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Home / Technology / Roku Premiere Plus (2018) review: The best value in 4K HDR streaming if Wi-Fi is solid

Roku Premiere Plus (2018) review: The best value in 4K HDR streaming if Wi-Fi is solid



If streaming devices are a product like rice or paper towels, Roku deserves a lot of credit. (Or maybe it's blame, depending on your point of view.) The power specialist has done the same basic boxes and pins for the last five years, iterates and improves along the way and sells them to crazy low prices. And the formula works.

Roku routinely top CNET's list of best media streamers, and its outsell giants like Amazon, Google and Apple year in and year out. Rokus is easy to use, yet powerful enough to deliver great performance with the latest versions of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and thousands of other applications.

For 201

8, Roku has two new streaming players – Roku Premiere $ 40 and $ 50 Roku Premiere Plus rated here. They are basically as good as existing players, as Roku continues to sell, and they are cheaper than ever for 4K streaming.

Premiere Plus is my favorite between the two, but my favorite Roku superiors are still Streaming Stick Plus from 2017. For an additional $ 10 over Premiere Plus, you give the option of superior Wi-Fi reception : It can penetrate into 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks, which in many places work better than standard 2.4 GHz devices (see below for details). Stick Plus also has Wi-Fi 5 (aka 802.11ac), which allows for faster speeds over Premiere Plus, maximizing Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n). That said, Wi-Fi 4 is more than fast enough for 4K video in most cases.

Beyond Wi-Fi differences, the new Rokus is "more of the same", but it's nothing bad, and Roku continues to add new features to all streamers. Coming soon, support for Google Assistant for example (you need to add an assistant-compatible device to your network), which should help even the voice control odds against its main contender, $ 50 Alexa Drive Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K .

Two other warnings: Roku Premiere Plus is available exclusively at Walmart, and only in the United States.

Roku Premiere Plus vs. the rest

If you buy a streamer today, your first task is to decide between one who does 4K HDR and one that does not. If you have a 4K HDR TV and you do not love its built-in Smart TV features, you should definitely get a 4K HDR streamer.

Although your current TV does not make 4K, it's a good argument to go with a budget 4K HDR device like Premiere Plus anyway. The price difference between 4K and non-4K streamers is so small ($ 20 in Roku and Amazon cases) It may be worth paying if you get a 4K TV soon and will be ready without having to buy a new streamer then.

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Streamers are getting smaller and smaller.


Sarah Tew / CNET

To remove Premiere Plus from the other options.

Vs. $ 50 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K : At the same price, the better voice experience thanks to Alexa built-in remote control, but Roku's remote also has voice search and play / pause commands, and the upcoming Integration of Google Assistant even lets you play the field of long-range (handsfree) commands. If you have a Dolby Vision TV, the Fire TV Stick 4K becomes more appealing, but the ROCO interface is more neutral: it does not pamper you with Amazon's own TV shows and movies. Look for my full review of Fire TV Stick 4K when it becomes available.

Vs. $ 40 Roku Premiere: For $ 10 less, Premiere Plus Remote will release the TV control, and the remote control requires you to target it to the device. Otherwise, the two Roku streamers are identical. In my book, the remote control is worth the money, so I like Plus better, but I can see the super budget buyers ( or Harmony users ) with the basic Premiere.

Vs. $ 19 Roku Streaming Stick Plus : For $ 10 more, only the advantage of Premiere Plus is compatible with 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. Most people will do well with standard 2.4 GHz streaming, but if you do not, or you are traveling with your Roku and may encounter less than ideal network performance, consider going up to the stick.

Vs. $ 70 Chromecast Ultra : For $ 20 more, Ultra is missing a remote control and trusts the phone to control streaming. Yes, it has Dolby Vision, but for most, a traditional remote control and display interface are better. Chromecast also lacks compatibility with Amazon Prime Video, which is a big hole for many viewers.

Vs. $ 100 Roku Ultra: For $ 50, Ultras Remote Control adds a headphone jack for private listening and remote feature so you do not lose it between the sofa. There is also an SD card slot to expand the memory for faster applasting, a USB port and a wired Ethernet port. These features are neat, but not worth the extra money for most.

Vs. $ 180 Apple TV 4K and $ 200 Nvidia Shield : These two cost about three and a half and four times as much as Premiere Plus, and for most of the prizes not worth paying.


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