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The best Roku TV players: Comparing the Roku Ultra, Express, Streambar, and more

Roku players add smart TV functionality, excellent picture quality, access to your favorite streaming services, Dolby Vision support, and more. Here are my picks for the best Roku TV players you can buy.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer and  Sean Jackson, Contributor
Reviewed by Amy Lieu
Roku Ultra | Best Roku player overall
roku-ultra
Roku Ultra
Best Roku player overall
View now View at Amazon
Hisense 65-Inch U6GR ULED Roku TV | Best Roku TV
hisense-65-inch-u6gr-uled-roku-tv
Hisense 65-Inch U6GR ULED Roku TV
Best Roku TV
View now View at Best Buy
Roku Express | Best budget Roku player
roku-express
Roku Express
Best budget Roku player
View now View at Roku
Roku Streambar | Best Roku player with a soundbar
roku-streambar
Roku Streambar
Best Roku player with a soundbar
View now View at Roku
Roku Streaming Stick 4K | Best mid-range Roku player
roku-streaming-stick-4k
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Best mid-range Roku player
View now View at Roku

The glossy black Roku box has been a popular staple in many homes since it first debuted in 2008, and it only continues to grow in popularity as it continues to evolve. 

Roku is a smart TV platform allowing access to all of your favorite channels and video streaming services without the need for a pricey cable contract. With a single purchase of a Roku player, you have access to more than 500,000 movies and TV shows through different providers. 

As Roku continues to branch out, we surveyed its top models to find the best Roku players for your home that will save you money and simplify your home viewing. 

Also: 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Voice commands
  • Extra remote features
  • Smart home compatible
Cons
  • Mediocre voice assistant
  • Not compatible with Twitch
More Details

Tech specs: Remote: Roku voice remote | Voice commands: Yes | Lost remote finder: Yes | Bluetooth streaming: Yes | Compatibility: Apple AirPlay, Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home

The Roku Ultra incorporates its traditional box design but is completely jam-packed with features. It is what Roku claims is its fastest and most powerful model. Thanks to a quad-core processor, there is an extremely fast interface that also utilizes the latest Wi-Fi technology with a built-in Ethernet option. There is also Dolby Vision® and Dolby Atmos® audio to enhance your experience. 

It also has the most modern remote, the rechargeable Roku Voice Remote Pro that boasts hands-free voice controls, and a rechargeable build. You have the ability to enjoy private and Bluetooth listening using your remote, in addition to typical remote functions like shortcuts and a find-my-remote feature. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Fantastic display
  • Excellent content
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Limited 60Hz refresh rate
More Details

Tech specs: Display: 65-inch Quantum ULED | Resolution: 4K (2160p) | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Brightness: 600 nits

If you need the best Roku smart TVs, the Hisense 65-Inch U6GR ULED Roku TV is our pick. It combines a 4K QLED television with built-in Roku technology that includes popular apps, like Amazon, Disney, Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. And with ample inputs, you can plug in your game consoles with ease.

Also: The best video streaming services

Regardless of what you choose, there is an impressive 64.5-inch screen with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for superior viewing, plus several other benefits, like game mode and filmmaker mode with both Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. Both USB and HDMI connectivity are available for easy setup with your Roku software already built in. 

Sweetening the deal is the 600 nits peak brightness the TV delivers across 60 dimming zones. It means it offers a brighter picture that will work in a wide variety of lighting conditions. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Simple to use
  • Companion app
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Missing Ethernet port
  • Slower operation
More Details

Tech specs: Remote: Roku Remote | Voice commands: No | Lost remote finder: No | Bluetooth streaming: No | Compatibility: Apple AirPlay, Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home

If you prefer a more simple Roku model or are on a budget, the Roku Express gets our pick for the best cheap Roku player. You still receive HD streaming with apps for all of your favorite channels, including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, and Sling. 

You also get access to exclusive originals and live TV channels directly from The Roku Channel. Voice assistants are supported, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home, but you can also just use the free Roku mobile app to work as a second remote and enjoy private listening with headphones. It is also easy to set up and use, thanks to a simple high-speed HDMI cable.

Best of all, with a customizable home screen, you can choose your favorite channels for easy access. It also comes with automatic software updates so you can access the newest channels as they become available. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Superior audio
  • Compact size
  • 4K and HDR compatible
Cons
  • Lacks Dolby Vision
  • Mediocre bass
More Details

Tech specs: Remote: Roku voice remote | Voice commands: Yes | Lost remote finder: No | Built-in speakers: Dolby Audio | Picture quality: 4K HD

The Roku Streambar takes things one step further by adding superior audio to the mix. Enjoy four internal speakers with Dolby Audio, plus built-in 4K streaming with support for HD, 4K, and HDR picture. 

Also: The best soundbars you can buy

Use the audio settings to find exactly the right volume profile, and then choose your favorite channels to customize your home screen. The Roku Streambar has Netflix incorporated, in addition to Roku Originals and more than 300 live channels. 

You can also use the remote to easily make voice commands, allowing you to switch between channels seamlessly. There are also several connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, and HDMI connections. For better listening, the Roku Streambar also works with the Roku Wireless Subwoofer and Roku Wireless Speakers.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Incorporated voice feature
  • Dolby Vision
  • 4K HDR
Cons
  • Lacks Dolby Atmos
  • Limited live TV
More Details

Tech specs: Remote: Roku voice remote | Voice commands: Yes | Lost remote finder: No | Bluetooth streaming: No

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K boasts 4K resolution, as the name suggests, but that is far from all. You also receive Dolby Vision with HDR10 picture that includes vibrant color with sharp resolution. It uses long-range Wi-Fi connectivity to allow access to over 275 channels, including Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max. 

Also: Roku vs. Fire Stick: Which is right for your streaming needs?

With the Roku Channel, you will also get access to Roku Originals that you cannot find anywhere else. All it takes is a simple HDMI connection. The Roku remote makes it easy to perform a voice search, so you can easily find the right program. It will work with all your favorite voice assistants, too, whether it is Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Moreover, you can have your own watch party without disturbing your roommates or loved ones by using the Roku app with wired or wireless earbuds. And if you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, this player is ENERGY STAR® certified. 

What is the best Roku TV player?

The best Roku player is Roku's fastest model, the Roku Ultra. It is a little box with big features that include both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio. 

To see how it stacks up, here is a comparison of the best Roku players. 

Best Roku player

Price

Key features

Roku Ultra 

$90

Voice assistance, Bluetooth, lost remote finder

Hisense 65-Inch U6GR ULED Roku TV

$522

4K ULED TV 

Roku Express

$25

Basic Roku model

Roku Streambar

$125

Built-in soundbar, Dolby Audio

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

$47

Voice assistance, Wi-Fi, Dolby Vision

Which Roku player is right for you?

After a while, all Roku players can start to feel the same, so here are our expert recommendations to help you find the best Roku player for your needs. 

Choose this Roku player...

If you want...

Roku Ultra

A premium Roku worthy of your home theater with smart home combability and extra remote features 

Hisense 65-Inch U6GR ULED Roku TV

A TV with a built-in Roku, 4K QLED display, and it's easy to use

Roku Express

A budget-friendly Roku player with a companion app and a simple setup

Roku Streambar

A powerful soundbar with a built-in Roku and 4K and HDR compatibility, 

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

An affordable, convenient solution to Roku streaming with Dolby Vision, 4KHDR, and incorporated voice feature 

How did we choose these Roku players?

There are many different Roku players these days, so we took a targeted approach when surveying the best Roku models. We considered the number of channels available, as well as the features that each Roku has to offer. We also look at pricing to ensure that there is an option suitable for all different kinds of budgets. 

What is a Roku player?

A Roku is a small streaming device that allows access to live and on-demand content through different streaming apps. It is usually in the form of a small box or stick, but there are Roku players that are also available as streambars and TVs.

Once connected, you can access Roku's library of free content and connect your favorite apps in one hub. Therefore, whether you're wanting to stream music through your TV or catch up on the latest episodes of Succession, you can do so easily with this interface. 

What can I watch on a Roku player?

Roku offers its own Roku Originals, while also serving as a vehicle to access other popular streaming services to which you may subscribe, like Netflix, Prime Video, Spotify, and Disney+. 

Are there alternative Roku players worth considering?

Our best picks are not the only Roku players available. These are some of the players that almost made our list of the best Roku players. 

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