Roku streaming media

Roku streaming media DEFAULT

ROKUStreaming Stick+ 4K HDR Streaming Media Player

Product code: 222679

Was £49.99 (from 13/09/2021 to 08/10/2021)

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Product features

  • Stream 4K content to your TV
  • WiFi
  • Screen casting
  • Catch-up TV & 4K Streaming
Product information
Streaming your favourite shows is easy with the Roku Streaming Stick+. With access to over 150,000 movies and TV shows from the likes of BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV, and NOW TV, you'll never be stuck for anything to watch again.

It's easier than ever to find what you want to watch with the voice remote. And with dedicated channel buttons, it's super quick to start browsing.

Whether you're enjoying the latest action-filled blockbuster or watching something scary from behind the sofa, the deeper blacks and sharper contrast of 4K HDR streaming will make you feel like you're right there on set.

Advanced wireless receiver gives extended range, so you can even set up a TV outside for a summer BBQ and keep streaming. It's also easier to pick up the WiFi where it's not as strong, such as in hotel rooms, so you can keep streaming no matter where you are.

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Please note: Some apps & services may not be available outside of the UK, including Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

Video

Customer reviews

ROKU Streaming 4K Smart TV Stick reviews verified by reevooReevoo

Ease of use
Build quality
Performance
Value for money
Overall rating
Scores 8.9 out of 10based on 874 reviews
Show more score details
+
I bought it to watch sport on NowTV - which performed poorly played through a laptop to my Toshiba TV, which had no inbuilt support for Now. Easy to set up, and delivers vastly better streaming performance than with the Now Player running on Windows
That I had to buy it in the first place! It uses the same wireless connection as the Now Player, so why was that so poor??
Ease of use
Build quality
Performance
Value for money
Overall rating
Confirmed purchase: 07 September 2021
Published on: 05 October 2021
+
I have been trying the alternatives for a long time, Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, NowTV stick, but this really beats all because it combines everything into one stick!
Casting of personal images and videos require a separate app.
Ease of use
Build quality
Performance
Value for money
Overall rating
Confirmed purchase: 23 August 2021
Published on: 01 October 2021
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Important update on our delivery service for small items

Our courier partners (DPD, Royal Mail and On the Dot) have all updated their delivery processes to take extra precautions due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please follow the below advice:

1. Customers can use the DPD app to nominate a ‘safe place’ for their delivery to be left if they do not want close contact.

For customers unable to use the DPD app, DPD is still able to offer a contact-free delivery and will take a picture of the property and capture a proof of delivery name instead of capturing a customer signature.

2. Royal Mail is an unsigned service. Where Royal Mail needs to deliver a parcel, its teams will place the parcel at the customer’s door. Having knocked on the door, the delivery teams will step aside to a safe distance while the item is retrieved. If the delivery cannot take place, Royal Mail will take the parcel to the local depot for collection by the customer.  The parcel will be held for 18 days as per normal process.

3. For On the Dot, where a standard signature delivery is not possible, On the Dot will attempt to leave the parcel in a safe place and inform the customer of where the parcel has been placed.

To see the courier partner for your delivery, please check your dispatch confirmation email (which will also include your tracking reference).

Availability Checker

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Returns and refunds

Whether an item you’ve bought is faulty or damaged, or you’ve changed your mind, it’s easy to get a refund.

Items you haven’t opened
Within 21 days of receiving an item you paid for online, on the phone, or in store you can return it for a full refund – provided your purchase is still in its original and unopened packaging. This promise is in addition to your statutory rights.

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Within 14 days of receiving an item you paid for online or on the phone, you can return it, even if you’ve opened it. To receive a refund, you must:

  • Let us know you plan to return the item within 14 days of delivery/collection
  • Physically return it within a further 14 days.
The item must be returned in ‘as new condition’ – not used or installed, and in its original packaging. More on returns and refunds.

Order online and collect in store

Order & Collect ­­– The majority of our stores are now open and offering a collection service, allowing you to safely order online and collect from store contact-free.

Our stores with parking available can offer a Drive Thru collection experience using the parking bays clearly marked outside the store. Here’s how it works;

  • Once you’ve had confirmation your order is ready to collect, drive to the store.
  • When you’ve arrived, click on the link in your confirmation email to let our team know.
  • One of our colleagues will put your order in your car boot.

Stores, including those which DO NOT have parking outside, can still offer a safe Walk Up service. We have safety measures in place to keep you and our staff protected whilst you queue. Here’s how it works;

  • Once you’ve had confirmation your order is ready to collect, walk to store and head to the collection point.
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  • You’ll get a text when our colleague is preparing your order for collection.
  • Please remember to keep 2 metres away from our colleagues and other customers.

If the store already has stock of your item, you may be able to collect on the same day. If your store doesn’t have stock, we can get some in, but it may take a little longer. Don’t forget to wait for your ready to collect email and check store opening hours and whether the store can offer Drive Thru, Walk Up or both collection options before heading out.

We strongly recommend that you check whether you will be able to carry the item, or whether it will fit in your vehicle before placing your order.

Creation - your plan Flexible credit you control

To spread the cost, pay by Your Plan, our uniquely flexible credit option. Available on orders £99 and over. Exclusions apply. With this uniquely flexible credit option you can:

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How to apply
If you’re buying this item online, you can apply for credit at checkout. Select delivery option at checkout, credit is currently unavailable on order & collect. Or if you’re planning on shopping in store, apply here.

Currys Group Limited acts as a credit broker and not a lender. Credit is provided by Creation Consumer Finance Ltd.
Both Currys Group Limited and Creation Consumer Finance Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Was £49.99 (from 13/09/2021 to 08/10/2021)

We can't split orders across different towns or postcodes, so please either:

  • Change the location for this new selection to , OR
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Free delivery in 3-5 working days

Pick a date and time that suits youEarliest delivery date available

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Please add this item to your basket. We'll show you delivery options before you check out.
ROKU Streaming Stick+ 4K HDR Streaming Media Player
Was £49.99 (from 13/09/2021 to 08/10/2021)
Sours: https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/tv-and-home-entertainment/digital-and-smart-tv/set-top-boxes/roku-streaming-stick-4k-hdr-streaming-media-player-10171827-pdt.html

Whether you want to escape the cable company or to abandon the terrible interface that's built into your smart TV, a reliable streaming device is a wonderful thing.

Roku, Apple, Google, and Amazon all make options that might be right for you, but figuring out which platform to go with can be a pain. To help, we've gathered the best 4K HDR-ready TV streaming devices together for a battle royale—all streaming boxes, sticks, and cubes. Whether you're hoping to stream the latest episode of The Mandalorian or your favorite YouTuber, we've separated each of our favorites by what they do best.

Be sure to check out all our guides, especially for picking the best Roku, as well as the best TVs, best soundbars, and best smart speakers we've seen.

Updated September 2021: We've added the new Apple TV 4K and the budget Onn. streaming stick.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you'd like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

Sours: https://www.wired.com/gallery/best-4k-streaming-devices/
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Roku Express | HD Streaming Media Player with High Speed HDMI Cable and Simple Remote

  • Watch what you love: Start streaming with a massive selection of free, live, and premium TV, including Roku® Originals and 200+ live TV channels for free on The Roku Channel
  • Quick and easy setup: It’s easy to get started with everything you need included in the box, including a High Speed HDMI® Cable—just plug it into your TV and connect to the internet
  • Tons of power, tons of fun: Compact and power-packed, you'll stream your favorites with ease, including movies and series on HBO Max, Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video
  • Simple remote: Incredibly easy to use, this remote features shortcut buttons to popular streaming channels
  • The free Roku mobile app: Control your Roku device with a convenient second remote, search with your voice, enjoy private listening with wireless headphones, and more on your iOS® or Android™ device
  • Always up to date: Get the latest features, newest channels, and more with automatic software updates
  • Works with popular voice assistants: Enjoy easy voice control with Siri, Alexa, or Hey Google
  • Share it with Apple AirPlay: Effortlessly share videos, photos, music, and more from your Apple devices to your TV
  • Sours: https://www.target.com/p/roku-express-hd-streaming-media-player-with-high-speed-hdmi-cable-and-simple-remote/-/A-52105147
    Roku 2021: Which streaming player should you buy?

    Roku

    Brand of streaming media players

    Not to be confused with Ruku.

    For the company which makes the devices, see Roku, Inc. For other uses, see Roku (disambiguation).

    ‹ The templateInfobox information appliance is being considered for merging. ›

    Roku (ROH-koo) is a brand of hardware digital media players manufactured by American company Roku, Inc. They offer access to streaming media content from various online services.

    The first Roku model, developed in collaboration with Netflix, was introduced in May 2008. Roku devices have been considered influential on the digital media player market, helping to popularize the concept of low-cost, small-form-factor set-top boxes for over-the-top media consumption.[1] Roku has also licensed its platform as middleware for smart TVs.

    As of August 2021, Roku has more than 55 million active accounts, according to its quarterly earnings report.[2]

    History[edit]

    Roku was founded by Anthony Wood in 2002, who had previously founded ReplayTV, a DVR company that competed with Tivo.[3] After ReplayTV's failure, Wood worked for a while at Netflix. In 2007, Wood's company began working with Netflix on Project:Griffin, a set-top box to allow Netflix users to stream Netflix content to their TVs.[3] Only a few weeks before the project's launch, Netflix's founder Reed Hastings decided it would hamper license arrangements with third parties, potentially keeping Netflix off other similar platforms, and killed the project.[4]Fast Company magazine cited the decision to kill the project as "one of Netflix's riskiest moves".[4]

    Netflix decided instead to spin off the company, and Roku released their first set-top box in 2008.[5] In 2010 they began offering models with various capabilities, which eventually became their standard business model.[5] In 2014, Roku partnered with smart TV manufacturers to produce TVs with built-in Roku functionality.[3] In 2015, Roku won the inaugural Emmy for Television Enhancement Devices.

    In 2019, Roku acquired dataxu, an advertising technology company for $150 million.[6]

    Roku streaming players[edit]

    First generation[edit]

    Original form factor XD/S

    The first Roku model, the Roku DVP N1000, was unveiled on May 20, 2008. It was developed in partnership with Netflix to serve as a standalone set-top box for its recently introduced "Watch Instantly" service. The goal was to produce a device with a small footprint that could be sold at low cost compared to larger digital video recorders and video game consoles. It features an NXP PNX8935 video decoder supporting both standard and high definition formats up to 720p; HDMI output; and automatic software updates, including the addition of new channels for other video services.[7][1][8]

    Roku launched two new models in October 2009: the Roku SD (a simplified version of the DVP, with only analog AV outputs); and the Roku HD-XR, an updated version with 802.11n Wi-Fi and a USB port for future functionality. The Roku DVP was retroactively renamed the Roku HD. By then, Roku had added support for other services. The next month, they introduced the Channel Store, where users could download third-party apps for other content services (including the possibility of private services for specific uses).[9][10]

    Netflix support was initially dependent on a PC, requiring users to add content to their "Instant Queue" from the service's web interface before it could be accessed via the Roku. In May 2010, the channel was updated to allow users to search the Netflix library directly from the device.[11]

    In August 2010, Roku announced plans to add 1080p video support to the HD-XR.[12] The next month, they released an updated lineup with thinner form factors: a new HD; the XD, with 1080p support; and the XDS, with optical audio, dual-band Wi-Fi, and a USB port. The XD and XDS also included an updated remote.[13]

    Support for the first-generation Roku models ended in September 2015.[14]

    Second generation[edit]

    In July 2011, Roku unveiled its second generation of players, branded as Roku 2 HD, XD, and XS. All three models include 802.11n, and also add microSD slots and Bluetooth. The XD and XS support 1080p, and only the XS model includes an Ethernet connector and USB port. They also support the "Roku Game Remote"—a Bluetooth remote with motion controller support for games, which was bundled with the XS and sold separately for other models.[15] The Roku LT was unveiled in October, as an entry-level model with no Bluetooth or microSD support.[16]

    In January 2012, Roku unveiled the Streaming Stick - a new model condensed into a dongle form factor using Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL).[17][18] Later in October, Roku introduced a new search feature to the second-generation models, aggregating content from services usable on the device.[19]

    Third generation[edit]

    Roku unveiled its third-generation models in March 2013, the Roku 3 and Roku 2. The Roku 3 contains an upgraded CPU over the 2 XS, and a Wi-Fi Direct remote with an integrated headphone jack. The Roku 2 features only the faster CPU.[20][21]

    Fourth generation[edit]

    In October 2015, Roku introduced the Roku 4; the device contains upgraded hardware with support for 4K resolution video, as well as 802.11ac wireless.[22]

    Fifth generation[edit]

    Roku revamped their entire streaming player line-up with five new models in September 2016 (low end Roku Express, Roku Express+, high end Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, and top-of-the-line Roku Ultra), while the Streaming Stick (3600) was held over from the previous generation (having been released the previous April) as a sixth option.[23] The Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra support HDR video using HDR10.[24]

    Sixth generation[edit]

    In October 2017, Roku introduced its sixth generation of products. The Premiere and Premiere+ models were discontinued, the Streaming Stick+ (with an enhanced Wi-Fi antenna device) was introduced, as well as new processors for the Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Express, and Roku Express+.[25]

    Seventh generation[edit]

    In September 2018, Roku introduced the seventh generation of products. Carrying over from the 2017 sixth-generation without any changes were the Express (3900), Express+ (3910), Streaming Stick (3800), and Streaming Stick+ (3810). The Ultra is the same hardware device from 2017, but it comes with JBL premium headphones and is repackaged with the new model number 4661. Roku has resurrected the Premiere and Premiere+ names, but these two new models bear little resemblance to the 2016 fifth-generation Premiere (4620) and Premiere+ (4630) models. The new Premiere (3920) and Premiere+ (3921) are essentially based on the Express (3900) model with 4K support added, it also includes Roku Streaming Stick+ Headphone Edition (3811) for improving Wifi signal strength and private listening.

    Eighth generation[edit]

    In September 2019, Roku introduced the eighth generation of products.[26]

    The same year, Netflix decided not to support older generations of Roku, including the Roku HD, HD-XR, SD, XD, and XDS, as well as the NetGear-branded XD and XDS. Roku had warned in 2015 that it would stop updating players made in May 2011 or earlier, and these vintage boxes were among them.[27]

    Ninth generation[edit]

    On September 28, 2020, Roku introduced the ninth generation of products.[28] An updated Roku Ultra was released along with the addition of the Roku Streambar, a 2-in-1 Roku and Soundbar device. The microSD slot was removed from the new Ultra 4800, making it the first top-tier Roku device since the first generation to lack this feature. On April 14, 2021, Roku announced the Roku Express 4K+, replacing the 8th generation Roku Express devices, the Voice Remote Pro as an optional upgrade for existing Roku players, and Roku OS 10 for all modern Roku devices.[29]

    Tenth generation[edit]

    On September 20, 2021, Roku introduced the tenth generation of products.[30] The Roku Streaming Stick 4K[31] was announced along with the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ which includes an upgraded rechargeable Roku Voice Remote Pro with lost remote finder.[32] Roku announced an updated Roku Ultra LT with a faster processor, stronger Wi-Fi and Dolby Vision as well as Bluetooth audio streaming and built-in ethernet support.[33] Roku also announced Roku OS 10.5 with several new and improved features.[34]

    Feature comparison[edit]

    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix with Profiles
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p,
    1080p (HD)
    2160p
    (4K)
    Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    First generation
    Roku DVP (N1000) May 2008 Both Both Both 720p No Yes Both Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz [35][36][37]256 MB 64 MB[38]No No
    Roku SD (N1050) Oct 2009 Composite Neither 480i Neither No Yes Neither Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[38][39]256 MB 64 MB[38]No No
    Roku HD (N1100) Nov 2009 Both Both Both 720p No Yes Both Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[38][39]256 MB 64 MB[38]No No
    Roku HD-XR (N1101) Oct 2009 Both Both Both Both[note 2]No Yes Both Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR PNX8935 400 MHz[38][39]256 MB 256 MB[38]No No
    Roku HD (2000) Sep 2010 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[38]256 MB 64 MB[38]No No
    Roku XD (2050) Sep 2010 Composite HDMI Both Both[note 2]No Yes HDMI Yes b/g/n No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[38][40]256 MB 64 MB[38]No No
    Roku XDS (2100) Sep 2010 Composite Both[note 3]Both Both[note 2]No Yes Both Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR PNX8935 400 MHz[37][42]256 MB 256 MB[38]No No
    Second generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix with Profiles
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p,
    1080p (HD)
    2160p
    (4K)
    Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku LT (2400) Nov 2011 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM2835 600 MHz[38][43]256 MB 256 MB[38]No No
    Roku LT (2450) Apr 2012 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7208 405 MHz[38]256 MB 256 MB[38]No No
    Roku HD (2500) Apr 2012 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7208 405 MHz[44]256 MB[44]256 MB[44]No No
    Roku 2 HD (3000) Jul 2011 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR[note 4]BCM2835 600 MHz[38][45]256 MB 256 MB[38]Yes No
    Roku 2 XD (3050) Jul 2011 Composite HDMI Both Both[note 5]No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR[note 4]BCM2835 600 MHz[38][45]256 MB 256 MB[38]Yes No
    Roku 2 XS (3100) Jul 2011 Composite HDMI Both Both[note 5]No Yes HDMI Yes b/g/n Yes IR, Bluetooth BCM2835 600 MHz [45][46]256 MB 256 MB[38]Yes No
    Roku Streaming Stick, MHL (3400, 3420) Oct 2012 Neither MHL only 480p Both[note 6]No No HDMI No b/g/n dual-band[47]No Wi-Fi Direct BCM2835 600 MHz[38]256 MB[48]512 MB No No
    Roku Streaming Stick, HDMI (3500) Mar 2014[49]Neither HDMI Neither Both No No HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct BCM2835 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No Yes
    Third generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p,
    1080p (HD)
    2160p
    (4K)
    Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku LT (2700) Sep 2013 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7218 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No No
    Roku 1, SE (2710) Sep 2013 Composite HDMI Both Both No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7218 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No No
    Roku 2 (2720) Sep 2013 Composite HDMI Both Both No Yes & Remote HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No IR, Wi-Fi Direct BCM7218 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No No
    Roku 3 (4200) Mar 2013 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Remote[note 7]HDMI Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR, Wi-Fi Direct BCM11130 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB Yes Yes
    Roku 2 (4210) Apr 2015 Neither HDMI Neither Both No No HDMI Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR[note 8]BCM11130 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB Yes Yes
    Roku 3 (4230) Apr 2015 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Remote[note 7]HDMI Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR, Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search BCM11130 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB Yes Yes
    Fourth generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p,
    1080p (HD)
    2160p
    (4K)
    Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku Streaming Stick (3600) [51]Apr 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct BCM2836 900 MHz[52][53]512 MB 256 MB No Yes
    Roku 4 (4400) [54]Oct 2015 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Remote[note 7]Optical & HDMI Yes, 10/100 Mbps a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes IR, Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search STV7723A01 [55]1.5 GB 512 MB Yes Yes
    Fifth generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p60,
    1080p60 (HD)
    2160p60
    (4K)
    Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku Express (3700) Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Stream to smartphone HDMI No b/g/n No IR MStar MSA3Z177Z1[56] 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No Yes
    Roku Express+ (3710) Oct 2016 Composite HDMI 480i Both No Yes & Stream to smartphone HDMI No b/g/n No IR MSA3Z177Z1 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No Yes
    Roku Premiere (4620) Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n/ac dual-band No IR MStar MSO9380 1.2 GHz 1 GB 512 MB No Yes
    Roku Premiere+ (4630) Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Remote[note 7] & Stream to smartphone HDMI Yes, 10/100 Mbps a/b/g/n/ac dual-band No IR, Wi-Fi Direct MStar MSO9380 1.2 GHz 1 GB 512 MB Yes Yes
    Roku Ultra (4640) Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Remote[note 7] & Stream to smartphone Optical & HDMI Yes, 10/100 Mbps a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes IR, Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search MStar MSO9380 1.2 GHz 1 GB 1 GB Yes Yes
    Sixth generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions HDR format Audio output Network USB Remote Processor [57]Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p60,
    1080p60 (HD)
    2160p60
    (4K)
    HDR10/Dolby Vision Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku Express (3900)[58]Oct 2017 Neither HDMI Neither Both No No Stream to smartphone HDMI No b/g/n No IR ARM Cortex A53 512MB 256MB No Yes
    Roku Express+ (3910)[59]Oct 2017 Composite HDMI 480i Both No No Yes & Stream to smartphone HDMI No b/g/n No IR ARM Cortex A53 512MB 256MB No Yes
    Roku Streaming Stick (3800)[60]Oct 2017 Neither HDMI Neither Both No No Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n/ac dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 512MB 256MB No Yes
    Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810)[61]Oct 2017 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n/ac dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 1GB 512MB No Yes
    Roku Ultra (4660)[62]Oct 2017 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Remote[note 7] & Stream to smartphone HDMI Yes, 10/100 Mbps a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 1GB 512MB Yes Yes
    Seventh generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions HDR format Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p60,
    1080p60 (HD)
    2160p60
    (4K)
    HDR10/Dolby Vision Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    DTS Dolby Atmos Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku Premiere (3920) Sep 2018 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Stream to smartphone HDMI Yes Yes No b/g/n No IR ARM Cortex A53 1 GB[47]512MB No Yes
    Roku Premiere+ (3921) Sep 2018 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Stream to smartphone HDMI Yes Yes No b/g/n No IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 1GB[63]512MB[63]No Yes
    Roku Ultra (4661) Sep 2018 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Remote[note 7] & Stream to smartphone HDMI Yes Yes Yes, 10/100 Mbps a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 1GB 512MB Yes Yes
    Eighth generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions HDR format Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p60,
    1080p60 (HD)
    2160p60
    (4K)
    HDR10/Dolby Vision Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    DTS Dolby Atmos Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810) Sep 2019 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0a Yes Yes No a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes*, for long-range wireless receiver IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 1GB 512MB No Yes
    Roku Express (3930) Sep 2019 Neither HDMI Neither Both No No Stream to smartphone HDMI 1.4b Yes Yes No b/g/n Yes*, for power IR ARM Cortex A53 512MB 256MB No Yes
    Roku Express+ (3931) Sep 2019 Neither HDMI Neither Both No No Stream to smartphone HDMI 1.4b Yes Yes No b/g/n Yes*, for power IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 512MB 256MB No Yes
    Roku Premiere (3920) Sep 2019 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0a Yes Yes No b/g/n Yes*, for power IR ARM Cortex A53 1GB 512MB[63]No Yes
    Roku Ultra LT (4662) Sep 2019 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Remote & Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0a Yes Yes Yes a/b/g/n/ac dual-band No IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 1GB 512MB Yes Yes
    Roku Ultra (4670) Sep 2019 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10 Remote & Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0a Yes Yes Yes a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search ARM Cortex A53 2GB 512MB Yes Yes
    Ninth generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions HDR format Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p60,
    1080p60 (HD)
    2160p60
    (4K)
    HDR10/HDR10+/Dolby Vision/HLG Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    DTS Dolby Atmos Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku Express 4K (3940X) May 2021 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0b Yes No Yes, with compatible USB Ethernet adaptera/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Yes IR Realtek 1315 1GB 4GB No Yes
    Roku Express 4K+ (3941X) May 2021 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Remote & Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0b Yes No Yes, with compatible USB Ethernet adaptera/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search Realtek 1315 1GB 4GB No Yes
    Roku Ultra (4800) Oct 2020 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes All Remote & Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0b Yes Yes Yes a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search Realtek

    1319

    2GB 4GB No Yes
    Roku Streambar (9102R) Oct 2020 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes HDR10, HLG Remote & Stream to smartphone Optical, HDMI 2.0a Yes Yes Yes, with compatible USB Ethernet adaptera/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search MStar C2 1GB 512MB No Yes
    Tenth generation
    Model Introduced Video outputs Video resolutions HDR format Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1]micro
    SD
    slot
    Netflix
    with
    Profiles[50]
    Composite,
    S-Video
    Component,
    HDMI
    480i,
    480p
    720p60,
    1080p60 (HD)
    2160p60
    (4K)
    HDR10/HDR10+/Dolby Vision/HLG Analog Optical,
    HDMI
    DTS Dolby Atmos Ethernet 802.11
    wireless
    Roku Streaming Stick 4K (3820R) Sep 2021 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes All Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0b Yes Yes No a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search Realtek

    131x

    1GB 4GB No Yes
    Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ (3821R) Sep 2021 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes All Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0b Yes Yes No a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search Realtek

    131x

    1GB 4GB No Yes
    Roku Ultra LT (4801RW) Sep 2021 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes All Remote & Stream to smartphone HDMI 2.0b Yes Yes Yes a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO Yes IR,Wi-Fi Direct, Voice Search Realtek

    1319

    2GB 4GB No Yes

    Roku TV[edit]

    Roku announced its first branded Smart TV and it was released in late 2014. These TVs are manufactured by companies like TCL, Westinghouse and Hisense, and use the Roku user interface as the "brain" of the TV. Roku TVs are updated just like the streaming devices.[64] More recent[vague] models also integrate a set of features for use with over-the-air TV signals, including a program guide that provides information for shows and movies available on local antenna broadcast TV, as well as where that content is available to stream, and the ability to pause live TV (although the feature requires a USB hard drive with at least 16GB storage).

    In January 2020, Roku created a badge to certify devices as working with a Roku TV model.[citation needed] The first certified brands were TCL North America, Sound United, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, and Classé.[citation needed]

    In January 2021, a Roku executive said one out of three smart TVs sold in the United States and Canada came with Roku's operating system built-in.[65]

    Software[edit]

    The Roku box runs a custom Linux distribution called Roku OS. Updates to the software include bug fixes, security updates, feature additions, and many new interface revisions. Roku pushes OS updates to supported devices in a staggered release. OS updates are rolled out to a percentage group of candidate devices to ensure the build is stable before being made available en masse.

    Content and programming[edit]

    Roku provides video services from a number of Internet-based video on demand providers.

    Roku channels[edit]

    Content on Roku devices is provided by Roku partners and are identified using the term channel. Users can add or remove different channels using the Roku Channel Store. Roku's website does not specify which channels are free to its users.

    Service creation for Roku Player[edit]

    The Roku is an open-platform device with a freely available software development kit that enables anyone to create new channels.[66] The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company describes as 'unique', but "similar to Visual Basic" and "similar to JavaScript".[67]

    Developers who wish to test their channels before a general release, or who wish to limit viewership, can create "private" channels that require a code be entered by the user in the account page of the Roku website. These private channels, which are not part of the official Roku Channel Store, are neither reviewed or certified by Roku.[68][69]

    There is an NDK (Native Developer Kit) available, though it has added restrictions.[67]

    The Roku Channel[edit]

    Roku launched its own streaming channel on its devices in October 2017. It is ad-supported, but free. Its licensed content includes movies and TV shows from studios such as Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros., Disney, and Universal as well as Roku channel content publishers American Classics, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu. It is implementing an ad revenue sharing model with content providers. On August 8, 2018, The Roku Channel became available on the web as well.[70] Roku also added the "Featured Free" section as the top section of its main menu from which users can get access to direct streaming of shows and movies from its partners.[71]

    In January 2019, premium subscription options from select content providers were added to The Roku Channel.[citation needed]

    Originally only available in the U.S.,[72] it launched in the UK on April 7, 2020, with a different selection of movies and TV shows, and without premium subscription add-ons.[73]

    On January 8, 2021, Roku announced that it had acquired the original content library of the defunct mobile video service Quibi for an undisclosed amount, reported to be around $100 million.[74][75] The content is being rebranded as Roku Originals.[76]

    Controversies[edit]

    Non-certified channels[edit]

    The Daily Beast alleged that non-certified channels on Roku eased access to materials promoting conspiracy theories and terrorism content.[77]

    In June 2017, a Mexico City court banned the sale of Roku products in Mexico, following claims by Televisa (via its Izzi cable subsidiary), that the devices were being used for subscription-based streaming services that illegally stream television content without permission from copyright holders. The devices used Roku's private channels feature to install the services, which were all against the terms of service Roku applies for official channels available in its store. Roku defended itself against the allegations as such, stating that these channels were not officially certified and that the company takes active measures to stop illegal streaming services.[78] The 11th Collegiate Court in Mexico City overturned the decision in October 2018, with Roku returning to the Mexican market soon after; Televisa's streaming service Blim TV would also launch on the platform.[79]

    In August 2017 Roku began to display a prominent disclaimer when non-certified channels are added, warning that channels enabling piracy may be removed "without prior notice".[80][69][81] In mid-May 2018, a software glitch caused some users to see copyright takedown notices on legitimate services such as Netflix and YouTube. Roku acknowledged and patched the glitch.[82][83]

    Carriage disputes[edit]

    Pay television-styled carriage disputes emerged on the Roku platform in 2020, as the company requires providers to agree to revenue sharing for subscription services that are billed through the platform, and to hold 30% of advertising inventory.[84] On September 18 of that same year, Roku announced that NBCUniversalTV Everywhere services would be removed from its devices "as early as this weekend", due to its refusal to carry the company's streaming service Peacock under terms it deemed "unreasonable".[84] It reached an agreement with NBCUniversal later that day.[85]HBO Max was unavailable on Roku since its launch until December 2020 due to similar disputes over revenue sharing, particularly in regards to an upcoming ad-supported tier.[86][87] On December 17 of that same year, HBO Max began streaming on Roku.[88]

    Another dispute, starting mid-December 2020, caused Spectrum customers to be unable to download the Spectrum TV streaming app to their Roku devices; existing customers could retain the app, but would lose it upon deletion, even to fix software bugs. This dispute was resolved on August 17, 2021.[89][90]

    On April 30, 2021, Roku removed the over-the-top television service YouTube TV from its Channels Store, preventing it from being downloaded. The company accused operator Google LLC of making demands regarding its YouTube app that it considered "predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory", including enhanced access to customer data, giving YouTube greater prominence in Roku's search interface, and requiring that Roku implement specific hardware standards that could increase the cost of its devices. Roku accused Google of "leveraging its YouTube monopoly to force an independent company into an agreement that is both bad for consumers and bad for fair competition."[91][92]

    Google claimed that Roku had "terminated our deal in bad faith amidst our negotiation", stating that it wanted to renew the "existing reasonable terms" under which Roku offered YouTube TV. Google denied Roku's claims regarding customer data and prominence of the YouTube app, and stated that its carriage of a YouTube app was under a separate agreement, and unnecessarily brought into negotiations.[93] As a partial workaround, YouTube began to deploy an update to its main app on Roku and other platforms, which integrates the YouTube TV service.[92][94]

    See also[edit]

    Notes[edit]

    1. ^ abcdefghijIn the first generation players, the size of flash memory limited the number of channels that could be installed. Later models (>2100) removed that limit.
    2. ^ abc1080p at p24 or p30 only.
    3. ^The component video connector on the Roku XDS (2100X) is a nonstandard 3.5mm connector and a proprietary adapter cable, which is sold separately, is effectively required to use this.[41]
    4. ^ abBluetooth remote optional.
    5. ^ ab1080p at p60 only.
    6. ^1080p at p24.
    7. ^ abcdefgAnalog audio output is available only through the headphone jack on the remote.
    8. ^WiFi Direct Remote optional.

    References[edit]

    1. ^ ab"The Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame: Roku DVP N1000". IEEE Spectrum. December 6, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    2. ^"Roku tops 55M active accounts as user growth and engagement slow in Q2". FierceVideo. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
    3. ^ abcButler, Dave. "History of Roku: Timeline and Facts". TheStreet. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
    4. ^ abCarr, Austin (January 23, 2013). "Inside Netflix's Project Griffin: The Forgotten History Of Roku Under Reed Hastings". Fastcompany. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
    5. ^ abBouma, Luke (December 16, 2015). "A Short History of The Roku Player". Cord Cutter News. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
    6. ^"Roku buys adtech platform dataxu for $150 million". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
    7. ^Hansell, Saul (May 20, 2008). "Netflix to Sell a Device for Instantly Watching Movies on TV Sets". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 5, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    8. ^Dumas, Daniel (May 20, 2008). "Review: Roku Netflix Set Top Box Is Just Shy of Totally Amazing". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    9. ^Falcone, John. "Roku Player review: Roku Player". CNET. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    10. ^Frakes, Dan (November 22, 2009). "Hands on: Roku's updated Player software and new Channel Store". Macworld. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    11. ^Krasnoff, Barbara (May 27, 2010). "Roku makes its Netflix channel better -- a lot better". Computerworld. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
    12. ^Caldwell, Serenity (August 30, 2010). "Roku cuts player prices, plans 1080p support for HD-XR model". Macworld. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    13. ^"Roku launches revamped HD, XD, and XDS players, starting at $59". Engadget. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
    14. ^Spangler, Todd (September 2, 2015). "Roku Drops Support for 'Classic' Streaming Boxes". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    15. ^Falcone, John. "Roku officially unveils new game-enabled video players". CNET. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    16. ^"Roku announces $50 LT model, will add HBO Go streaming to all of its boxes this month". Engadget. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    17. ^"Roku unveils Streaming Stick, squeezes box into MHL dongle". Engadget. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    18. ^Isaac, Mike (January 4, 2012). "New Roku Streaming Stick: Smart TV Sans Set-Top Box". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    19. ^Bishop, Bryan (October 29, 2012). "Roku adds universal search channel for movies and TV". The Verge. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    20. ^"Roku PSA: Here's how to tell the new Roku 2 and Roku 3 from the old versions". TechHive. April 27, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    21. ^"Roku 3, a faster and more powerful media player, to go on sale". Los Angeles Times. March 5, 2013.
    22. ^"Roku Unveils Its 4K Streamer, The Roku 4, Plus New Software, Discovery Features, And Upgraded Mobile App". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
    23. ^"Roku Announces All-New Streaming Player Line Up Starting at $29.99 | Roku Online Newsroom". Roku.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
    24. ^Katzmaier, David (September 26, 2016). "Roku unveils five new streaming boxes with prices as low as $30". CNET. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
    25. ^"Roku rolls out Roku OS 8, refreshes TV hardware with 4K and faster processors". The Verge. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
    26. ^"Introducing the new Roku player lineup". Roku Blog. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
    27. ^"Netflix ends support for some older Roku players on December 1st". Engadget. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
    28. ^"Introducing the new Roku player lineup". Roku Blog. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
    29. ^Dunn, Jeff (April 13, 2021). "Roku's latest streaming device gives 4K, HDR, and a voice remote for $40". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
    30. ^"Introducing the all-new Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K+". Roku Blog. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
    31. ^"Roku Streaming Stick 4K — Powerful & portable". Roku Website. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
    32. ^"Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ — Powerful & portable". Roku Website. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
    33. ^"Roku Ultra LT — Powerful 4K streaming". Roku Website. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
    34. ^"Roku OS 10.5 offers easy access to content, new mobile features, and expanded surround sound capabilities". Roku Blog. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
    35. ^"NXP and Roku Enable Instant Enjoyment of New Release Movies" (Press release). March 4, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    36. ^"Netflix Player source code released". Hack a Day. July 2, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    37. ^ abHiggins, Tim (September 29, 2010). "Roku XDS Reviewed – Inside". SmallNetBuilder. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    38. ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuv"Developer Guide". roku.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
    39. ^ abc"MIPS-Based Products". Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    40. ^Lueke, Alan (November 12, 2010). "Netgear Roku XD: Streaming for the Masses". AnandTech. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    41. ^"What is the component cable?". Roku. July 22, 2010.
    42. ^Detwiler, Bill (January 14, 2011). "Roku XDS Teardown". TechRepublic. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    43. ^O'Brien, Terrence (September 27, 2011). "Budget-friendly Roku LT pops up at the FCC as the 2400X (Updated with pics)". Engadget. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    44. ^ abc"New Roku HD player hits the FCC with composite out, new remote, does away with microSD storage". Wireless Goodness. March 15, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
    45. ^ abcO'Brien, Terrence (June 29, 2011). "Roku 2 line passes through the FCC with modest hardware updates and a reset button". Engadget. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    46. ^"Roku 2 XS 3100R Streaming Media Adapter". Hearst Electronic Products and iSuppli. October 26, 2011. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
    47. ^ ab"Roku". Roku.
    48. ^"TempConfidential_(3400, 3420)Internal photos_20120921 - Internal Photos FCC ID: TC2-R1005 Document ID 1799488". fccid.net.
    49. ^"Roku unveils new video-streaming stick in response to popularity of Google's Chromecast". Fox News.
    50. ^ abcdefghRoku. "Roku". Roku.
    51. ^Roku. "Roku Streaming Stick". Roku. Archived from the original on September 23, 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
    52. ^"Roku Streaming Stick (3600R)". wikidevi.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
    Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roku

    Media roku streaming

    The best media streaming device connects you with the video and audio content you want in the fastest, most helpful way. We’ve recommended Roku devices since 2012, but now Roku’s reign has come to an end. The Google Chromecast with Google TV is our new favorite thanks to a redesigned interface that better reflects how people watch video in 2021, and it feels completely modern compared with the competition.

    Google’s Chromecast with Google TV has a redesigned menu system that does the best job of finding and organizing content, as well as all the features we look for in a media streaming device—including support for Dolby Vision HDR video and Dolby Atmos audio for the highest quality in picture and sound. Instead of presenting a home screen with a bunch of separate streaming services (such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and the like), Google TV groups all your recently watched shows and movies together along with your watchlist of preferred content—making it easier and faster for you to find what you want to watch. The player has a compact size and comes with a useful remote that supports voice search through Google Assistant. The downsides are that the menu isn’t very customizable and this device can’t draw power from your TV’s USB port as many competitors can.

    The Roku Streaming Stick+ has the widest selection of services overall, and the player supports 4K HDR10 video (but not Dolby Vision) and Dolby Atmos audio. The convenient stick design plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI input and can receive power via your TV’s USB port. The RF remote has dedicated power and volume controls for your TV, works through walls and cabinetry, and lets you search with voice. Roku’s app, for iOS or Android, lets you watch shows and movies with headphones to avoid disturbing others, and the recent addition of AirPlay 2 lets you stream easily from iOS devices. But Roku’s interface feels dated and doesn’t integrate all your recently watched and preferred content into one menu the way the Chromecast does.

    Why you should trust us

    I’ve reviewed TVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater equipment since 2008. I’m ISF-trained for evaluating image quality, and I’m up to date on all of the current and future HDR standards and what to look for when evaluating that content on media players. I’ve been testing media streaming devices for Wirecutter since 2012, and I own all the current platforms for comparison.

    Who this is for

    If you use only one or two streaming services—say, Disney+ and Netflix—you probably don’t need a separate media streaming box. Almost all current TVs have built-in support for the most popular streaming services, as do many cable and satellite boxes, gaming consoles, and Blu-ray players.

    The main reason to get a dedicated streaming device is to gain access to streaming services and apps that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access—and to have all that content presented to you in the way you find most intuitive. Typically, streaming media players include more channels, a more responsive user interface, and better search and organization features. Also, support for newer streaming services often comes to streaming boxes before it comes to TVs. With such a wide selection of streaming services, as well as access to live TV through services like Sling, a media streamer can allow you to cut out cable or satellite TV completely. Some cable companies let you replace a monthly cable-box rental with a streaming device. With cable-box rentals costing $10 a month or more, a streaming device can pay for itself pretty quickly.

    A streaming box can also give you easy access to the video and music content you already own and let you play it on any TV in your house. You can access and play media stored on your home network (either on a computer or on a NAS device) without needing to hook a computer up to your display.

    Some streaming boxes also offer the ability to play games, though advanced gamers are likely to prefer a gaming console.

    How we picked and tested

    The single most important thing any media streamer must do is play back the content you want to watch. If you get most of your content from a service that a particular streaming device doesn’t support, that device will not work for you. A streaming box with a wide selection of content sources is a better choice than one with a limited selection. These days most services are available on every device, but some popular services are missing on certain devices.

    Another essential thing to consider is how the streaming device integrates all the different services together into a user-friendly interface. If you use only a couple of streaming services, it’s easy enough to launch a specific app and find what you want to watch. But if you subscribe to a variety of services, you may prefer to have all that content integrated on the home screen so that you can see a list of everything you’ve recently watched without needing to launch the specific app to find where you left off.

    A good search feature also makes it easier for you to find the content you want. Many media streamers search across a limited number of services or prioritize content from a source where they earn income. For instance, Amazon’s Fire TV prioritizes search results from Amazon’s own streaming service, even if that isn’t your preferred service. A streaming platform that looks across more services and provides both free and pay options helps you find your desired content at the lowest price.

    Your streaming box should also allow you to customize the interface and prioritize the services—or, ideally, the content—you watch the most. An arrangement that places your favorite services or shows up front lets you more easily get to what you want to watch. An ideal streaming device is ecosystem-agnostic and allows you—rather than the device manufacturer—to make decisions.

    Most every new TV has a 4K resolution and supports high dynamic range (HDR) video playback, so your streaming box should, too. The more HDR formats a streaming device supports (Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG), the more compatible and future-proof it is with newer HDR TVs. At this point, the price difference between 4K and 1080p media streamers is $10 or less, so there isn’t much reason to get a 1080p one.

    A growing number of streaming services also support Dolby Atmos audio (which adds overhead and height effects to create an even more immersive surround-sound experience), so we prefer media streamers that can output Dolby Atmos audio to your Atmos-capable AV receiver or soundbar.

    We test every media streamer in a basic system with only a TV, as well as in a complete home theater system with a Dolby Atmos soundbar. We test all of them over Wi-Fi, though some support Ethernet as well. All of the TVs we use in our tests support 4K HDR to take full advantage of the streaming boxes, and many of them are compatible with Dolby Vision.

    During our tests, we access a wide variety of content from services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Movies Anywhere, Sling TV, and YouTube, and we compare the systems’ integrated search and organization features.

    Our pick: Google Chromecast with Google TV

    The Chromecast with GoogleTV

    The Google Chromecast with Google TV is the best media streaming device because it supports a lot of streaming services and presents your choices in a more modern, unified interface that lets you find what you want quickly. It supports 4K HDR video (including the HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision formats) and Dolby Atmos audio, for the highest-quality picture and sound you can get from streaming services. Its compact size allows it to hide behind your TV, though you do need to connect it to an external power supply (as opposed to your TV’s powered USB port). Unlike with previous Chromecast models, which relied on your phone for control, Google finally has included a handheld remote with voice control via Google Assistant; the remote also allows you to control power, volume, and input selection on your TV.

    The Chromecast supports every major streaming service. If there is a service you want to watch that Google doesn’t support natively on the Chromecast, you can often stream it directly to the player from your computer or mobile device using the Cast option built into the app.

    For this player, Google updated its Android TV platform and renamed it Google TV. The best feature of this updated platform is how it gathers together, in a modern interface, all the content you watch. Instead of forcing you to switch between different apps to find something to watch, the home screen presents everything you’ve recently watched or added to your watchlist, organized in a single location. You can select a recently watched show and go straight to the next episode, for example, or pick up where you left off in a movie more quickly than you can with other streaming devices. The menu also offers recommendations pulled from across all the different services, instead of limiting the recommendations to a single service.

    The Google TV interface.

    When you select a show or movie, the Google TV menu also gives you a lot of information about the title, including the Rotten Tomatoes rating, cast info, different sources you can stream it from, and related content. You can rate a show to improve your recommendations or add it to your watchlist so you can come back to it later. Since this functionality works across all the different streaming services, it delivers a more consistent experience.

    Searching for content with the Chromecast works great. It consistently found what I was looking for across various services and sources, including titles from my digital movie library (which some other competitors don’t search). Contextual searches such as “Oscar-winning comedies,” “movies with Brad Pitt,” or “movies with the woman from Amelie” pull up the relevant results quickly, though sometimes you might need to rephrase your query to get improved results.

    The Chromecast's search result interface

    Comparing search results: Google TV provides Rotten Tomatoes ratings, show information, and cast and crew information in a search for “The Queen’s Gambit.” You can easily add the item to your watchlist, as well. Photo: Chris Heinonen

    The Roku's search result interface.

    Comparing search results: Roku gives less information in response to the same search, providing only a link to watch the show. Choosing to follow the show unfortunately doesn’t add it to a watchlist. Photo: Chris Heinonen

    The Fire Stick's search result interface.

    Comparing search results: The Fire TV search brings up information about the show but no images or cast and crew information, and no way to add it to a watchlist. Photo: Chris Heinonen

    Like a streaming stick, the Chromecast dongle plugs directly into a TV’s HDMI port (no additional HDMI cable needed). With this new Chromecast, Google finally decided to include a remote control—and a nice one, at that. It’s simple to use and easy to hold, and it includes direct buttons for Netflix and YouTube. A microphone allows for voice search, and the remote can control your TV, as well, offering the power and volume controls that most competing remotes have but also an input control so you can switch to the correct input for the Chromecast without needing the TV remote. It supports TV control via both HDMI-CEC and IR. Regrettably, it isn’t backlit, so you can’t easily see the buttons in the dark.

    The Chromecast remote.

    If you happen to get your live TV service from YouTube TV, the Google TV interface adds a Live tab that integrates this service so you don’t need to launch the app to see what’s on. This feature isn’t proprietary to Google and its services; Sling TV recently updated its app to support this feature, and others can in the future, as well.

    I have multiple streaming devices hooked up to my main TV, representing every major platform, and I keep coming back to the Chromecast with Google TV because the interface makes it so much easier to find what I want to watch and offers superior recommendations.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers

    As useful as the Google TV interface is, you can’t fully customize it as you can some others. A banner at the top contains four suggested movies or shows, which might come from a service you don’t subscribe to and can’t be deleted. You also have no way to completely ignore a certain service. In my case, the content recommendations were almost always from services I used, so this wasn’t a big issue for me—but it likely will annoy some people.

    Although the Chromecast uses a USB-C–to–USB-A power cable, the device can’t draw power from a TV’s USB port because the connection doesn’t provide enough juice, so you need to connect the Chromecast to an AC outlet. Streaming sticks from Amazon and Roku typically can run on the USB outlets on a TV, saving you from needing to connect them to a nearby power outlet and making them more convenient travel companions.

    The search recommendations that work so well on Google TV do so only because you’re sharing your browsing information with Google. You can disable this function in the device’s privacy settings, but doing so means losing out on a lot of what makes the Google TV platform so effective. The other streaming platforms use this same information to make recommendations to you—their recommendations just aren’t as good as those that Google TV offers right now—so this is an issue affecting every device.

    The Chromecast doesn’t support the Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) HDR standard, though currently very little content uses that standard compared with HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

    At this writing, Google TV doesn’t have apps to replace your cable TV box from companies like Xfinity, so you need to cast such content from your smartphone or computer instead.

    Some owners have complained that the amount of storage in the Chromecast is rather limited compared with the capacity of some other players; eventually you might have to redownload less-used apps. We didn’t run into this problem, but once Stadia and other gaming platforms that demand more space migrate onto the Chromecast, this limitation might become an issue for some people. We don’t think most people will have a problem in this regard, but we will keep an eye on it.

    Runner-up: Roku Streaming Stick+

    The Roku and its remote.

    The Roku Streaming Stick+ is our former top pick and still a great choice if you want the widest selection of services presented in a simple, albeit somewhat dated, user interface. It supports 4K HDR video (HDR10, but not Dolby Vision or HDR10+) and Dolby Atmos audio, and it has an external antenna to potentially provide better Wi-Fi reception. The recent addition of AirPlay 2 makes it a good choice for streaming music and movies from Mac and iOS devices. This is an HDMI stick that plugs directly into an HDMI input and can draw power from a compatible USB port, so you can easily add it to a variety of TVs and other home entertainment systems.

    Roku still has a larger selection of content than anyone else—including most of the major video and music services—and it continues to grow. But recently we’ve seen Roku get into more disputes with content providers than the other platforms. DirecTV’s app was missing for the first half of 2020, NBC’s Peacock service was not available for a long time, and HBO Max only became available on the Roku platform as of December 2020, over five months after it launched. The fact that such conflicts seem to be occurring more often than they used to makes us less confident in Roku going forward.

    Roku's interface.

    For cable and satellite customers, Roku has apps from Xfinity and other providers that Google TV currently lacks. The apps can take the place of a cable or satellite box. Since rental fees for those boxes can easily be $5 to $10 a month, replacing them can save you money every month. In contrast, most of these apps are available for older Android TV systems but haven’t moved over to Google TV yet.

    Although the Streaming Stick+ can play back HDR10 content, it lacks support for more advanced HDR formats with dynamic metadata like Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Every streaming service that offers these more-advanced formats also offers that content in an HDR10 version, but it might not look quite as good. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ provide extra information for every scene, so highlights and shadows can have more preserved details, and I typically notice that colors are more saturated and accurate.

    Roku’s home screen consists of a grid of individual streaming apps. You can customize the menu to place your favorite apps first. If you use Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV the most, for example, you can put those three apps at the top. If you don’t use Netflix or Amazon Prime Video at all, you can remove those apps entirely. This feature makes Roku superior to the Fire TV platform, which gives priority to Amazon content. But Roku’s interface is not as helpful at finding and organizing titles as Google TV is. You can’t easily see all your recently watched movies and shows across platforms, so you have to launch individual apps to reach them. The search function on Roku does a good job of finding shows across the different platforms, but it lacks the rich context and related-content information that Google TV offers, so it feels far more limited.

    The voice remote uses RF to communicate with the Roku Streaming Stick+ (so it works through walls and furniture), but it adds an IR output for controlling power and volume on your TV or projector, and it also has a mute button, something that many competing remotes lack.

    Wi-Fi antenna attached to the Roku device.

    Roku’s private-listening feature allows you to listen to shows and movies using headphones. However, the remote lacks a headphone jack, so you have to use the Roku app for iOS or Android to play your content. In some cases this arrangement is better, especially if your headphones don’t have a 3.5 mm jack, but some people dislike having to use their smartphone for this. If you’re using Bluetooth headphones with your smartphone, you may notice lag between the video and audio, but we didn’t with wired headphones.

    The addition of AirPlay 2 and Apple’s TV app gives the Streaming Stick+ a lot of the perks of an Apple TV at a much lower price. If a certain channel that’s important to you is missing from the Roku platform, as a Mac owner or iOS user you can stream content from the app to the Streaming Stick+. However, this arrangement requires you to keep the Mac or iOS device streaming the whole time and can sometimes be a heavy drain on the battery.

    Overall we still like the Roku platform, as the things that made it a pick for over eight years are still present—but it simply isn’t as intuitive as the Google TV interface, and Roku’s recent issues with content providers cause us some worry.

    Security and privacy

    Wirecutter takes security and privacy issues seriously and investigates, as much as possible, how the companies whose products we recommend deal with customer data. We reached out to the companies that produce our top picks and asked them to provide information that we think is of primary concern for any potential buyer. Here’s what we learned:

    How our picks compare

    What specific user data do you collect (location, voice requests, user data, etc.)?

    Google: We collect information about activity in our services, which can be used to tailor and recommend content on the home screen. This can be viewed in the privacy policy. The user is able to visit their Google Account at any time to manage activity information used for content recommendations.

    Where is that data stored and what measures are taken to secure it?

    Google: Google stores the data, and it is encrypted using 256-bit keys by default; Google uses standard NIST-recommended crypto algorithms (like AES CTR + SHA1 HMAC, AES GCM).

    What, if any, data is shared, sold, or accessible to third parties or affiliated parts of your organization, including via API and other integrations?

    Google: None of this data is sold outside of Google.In select instances, we share limited user data with third-party apps to optimize the user experience—for example, to enable seamless login across devices. In these instances, a user must consent to sharing their information as part of the onboarding process, and they have the option to change their preferences and opt out at any time. Only the data required to enable the product experience is shared.

    A user can also choose to link their Google Account to Movies Anywhere for access to purchased and rented content from other platforms. By doing so, the user is sharing their content library with Movies Anywhere.

    Users can unlink their accounts at any time.

    If customer data is shared or sold, are customers notified, and are there provisions to secure that data after it has been transferred to a third party?

    Are your customers able to opt out of sharing some or all of their data—and if so, how?

    Google: Yes, this is built into the setup process. At any time, the user is able to visit Privacy in the Google TV Settings to manage permissions or visit My Google Activity to view and delete captured watch history. There is also an apps-only mode on the device that people can use to turn off personalized recommendations entirely.

    Does your device contain inactive or active but unadvertised hardware integration such as sensors, triggering always-on microphones, or location services?

    Google: There are no unadvertised hardware integrations. You can find more information via Google Support.

    What to look forward to

    Roku is replacing the Streaming Stick+ with the Streaming Stick 4K, though the existing version was already a 4K device. The updated Streaming Stick 4K maintains the same form factor, including the external wireless antenna, but adds an updated processor for improved speed, support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, and improved Wi-Fi performance. It also has support for AirPlay 2, making it easy to stream content from any Apple device. There is a version for $20 more, called the Streaming Stick 4K+, which is identical to the Streaming Stick 4K but replaces the standard remote with the rechargeable Voice Remote Pro.

    Roku also announced an upcoming 10.5 OS update with more free streaming channels, improved voice search, better music integration, and the ability to run a complete 5.1 surround sound system using certain Roku-compatible speakers and soundbars with a Roku TV.

    The competition

    Roku

    The 2020 Roku Ultra is the first Roku device to support Dolby Vision and offers improved Wi-Fi support. It also has a private-listening mode on the remote, along with Ethernet, MicroSD, and USB connections to make it the most flexible Roku streamer available, but it’s overkill for most people. In addition, it supports AV1, an improved streaming codec that services will use in the future to offer improved image quality. The shortcut buttons allow the device to learn your voice commands, so “Open Amazon” or “Listen to Radiohead,” for example, causes the appropriate apps and radio stations to start, but that functionality seems useful for only one person. Since the shortcut buttons are labeled only 1 and 2 on the remote, most people won’t know what the buttons do until they try them; the shortcuts can’t do complex tasks, but they are easy to reprogram. Compared with the Streaming Stick+, apps do load noticeably quicker on the Ultra, but you’re still saving only a second or two in almost every case. Because the Ultra is almost twice the price, we think the smaller size and lower price of the Streaming Stick+ make that model a better option, but Dolby Vision users might want to opt for the Ultra.

    The 2021 Roku Express 4K+ is very compact, which makes it easy to mount behind a TV, and now includes a remote that doesn’t require line of sight. Compared with the Streaming Stick+, the Express 4K+ supports HDR10+ but has lower-quality Wi-Fi. Right now, very few services support HDR10+ (only Amazon and Paramount+ currently), and many brands of TVs still don’t support it, so we think the lower-quality Wi-Fi is a bigger issue. But overall the Express 4K+ and Streaming Stick+ are essentially identical in day-to-day use.

    Roku recently introduced the $30 Voice Remote Pro, which combines all the best features of the various Roku remotes—including a headphone jack and programmable buttons—with a rechargeable battery. There is also an always-on assistant for using voice commands with your Roku, but you can disable this if you don’t want it. It works with most Roku devices and TVs, and feels remarkably light due to the integrated battery weighing less than AAA ones. As nice as the rechargeability is, you should only buy it if your current Roku remote lacks other features like the private-listening headphone jack or voice control, since buying rechargeable AAA batteries does the same thing and they can be used in other devices. The remote also recharges over Micro-USB while most devices are shifting toward the superior USB-C connection.

    Apple TV

    The Apple TV 4K (2021 version) supports almost every service, can handle Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos content, and has a simple user interface. Apple's TV App continues to get better and lets you combine content from most services (other than Netflix) into one unified menu. This player can also support an external TV tuner for cord cutters and run more powerful games and apps than other streaming devices. Apple finally redesigned the remote, after years of customer complaints, by adding a standard directional pad that makes navigation easier. But the Apple TV costs far more than the competition, and that extra processing power isn’t really used when streaming content. If you plan to take advantage of other features that the Apple TV offers, like playing lots of games on Apple Arcade, then you might need the increased power, but it just costs too much if you’re only streaming.

    Amazon Fire TV

    Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K looks almost identical to the Roku Streaming Stick+, with a compact size that allows it to hide behind the TV and a remote that can control the TV volume and power, too. It supports 4K HDR video, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Amazon completely redid the Fire TV interface, but it still prioritizes Amazon content while relegating Netflix and others to also-ran status. The search results are less accurate than those on the other platforms and show fewer results. The Fire TV interface also has ads on every page, including a new head banner with full video and audio. Integrated Alexa support is nice, but we’d rather pair an Echo or Dot speaker with one of our picks.

    The updated Fire TV Cube combines a Fire TV Stick, an Echo Dot, and an IR emitter in a single box. It is almost identical in streaming performance to the Fire TV Stick 4K, though it can handle Netflix in Dolby Atmos. If you also want an Alexa speaker and the ability to control your cable box and Blu-ray player with your voice, this model might be worth looking at, but it typically costs far more than a normal media streamer. You can add an Echo Dot and the new Amazon Fire TV Blaster to get the same functionality from multiple other streaming boxes.

    Amazon introduced the Fire TV Stick Lite in 2020, but since it’s capable of only 1080p, we recommend that people spend a little extra money to get the 4K model instead.

    Gaming systems and built-in TV apps

    The gaming console, Blu-ray player, or smart TV you already own probably streams Netflix and plays some local files, too. These devices are just as capable and typically offer a lot of the same content as most streaming devices do. However, most of them lack the extensive selection of content that dedicated streaming boxes provide and omit cross-app searching—they’re fine, but a streaming device offers more.

    Android TV

    The Nvidia Shield TV has always been our favorite Android TV device, thanks to powerful hardware that is way ahead of the competition. It supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos and has upscaling technology that makes non-4K content look much better on 4K TVs than the competition can muster. It has been a good choice for people who like to use the GeForce Now platform for gaming, or for people who want the Pro model to use with a Plex server or emulator. But right now it doesn’t have the updated Google TV interface, so it doesn’t integrate services like the Chromecast does, and the search feature isn’t as powerful. At some point the Shield TV should get upgraded to the newer platform, and then it might be a better choice since it’s more powerful, and equipped with more storage, than the Chromecast.

    The TiVo Stream 4K is an Android TV–based HDMI dongle that incorporates software from TiVo, making it easier to find content from the services you subscribe to, but it only supports certain services for this. As a result, if you’re looking for content that TiVo’s app supports, you can stay inside its app, but you need to go back to the standard Android TV interface for other apps. The search feature shows the different platforms that a title is available on, but it can’t show the prices, so you don’t know which option is best for you. When I found a title I was interested in, instead of offering a page with information about that show (for example, Bojack Horseman), it would just launch Netflix to show that information. This means a lot of going into and out of apps as you try to find something to watch, which is jarring.

    The Xiaomi Mi Box S is an Android TV box that offers Ultra HD support but isn’t as capable as the Shield TV. The Mi Box S isn’t as powerful for local content as the Shield TV is. The interface isn’t nearly as responsive as those of other devices, and in our tests, when we set it to select a TV mode automatically, it indicated that all of our 4K HDR TVs were capable of only 720p resolution. You can manually fix such an error, but it will leave people disappointed if they don’t realize it’s happening. On top of all that, the remote lacks the TV controls for power and volume that have become standard features over the past year.

    Sling’s AirTV Mini is designed to integrate Sling TV with Android TV, as well as to integrate with a networked TV tuner so that you get Sling TV channels and your local over-the-air channels in a unified TV guide. For people who want this Sling TV integration, the AirTV might be a reasonable option, but for people looking for a general-purpose media streamer, there are cheaper, more full-featured options that don’t automatically boot into Sling TV every time you power them on.

    Android (but not Android TV)

    A number of companies are making boxes that run Android, not Android TV. The advantage to these boxes is that they can run a wider variety of apps, including Kodi (formerly XBMC). The downside is that traditional Android is designed around a touchscreen, so these boxes are difficult to use without one, or at least without a mouse and keyboard. A TV remote doesn’t cut it, and these boxes are harder to use from the couch, anyway. You’re also using apps designed for a different screen format than your TV’s. And because such a box costs more than a dedicated streamer, this category doesn’t make much sense for most people.

    About your guide

    Chris Heinonen

    Chris Heinonen is a senior staff writer reporting on TVs, projectors, and sometimes audio gear at Wirecutter. He has been covering AV since 2008 for a number of online publications and is an ISF-certified video calibrator. He used to write computer software and hopes to never do that again, and he also loves to run and test gear for running guides.

    Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-media-streamers/
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