Best Roku

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

5 Models Considered
1 Experts Interviewed
100 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best Roku

Last Updated June 2019

Rokus are compact streaming devices that connect to your TV and offer a range of streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Though there are similar streaming devices available, Roku was the originator and makes streaming devices that are easy to use and set up. However, you should carefully consider which model is best for you and best compliments your TV and entertainment setup.

Roku sticks are the most affordable option and are easy to transport due to their small size and lack of wires. Roku boxes are pricier but offer more versatility and are likely to be better suited to working in tandem with an entertainment system. The maximum resolution of Rokus vary and should match the resolution of your TV. Setting up your Roku is usually as easy as plugging in the device, connecting to the internet, and logging into your accounts on various streaming services.

A Roku can make a great addition to any living room, but you should understand what each model has to offer before you make a purchase. If you are ready to choose a Roku, consider our top recommendations. To learn more about the types of Rokus available, continue reading.

Some Roku devices include built-in SD card readers, so you can take an SD card directly from your camera, plug it into your Roku, and watch your photos come to life on the big screen.

Roku form factors

Roku offers a wide variety of streaming devices, but they all fit into one of two physical form factors: Roku sticks and Roku boxes.

Roku sticks

Roku sticks are small devices that plug directly into any HDMI port on your TV and are powered by your TV’s USB ports. The stick form factor is unique because it’s so portable; at about the size of a pack of gum, it can go just about anywhere with you. While not as fast as their box counterparts, Roku sticks are perfect for anyone who needs streaming video on the go or who doesn’t need top-of-the-line hardware.

Roku boxes

Roku boxes look like small, unassuming hockey pucks. They include a host of nice-to-have features that streaming sticks don’t offer (such as USB ports for connecting external storage or an Ethernet port). Roku boxes are perfect companions to your existing entertainment set up, and their improved internals deliver a lightning-fast user experience.

DID YOU KNOW?

Roku devices can output sound in both stereo and surround formats. If you have a surround sound system, visit the settings menu to verify that your Roku audio is being delivered accordingly.

DID YOU KNOW?

Roku does not charge a subscription fee for using its platform. However, in order to access some paid online streaming content like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video, you will need a valid subscription for each service.

Roku resolutions

As you’re considering which Roku model to buy, keep the resolution of your TV in mind. Is your TV is a standard model, a 1080p HDTV, or one of the newer 4K models?

  • If you have a 1080p HDTV, there isn’t a lot of sense in buying one of their 4K models, especially considering the cost savings. If one of the 4K models has a “killer feature” that you need, it will still work on your 1080p TV, but without the benefit of 4K resolution.

  • Conversely, if you own a 4K TV, it’s a bit of a waste to buy a 1080p Roku, because your TV is capable of displaying four times as many pixels. Roku has both premium and budget options for 4K, so you’ll easily find one that fits your budget.
EXPERT TIP

Roku’s premium 4K models support High Dynamic Range (HDR), a new technology that displays video content with a wider range of colors and increased color contrast. If you own a 4K TV that’s HDR-compatible, get a Roku that delivers HDR – the visual improvement is stunning.


Staff  | BestReviews

Roku prices

Although all Rokus typically cost less than $100, it’s important to know what you might be missing if you choose a lower-cost model.

  • Roku sticks cost between $30 and $70. Pricier Roku sticks include additional features like voice search and the ability to use the Roku remote to turn your TV on and off.

  • Roku boxes cost between $70 and $100. As models get more expensive, you’ll see additional functionality and faster performance. If your Roku is going to be your primary source for content, getting a box will provide the better value over the long term.
If you’re traveling with your Roku to a hotel, use the built-in “Hotel and Dorm Connect” tool to connect it to the internet when you arrive. This is necessary when connecting to any WiFi network that requires more than a WiFi network name and password, such as an agreement to a hotel’s terms of service.

FAQ

Q. Will a Roku stick work if I’m traveling abroad?
A.
Roku sticks can connect to WiFi networks wherever they are available. However, it’s important to note that if your Roku is powered by plugging into the wall (and not via USB), you may need a power converter to be able to plug it in outside of the U.S. In addition, many American streaming content providers limit your access to their content when connecting from another country, so you may have fewer things to watch, depending on where you are.

Q. Can I play video games on a Roku?
A.
Many Roku models are compatible with games from the Roku online store and can be played by using the remote control as a game controller. Video games on Rokus are very similar to those found on Android and iOS devices.

Q. Can I use a wired network with Roku?
A.
Roku boxes commonly have Ethernet ports for connecting via a wired network connection (in addition to their built-in WiFi), while Roku sticks can only connect via WiFi.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Production Assistant
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Jaime
    Jaime
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer
  • Vukan
    Vukan
    Post Production Editor

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