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Roku streaming devices compared

Published Feb 17th, 2022 4:30AM EST
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Roku’s streaming devices are arguably the easiest way to turn an old TV into a smart one, or to get a more versatile, easy-to-use streaming interface onto your newer TV. The company’s streaming devices start at low prices, and while the interface can look a little dated at times, it’s extremely easy to navigate, and can connect to all of your favorite smart home ecosystems.

But because the company offers so many smart streaming devices, it can be hard to know which is best for your needs. Here’s a comparison of each of Roku’s streaming devices, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Roku Express

The Roku Express is the company’s cheapest streaming device, but the trade-off is that you’ll have to settle with a few compromises. Notably, the device does not support any HDR formats, and it has a resolution of 1,080p. Still, it supports all the smart features you would expect, such as support for AirPlay, Apple’s HomeKit, Google Assistant, and more. The device is inexpensive too — coming in at only $24.99.

Roku Express 4K+

Roku Express 4K+Image source: Roku

The next step up to the Roku Express is the Roku Express 4K+. As the name suggests, the Roku Express 4K+ steps up the resolution to 4K, adds support for HDR, and includes a voice remote that lets you control certain aspects of the software using voice controls. It’s a major step up, and while not everyone will want to pay the extra $15 or so, it’s worth it for anyone that has a decently modern TV.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Next up is the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, which is very similar to the Roku Express 4K+, but adds one key feature — Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision really looks great, but it won’t matter for anyone with a TV that doesn’t support the Dolby Vision standard and with enough content to watch that’s encoded in Dolby Vision. If that’s you, we recommend going for the Streaming Stick 4K instead of the Express 4K+.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K+

Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

There’s a “plus” version of the Streaming Stick 4K too. The Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ is very similar to the standard Streaming Stick. It supports all the same standards and features, but it has the company’s Voice Remote Pro instead of the standard voice remote. What does that mean? Well, the remote has always-listening microphones for better voice controls, it’s rechargeable, and it has a headphone jack for private listening. Not everyone will need these upgrades, but those that do want them should consider going for the Streaming Stick 4K+ instead of the Streaming Stick 4K.

Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra
Roku Ultra Streaming Box Image source: Roku

The Roku Ultra is the company’s highest-end streaming device. It supports a 4K resolution, HDR, and Dolby Vision, and is larger than the other options, meaning that you can connect things to it. It has an ethernet port built right into it, plus you can play back content locally through the built-in USB port. And, it has Bluetooth — so you can connect wireless headphones to it. The device is also a little more expensive than the other options on this list, coming in at $99.99.

Roku Streambar

Roku Streambar next to a Roku remote. Image source: Roku

The Roku Streambar takes a slightly different approach to streaming. Instead of just being a streaming device, it’s a streaming device and soundbar all rolled into one. It’s important to note that in terms of streaming features, it’s closer to the Roku Express 4K+ than any of the others, thanks to the fact that it does not have Dolby Vision support. But you will get four 1.9-inch full-range drivers that should produce much better audio than you would otherwise get from your TV.

Roku Streambar Pro

Like the idea of a streaming device and soundbar in one, but want the best audio you can get? In that case, it’s worth considering the Roku Streambar Pro, which offers the same streaming features as the standard Streambar, but swaps out the 1.9-inch drivers for 2.5-inch ones. That means that you should get slightly better bass and louder audio. Also, the device comes with a higher-end remote that has a headphone jack for better personal listening.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.