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Best Roku devices 2021

The best Roku devices are pretty fantastic ways to stream, and Roku just shook up its lineup by updating the best streaming device (the Roku Streaming Stick Plus) to the Roku Streaming Stick 4K (and there's a 4K Plus model too). 

Roku was one of the first big brands to develop a stand-alone streaming player, and now it's the top streaming platform in the industry, with Amazon Fire TV nipping at its heels. But, like any other product with a decade-plus history, Roku's lineup has gotten a little tangled, and has maybe one too many devices. We also just reviewed Roku's new Express 4K Plus, which made it to this list as the best Roku device under $40.

Roku's elegant menu system puts apps (and not ads) first, and offer everything from inexpensive Full HD streaming, to premium 4K picture quality coming straight out of a soundbar. As long as you pick one of the best Roku sticks or players, you will get snappy streaming at a competitive price. 

And while Roku typically has every single streaming service of note, a spat with Google currently has pulled YouTube TV out of the Roku Channel Store. It didn't delete the app off devices, though.

Roku sells sticks and boxes, budget gear and premium players, and even soundbars and speakers. Heck, there are even Roku TVs, but that's a conversation for another day.

In this guide, we've singled out six Roku devices for different scenarios. This isn't to say that other Roku devices aren't worthwhile, but this is at least where you should start your search. Depending on what kind of TV you have, how fancy you want your remote to be, and how much money you want to spend, here are the  best Roku devices for your entertainment center.

1. Roku Streaming Stick 4K

The best Roku device overall

Specifications

Size: 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.5 inches

Max Resolution: Up to 4K UHD at 60 fps

Ports: HDMI, USB

Remote: Voice Remote

Device Type: Stick

Reasons to buy

+Excellent 4K HDR quality+Dolby Vision, finally+Snappy perfomance

Reasons to avoid

-No Dolby Atmos-Amazon offers better live TV

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K replaces our previous pick for the best Roku device, the Streaming Stick+. While it's not a huge leap over that model, it keeps everything we loved and fixes one of the biggest flaws of its predecessor by adding Dolby Vision. Roku has also added a new quad-core processor in the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, for what it claims provide 30% faster app boot times. That's a bit hard to measure, but the Roku Streaming Stick 4K felt snappy and fast enough. Major apps opened within 11 seconds. 

Now that the stick supports Dolby Vision (along with HDR10/+), you can stream all your shows and movies just as beautifully as anything else. The picture plays in crisp UHD image quality. However, the device is lacking on audio standards, missing the spatially-focused Dolby Atmos sound technology. The standard remote works fine, but if you want the superior Voice Remote Pro, check out our write-up of the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ below.

Read our full Roku Streaming Stick 4K review.

2. Roku Ultra (2020)

The best premium Roku device

Specifications

Size: 4.9 x 4.9 x 0.9 inches

Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160

Ports: Ethernet, USB

Remote: Enhanced voice remote

Device Type: Box

Reasons to buy

+Great performance+Inventive remote control+USB port

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Almost nothing new from last year's model

The Roku Ultra is expensive, but true to its name, it will give you the most comprehensive Roku experience that money can buy. As with other high-end Roku devices, you get thousands of channels, full 4K resolution and extremely fast navigation. But with the Ultra, you also get an Ethernet port for a steadier Internet connection, as well as a USB port to provide your own videos and music. 

Also, the 2020 Roku Ultra is a bit faster in places (though you might not notice it all the time) and offers improved wireless streaming range. The voice-enabled remote includes two programmable buttons, as well as a headphone jack for private listening, and a handy "remote-finder" feature if it gets lost in the couch cushions.

Read our full Roku Ultra (2020) review.

3. Roku Express 4K Plus

The best Roku device under $40

Specifications

Size: 3.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches

Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160

Ports: None

Remote: Network Voice remote

Device Type: Box

Reasons to buy

+Excellent 4K HDR performance+Decent navigation+Improved remote

Reasons to avoid

-Awkward design-No Dolby Vision or Atmos

Getting crisp 4K streaming at under $40 is rare, and always comes with a caveat or two. The new Roku Express 4K Plus fixes one of the big annoyances of the Roku Premiere it replaces, by giving you a better remote. This remote doesn't require a direct line of sight, so you can point it in whichever direction you please. That upgrade, plus fast performance and UHD streaming makes the Roku Express 4K Plus a great option for those trying to get a 4K Roku (and all the apps that it comes with)  at the lowest price.

That said, we still have two reasons to consider paying a little more. Its design is a little too light, so you might spend a minute fiddling with it to have it lie flat on a surface — making the Streaming Stick Plus' easy-to-use design even better by comparison. Also, there's no Dolby Vision or Atmos Audio, but some might not see that as worthy of going higher up the price-chain. The Roku Express 4K Plus won a Highly Recommended award in the 2021 Tom's Guide Awards for Best Streaming Devices.

Read our full Roku Express 4K Plus review.

4. Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus

The best Roku device packaged with the best remote

Specifications

Size: 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.5 inches

Max Resolution: Up to 4K UHD at 60 fps

Ports: HDMI, USB

Remote: Voice Remote Pro

Device Type: Stick

Reasons to buy

+Dolby Vision+Voice Remote Pro is a great upgrade+Speedy performance

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks Dolby Atmos-Not a big upgrade from previous model

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus is slightly faster and more powerful, is finally capable of playing high-quality Dolby Vision and comes with the excellent Voice Remote Pro. It has everything we loved about the previous model, the Streaming Stick Plus, with a bit more juice and features.

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus delivers all the ultra-HD streaming, video quality and speed that anyone could need, along with a wonderfully simple OS, and at a very reasonable price. And it comes with the excellent Voice Remote Pro, which won the 2021 Tom's Guide Award for Best Streaming Device Remote. It's got a rechargeable battery, an optional always-listening function and two customizable buttons. 

Read our full Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus review.

5. Roku Express

The best cheap Roku device

Specifications

Size: 3.0 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches

Max Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Ports: None

Remote: Standard IR remote

Device Type: Box

Reasons to buy

+Improved design+Good performance+Customizable interface

Reasons to avoid

-Too light to sit still-Imprecise remote

The Roku Express has come a long way since its first iteration in 2016. Back then, the device was underpowered and inconveniently designed. Now, the Express is a worthwhile investment for 1080p TV owners who want the simplest streaming solution. At $30, the Roku Express is the cheapest streaming player from a major manufacturer, and you get plenty of features for that price. In addition to thousands of streaming channels and a highly customizable interface, you can access voice search and private listening through a smartphone app. The only big downside is the standard IR remote, which doesn't always always work as well as it should.
Read our full Roku Express review.

6. Roku Streambar

The best Roku device that's also a speaker

Specifications

Size: 14.0 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches

Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160

Ports: Optical audio, HDMI, USB

Remote: Voice remote with TV volume and power controls

Device Type: Soundbar

Reasons to buy

+4K streaming+Clear, loud sound+Compact design

Reasons to avoid

-Bass could be stronger-Lacks Ethernet port

When you want the excellence of the Roku platform, but your TV doesn't have the strong sound you want? Well, the Roku Streambar is a great solution that's often on sale. It's design won't take up too much space on your counter top or entertainment center, but also provides quality sound with both loudness and clarity. Its bass leaves something to be asked for, though, but that's not a problem for most TV. And this way, you can combine your streaming device and soundbar into the same package, and save more space.
Read our full Roku Streambar review.

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

Sours: https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-roku-devices

Roku debuts new Streaming Stick 4K bundles, software update with voice and mobile features

Weeks after Amazon introduced an updated Fire TV lineup that included, for the first time, its own TVs, Roku today is announcing its own competitive products in a race to capture consumers’ attention before the holiday shopping season. Its updates include a new Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ — the latter which ships with Roku’s newer hands-free voice remote. The company is also refreshing the Roku Ultra LT, a Walmart-exclusive version of its high-end player. And it announced the latest software update, Roku OS 10.5, which adds updated voice features, a new Live TV channel for home screens and other minor changes.

The new Streaming Stick 4K builds on Roku’s four-year-old product, the Streaming Stick+, as it offers the same type of stick form factor designed to be hidden behind the TV set. This version, however, has a faster processor, which allows the device to boot up to 30% faster and load channels more quickly, Roku claims. The Wi-Fi is also improved, offering faster speeds and smart algorithms that help make sure users get on the right band for the best performance in their homes where network congestion is an increasingly common problem — especially with the pandemic-induced remote-work lifestyle. The new Stick adds support for Dolby Vision and HDR 10+, giving it the “4K” moniker.

Image Credits: Roku

This version ships with Roku’s standard voice remote for the same price of $49.99. For comparison, Amazon’s new Fire TV Stick Max with a faster processor and speedier Wi-Fi is $54.99. However, Amazon is touting the addition of Wi-Fi 6 and support for its game streaming service, Luna, as reasons to upgrade.

Roku’s new Streaming Stick 4K+ adds the Roku Voice Remote Pro to the bundle instead. This is Roku’s new remote, launched in the spring, that offers rechargeability, a lost remote finder and hands-free voice support via its mid-field microphone, so you can just say things like “hey Roku, turn on the TV,” or “launch Netflix,” instead of pressing buttons. Bought separately, this remote is $29.99. The bundle sells for $69.99, which translates to a $10 discount over buying the stick and remote by themselves.

Image Credits: Roku

Both versions of the Streaming Stick will be sold online and in stores starting in October.

The Roku Ultra LT ($79.99), built for Walmart exclusively, has also been refreshed with a faster processor, more storage, a new Wi-Fi radio with up to 50% longer range, support for Dolby Vision, Bluetooth audio streaming and a built-in ethernet port.

Plus, Roku notes that TCL will become the first device partner to use the reference designs it introduced at CES for wireless soundbars, with its upcoming Roku TV wireless soundbar. This device connects over Wi-Fi to the TV and works with the Roku remote, and will arrive at major retailers in October where it will sell for $179.99.

The other big news is Roku’s OS 10.5 software release. The update isn’t making any dramatic changes this time around, but is instead focused largely on voice and mobile improvements.

The most noticeable consumer-facing change is the ability to add a new Live TV channel to your home screen, which lets you more easily launch The Roku Channel’s 200+ free live TV channels, instead of having to first visit Roku’s free streaming hub directly, then navigate to the Live TV section. This could make the Roku feel more like traditional TV for cord-cutters abandoning their TV guide for the first time.

Image Credits: Roku

Other tweaks include expanded support for launching channels using voice commands, with most now supported; new voice search and podcast playback with a more visual “music and podcast” row and Spotify as a launch partner; the ability to control sound settings in the mobile app; an added Voice Help guide in settings; and additional sound configuration options for Roku speakers and soundbars (e.g. using the speaker pairs and soundbar in a left/center/right) or in full 5.1 surround sound system).

A handy feature for entering in email and passwords in set-up screens using voice commands is new, too. Roku says it sends the voice data off-device to its speech-to-text partner, and the audio is anonymized. Roku doesn’t get the password or store it, as it goes directly to the channel partner. While there are always privacy concerns with voice data, the addition is a big perk from an accessibility standpoint.

Image Credits: Roku

One of the more under-the-radar, but potentially useful changes coming in OS 10.5 is an advanced A/V sync feature that lets you use the smartphone camera to help Roku make further refinements to the audio delay when using wireless headphones to listen to the TV. This feature is offered through the mobile app.

The Roku mobile app in the U.S. is also gaining another feature with the OS 10.5 update with the addition of a new Home tab for browsing collections of movies and shows across genres, and a “Save List, which functions as a way to bookmark shows or movies you might hear about — like when chatting with friends — and want to remember to watch later when you’re back home in front of the TV.

The software update will roll out to Roku devices over the weeks ahead. It typically comes to Roku players first, then rolls out to TVs.

Sours: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/20/roku-debuts-new-streaming-stick-4k-bundles-software-update-with-voice-and-mobile-features/
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While Amazon, Apple and Google all have impressive streaming players, I've found that nothing matches the simplicity and value of Roku products. The company stands out for its solid features, excellent performance and affordable pricing.

The company offers a large selection of Roku TV players including a basic $30 Express, the midrange Express 4K Plus and $50 Streaming Stick Plus all the way to the top-tier $100 Ultra -- not to mention soundbars and speakers. As a result, it may be confusing to know which model is the best Roku to buy for your needs. Fortunately, CNET is here to help.

Now playing:Watch this: Which Roku is the go-to? We break it down

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Our top pick

Roku Express 4K Plus

Sarah Tew/CNET

The new Express 4K Plus is one of the cheapest streaming TV options with 4K HDR. (Even if your current TV doesn't support those formats, your next one probably will.) Thanks to the AirPlay update, this Roku device is one of the least expensive ways to connect your iPhone or other Apple device to your TV. It lacks Dolby Vision support, but we think most people will be fine without that. At $40 (and currently $30 on sale), this Roku streaming device cheaper than the company's Streaming Stick Plus and other 4K HDR streamers, so it's our top Roku model pick.

Read our Express 4K Plus review.

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/tech/home-entertainment/best-roku/
☑️Roku tv express 2021 EXPLICADO ¿QUE ES? ¿Cómo Configurarlo? ¿Cómo funciona? Unboxing e instalación

Roku updated its posh Ultra model with stronger Wi-Fi, a faster system overall, and the ability to stream in Dolby Vision, a feature we noted was lacking in its predecessor. The Ultra has all the features we've talked about so far, like dual-band Wi-Fi and voice search. It also has an Ethernet port for more stable wired connections, a headphone jack on the remote so you can watch TV shows in private while other folks sleep (the new version comes with Roku-branded headphones rather than JBL ones, but they are surprisingly decent), and a host of other small features like a USB slot and a remote finder.

There's also Night listening mode, which levels out audio so explosions in movies won't wake the whole household, and the remote has two programmable favorites buttons, which make it super easy to quickly launch YouTube or another app. It's worth noting that it lacks support for HDR10+, unlike the top streaming devices from Google and Amazon. It's unlikely you'll notice this, or own a TV and speaker set that takes advantage of these high-end features. 

Sours: https://www.wired.com/gallery/how-to-pick-the-right-roku/

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