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Roku Streaming Stick Plus review: All of the 4K HDR streaming goodness, none of the fluff

Streaming device guide Roku has a whole lot eight models in its 2019 range, including updated versions of the $ 30 Roku Express and the $ 100 Roku Ultra. Despite this influx of new blood, the company’s best model is one of the oldest. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus transmits the 4K and HDR video from Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Apple TV and others have useful features like a voice remote with buttons that control your TV and Roku’s world-class streaming system. It has everything you need and none of the fluff, and permanent price drop to 50 US dollars makes it an even better value than it was two years ago.

The Streaming Stick Plus’s closest competition is the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4Kwhich also costs $ 50. The advantages over the Roku include Dolby Vision HDR Support and superior voice support thanks to Alexa. Fire TV’s menus look more modern than Roku’s, but they’re also cluttered and confusing, and direct you to Amazon’s own TV shows and movies.

To take full advantage of 4K apps, you’ll need a new 4K HDR television. Even if you don’t have one, consider the plus over cheaper non-4K streamers like Roku Express. The price difference between the two is so small that it may be worth paying for in case you want to get a 4K TV soon and be ready. Meanwhile, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is undoubtedly better value than the $ 180 price tag Apple TV 4K or $ 150 Nvidia shield.

In the two years since the Streaming Stick Plus was released, nothing has matched its simplicity, affordability, or performance. It’s Roku’s best streamer for the money, and Roku makes our favorite streaming system. Because of this, the Streaming Stick Plus remains our overall favorite streamer and a worthy recipient of the Tips Clear Editors’ Choice Award 2019.

Roku Need-to-Know-Ku

  • The Streaming Stick Plus was developed to hide behind your television and to connect directly to a free HDMI connection. If space is tight, you can use a male to female HDMI cable or a port saver, and Roku will even send you one for free.
  • The Advanced Wireless Receiver Cable plugs into the stick using an old-school mini-USB connection. The receiver is connected to the power supply unit supplied or a USB port on your television set for power supply.
  • If you are using your TV to power the stick, it will take longer to start up. Therefore, connecting directly to an air conditioner is usually the best way to go.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus

The thing in our right hand is the Advanced Wireless Receiver.

Sarah Tew / Tips Clear

  • You cannot use the Plus without the receiver cable. We tried plugging in an old USB to mini USB cable instead and got an error message.
  • In contrast to the Fire TV Stick 4K, the Plus lacks Dolby Vision HDR, so all HDRs are delivered as HDR10. This isn’t a big deal unless a) you have a Dolby Vision enabled TV, and b) Dolby Vision is performing significantly better compared to HDR10. If you want Dolby Vision, your only current streaming options are the Fire TV Stick 4K, the much more expensive Apple TV 4K or 2019 Nvidia Shield, or the apps built into your TV.
  • 4K HDR video on Roku is currently on Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Vudu, Apple TV and FandangoNow. Apps with 4K (but not HDR) support include Plex, UltraFlix, Toon Goggles, 4K Universe, and Smithsonian, as well as a few other niche apps. No other platform can match this selection.
  • Streaming in 4K requires more bandwidth, and in the case of Netflix a more expensive plan. Amazon recommends 15 Mbps for 4K streaming while YouTube and Netflix recommend 20.
  • The Roku Stick Plus can provide support Dolby Atmos, Dolby’s best in-home audio format. The only two apps currently Stream Atmos via Roku are Vudu and Amazon Prime Videoand it ran through our tests with no problems.
  • That a little faster Roku Ultra Most importantly, it offers the same features as the Streaming Stick Plus, but adds several remote-centric features. The remote has two shortcut keys, a headphone jack for private listening and a remote control finder so you don’t lose it between the sofa cushions. There’s also an SD card slot to expand storage for faster app loading, a USB port, and a wired ethernet port. Check out Roku’s full 2019 roster here.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Sarah Tew / Tips Clear

4K stay with the roku you know (ku)

The iPhone has always used a basic grid of apps because it works and people are used to it. So does Roku, and every time we ask the company reps for an update, they are essentially telling us that it is working too well to bother with. And for the most part we agree.

Roku’s homepage is fully customizable so you can move app tiles around to suit your taste. All apps, from Netflix to Toon Goggles, are equal. Scrolling through them is smooth and quick, they start quickly, and the responses in every app we tried were lightning fast. The user interface does not display individual shows and films on the home page, such as B. Fire TV, however, is visually simpler and less intrusive. There’s just one big ad to the right of the app list.

Stronger in apps and search, weaker in language

Roku continues to have more apps than the competition, as well as top-notch cross-platform search. We love that the results are sorted by price, especially since Movies Anywhere lets you consolidate your Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, and even iTunes libraries. If only Vudu updated their Roku app to something like the clean experience it uses on Apple TV.

Roku has a few extras not found elsewhere, including My feed and private headphone listening through the Roku app (if you want it on the remote you’ll need an Ultra) but the most important one is the Roku channel. It’s a hub for on-demand movies and TV shows, and includes Live news feeds, one Children’s area and even Subscriptions to services like HBO. Most of the content is free (with ads) and only available on Roku players, Samsung TVs, and mobile apps.

Featured Free is another Roku perk. The idea is to show TV shows from network apps that can be viewed instantly without having to log into those apps. Clicking on a show title such as New Amsterdam, Family Guy or Grey’s Anatomy starts the app (NBC, Fox Now or ABC) and plays the episode (with advertising). The section also includes movies from the Roku Channel and many older shows that are available for free, such as Seinfeld (from Sony’s Crackle), Duck Dynasty (from Tubi TV), or Hell’s Kitchen (from the Roku Channel).

30 Roku screenshots

Sarah Tew / Tips Clear

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