Review: Roku Ultra

I’m going to repeat something that I said when I reviewed the Roku Express. Roku is serious about ruling the streaming space. To that end, they’ve rolled out a new suite of products to ensure that happens. At the upper end of that suite is the Roku Ultra. Here’s how it looks against the Roku 3:

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The Roku Ultra on the left is a relatively small, square-ish device, at 4.9 x 4.9 x 0.9 inches. But it is bigger than the Roku 3 on the right. The extra size required me to shift a few things around on my TV stand to fit it. But I am likely the exception and not the rule on that front. 

This is the streaming player for someone who wants a player that does everything. By that I mean the following:

  • Support for 4K video and support for HDR video which means you get top quality video.
  • 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless to ensure smooth streaming if you have the right wireless router.

  • 10/100 Base-T Ethernet is availabe for those who prefer a cable over wireless.

  • An advanced remote that supports private listening and non-line of sight control. There’s also a set of headphones in the box to help you with your private listening needs. This feature is really cool if you want to watch a movie and not disturb anyone else. 

  • Digital audio connector with Dolby audio support to ensure top quality audio.

  • USB connectivity to allow you to play media that resides on a USB stick or hard drive. 

  • A microSD slot for additional storage.
  • A quad core processor to drive all of this efficiently.

One other thing that it doesn’t come with is a HDMI cable. That’s very odd as the Roku Express which is a much lower priced streaming device does come with an HDMI cable. But assuming that you have a HDMI cable, it is trivially easy to set up. Do not discount that as that as you have to have a product that is easy to set up if you want to win.

Roku’s operating system has not changed significantly in the past few years. But it really doesn’t need changing as it works quite well. Users will be able to navigate it very easily. Speaking of navigagtion, you get the full suite of features. Universal search is there and so is the Roku Feed. You also get voice search and headphone jack  on the remote which works exceptionally well to provide you the ability to listen to content privately. If you happen to lose your remote, it has a speaker that you can use to help find it. You also get all the channels and streaming options that you expect from Roku which makes it a compelling choice to stream whatever content you want as the Roku platform is all about giving you the choice to get the content you want from your preferred source. There’s also the ablity to play games on the Roku Ultra. Though the games are decent, I think it is safe to say that they won’t make you give up your XBox. 

What does all this go for? It’s $139.99 CAD. True, you’ll have to factor in the cost of an HDMI cable which quite frankly should have been in the box. But having said that, the Roku Ultra has to be the streaming player to beat. It’s got every feature needed to match or beat its main competion. If you want a streaming device, this is the one to look at first.

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One Response to “Review: Roku Ultra”

  1. […] all. And this isn’t just when nothing else was going on with the network. I could be using my Roku to stream a TV show or a movie and get this level of performance. It was actually quite […]

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