Why you should be excited about Roku’s new streamers
Amazon, Apple and Google aren’t the only major players in the “tiny streaming box” game – Roku has kept pace with its giant rivals through a combination of great design, affordability and functionality.
And now the company has unveiled a whole bunch of new streaming devices for your living room – no fewer than five, in fact. All will be available from early October onwards, and the entry price is just £30.
Each of them has its advantages; here are the reasons you should be looking forward to their arrivals.
Roku Express - the really, really affordable one
Available for a measly £30, the Roku Express is (along with the similarly-priced Google Chromecast) the most affordable mainstream streaming device on the market.
As you’d imagine, it’s a simple gadget, but does offer access to the whole gamut of Roku channels - some 2,000 or more of them (in the UK this includes Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Now TV, YouTube, Demand5, ITV Hub, Sky Sports and Amazon Video). And one of the best things (common to all Rokus) is that it allows you to hunt for content across all of them with a single search. And unlike the app-controlled Chromecast, it comes with a dedicated infrared remote control.
Roku Express+ - the one to connect to your hi-fi
Available for a £10 premium over the nonplussed (hah!) Express, the Express+ features an analogue audio-video cable. Not only does that allow luddites with ageing, non-HDMI-having tellies to use a Roku (yes, we know you exist somewhere!) it also means you can hook it up to a stereo for music streaming. Roku devices support a Spotify channel, so you can see why that would appeal to music fans.
Roku Premiere - the one with 4K
At £80, the Premiere will be Roku’s most affordable 4K-capable streamer. In fact, while our US friends have been able to watch 4K via some Roku devices for a while already, this is the first 4K Roku to come to the UK - and that's a big deal if you're one of the thousands who own a 4K telly but are finding yourself short on 4K stuff to watch on it. Here, you can hunt down 4K videos from multiple sources via Roku’s 4K Spotlight channel. Like the cheaper models, the Premier also comes with an IR remote.
Roku Premiere+ - the HDR one
If you’ve got a 4K TV that also supports HDR, the Premiere+ might be the one to go for. At £100 it’s a little pricier than the standard Premiere, but its HDR skills should deliver colour and contrast that make your eyes pop – perhaps even more so than the extra detail of 4K’s pixel-packed resolution.
The Premiere+ features a couple of other noteworthy tweaks too: an Ethernet port (all the cheaper models are Wi-Fi only), and a headphone jack on the remote control for added privacy when viewing in a crowded room.
Roku Ultra - the everything but the kitchen sink one
The big kahuna. The G.O.A.T. La grande fromage. The Ultra sits at the summit of Roku’s range, delivering the same as the Premiere+ but with added connectivity and a remote control that supports voice search and gaming, and helps you to relocate it when it’s lost by emitting a noise. The price for this prince of streaming? £130.
We'll be getting our mitts and our eyes on the new Roku range as soon as is physically possible, so check back for full reviews soon.