10 Best

Roku Devices

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A Guide to the Best Roku Devices of 2022

Yehudah Posnick

Roku was founded in 2002 by Anthony Wood, as a maker of electronics for playing music and video content over television. They’re best known now for their streaming digital media players. They have a full line of products to allow you to get hundreds of channels of TV content via the Internet, without a cable or satellite subscription! Roku devices are affordable, compact, and, best of all, easy to install and use!

But, as we go through the offerings in the Best Reviews Guide list of the top 10 Roku devices, you’ll see that there are quite a few types. There are small dongles, such as the Roku Streaming Stick, that you plug into your TV’s HDMI port. Then there are slightly larger devices, like the Roku Ultra or Roku Express, which use an HDMI cable and external power supply. And there are also Roku Streambars, which combine the functions of a streaming device and soundbar!

We’ll go through some of the products in the Best Reviews Guide top 10 Roku devices. You’re sure to get something that gets you lots of great TV content, with striking resolution and quality sound!

Types of Roku Devices

From such a big selection of Roku devices, it might not be clear what to choose. A lot of it depends on your present TV set, and what kind of Internet connection you have. And matters get even more confusing when you consider that there are several generations of Roku streaming devices! Here are some of the latest Roku offerings:

  • Roku Express HD: This is considered a simpler device, for people who are just getting started with streaming TV content. It will work with an HD TV with up to 1080p resolution. It supports Alexa and Google Voice assistants.

  • Roku Express 4K and 4K+: This is an upgrade to the Roku Express, in that it’s able to stream 4K content and HDR (=High Dynamic Range) color. It also provides smoother streaming over more TVs. The 4K+ also includes a voice remote control, to allow you to search channels, add captions, and more.

  • Roku Streaming Sticks: These are small devices that you insert in the HDMI port on your television. (If you have an older TV without an HDMI port, there are adapters that convert from an RCA port to HDMI.) There are three such products:

    • Roku Streaming Stick+: This is an older device, from 2017. But, it will enhance the capabilities, even if you have a new Smart TV or game console. It allows hooking up to a number of Internet content services, such as Netflix, Prime Video, HBO, and more, and a search function to find what’s worth watching. It provides HD or 4K resolution, assuming your TV supports it. You can take it with you and easily install it in another TV. But it doesn’t have an additional HDMI port, to hook up to another device.

    • Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K+: These are newer models, from 2021. They are also equipped with an additional HDMI port. They are smaller than the Streaming Stick+. The Streaming Stick 4K+ has the same functionality as the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, but the 4K+ also has a “lost remote finder”. If you can’t find your Roku remote control, press the button on the Roku Streaming Stick. It will signal to the remote control to beep, so that you can locate it! Also, the 4K+ has a rechargeable voice remote, that also allows you to hook up a pair of earplugs to the remote control, for private listening.

  • Roku Ultra: This is considered a higher-end Roku streaming device, with the quickest responsiveness of all Roku devices. It includes an Ethernet port to hook up to a router if WiFi is not available. (Also, an Ethernet connection is going to be faster and more reliable when streaming 4K content.) It supports 4K resolution, HDR, Dolby Vision, Bluetooth, and a headphone jack for private listening through the remote control.

  • Roku Streambar and Roku Streambar Pro: This combines the functionality of the Roku streaming stick and a typical soundbar. TV sets have built-in speakers, but, if you’re interested in better sound quality, you can install a soundbar as well. It has front- and side-facing speakers, for a more immersive experience. The Streambar Pro has larger speakers than the Streambar and an upgraded voice remote feature. However, the Streambar has an Ethernet connection, while the Streambar Pro doesn’t–so that may be something to consider when selecting a streaming device.

What reviewers say

Here are some pointers, based on Roku customers’ reactions:

  • Newest Roku for the newest TV: One customer of the Roku Ultra said that he has a new 4K TV and audio system, so that it was able to utilize all of the features (Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision) that the Roku Ultra had to offer.

  • Can help upgrade your TV: On the other hand, if you have an older TV, even just from 2011 with 1080p resolution, a Roku device can help it access apps and channels to keep it relevant. Even if the TV doesn’t have the features of a Smart TV, a Roku device can enable it to have greater functionality. A Roku device is a lot cheaper than buying a new Smart TV.

  • Don’t use an HDMI splitter: As we mentioned, the Roku device hooks up to your TV’s HDMI port. But it’s recommended to either plug in the Roku device directly into the HDMI port, or connect it with a single cable. People who use an HDMI switch or splitter noticed that they had problems seeing the picture on some channels afterward.

Important Features

Here are some tips on how to maximize your enjoyment of Roku devices:

  • How to set up a Roku Streaming Stick: Here is the procedure for installing a Roku Streaming Stick. The process for installing the other products is similar:

  1. Insert the Streaming Stick into the HDMI port in the back of your TV.

  2. Attach the device’s antenna to the streaming stick. The streaming stick won’t work without the antenna. Also, hook up the antenna to a USB power source–either from a wall socket adapter, or the USB port on your TV.

  3. Wait for the Roku logo to appear. If it doesn’t appear, use the TV’s buttons or remote control to find it.

  4. Press the button on the Roku remote control. It will pair the remote control to the Roku device.

  5. Connect to the Internet, either by selecting a wireless (Wi-Fi) or Ethernet connection, depending on your device.

  6. Look for your home’s router’s WiFi network on the list, and enter the password.

  7. Activate the Roku Streaming Stick with the code that appears on the screen. You’ll need to go to www.roku.com/link with your computer or Smartphone to enter the code.

  • Remote control: Roku streaming devices come with their own remote control, that supersedes the TV’s own remote control. The remote control will allow you to navigate between apps and channels. It works pretty much by pointing and clicking to select: Netflix, sports channels, or social media. Some devices have a simple remote, while others allow you to hook up headphones and listen through the remote control.

  • Need a Roku account: A Roku device allows you to get TV content without a cable or satellite subscription. That can save around $7.90 per month, and almost $95 per year. There’s no rental fee for using Roku. But you have to make a Roku account from their website, in order to activate your Roku device. You can do this either with your computer or with your TV set.

Final Verdict

We went through the newest Roku devices as well as some of the older models that are still available on the market. A Roku streaming device can help you access more channels, and improve the picture and sound quality of the content that you already enjoy. And the cost is minuscule compared to buying a new TV! Check out the BRG list of the most popular Roku devices, and buy one today!


 

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