One other glorious streaming participant from Roku that’s simple to make use of, options glorious voice integration and a robust streaming efficiency. If you happen to don’t fancy Alexa or Google, there’s no more sensible choice than Roku.
- Reasonably priced
- Glorious streaming efficiency
- Good characteristic set and app choice
- Helps all predominant HDR codecs
- Secure Wi-Fi connection
- Distant might really feel higher to make use of, solely controls Roku stick
- Lacking just a few apps right here and there
- No HDMI extender (however one is on the market)
- UKRRP: £49.99
4K HDR assistHelps HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Imaginative and prescient
Lengthy Vary Wi-FiRoku claims wi-fi connection is 2x quicker than earlier than
AirPlay 2 and HomeKitForged content material from iOS units and connect with Apple good house
You possibly can rely on Roku to ship with its streaming units. Whether or not it’s producing one other participant, increasing into soundbars or producing a wise TV, Roku is as dependable a reputation within the streaming world as there may be.
Nevertheless it doesn’t have the streaming market to itself. It’s up towards Amazon, Google and new gamers like Sturdy want to muscle in. But when there’s one rival the Streaming Stick 4K desires to beat, it’s Amazon’s Hearth TV Stick 4K Max.
Roku’s contender helps Dolby Imaginative and prescient, bringing the HDR format under the £50 mark and undercuts Amazon’s premium Hearth TV Stick within the course of. Must you go for Roku or plump for Amazon?
- It’s a stick
- Doesn’t include a HDMI extender
- Distant feels a bit of insubstantial
The Categorical 4K and Premiere have been unconventional wanting, the Streaming Stick 4K is much less so. It is a stick and really clearly so. It plugs into the HDMI slot like a Hearth TV Stick, although it’s not packaged with a HDMI extender. You possibly can, nonetheless, order one without cost from the Roku site.
The inconvenience of not having the HDMI extender is that it could possibly’t simply slot into downward-facing ports; the answer is easy – simply plug it into the side-facing HDMI port when you’ve got one.
It comes with an influence adapter to plug into the mains or extension cable. You might plug it into the TV’s USB terminal and energy by way of there, however not even Roku appears eager so that you can try this.
There’s a reset button in case hell breaks unfastened and it’s a must to begin once more, and a standing gentle that reveals if all the pieces is a-ok.
I don’t love the distant, which is similar because the one packaged with the Streambar. I’ve by no means fairly preferred how the buttons really feel, and the construct high quality is a bit of plasticky. Most received’t thoughts for the reason that buttons are responsive sufficient – I want the presses felt snappier. Quantity and mute buttons are on the facet, the ability button can flip off your TV and there are fast entry keys for the likes of Netflix, Apple TV+, Spotify and Rakuten TV.
A barely irritating facet is that the distant can’t management the TV past quantity, energy or every other linked units – simply the Streaming Stick 4K; nor can the distant in your TV management the Roku, so the variety of remotes you’ve gotten doubles. It’s why I’m an advocate for the Roku app.
Interface and apps
- Loads of content material
- Roku app assist
- Good curation
Like day into night time, the weekday into the weekend and Manchester United wanting tactically inept, Roku’s interface is nothing if not constant. The primary display screen is split into Dwelling, My Feed, Search, Streaming channels, and Settings. It’s barely modified in look however why hassle when it clearly works so effectively?
To elucidate every row, House is the place the principle apps are, and a press of the ‘*’ button permits them to be customised, re-arranged or eliminated solely (who nonetheless watches Humorous or Die as of late?).
Streaming Channels is house to 100+ channels and free to-watch Roku Channel the place you’ll discover ad-supported Roku Authentic content material (with extra on the way in which). There’s some first rate stuff however don’t go in anticipating Apple TV+’s Basis or Netflix’s Arcane League of Legends. That is smaller scale, smaller funds and largely entertaining fare.
On the time of evaluation the Roku Channel options some classics (Jonathan Demme’s Cease Making Sense, Dice), underseen and underrated movies (Shattered Glass and the Wachowski’s Sure) and a few absolute duds (Frank Miller’s The Spirit). So high quality varies like every other free service.
My Feed is the place you’ll find movies and TV reveals to look at, observe and be notified after they pop up on a service by way of the +Roku characteristic. Handily it’ll let you know whether or not a movie or collection is on the market in a subscription you’ve gotten, the decision and whether or not it may be purchased or rented (with costs included to assist make that each one necessary choice).
There’s text-based search by way of the distant, text-based search by way of the app (faster) and voice search on each distant and app. Settings cowl all the pieces from wallpapers to audio codecs, AirPlay and HomeKit set-up, HDR, software program updates and extra.
The app I favor to the distant. Its house web page has had a rejig – a bit of slicker in look with the variety of clicks wanted to get to content material diminished, and there’s extra curated classes than I bear in mind. If it’s an choice between the distant and app, the app gives far more performance just like the just lately added Save Record that collates titles you’ve added to look at later like Google TV’s Watch Record or Sky’s Playlist.
Roku has all the time boasted concerning the large variety of apps and channels below its watch, and there does appear to be a channel for something with apps for studying languages to some very excitable-looking, oddly named channels for kids (HappyKids, Blippi).
UK viewers get entry to catch-up and on-demand apps equivalent to iPlayer and All 4. US customers can rely on availability for the likes of Hulu, HBO Max, Showtime, FandangoNow and Crackle. Then there’s the same old bunch: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, NOW; BBC Sounds, Deezer, Tidal and Spotify; BT Sport, UFC, NBA, F1 TV, Peloton and extra.
A number of apps are AWOL – there’s no FiiT, no Amazon Music, TikTok, Fb Watch (when you care about that), or Roxi. The variety of channels swells Roku’s quantity however for the massive, common apps, I’d wager Amazon has extra.
- Glorious streaming
- Good characteristic set
- Secure Wi-Fi connection
Your TV and web connection will decide the standard of the Roku’s video efficiency. The higher it’s in each circumstances, the higher the Roku will likely be. Like the aim of any streamer, the Roku features as a gateway to content material.
There’s assist for HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, so all the principle HDR codecs are lined. It doesn’t matter what TV you’ve gotten, the Roku can a minimum of permit the TV to optimise its image high quality as finest it could possibly.
Streaming appears nice, whether or not it’s HD or 4K HDR. Sense8 in Extremely HD 4K on Netflix packs loads of element from the settings to close-up of actors faces, whereas Severance and Basis on Apple TV+ look nice in Dolby Imaginative and prescient on a Sony A8 OLED, so black ranges, and distinction naturally impress.
The Streaming Stick 4K brings no streaming points with Peaky Blinders in HD on iPlayer, although as normal, iPlayer presents its normal underwhelming compression and gentle look with HD sources (not the Roku’s fault I ought to add).
Audio assist contains digital stereo, and passthrough of DTS Digital Encompass and Dolby audio as much as Dolby Atmos. The efficiency is much like earlier Roku gamers I’ve examined, it’s massive, loud and amps up the bass for a punchy, energetic and dynamic efficiency.
However streaming by way of a Vizio Atmos system, it’s not probably the most delicate or detailed with movies or music, the Amazon Hearth TV Stick Max 4K rustles up extra nuanced, definition and ascribes a extra measured sense of bass, in addition to extra readability on the high finish of the frequency vary.
Roku claims the Streaming Stick 4K’s lengthy vary receiver can summon to 2x larger Wi-Fi speeds, and the connection has been steady by way of testing. I discovered it didn’t take lengthy to rise up to hurry buffering video, whereas streaming podcasts (and scrubbing again and forwards) on an AirPlay 2 connection offered no points.
Within the three weeks I’ve used the Roku, I’ve encountered two points: one the place the connection lower out and bounced me again to the house display screen and one other the place on start-up the stick didn’t connect with the ‘web, the standing gentle flashing white, which required the ‘flip off, activate’ resolution to repair.
Navigation with both distant and app is swift, and voice search appears a bit of quicker when utilizing app however there’s not a lot distinction. Attention-grabbing when you’re in an app’s log-in web page and begin a search, it brings up each search outcomes for the app you’re and basic outcomes to your question.
There’s nonetheless no Chromecast, however you possibly can forged both Netflix or YouTube with the DIAL protocol. Alexa and Google assistants are supported by way of an exterior system (equivalent to an Echo or Dwelling speaker). If you happen to’re in Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, you possibly can string your appropriate Apple good units with Streaming Stick 4K, too.
Must you purchase it?
If you wish to preserve issues easy The Roku Streaming Stick 4K shouldn’t be the primary to supply Dolby Imaginative and prescient/HDR10+ under £50, however when you’re not fascinated about Alexa, imagine simplicity is a should in your house cinema set-up and like a extra platform agnostic method, then its Roku all the way in which.
If you’d like a barely higher streaming efficiency The Roku and Amazon are evenly matched in relation to video streaming, and the cheaper worth of the Roku helps, however the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max gives a greater audio efficiency with movies and music if that could be a concern.
Initially of this evaluation, I discussed how dependable and constant Roku are, and the Streaming Stick is one other nice instance of that. The Streaming Stick 4K may be very simple to make use of, and the fixed sense of enchancment provides extra comfort with every massive replace. Its voice search specifically may be very helpful, the vary of app choices and smarts it gives is giant and its streaming efficiency is, by and enormous, glorious. If you happen to’re not one for the Amazon ecosystem the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a compelling various.
How we check
We check each video streamer we evaluation totally over an prolonged time period. We use industry-standard exams to match options correctly. We’ll all the time let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluation a product.
Discover out extra about how we check in our ethics coverage.
Examined with 4K, HDR and HD content material
The Stick+ is the cheaper mannequin of the 2, sports activities a special design and doesn’t assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
21.1 x 11.5 x 94.5 MM
Roku OS 11
3840 x 2160
HDMI 2.0b, USB
802.11ac MIMO dual-band Wi-Fi
DTS Digital Encompass, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio, Digital Stereo
Dolby Imaginative and prescient
Dolby Imaginative and prescient is a variant of HDR, including a layer of dynamic metadata to the core HDR sign. This dynamic metadata carries scene-by-scene (or frame-by-frame) directions from content material creators on how a TV ought to current the pictures to enhance all the pieces from brightness to distinction, detailing and color copy.
HDR10+ is a HDR variant created by twentieth Century Fox, Panasonic and Samsung as a free to make use of, open platform various to Dolby Imaginative and prescient. Like Dolby Imaginative and prescient, it provides dynamic metadata on high of the core HDR10 sign that tells a TV the way it ought to regulate the brightness, colors and distinction of content material for probably the most optimum image high quality.