart Soundbar

Retail Price: $149.99

The Roku Smart Soundbar does two things at once: it gives your television set streaming capabilities and upgrades its audio quality in the process. It comes with the same features out of the box like the Roku Ultra but also enhances your sound experience. That means you get 4K support, fast performance, an Ethernet port, remote finder, a night listening mode, and a headphone jack straight on the remote. Additionally, the voice search feature seems to work better on the Roku Smart Soundbar.

Compared to other soundbars, the Roku Smart Soundbar is definitely a bargain. For only $150, it offers you two functionalities at once. That being said, this is one of the Roku devices that work better in smaller rooms, especially due to its size. Yet, at about 32 inches long, its size is also a good thing. If you have a smaller television set or a tighter space in general, this Roku device is perfect for you.

While the Roku Smart Soundbar offers you great features and excellent volume, it also comes with its fair share of faults. For one thing, it lacks a subwoofer, which means it has a weak bass. It also lacks an HDMI-in port. If you want to up your bass, though, you can always get the Roku wireless subwoofer. However, that will cost you another $180. For most people, getting a better soundbar is a more appealing option.

 

In Summary: Roku Smart Soundbar

Pros

  • –  Good value for money
  • –  Comes with a Roku player
  • –  Decent audio
  • –  Loud volume
  • –  A wide selection of streaming options

 

Cons

  • –  No subwoofer means weak bass (extra wireless subwoofer costs another $180)
  • –  No HDMI-in port
  • –  Small size (which can also be a good thing!)
6

Roku TV Wireless Speakers

Retail Price: $199.90

For real audiophiles out there, the Roku TV Wireless Speakers are the best Roku devices for you. These speakers sport a classic design, so they will go well with any room in terms of aesthetics. They give off a cinematic sound and boast optimal stereo separation. Additionally, you can look forward to crisp and clear dialogue when watching your favorite shows or movies. It also comes equipped with volume leveling, a voice remote with TV controls, and a Roku Touch tabletop remote. Setup is also relatively easy.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Roku TV Wireless Speakers, though, is in their name: they are wireless. That means you do not need an HDMI port or any other port for them to work. You can simply turn on the Bluetooth, pair them with the device, and you are good to go.

If you want a truly immersive audio experience, pairing the Roku TV Wireless Speakers with your Roku Smart Soundbar gives you excellent surround sound. Unfortunately, these Roku devices only work with a Roku TV, which means you cannot pair them with any other television set. If you are a real Roku enthusiast, though, that comes as no problem. However, if you are not, then you might feel that $200 is too large a Roku cost for something that only works with a Roku TV.

 

In Summary: Roku TV Wireless Speakers

Pros

  • –  Affordable
  • –  Cinematic audio quality
  • –  Optimal stereo separation
  • –  Volume leveling
  • –  Bluetooth streaming
  • –  Comes with two Roku remotes
  • –  Easy setup
  • –  Pairs with the Roku Smart Soundbar for surround sound

 

Cons

  • –  Only pairs with Roku TV or Roku Smart Soundbar

Choosing the Best Roku Device for You

As you can see, there are several different Roku devices you can purchase to fill your content streaming needs. Each one offers a varying set of features at a different price point. Choosing the best Roku device for you highly depends on your streaming habits and budget. 

If you require minimal streaming capabilities and have no need for 4K support, then the Roku Express is the perfect device for you. Not only will it get the job done, but it also comes at a very affordable price point at only $30. On the other hand, if you want 4K support and have more room in your budget, you might want to settle for the Roku Premiere for $10 more (or $20 more for the Roku Premiere Plus).

For many Roku users, though, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus offers the best price-to-feature ratio. It is a mid-range Roku device that packs a whole lot of punch. If you can afford to splurge a little more for extra features, then consider getting the Roku Ultra instead. Or, for a two-for-one value, the Roku Smart Soundbar gives you a Roku player and improved audio at the same time. Get the Roku TV Wireless Speakers while you are at it to convert your soundbar into a surround sound-capable device.

All these Roku devices certainly have their benefits, and each one suits a specific type of person and set of needs as well. However, like with most gadgets, these Roku devices also come with their disadvantages. The important thing is to will weigh out your options with the features you want and the budget you are willing to work with. Thus from there, you can choose the best Roku device for you. 

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