Roku revamps entire line, adds 4K HDR models, stick-on form factor, $30 Express

Roku has replaced its entire line-up of streaming gadgets (with the exception of the new Streaming Stick which launched earlier this year) with new models, some offering 4K with HDR support, and ranging in prices that now start at as low as USD $29.99.  Here’s the run-down.

Roku Ultra (USD $129.99 / CDN $139.99)


Sporting a quad-core processor and support for 4K UHD and HDR at up to 60 fps, the Roku Ultra is HDCP 2.2 compatible and also has the greatest number of ports and output options. The top-of-the-line Roku has HDMI, Optical S/PDIF, Ethernet, microSD (for channel storage) and USB (for external media) and introduces a slightly revamped form-factor which is smaller and shorter than the previous Roku 4, but with a bigger footprint than the Roku 2 & 3. It shares this body with its less expensive siblings, the Premiere and Premiere Plus (see below). The Ultra preserves the Roku 4’s remote finder function (which lets you trigger a customizable alert from the remote’s internal speaker) and remote-based listening via headphones, but now adds the remote listening feature via the Roku app for Android and iOS — something which had been exclusive to the new Roku Streaming Stick. The Ultra now becomes the only Roku that can do gaming and voice search from its remote.

HDR support is a step-up feature from the Roku 4, as is Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital Plus decoding, but for now HDR is limited to the HDR 10 format. No word on whether Roku intends to add support for Dolby Vision HDR or if the hardware inside the Ultra is compatible with it.

Because 4K and HDR are kind of a big deal for owners of 4K TVs — much like HD was back when that format was making its initial waves — Roku will be adding a 4K spotlight to its menu, so you can see at-a-glance all of the 4K content you have access to. HDR content will also be tagged as such, but not highlighted in its own menu item.

In the box: Roku Ultra, high-speed HDMI cable, stereo earbuds, MicroUSB cable for power, power adapter, RF remote control

Amazon Roku

Roku Premiere+ (USD $99.99 / CDN $109.99)


Dropping down in price by $30, from the Ultra to the new Premiere+ you lose the optical S/PDIF and USB ports, the remote finder, and remote-based voice search and game control, but you still get 4K UHD and HDR at 60fps which makes the Premiere+ the least expensive way to get 4K HDR streaming on the Roku platform. The remote control is RF-based “point anywhere” and includes the same plug-in earbuds for remote listening that you’ll find on the Ultra. Similarly, it has the Ultra’s super-fast 802.11 AC MIMO dual-band Wi-Fi.

In the box: Roku Premier+, high-speed HDMI cable, stereo earbuds, MicroUSB cable for power, power adapter, RF remote control

Amazon Roku

Roku Premiere (USD $79.99 / CDN $89.99)


If 4K streaming is what you really want, the Premiere is the least expensive way to get it. Compared to the Premiere+ and Ultra, it’s a bare-bones experience. No HDR, no microSD slot, no USB port, and its remote is IR-only, so you’ll need line-of-sight to the box. There’s still remote listening and voice search support via the free Roku app, however, and its 802.11 AC MIMO dual-band support means those 4K streams should run effortlessly even without Ethernet (provided adequate bandwidth is available at the location). The Roku Premiere is a budget-friendly way to add Roku’s brand of 4K streaming to your new 4K TV.

In the box: Roku Premiere, high-speed HDMI cable, MicroUSB cable for power, power adapter, IR remote control

Amazon Roku

Roku Express+ (USD $39.99 / CDN $49.99)


The Express+ introduces a new form factor for Roku. It’s a little bigger than a Streaming Stick, and a lot smaller than any previous set-top box model. It kind of reminds us of a Wii sensor bar, albeit a short, black and stubby one. This 1080p streamer includes both HDMI and analog video outputs for older TVs — apparently consumer demand for this feature remains high enough that Roku felt the need to support it. Because it’s so small, there will be a tendency for the attached cables (included) to push the Express+ around. Roku solves this by including a small adhesive strip that can be used to mount the Express+ pretty much anywhere you like, as long as you’ve got line-of-sight between the Express+ and the included IR-based remote. WiFi support is b/g/n which ought to be fast enough for full 1080p as long as you’re not located too far from your router.

Neither the Express+ and it’s HDMI-only twin, the Express (below), support 4K or HDR, but at these prices, that’s hardly a surprise. You still get access to all 3,500 Roku channels in the U.S. (2,500 in Canada) and the full feature set of the Roku app, including remote listening and voice search.

In Canada, Walmart has an in-store exclusive on this model.

In the box: Roku Express+, high-speed HDMI cable, composite video cable, MicroUSB cable for power, power adapter, IR remote control


Roku Express (USD $29.99 / CDN $39.99)


Identical to the Express+ in nearly every way, the Roku Express is $10 cheaper because it lacks an analog output and analog video cables. At USD $29.99, the Roku Express now has a five dollar price edge on Google’s Chromecast, the previous value leader in the streaming gadget space. When you consider that the Roku Express also comes with a dedicated remote, that price point starts to look like a no-brainer for those who have yet to join the streaming game.

In the box: Roku Express, high-speed HDMI cable, MicroUSB cable for power, power adapter, IR remote control

Amazon Roku

Expect these new Roku devices to hit store shelves sometime later next month. Also, keep your eyes peeled for discounts on older Roku models as retailers make way for the newer gear. Roku wouldn’t offer any specifics on sale prices, noting instead that it would be at the discretion of each seller.


Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for April 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

Charge and sync with the best Lightning cables for your iPhone or iPad

If you’re looking to replace a lightning cable, or in need of something a little longer or tougher, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 of our favorite cables for the iPhone and other iOS devices.
Home Theater

These TVs might cost less than $1,000, but they certainly don’t perform like it

Check out our picks for the best TVs under $1,000 to enjoy top-shelf features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, and gorgeous image processing. Park yourself here to find the absolute best values in TV land.
Home Theater

FiOS problems: The potholes in Verizon's fiber internet and how to fix them

Verizon FiOS offers no just fiber internet, but TV and home phone service as well. See what kind of problems, issues, and trouble other Verizon FiOS users have reported before you decide to sign up for the service.
Product Review

Microsoft’s $350 Surface Headphones are a good first try, but not good enough

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones are stylish, comfortable, and have great noise-canceling, but at $350 a pair, they’ll have a hard time matching the industry leaders like Sony and Bose.
Home Theater

Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones get a $93 price cut

Good head-fi is expensive, but a premium set of headphones is worth it. The excellent Bose Quietcomfort 35 Series II is on sale right now from Rakuten with a two-day coupon code that can save you more than 90 bucks.

Weird Galaxy View 2 is a TV-style tablet to take your mind off the Galaxy Fold

Samsung may be about to resurrect a product line that last saw an entry three years ago. Renders of the Galaxy View 2 show it's sticking to the tablet-that-thinks-it's-a-TV formula.
Home Theater

Don't need sports or local channels? Philo can save you some cash

Philo is an affordable live TV streaming service, with an impressive channel list and feature set. With more hardware support, unlimited DVR, and greatly improved TV Everywhere features, the service is now even easier to recommend.

The best Bluetooth headsets of 2019, from Sennheiser to Jabra

Quality headsets are rare. Here are our picks for the best Bluetooth headsets available, whether you need something modest, cheap, or loaded with features. We highlight the best Bluetooth headsets you can get for different situations.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek forms, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.