After several leaks, Roku as officially revealed their new lineup of streaming media boxes to the world. At the low end is the Roku Express, coming in at an impressively affordable price of $29.99, and at the upper end is the Roku Ultra, which replaces the Roku 4 from last year, at $129.99. If affordable 4K support is all you’re after, the $79.99 Roku Premiere has you covered, while the $99.99 Roku Premiere+ adds HDR and a few more features. Read on for a break down of each models specs and features.
The Roku Express is $29.99 and features the bare minimum needed to stream 1080p content. It has a micro USB port used for power and an HDMI port for video output with nothing else. Connectivity comes from 802.11n WiFi. The remote that comes with it is IR based, so you’ll have to put the small device someplace where the remote can see it.
The Roku Express+ is identical to the Roku Express except it also has a 3.5mm A/V port that allows you to connect an adapter cable for composite (yellow/red/white) video out. The adapter cable, which is included in the box, allows the Roku Express+ to work with older TVs that do not have an HDMI connections. The added functionality will cost you $10 more than the Roku Express, bringing the price to $39.99.
The Roku Premiere is the least expensive Roku model that features 4K support at $79.99. Impressively, the 4K support comes in at 60fps, which the Fire TV 2 can’t even achieve. The Roku Premiere still comes with a line-of-sight IR remote, which is a bit disappointing at this price point. It has 802.11ac WiFi, but there is no ethernet or any other ports, apart from HDMI.
The Roku Premiere+ is $99.99 and is probably the first model out of the new lineup that serious home theater enthusiast would start to consider. It features 4K support at 60fps, like the Roku Premiere, but adds support for HDR, although its only HDR10 and not the newer Dolby Vision standard. For the extra $20 over the Roku Premiere, buyers will also get 10/100 wired ethernet and a micro SD card slot for additional channel storage. This is also the first model in the new lineup that includes a non-IR remote that does not need line-of-sight to work. The remote also has a headphone jack built in for private listening.
At the top of Roku’s new line of devices is the Roku Ultra in coming it at $129.99. This model includes everything from the Roku Premiere+, including 4K at 60fps and HDR, plus a few extras. For the extra $30 above the Premiere+ you’ll get an optical audio port, a USB port to play local media off of USB drives, and a remote locator button that causes the remote to beep if lost. Speaking of the remote, the Roku Ultra is the only new Roku that features Roku’s most advanced remote, which offers voice search and A/B gaming buttons.