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fredneck
Level 9

Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

We are thinking about getting another Roku. Ours is several years old now and was thinking about hooking it to the spare TV in the guest bedroom so when we have company spend the night they too can watch some Roku goodness in their room after we retire for the evening. At first I thought about just getting an Express or Streaming Stick then thought why not put our old Roku 3 we use our bed room in there which still seems to works fine and upgrade ours which we would use a lot more. I am a little torn between the 4K Stick or the newer 4K Premiere and even though our TV is not 4K I have heard these 4K Roku models tend to be a little faster or smoother on the menus than the 1080p models like the Roku 3. So is it worth it to go the 4K route or would I really just be wasting my money?
Roku is my favorite streamer, mkvXstream.com has my favorite Roku channels
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7 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

With a 4K player, you have something that will support it if per chance you replace the TV. New 4K TVs can be had so inexpensively now, I wouldn't buy a 1080 set anymore. I would prefer the Ultra, for two reasons. First, I like being able to hard wire the network connection, and second, since I stream a lot of media from my home server, the Ultra supports MPEG2 video. It's unknown if any of the other new players support that codec. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Re: Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

All of the currently available Roku devices have the same ARM Cortex A53 quad-core CPU running at @ 1.2 GHz, so there should be no discernible difference between them regarding the speed of navigating through menus or general performance as far as the CPU is concerned.

Some models do have more RAM than others. For example, the Stick+ and Ultra have 1 GB of RAM, whereas both Express models and the regular Stick only have 512 MB of RAM. I haven't seen an officially published spec for the new Premiere and Premiere+, but it's probably safe to assume they are also 512 MB since they're based on the Express model (essentially an Express with 4K added), and they're at the same price point as the regular Stick. (Edited to clarify: The Premiere and Premiere+ might also have 1 GB since they are 4K devices)

Another factor to consider is the NVM (flash) storage space for channels. The Stick+ and Ultra both feature 512 MB of storage space, whereas the rest of the models only have 256 MB of storage with no way to increase it (i.e. no microSD slot). If you only have one or two dozen channels, this probably won't be a big deal, but once you start adding a lot of channels, having insufficient storage space means it takes longer to load the channels.

A lesser factor when considering is the resolution of the Roku UI (User Interface or home page), which I believe is only 720p on the Express and regular Stick models, but full 1080p on the Stick+ and Ultra. I will assume that the Premiere and Premiere+ also have the 1080p UI, since they are 4K capable. There honestly is a bit of a difference between the 720p and 1080p home screens, with the 1080p looking more polished.

Take into consideration your WiFi situation. If you have good 5 GHz WiFi available, then you should consider the Stick, Stick+, or Ultra, which are the only three devices that have dual-band 802.11ac WiFi capability. The Express and Premiere models only have 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n capability. That means they'll be forced to operate in the more crowded 2.4 GHz band, which may come into play depending on how many devices you and your neighbors have on the 2.4 GHz band.

And finally, the remote control should be considered. Both Express models as well as the Premiere come with the basic infrared remote, which must be pointed directly at the Roku to work, and lacks all other enhanced features of the better remotes. The Premiere+, Stick, and Stick+ come with the voice remote that features voice search, TV volume, and TV on/off controls. That remote uses WiFi Direct, so no line of site is necessary to operate the Roku. The Ultra comes with the enhanced remote, which is similar to the voice remote but also features private listening headphone jack, with a pair of JBL headphones included.

Frankly, for your main TV, I wouldn't bother with anything less than the Stick+. Yes, it's the second most expensive device at $60, but it's a worthwhile upgrade and investment to gain double the RAM of the cheaper devices, more NVM storage space for channels, the 1080p Roku UI, dual-band WiFi, and the more capable remote.

 
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fredneck
Level 9

Re: Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

Yes thanks, that's some great info. Had no idea all current Roku models use the same central processor now. I also see your point as I bet when our TV goes out it will be harder than ever to find a TV that is not 4K. Just like it was hard to find a dumb TV anymore. Guess the righting is on the wall and buy the time we upgrade to a 4K TV the 8K TVs will be all the rage. 
Roku is my favorite streamer, mkvXstream.com has my favorite Roku channels
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DubTaylor
Level 10

Re: Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

I found myself needing a Roku recently. After the 7.7 Firmware Debacle I had sworn to never buy another Roku as long as I lived, but had to eat those words when I needed another Plex Device and the ONLY app Plex still works on is the Roku App - my choices were limited.

I got a Roku Ultra. I'm not disappointed. It seems to be working fine.

If you want to have ANY success with 4K, you'd better avoid sticks at ALL costs. 4K is a high bit rate thing. Staggering Bit Rates better describe it. Bit Rates so high with HEVC probably thrown into the mix somewhere, so you'd better have a capable box that doesn't require WiFi to get what is sure to be the biggest files you've ever seen across a network to your Roku.

I recommend The Ultra.
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fredneck
Level 9

Re: Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

We bought the Ultra and are very happy with it. Owned it several months now and it has not missed a beat. What a great media player!
Roku is my favorite streamer, mkvXstream.com has my favorite Roku channels
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overtimeman
Level 7

Re: Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

Yep.that's sound advice about getting the Ultra.If you have a 4K TV or going to get one the Ultra is king.It has a much better picture than my Fire TV2.Had my Sony 4K a year now and with the Ultra the picture is just "WOW" with content filmed in 4K.The Ultra will even upvert those 720p and 1080p movies to 3840x2160p 4K for you.Even the movies on tubi tv look great now.
I used to have a life before Roku!
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kentek
Level 7

Re: Which Roku Would You Get If You Bought One Today?

I guess it is the Roku Premier + as that is what i have. Faster than my old Roku 2. And, easier to set up.Never chrased and recovers most of the time on weak WIFI.

A bigger question might be WHY A ROKU and not a FireStick, Chrome Thingy, or Apple TV?

My answer to those who ask for my recommendation is as follows:
If you buy any streaming device or even have a SMART TV except for Roku, you become the product. Not only that, you can only stream those channels that they wish to let you stream. For instance, I have a client that wanted to get BritBox so he could watch old Brit TV on his Streaming Samsung TV, he could only buy Britbox by Episode event. On his FireStick the same. Ordered him a Roku Premier +, installed it and in 10 minutes he has totally forgotten the other streaming methods.
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