Roku Ultra and Streaming Stick+ review: High-end streaming with low-end frills

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

Roku players are the most popular dedicated TV streaming devices. That’s thanks in part to Roku’s commitment to serving the low end of the market with cheap streaming boxes made for 1080p TVs that don't have built-in smart TV features or apps. But can Roku compete with other devices at the high end, too?

This year, Roku announced five different streaming devices. As part of an effort to map the streaming box landscape, we’re going to look at the two that support 4K video—the Roku Ultra and the Roku Streaming Stick+—to see how they measure up. We’re reviewing these together because they offer very similar features and are oriented towards a similar target user—someone who wants 4K HDR streaming on their TV. All the other Roku devices cap out at 1080p.

Both devices compete with the Google Chromecast Ultra, the Amazon Fire TV, the Apple TV 4K, and the NVIDIA Shield TV at the high end of the streaming device market. Most of those other gadgets outdo the Roku Ultra and Streaming Stick+ in some key areas, but Roku has another advantage: its devices are not tied to any particular online content marketplace.

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