4K media streaming is becoming more and more affordable. Not only is 4K TV now cheaper and more accessible, we are also seeing dedicated 4K media streamers at the price range of $ 50 and below. Roku Premier is the least expensive 4K media streamer we tested, for $ 39.99. It supports 4K HDR10 video, and other Roku devices have all the applications and services available that make it a very appealing budget purchase.
And only $ 10 will get you a premiere, but it comes with a wireless, microphone-equipped, TV-controlling remote for better purchase.
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The Good: Premier is cheaper than other 4K streamers and offers more 4K applications. Unlike Chromecast Ultra, it actually includes a remote (and an Amazon video app). The Roku ecosystem offers more applications, better search and more customization than other applications.
The Bad: The lack of HDR and other important features make it worse than the premiere. Content in 4K is still not uncommon, and your 4K TV already has compatible applications. Some app interfaces are less polished than competing devices.
The Bottom Line: Although I prefer the slightly more expensive devices that are better featured, Roku Premier is still an interesting way to add more 4K apps to the TV that HDR lacks.
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Physically, Roku Premier is similar to Roku Express. It’s a small black plastic box with 0.7 by 3.4 by 1.4 inches (HWD), an infrared sensor with a shiny black front. The back holds a HDMI port, a micro USB port for power with an included USB cable and wall adapter, and a pinhole reset button. It’s small and very light, so Roku includes a strip of two-sided glue to keep the premiere flat in front of your TV.
Be sure to use the tape, because, without doing anything to hold it in place, the device will be tugged everywhere by the weight of the cables. A short HDMI cable is included, with the idea that you will keep the premiere very close to your TV
The included remote is an elementary black rod with an infrared emitter, so a line of sight is needed with the Roku box to work properly. It’s dominated by the large purple side pads of Roku’s signature, which match the Roku logo with a small purple fabric tag on the bottom. Home and back buttons sit on top of the navigation pad with playback buttons below.
DirectTV Now, the dedicated service buttons of Hulu, Netflix and Sling TV sit below the playback controls. No power or volume control, and no microphone for voice search use. It’s the most basic Roku remote, and with advanced features like voice search and the volume control of your TV you need to upgrade to Premier
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Roku has created the largest library of streaming services and applications, which means you’ll get what you want to see or hear in the premiere with a few exceptions. Almost all the big names in streaming video are here, including Amazon Video, Google Play Movies & TV, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV and YouTube. There are plenty of niche streaming services based on channels, genres, regions, and topics, and there are dozens of apps for playing local media over network storage even though the premiere is live.
Roku has recently added a featured free section to its interface, offering suggestions for shows and movies you can watch from free streaming services (often applications for personal networks and channels and Roku’s own Roku channels) without subscription.
Streaming music selections are a little less generous (and Google Play music is surprisingly absent) but you still get Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM and Vivo. After a long-awaited absence for a new app, Spotify will soon return to Roku.
Roku has a better selection of streaming content than Focus TV and other Amazon hubs, which doesn’t play well with Google’s streaming services. But it lags behind Fire TV in smart features like voice assist and smart home control.
Roku’s voice command functions are limited to content search so you cannot ask for general information or control smart home devices with your voice. Of course, the feature is becoming standard at the premiere unless you use the Roku app since the remote doesn’t have a microphone.
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Roku Premier can stream video up to ultra-high definition (UHD, or 4K) resolution with support for high dynamic range (HDR) content. It supports HDR10 content, but does not support Dolby Vision.
Despite being a budget media streamer, the premiere is significantly fun. Feels responsive to control menus and stream video 4K HDR loads fast (with a good Wi-Fi network connection) Switching between services, video, and the Roku menu is super fast, and it only takes a few seconds for applications to open. .
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The Most Affordable 4K
Roku Premier is the least expensive 4K media streamer we’ve seen yet, but we recommend spending an extra $ 10 for Walmart-exclusive Premier. It’s the same media streamer, but doesn’t require a live view with a voice remote so you can hide the back of your TV without having to put the streamer in front and control the volume on your TV directly.
The upcoming 4K-capable Amazon Fire TV Stick looks like it could provide some stiff competition in the budget section, but if you want to stream 4K while spending a lot less then Roku is the way to the premiere.
If you want many more featured experiences, Roku Ultra already has an advanced remote with a microphone and a headphone jack, as well as a USB port for playing local media directly. If you like Amazon, Fire TV Cube offers hands-free Alexa voice control with all the features of Fire TV 4K.