Roku recently announced changes to its streaming player lineup, including a new version of the $100 Roku Ultra and the $30 Roku Express. But the company was apparently planning another change: Its popular Roku Streaming Stick+ just got a mute button on the remote and a $10 price drop. It’s now just $50, bringing the 4K HDR streamer down to the same price as Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K. The new model will be available starting October 20.
The Roku lineup now makes a bit more sense. Previously, the Streaming Stick+ and the Walmart-exclusive Streaming Stick+ HE were the same price, even though the HE offered a remote with a headphone jack for private listening and a set of earbuds. With the $10 price cut on the regular Streaming Stick+, people who don’t need the private listening feature now have a more affordable option.
Roku and Walmart recently used a similar strategy, but in reverse, with the cheaper and less powerful Onn-branded versions of the Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Sub.
The Roku Streaming Stick+ was one of the best values on a streaming media device even before these changes. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K was apparently luring away potential buyers with its slightly lower price, so Roku has now leveled the playing field, at least from a price perspective.
There are still some important differences between these 4K, HDR-capable streaming sticks. Most notably is the Fire TV Stick 4K’s support of every major HDR format including Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG. The Roku Streaming Stick+ only works with HDR10 content. Of course, this will only matter to consumers who own a 4K HDR TV that also supports Dolby Vision or HDR10+, but as more new TVs start to ship with one or both of these dynamic HDR formats, it’s becoming a future-proofing consideration.
Still, the Roku Streaming Stick+ has plenty of other features that make it a highly desirable addition to any home theater setup. The addition of the mute button on the Stick’s remote is a great update; every device that controls volume should have a mute option. It’s also worth noting that all current Roku models now have access to the Apple TV App, making it the first non-Apple streaming device with access to Apple’s streaming environment, which also happens to be the only way to get access to Apple TV+ when it launches in November.
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