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Roku devices are far and away the most popular standalone media streamers on the market. In fact, over 30% of all new TV streaming devices sold in the United States run Roku software. In general, if you want a media streamer, you simply can’t go wrong by picking one of the various Roku devices.
Unfortunately, once you’ve made the decision to buy a Roku, you then need to figure out which of the company’s seven streamers is right for you (and that doesn’t even count the various televisions with a Roku streamer built right in). Luckily, we’re here to clear up the confusion and tell you all about the various Roku devices and what makes them differ from one another.
The below Roku roundup is based on the most recent 2019 updates, so this is the latest information available.
Roku Express — $29.99
If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest of the Roku devices, the Roku Express is for you. Inside the box, you’ll find the Wi-Fi-only streamer, a basic Roku remote, two batteries, a power adapter with a USB cable, and an HDMI cable. This is everything you need to start streaming on pretty much any modern television.
The limitations of this device are that your streaming will max out at 1080p and the remote is very basic: there’s no headphone jack, no voice controls, and no other advanced features you’ll find on more expensive Roku devices.
The 2019 version of the Roku Express is 10% smaller than the 2018 version and throws in that free HDMI cable. If you buy the 2018 version, you’ll need to supply your own HDMI cable. The 2019 Roku Express will start shipping by the end of September.
Roku Express Plus — $39.99
The Roku Express Plus is a Walmart exclusive. It is essentially the same as the Roku Express except the remote control is upgraded with voice control capabilities. The remote can also control regular TV functions.
Other than those minor differences, the Roku Express Plus is no different from the regular Roku Express. You just need to decide if having a fancy remote control is worth that extra $10.
The Roku Express Plus is expected to hit Walmart store shelves by the end of September.
Roku Premiere — $39.99
The benefit of the Roku Premiere over the Roku Express is that the Premiere offers 4K streaming quality with HDR support. In the box, you’re going to find the Wi-Fi-only streamer, a basic Roku remote, two batteries, a power adapter with a USB cable, and an HDMI cable.
Really, aside from support for 4K/HDR, there’s not much difference when you compare the Premiere to the cheaper Express. However, if you have a 4K television, it’s a no-brainer to spend the extra $10 to buy the Premiere so you can enjoy those high-quality visuals.
The Roku Premiere didn’t receive any prominent upgrades for 2019, so you don’t need to wait to buy it. Click below to grab one!
Roku Streaming Stick Plus — $59.99
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus is probably the best of the Roku devices for most people’s needs. Inside the box, you’ll find the Wi-Fi-only streamer, a premium Roku remote with voice controls and TV controls, two batteries, a USB cable for power and enhanced wireless reception, and an extension cable.
You don’t need an HDMI cable for the Streaming Stick Plus as the streamer itself plugs directly into your television. You also don’t need a wall plug because the USB cable connects to a USB port on your TV for power (make sure your TV supports this). Not only does this make things more convenient for setup but it also makes the Streaming Stick Plus easy to transport.
The Stick supports 4K resolutions and HDR, so this will work well for pretty much everyone.
Roku didn’t make any extensive upgrades to the Streaming Stick Plus for 2019, so you can go ahead and click the button below to buy one now!
Roku Streaming Stick Plus HE — $59.99
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus HE is a Best Buy exclusive. It is the same device as the regular Streaming Stick Plus but adds in an enhanced voice remote that also includes a headphone jack. Using this remote, you can plug in a set of headphones and hear whatever it is you’re streaming without bothering anyone else.
The headphone jack remote is a terrific feature as it makes it very easy to have some private viewing time. The best part is that the audio output is controlled by the Roku itself, so this will work no matter how you’ve set up your home theater audio (soundbar, sound receiver, wireless audio, etc.).
In addition to the upgraded remote control, the Streaming Stick Plus HE also includes a set of headphones in the box.
Considering this Best Buy exclusive offers more value at the same price as the regular Streaming Stick Plus, it’s basically a no-brainer to seek out this version over the regular version. The HE edition will land in Best Buy stores in the middle of October.
Roku Ultra — $99.99
As the name suggests, the Roku Ultra is the pinnacle of all the various Roku devices. If you want the most premium, top-of-the-line Roku experience, the Roku Ultra is what you’re looking for. However, you’ll be paying $100 for that experience!
Inside the box, you’ll find the Roku Ultra, the most premium of voice-controlled remotes (more on that in a second), a set of JBL earbud headphones, two batteries for the remote, and a power adapter for the streamer. You’ll need to provide your own HDMI cable for connecting to your television.
There are two notable aspects to the Roku Ultra that make it a premium device. The first is fairly simple, which is that this device is the only one on this list that supports an Ethernet connection. All the other Roku devices can only connect to the internet wirelessly, which might not be as stable or effective as a trusty wired connection.
Related: 10 best legal free movie apps and free TV show apps for you budget streamers!
The second big difference is the remote. The Roku Ultra’s remote comes with all the bells-and-whistles: a headphone jack for private listening, TV control buttons, voice controls, and — a new feature for 2019 — customizable shortcut buttons. This enables you to create shortcut buttons to launch your favorite app with just one tap on the remote. The 2018 Roku Ultra does not have this feature.
The Roku Ultra also features a unique “Find My Remote” button on the streamer itself which makes your remote beep wherever it might be in the house.
The Roku Ultra 2019 edition will land sometime in mid-October, but you can still grab the 2018 model if you don’t care about the customizable remote buttons.
Roku Ultra LT — $79.99
The Roku Ultra LT is a Walmart exclusive. It essentially saves you $20 off the price of the regular Roku Ultra by removing the customizable remote control and the JBL headphones. Instead, inside the box of the Ultra LT you’ll find a regular remote (still with voice control, a headphone jack, and TV controls) and a generic, less-premium set of headphones.
You’ll still get the main Roku Ultra streamer with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, a Find My Remote button, etc., you’ll just be sacrificing higher-quality headphones and the fancy new remote.
The Roku Ultra LT will hit Walmart shelves in mid-October.
Those are all the different Roku devices currently available for 2019! We will update this post in the future as new products land.
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