It doesn’t matter what kind of TV watcher you are: among Roku’s five just-released streaming boxes, there’ll be one designed just for you. Each new box builds on the strengths of Roku’s previous devices. They’re smaller, faster and boast higher-resolution video, but they vary in features and in price ($30 – $130).
The Roku Express ($30) is the most affordable of the bunch, yet it still packs twice the processing power of the Roku 1 into a device not much bigger than a matchbox. It’s capable of streaming 1080p video and has access to everything Roku’s streaming service has to offer: over 350,000 movies and TV shows, across more than 3,500 free or paid channels. The Express+ ($40) does the same, but can be hooked up to older TVs through a standard-definition cable.
Roku Premiere ($80), the mid-tier option, offers 4K resolution and can stream at 60 frames per second. The Premiere+ ($100) adds HDR support and upscaling (low-quality video automatically jumps to a higher resolution, if the wi-fi connection is strong enough), a headphone jack in the remote for private listening, an ethernet port and a microSD slot for expanded video storage. Roku’s most advanced streaming box, the Ultra ($130), has the same features as the Premiere+ and adds a better remote, a USB port for watching your own stored content, a “Find My Remote” function and an optical audio input compatible with high-end audio setups.
Roku’s latest Streaming Stick, released earlier in 2016, is the only device that won’t get an upgrade. It’s a great option for those who don’t need anything fancy, but demand portability (ordering movies at hotels isn’t cheap) or better compatibility with wall-mounted TVs.
The new devices are available now for preorder and will ship late October.