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Roku Streaming Media Players: Express vs. Premiere vs. Streaming Stick+ vs. Ultra 2020

The Ultra is Roku’s newest streaming media player. So, how does the new product compare to the older Express, Premiere and Streaming Stick+?

You can find out in this comparing guide between these four products.

Quick Summary

With the 2020 Ultra Streaming Media Player, Roku added 50% more range to its 802.11ac MIMO dual-band Wi-Fi in addition to adding support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, HLG and wired Ethernet connection.

If you have a television set that is compatible with Dolby Vision/HLG HDR as well as speakers/headphones that support Dolby Atmos, then the Roku Ultra is the best option out of this group.

The Ultra version also provides the best wireless coverage; so, if you are worried that you might get a weak signal, then you should get the latest model. If you want to connect to the internet over Ethernet, then the Roku Ultra is your only option.

If you don’t mind missing out on the aforementioned Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos and connectivity features, then the Roku Streaming Stick+ is the more affordable option.

You can purchase any of the aforementioned streaming media players, if you are interested, on Amazon with the following links:

Express vs. Premiere vs. Streaming Stick+ vs. Ultra 2020 Comparison Chart

 Roku Express Streaming Media Player (3930R)Roku Premiere Streaming Media Player (3920R)Roku Streaming Stick+ Media Player (3810R)Roku Ultra 2020 Streaming Media Player (4800R)
What’s in the BoxRoku Express streaming player

Remote

Two AAA batteries

High Speed HDMI Cable

Power adaptor

USB power cable

Optional adhesive strip for mounting
Roku Premiere streaming player

Remote

Two AAA batteries

Premium High Speed HDMI Cable

Power adaptor

USB power cable

Optional adhesive strip for mounting
Roku Streaming Stick+ player

Voice remote

Two AAA batteries

USB power cable with long-range wireless receiver

Power adaptor

Extender cable
Roku Ultra streaming player

Voice remote

Headphones

Two AA batteries

Premium High Speed HDMI Cable

Power adaptor
Weight1.1 ounces1.3 ounces0.9 ounces5.9 ounces
Dimensions1.50 in x 0.75 in x 3.00 in1.40 in x 3.30 in x 0.70 in3.70 in x 0.80 in x 0.47 in1.00 in x 4.90 in x 5.00 in
Wi-Fi802.11bgn single-band wireless802.11bgn single-band wireless802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless with 50% more range
Wired ConnectionNoneNoneNone1x Ethernet 10/100 port
HDMI1.4b2.0a2.0a2.0b
Supported Video ResolutionsHDTV: 1080p with 720p upscalingHDTV: 1080p with 720p upscaling

4K TV: 4K at 60 frames per second with 720p and 1080p upscaling
HDTV: 1080p with 720p upscaling

4K TV: 4K at 60 frames per second with 720p and 1080p upscaling
HDTV: 1080p with 720p upscaling

4K TV: 4K at 60 frames per second with 720p and 1080p upscaling
HDRNoneHDR10HDR10Dolby Vision

HDR10

HLG
Audio FeaturesDigital stereo over HDMI

DTS Digital Surround pass through over HDMI

Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos pass through over HDMI
Digital stereo over HDMI

DTS Digital Surround pass through over HDMI

Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos pass through over HDMI
Digital stereo over HDMI

DTS Digital Surround pass through over HDMI

Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos pass through over HDMI
Digital stereo over HDMI

DTS Digital Surround pass through over HDMI

Dolby Atmos decode via HDMI
USB PortsNoneNoneNone1x USB 3.0
Roku Mobile App Support?YesYesYesYes
Alexa and Google Assistant Support?YesYesYesYes
Power ConsumptionLess than 2.2W (typical) when streamingLess than 3W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD videoLess than 3W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD videoLess than 4.5W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD video
PricingCheck price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.

What’s in the Box

In addition to the main streaming player unit, each product also comes with a remote (although the remote that comes with Streaming Stick+ and Ultra can be voice-controlled) and remote batteries. The Express, Premiere and Ultra also include a HDMI cable (the Streaming Stick+ can be plugged straight into the HDMI port of your television set).

You can take a look at the contents included in each box below:

Roku Express:

  • Roku Express streaming player
  • Remote
  • Two AAA batteries
  • High Speed HDMI Cable
  • Power adaptor
  • USB power cable
  • Optional adhesive strip for mounting

Roku Premiere:

  • Roku Premiere streaming player
  • Remote
  • Two AAA batteries
  • Premium High Speed HDMI Cable
  • Power adaptor
  • USB power cable
  • Optional adhesive strip for mounting

Roku Streaming Stick+:

  • Roku Streaming Stick+ player
  • Voice remote
  • Two AAA batteries
  • USB power cable with long-range wireless receiver
  • Power adaptor
  • Extender cable

Roku Ultra 2020:

  • Roku Ultra streaming player
  • Voice remote
  • Headphones
  • Two AA batteries
  • Premium High Speed HDMI Cable
  • Power adaptor

Weight

The Streaming Stick+ is the lightest of the Roku streaming media players. The Ultra is easily the heaviest, weighing several times more than the other devices in this versus guide.

You can find the weight specifications below:

  • Express: 1.1 ounces
  • Premiere: 1.3 ounces
  • Streaming Stick+: 0.9 ounces
  • Ultra: 5.9 ounces

Dimensions

You can also take a look at the measurements of the four Roku media players below:

  • Roku Express: 1.50 in x 0.75 in x 3.00 in
  • Roku Premiere: 1.40 in x 3.30 in x 0.70 in
  • Roku Streaming Stick+: 3.70 in x 0.80 in x 0.47 in
  • Roku Ultra: 1.00 in x 4.90 in x 5.00 in

Wi-Fi

With the Ultra, Roku extended the Wi-Fi range by more than 50 percent. The Streaming Stick+ uses the same 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless as the Ultra but with less range. The Express and Premiere players use 802.11bgn single-band wireless.

You can check out a breakdown of the Wi-Fi specs for all four streaming media players below:

  • Express Media Player: 802.11bgn single-band wireless
  • Premiere Media Player: 802.11bgn single-band wireless
  • Streaming Stick+ Media Player: 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless
  • Ultra Media Player: 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless with 50% more range

Wired Connection

The Roku Ultra Streaming Media Player is the only product in this comparison to support a wired connection as it comes with an Ethernet 10/100 port.

HDMI

Roku also updated the HDMI port with the new Ultra media player.

You can take a look at the HDMI versions for all four devices below:

  • Roku Express: HDMI 1.4b
  • Roku Premiere: HDMI 2.0a
  • Roku Streaming Stick+: HDMI 2.0a
  • Roku Ultra 2020: HDMI 2.0b

Supported Video Resolutions

The Roku Express supports up to 1080p in video resolutions with 720p upscaling. The Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra supports up to 4K with 720p and 1080p upscaling.

You can take a breakdown of supported resolutions below:

Roku Express:

  • HDTV: 1080p with 720p upscaling

Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra:

  • HDTV: 1080p with 720p upscaling
  • 4K TV: 4K at 60 frames per second with 720p and 1080p upscaling

HDR

The Roku Express does not support HDR while the Roku Premiere and Roku Streaming Stick+ are compatible with HDR10. The new Roku Ultra supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG.

Audio Features

With the Ultra player, Roku added direct support for Dolby Atmos (the previous versions only support Atmos via HDMI pass through).

You can check out the supported audio features for the devices below:

Roku Express, Roku Premiere and Roku Streaming Stick+:

  • Digital stereo over HDMI
  • DTS Digital Surround pass through over HDMI
  • Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos pass through over HDMI

Roku Ultra:

  • Digital stereo over HDMI
  • DTS Digital Surround pass through over HDMI
  • Dolby Atmos decode via HDMI

USB Ports

The Roku Ultra is the only media player in this comparison to include an USB port, which is version 3.0.

Roku Mobile App

All four streaming media players support the Roku Mobile App. With this application, you will be able to use your smartphone as a second remote, search with your voice or mobile keyboard, enable private listening with connected headphones, Stream free TV via the Roku Channel as well as cast music, photos, and videos to your television screen.

Alexa and Google Assistant Support

The Roku Express, Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra also support Alexa and Google Assistant as you will be able to control the media players with compatible Alexa or Google Assistant devices.

Power Consumption

The Roku Ultra consumes more energy when compared to the older models.

You can take a look at the power consumption specs below:

  • Roku Express: Less than 2.2W (typical) when streaming
  • Roku Premiere: Less than 3W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD video
  • Roku Streaming Stick+: Less than 3W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD video
  • Roku Ultra 2020: Less than 4.5W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD video

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