Roku Streaming Device Rating
Roku Device Review
Roku is one of the original cord cutting streaming players. The company was originally owned by Netflix but was spun off into its own company in 2007. The first Roku branded set-top box was released in 2008. Since then the company grown to be one of the most popular and most recognizable streaming devices in the industry.
Roku currently offers 5 different products:
There are also several older models still available on secondary market websites such as Amazon or eBay. Many of the older models are compatible with many of the most popular streaming services and apps. I personally use a Roku 2 that I received for free during a Sling TV promotion.
What Can I Access With Roku?
Users get extensive access to both free and paid services. All-in-all, users can gain access to over 500,000+ movies and TV episodes regardless of device. This product is one of the best, if not the best, all around streaming players. Roku has one of the largest availability of streaming apps and channels compared to other brands.
Roku Channels and Apps
Roku Streaming Devices
All devices come with the standard remote, have HDMI ports, and are at least 1080p HD streaming quality. Let’s take a look at the different models and examine the pros and cons, features, and pricing.
Roku Express And Express+
The Express is the affordable, entry-level model for cord cutters. The device is slightly larger than most streaming sticks but is designed to be a tiny set-top box. The advantage is clearly the size and price but this does come at a trade-off of being slow. Voice search only possible on the phone app, but it works well. It will not work on 5 GHz WI-Fi.
The Express comes with HDMI cable, which is not very common for most streaming players including Apple TV which is significantly more expensive. The only difference between the Express and Express+ is the Express+ has an A/V cable composite port. This means it works with older televisions in addition to HD screens. These models are not 4K compatible but do offer 1080p HD quality.
The Roku Express MSRP is $29.99 and Roku Express+ MSRP is $39.99.
The Verdict: Simply put this is not our favorite device. It is considerably slower than other models made by the company and similar devices from Google and Amazon. It is best for first-time cord cutters, for secondary TVs, and is great for gift giving.
Roku Streaming Stick And Stick+
If you hate unsightly wires and clunky boxes then the Streaming Stick and Stick+ may be for you. Both of these devices pack a punch in terms of speed and performance for its size, unlike the Express. The Streaming Stick+ model supports 4K and HDR TVs. It also has an advanced wireless receiver for reception further away from your router.
One of the best features of both models is the new voice remote feature. You can use the voice feature to turn your device on or off, change volume (on most televisions), control your streaming player, and use your voice to search for your favorite shows or channels.
The Roku Streaming Stick MSRP is $49.99 and Streaming Stick+ MSRP is $69.99.
The Verdict: We love these devices quite a bit. Both of these devices are affordable, powerful, and portable. The Streaming Stick is great for wall-mounted TVs, reducing clutter, and is awesome for travelers in hotel rooms or students in dorm rooms. The Streaming Stick+ won CNET’s Editor’s Choice pick in October 2017.
The Ultra is the high end streaming player. This model has full 4K and HDR support. This model also has a few features that the other models do not. For starters, because it is a box it comes with a microSD slot, Ethernet and USB ports.
A few more interesting features is the Ultra allows you to pause live TV. The remote has voice search and a headphone jack for private listening. There is a remote finder feature which is nice because these types of remotes are not very large and can be easily misplaced. This model also comes with night listening mode.
The Ultra MSRP is $99.99.
The Verdict: This is one of our favorite set-top boxes. The device has a quad-core processor with very little reported speed issues and comes with some cool bells and whistles. This device is best used in living rooms and with your primary TV set. The DTS Digital Surround™ pass-through over HDMI® is great for connecting with home theatre systems. We would definitely recommend this for cord cutters who are heavier consumers of streaming content.
Roku Device Specifications
|Roku Express||Roku Express +||Roku Streaming Stick||Roku Streaming Stick +||Roku Ultra|
10/100 Base-T Ethernet