Roku Stick: There’s a good reason why Roku is the most popular streaming service in the US. There are a few reasons, I guess. One is that it’s a reasonable price. Its most expensive standard streaming device costs around $100, and that’s before discount pricing is taken into account (newfangled speakers excluded).
But in practice, the sweet spot is closer to $50. And that’s where the new Roku Streaming Stick 4K and its sibling, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+, leave us. Both are a part of the Fall 2021 update and will play a significant role in the Roku range moving forward, even though they aren’t the most crucial components of Roku’s broader business strategy. Yes, we will briefly delve into the weeds below.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K and the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ will, for the majority of people, be the Roku sticks to purchase. This is why.
Roku’s Streaming Stick 4K and its success secret.
The short version, for those of you who have never tried Roku: It’s a firm that makes a variety of inexpensive, user-friendly “streaming sticks,” if you will, though the hardware portfolio is undoubtedly more extensive. With these devices, you can watch just about any streaming service you would be interested in. The Roku Channel, which is an advertising-based channel that offers countless series, episodes, and movies, is another initiative that Roku is supporting vigorously. Here, there is only one drawback, and it affects the entire Roku ecosystem.
Tracking entails advertising. Additionally, tracking entails exchanging data about you and the Roku content you consume. You receive discounted goods and shows in return. That’s the situation.
There are several pricing for the hardware, but none of them are prohibitively expensive. The Roku Express, which is currently the only option without 4K resolution capability, is the least priced choice. The Roku Streaming Stick 4K, which has been somewhat updated for 2021, is at the top of the affordable segment of the lineup.
What we commonly refer to as “speeds and feeds” is what’s new. That is technical lingo for internal component upgrades that are significant but not particularly spectacular. The new quad-core processor, according to Roku, is up to 30% faster. Of course, those are simply figures on paper. And if you claim, “I can’t tell anything,” you’ll be excused unless you’re managing things simultaneously.
However, it does make a noticeable impact when combined with some of the software upgrades that it has assisted streaming providers in implementing over the past few years, as well as the new Roku OS 10.5 operating system. Yes, incrementally. However, that is still a good thing.
Additionally, Wi-Fi has seen a slight improvement in the new gear. In a technical sense, it is using 802.11ac, or Wi-Fi 5. That is the Wi-Fi standard from the previous generation, but it is also incredibly fast from a speed standpoint and is probably perfectly adequate for the majority of people who are unaware of how their home network truly functions or don’t care.
If you are concerned about that, it is also employing a MIMO dual-band. It’s okay if you don’t worry about it. Even now, you want it. In addition, Roku claims that it has improved access point selection in the most recent operating system and that radios and antennas on the hardware side have been updated. So, there you go.
It’s crucial to note that the wireless antennas are nestling into the power cord, which is a lovely touch and something I like over, say, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. However, there is no HDMI extender included in the box, which might be a problem for some TVs.
The high dynamic range options include Dolby Vision and HDR10, and the audio options include Dolby Atmos. Of course, you’ll need a TV and sound system that can support those standards, but even so, a $50 device packs a lot of legal force.
Otherwise, you’ll probably have a relatively similar Roku experience to the one you’ve had for years. Still really effective. A tiny bit better. In addition to Roku’s own assistant, it’s still the only platform that allows you to use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Additionally, Apple’s HomeKit and AirPlay 2 are still available.
Roku stick: Making the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ Plus.
Between the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K+, there is just one and only one difference. And that is the provided remote control.
The Roku Voice Remote Pro was unveiled by Roku in the spring of 2021. In addition to the new hands-free mode, the premium Roku remote still has the headphone connector for in-ear listening and programmable buttons for voice commands. However, this model substitutes a rechargeable battery system for the replaceable ones. If you detest having to occasionally recharge your remote control, this is bad for the environment.
It is surprisingly lightweight, however, that is probably just a problem if you are used to the voice remote with removable batteries. But it’s also not inconsequential, as it only weighs 2.8 ounces after losing nearly 30% of the weight of the previous remote with a headphone connector. That doesn’t really make up for the fact that it charges with a Micro USB port, which in 2021 is pretty much unacceptable. Remove that bandage now; the time has already passed.
Voice Remote Pro features
Additionally, the Voice Remote Pro features a feature that aids in finding the remote in case you misplace it. What’s nice is. It seemed strange to see a screen the first time I turned on the computer telling me to put batteries in the remote before pairing it.
That is a very minor quibble in what is, overall, a wonderful onboarding process for Roku. It’s a stupid mistake, though, and one that Roku should have discovered before sending the Streaming Stick 4K+ to reviewers. However, there’s a good chance that it will rectify for retail configurations. But if you do, don’t be shocked to encounter that perplexing screen. There are no batteries to install in the 4K+.
- The Roku Voice Remote Pro, to start.
- The Roku Voice Remote Pro’s on/off switch for the always-listening microphone.
- Roku mandates that you expressly consent to the remote control listening.
However, Roku makes up for that oversight with the way it manages the hands-free mode. You can press the slider button to switch off the remote control if you don’t want it to be constantly waiting for your commands. And Roku makes that clear in one of the initial onboarding windows, and you are required to acknowledge the function before moving on with the setup. The on-off slider is color-coded, and the remove provides both an on-screen warning and an auditory reminder when you turn the microphone on or off. Nicely done.
In relation to hands-free voice control, it functions flawlessly. When you say “Hey, Roku,” followed by a command, it responds promptly. In other words, it functions and functions effectively.
Roku stick: costs
That costs $20 more than a Streaming Stick 4K, is it worth it? It’s up to you. However, keep in mind that if you were to get the Roku Voice Remote Pro alone, it would cost $30.
Roku stick: If you already use Roku, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K won’t alter the way you use it. If you consider switching, it won’t alter the way you stream video. Here, you’re getting an iterative update on a product that has been getting them for a while.
Actually, that’s a good thing. It demonstrates the efficacy of Roku’s methods. It benefits both Roku as a business, which offers inexpensive gear that nevertheless generates revenue and you. The customer, by giving you a simple way to watch the content you want to watch.
Just be aware that advertising will continue to play a significant role in Roku’s future strategy. Both in the form of ads sold on The Roku Channel and traditional display ads on the home screens. In actuality, Roku made around $532 million in the “platform” category in the second quarter of 2021 (essentially everything except hardware). And $113 million in the “player” category.
Going forward, it truly is less about what you’re watching it on and more about what Roku can provide you, whether it’s on The Roku Channel or another streaming service from which Roku makes a cut. A common item is the Roku Streaming Stick 4K. It’s the one I’d get if I wanted to spend less than $100, but it’s also not something I’d give much thought to because it’s not really intended to be.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Roku stick: Exist any substitutes?
Roku offers a wide range of products that all function identically but have various specifications and features. Check out the most recent Roku Ultra if you only need an Ethernet port or expandable storage, for instance. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is bright for you if Roku just isn’t your thing or you don’t like the concept of what is essentially an advertising corporation controlling your watching habits.
Check out the most recent Apple TV 4K if you prefer greater power and a simpler experience—something that will last for a lot longer than you might think. Alternatively, if Apple isn’t your thing,
Roku stick: How much time will it take?
Unable to reveal. It’s not a plant; it’s a piece of plastic.
But if you utilize the Roku Streaming Stick 4K for a few years, you’ll more than get your money’s worth at $50 retail. It’s an even better deal if you purchase the Streaming Stick 4K+ with the upgraded remote control because you may use it with any other Roku device you may purchase in the future.
Do you want to buy it?
This is what I’d get if you love Roku but don’t want to spend the extra money on nicer Roku gear.