Roku Ultra (and Ultra LT) review

What is Roku Ultra? 

Streaming numbers are on the rise. By 2025, there’ll be over 157 million Americans who subscribe to a streaming service in the U.S. So, if you don’t have a smart TV, then you’ll need a media player to stream directly to your TV.  

A large share of the streaming market is dominated by Roku devices. Within the first few months of 2020, Roku reached record numbers with 13.2 billion hours streamed with its devices. Roku’s preeminent device is the Ultra — a great choice for your primary entertainment setup. 

Roku Ultra pricing

The Ultra is available in the Roku Store for $99.99.

There are also plenty of third-party distributors that also carry it. Amazon offers the Ultra at a few price points that range from $90.99 to $119.99. You should also consider stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart. For instance, Walmart is currently advertising Roku Ultra on its online store for $99. 

Roku Ultra features 

Roku Ultra packs in more features than any other of Roku’s media players, making it comparable to Amazon’s Fire TV Cube and Nvidia Shield TVs. 

Ultra design 

If you’re familiar with Roku’s other media players, you’ll notice that the Ultra is much larger. It’s roughly 5 x 5 inches, presenting a square design with rounded edges. The Ultra uses a wireless connection to sync up with your TV. That way, you won’t need to worry about messy wires. 

The Ultra’s extra storage features are a huge plus. There are ports for both a microSD card and a USB stick. The microSD storage will allow you additional room for apps while the USB can be used for personal media like photos and videos. 

How to set up

Setup is simple, as is the case with all of Roku’s streaming devices. Plug one end of your power adaptor into the designated port of your Ultra, and the other into the wall socket. From there, it’s up to you whether you use your Ultra wirelessly or insert an ethernet cord for extra strength. 

Once your Roku Ultra box is set up, use your Roku remote and follow the prompts on your TV. 

Enhanced remote 

The “enhanced” remote accompanies the Roku Ultra. Its voice control features make searching for your favorite content a breeze. And the remote itself also works with your TV, so you can say goodbye to too many remotes. Simply use your enhanced remote to power your TV on and off or toggle the volume. A personal favorite feature is the headphone jack that comes in handy during quiet hours. Plug your headphones into the remote, and you can turn the volume up as high as you please. 

Ultra streaming quality 

Experience all your favorite content in 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) with the Ultra. And any content that doesn’t stream in 4K will get a tune-up with the Ultra’s high-dynamic-range (HDR) features. This means anything that streams in lesser visual qualities like 720p or 1080p will look much better. 

More specifically, Roku Ultra uses HDR10, which upscales your image quality. An unfortunate downside of the Ultra is that it’s not compatible with Dolby Vision. The Ultra also works with a variety of sound qualities like digital stereo, Dolby Audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS Digital Surround. 

Roku content

Roku supports pretty much all of your favorite apps from Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Sling TV and more. Just navigate to the Roku Channel Store to download your favorites. There’s also the Roku Channel, which provides loads of 4K content. 

What is Roku Ultra LT? 

If you like what you see with the Roku Ultra, then chances are you’ll appreciate the more affordable Roku Ultra LT. The Ultra LT is a lite version of Roku’s Ultra device, meaning the features are a little more limited. However, if you’re deciding between the Streaming Stick+ and Ultra, the LT is a good compromise. 

Roku Ultra LT pricing 

The Roku Ultra LT typically costs $79.99 — a savings of $20 when stacked up against the Ultra.

Like some of Roku’s other products (Express+, Premiere+ and Streaming Stick), the Ultra LT has been discontinued in the Roku Store. That said, there’s no shortage of it in stores across America. At the time of writing this article, the latest version of the Ultra LT doesn’t populate in the top results on Amazon. 

Roku Ultra LT features

Let’s take a look at how the Roku Ultra LT’s features compare against the Ultra. 

Ultra design 

You’d be hardpressed to pick the Ultra and Ultra LT out of a lineup. Not only are they strikingly similar in appearance, but they’re also the same size. But don’t let its looks fool you. While the Ultra LT also sports a microSD card slot, it doesn’t contain a USB port.

How to set up

You won’t notice much of a difference between the setup of the Ultra and Ultra LT. They both function wirelessly with your TV, and you can opt to use an ethernet cable for either. 

Enhanced remote 

The enhanced remote that comes with Ultra LT is identical to the one you get with the Ultra. 

Ultra streaming quality

The Ultra LT delivers 4K UHD picture quality with HDR10 picture upscaling. So, you won’t notice much of a difference between products. The same goes for sound quality, as Ultra LT also supports digital surround, Dolby Audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS Digital Surround. 

Roku content

Even though you may be able to use the microSD slot to download more apps, you won’t have extra USB storage space. This is a bit of a bummer if you like pulling up stored music, pictures and other media. 

Our hot take 

There’s much to appreciate about Roku Ultra — it’s wireless, there are extra microSD and USB storage ports, and it delivers pristine 4K UHD. So, if you’re searching for the ultimate streaming device, then few are better than the Ultra at its current price. However, the Ultra LT is available for $20 less, and the only major difference is its lack of a USB port. 

Do you like what you’ve read in our Roku Ultra review? Then, we recommend checking out some of the other devices Roku has to offer.

Zack Kulm

Zack Kulm is a writer and contributor of soda.com. He covers a variety of topics from entertainment and gaming technologies to pop culture commentary. Kulm received a degree in English from Penn State University and Film Studies from Pittsburgh Filmmakers Institute. He also produces award-winning documentaries.