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Roku Ultra Review: Is It Worth It?

The Roku Ultra is one of Roku's most popular streaming devices. Read on to find out if the Ultra is right for you.

Lara Vukelich


Roku Ultra Pros Roku Ultra Cons
  • Supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
  • Ethernet jack for hard-wired connectivity
  • Remote has a headphone jack
  • Voice control lacking
  • Pricey
  • Legacy interface unimpressive
  • When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    What is The Roku Ultra?

    The Roku Ultra is a streaming device that connects to your TV via hard cable. The small box uses wi-fi and allows you to watch movies and TV shows from your favorite streaming channels, including Netflix and Hulu, or listen to music and podcasts from providers like Spotify.

    The Roku Ultra connects using an HDMI cable and is easy to set up. Once you're up and running, you can watch videos in HD, 4K, or 4K HDR. This device also comes with an impressive remote that's equipped with a lost remote finder, hands-free controls, bluetooth technology for private listening, and preset buttons for faster access to the most popular streaming channels.

    Roku Ultra Pricing

    You can grab a Roku Ultra for just $100. This is more expensive than the Roku Express, which goes for $30, or the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K+, which come in between $50-$70. That being said, this device allows you to plug your streaming box into your TV using a hardline.

    Meanwhile, the remote is a bit more advanced than the remotes that come with many other Roku devices. As far as similar devices from the competition, the Roku Ultra comes in cheaper than the Apple TV 4K, which starts at $179. It's on par with the Fire TV Cube, which is $120 at Amazon.

    Roku Ultra Features

    The Roku Ultra measures 1 inch x 4.9 inches x 5 inches. It has four ports on one side for the following: Ethernet port, HDMI port, USB 3.0 port, and the supplied proprietary DC power supply. The Roku Ultra comes with an HDMI cable and a remote with a mini-jack for headphones (earbuds are supplied, but you can still use your own headphones).

    It uses 802.11ac dual-band MIMO wireless for a fast, clean connection, with up to 50 percent more range, but it will also work with 802.11n if that is the best your router can do. Or, you can hardwire a connection to your router via the ethernet port.

    The Roku Ultra comes with AirPlay support that gives you the ability to easily cast your iOS device to the Roku Ultra. It's compatible with the Apple HomeKit, Alexa, and Hey Google. You can also use the Bluetooth connectivity to listen to music, podcasts, and other media through your TV by connecting a compatible device. You can also enjoy private listening by connecting a pair of wireless earphones to your Roku using Bluetooth. 

    The USB port, which is a fast 3.0 connection, can be used for external storage or accessing other media.

    The Roku Ultra's on-screen menu is a little outdated but workable: It has a column on the left side of the screen that acts as a text menu, and a grid of apps (called "channels") on the rest of the screen. The text menu has level layers, and it can take some maneuvering to find what you want.  

    It does have a very handy remote-finder feature: The remote plays a sound effect when you push a button on the Roku Ultra box. It has four pre-assigned buttons to call up Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and SlingTV, along with two customizable buttons.

    Setting Up a Roku Ultra

    Set up for the Roku Ultra is simple:

    • Connect the HDMI cable to an available port on the TV and to the Roku device

    • Connect the power supply to the Roku and a wall outlet

    • Allow it to auto-detect your audio and video specs

    • Pair the Roku remote with the device, and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.

    • Connect to your Wi-Fi network (or to the router with the ethernet cable). Choose your network from the choices shown on-screen and enter the password with the remote and on-screen keyboard

    • Create a Roku account or sign in to your existing account

    That's all. If you encounter any problems with setup, Roku offers troubleshooting help on their website.

    Two tweaks that may help:

    • The Roku Ultra keeps HDR playback on all the time if you have an HDR TV, but that can make non-HDR titles look strange. Head to the Advanced Display Settings sub-menu and shut off "HDR always on." That lets the player choose HDR or standard playback, depending on which is available.

    • You may find that the Roku Ultra defaults to auto-detect for sound, and that can make it force Dolby Atmos encoding on all titles. If it does, choose "Auto Passthrough'' in the sound settings, which allows the device to playback sound in the correct format.

    Roku Ultra channels

    Access to titles is great, especially with Dolby Vision. You'll find all the usual streaming sources in the Roku Channel Store.

    Here are some of the most popular: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, YouTubeTV, Tubi, Pluto TV, Sling TV, Peacock, Paramount+, Discovery+, Philo, Vudu, Plex, AppleTV+, Showtime, Straz, Frndly TV, BritBox, Bravo, Funimation, Crackle, Locast, TLC Go, Redbox, HGTV Go, Viki, BET+, QVC & HSN, Telemundo, Google Play Movies and TV, FilmRise, Investigation Discovery, BYUtv, XUMO, Lifetime, Adult Swim, MTV, History, PureFlix, USA Network, TNT, Food Network Go, Tablo TV, Shudder, FXNow, AMC, TBS, Syfy, E!, Hallmark TV, A&E, VH1 and dozens more. 

    The Roku Channel is also full of titles (with a free subscription) like a rotating lineup of movies, many TV series (classic and recent), kids' shows, news, sports, and weather, as well as live TV. Live streaming even includes titles from lesser-known specialty sources like Newsy, NewsmaxTV, and PeopleTV. As you select titles, the channel learns what you like and prioritizes similar titles, bringing it to the top of the menu. 

    Voice Control

    The Roku Ultra remote has improved significantly over time. In addition to performing searches, you can use your voice to control the device and TV, as well as control a smart speaker that is connected to the Roku Ultra. You can also say "Hey Roku" from anywhere in the room to power your TV on or off, start streaming a particular show, search for a show, and more.

    Our Final Take

    Roku calls the 2022 version of the Roku Ultra's performance "cinematic," and if that's what you're looking for, then its top-of-the-line streaming device will likely satisfy you. It has all the abilities of lesser Roku devices, as well as the addition of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. If you have a TV and a soundbar that's capable of taking advantage of those features, you will be able to get the most out of channels (like Disney+, Prime Video, and Netflix) that offer titles in those formats. 

    It's speedy, thanks to an onboard quad-core processor and the 802.11ac Wi-Fi. And, although you may not need it, it is the only Roku product to have an ethernet jack for a rock-solid connection to your router. It's a limited fit with a smart home setup, but that seems like a minor point, given the Roku Ultra's other advantages.