Achieving the ultimate streaming video quality is reliant on having a 4K TV set but also a device that supports the resolution. Roku does exactly that, with a series of devices that enable viewers to watch 4K-ready content. This Roku review will advise on the Roku streaming media hubs, set-top boxes, sticks and TVs that enable streamers to watch their favorite movies and TV shows in 4K. For more information about everything Roku, take a look at our Roku review.
What is 4K programming?
High-definition (HD) video has been commonplace for more than a decade and was the best viewing quality available until the arrival of 4K. As the name suggests, 4K video delivers four times the pixel resolution of standard HD. A 4K Ultra HD screen provides 2,160 x 3,840 pixels, doubling a 1080p HD image screen’s 1,080 x 1,920 pixels.
This advanced image quality ensures sharper pictures, and its support for 60 frames per second videos ensures the smoothest image possible. It also offers more vivid images as black, and dark shades appear darker, which makes brighter colors jump off the screen,
What do I need to start streaming 4K content on Roku devices?
Streaming 4K content on Roku devices is, first of all, reliant on having a 4K-ready TV. Users can then connect the TV to their Roku device, which will either be powered by connecting it to an electric socket or via a USB cable. Roku also provides a range of 4K-ready TVs that enable users to stream their favorite movies and shows directly.
Streaming 4K content is also reliant on having a strong, consistent internet connection. It typically requires internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps.
Which Roku devices support 4K streaming?
Roku provides several devices that enable cord-cutters to stream their favorite channels, shows and movies. But only five Roku devices are 4K enabled. Roku’s 4K devices are:
Roku’s entry-level 4K streaming device is Roku Premiere — a set-top box. Roku Premiere is a great option for people getting started in streaming, enabling quick and easy access to all their favorite on-demand and live TV channels as well as popular music apps. Roku Premiere is priced at $39.99.
Also a set-top box, Roku Premiere+ provides the same features as Roku Premiere. The only difference between the two is that Roku Premiere+ comes with a voice-enabled remote control, which enables users to change channels and play a movie without lifting a finger. The added voice capability sees Roku Premiere+ cost $10 extra, with a price point of $49.99.
Roku Smart Soundbar
Roku Smart Soundbar is packed with media streaming capabilities that enable it to double as a media hub and a high-quality speaker. The device supports 4K and HDR 10, which ensures it delivers optimal video quality. It is Bluetooth compatible and fitted with HDMI ARC, an optical port and USB ports. Roku Smart Soundbar is the most expensive Roku device on this list at $179.99.
Roku Streaming Stick+
This is Roku’s only 4K capable stick. The device features 802.11 ac dual-band MIMO wireless connectivity, which significantly enhances its connectivity range and ensures a more reliable signal. Roku Streaming Stick+ is available from $59.99.
Roku Ultra 4K offers the company’s most powerful video processing. It connects to the user’s TV via an HDMI cable. There are also USB and microSD ports that enable viewers to load external content. The device can be connected to a Wi-Fi network or via an Ethernet port, which makes it ideal for ultimate 4K streaming. Users can play games on Roku Ultra thanks to its advanced remote control, which features A and B buttons and a headphone jack. These advanced features make Roku Ultra significantly more expensive than the company’s streaming boxes and sticks, with a price point of $119.99.
In addition to the streaming devices listed above, Roku also has a range of TVs that enable viewers to watch 4K-quality videos. Rather than building the sets itself, Roku provides its technology to manufacturers to power their smart TV devices.
Roku-powered TVs use the same platform as Roku streaming devices and enable users to watch the same channels and apps. However, rather than plugging a box or stick into the TV, the streaming capability is built into the device itself. Most Roku TVs now support 4K streaming, and some also offer Dolby Vision HDR.
Brands that use Roku’s technology for their smart TVs include Element, HiSense, Hitachi, Insignia, Sharp and TCL, and prices for the devices begin at $129.99.
Which channels offer 4K streaming on Roku?
Amazon Prime Video
A standard Amazon Prime Video enables subscribers to watch 4K movies and TV shows — mostly Amazon’s own original movies, such as Manchester By The Sea and TV shows like Jack Ryan and The Man In The High Castle. Amazon Prime Video costs $12.99/mo.
Disney+ has plenty of content available to be enjoyed in 4K. This includes Marvel movies like Ant-Man and Avengers: Endgame as well as the entire Star Wars franchise. Disney+ is available for $6.99/mo.
Netflix offers a huge library of 4K content for viewers to enjoy. All of the service’s original content is released in Ultra HD 4K, including Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Narcos and Stranger Things. However, this option is only available with the Premium Netflix subscription, which costs $14.99/mo.
Vudu enables users to rent the latest movies and stream them in 4K, often before the Blu-Ray version is released. Movies available include Creed II, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and IT: Chapter Two. Vudu is a pay-to-watch service and titles cost anywhere between $10 and $30.
YouTube has one of the largest libraries of free 4K content available, from music videos to documentaries and web series. To find it, just do a regular search and add “4K” to it. Users can also upgrade to YouTube Premium for $11.99/mo. to discover even more 4K content.
Streamers can enjoy all their favorite movies and TV shows in the highest possible video quality with the range of Roku 4K devices. These devices enable users to watch content in 4k through popular apps like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix.