With all the streaming services that are available these days, it's nice to have one place that brings them all together for you — like a TV guide for the modern streaming experience. That's where Roku comes in. Roku is a set-top box, an accessory that can be added to basically any television in your home in order to provide you with a centralized platform to find all of your favorite streaming content.
Roku devices come in a number of different forms. There's a simple set-top box that comes in multiple models including the Express and Ultra that plugs into your TV via HDMI, similar to a DVD or Blu-ray player. It connects to the internet, either via a wired connection with an ethernet cord or wirelessly through your home's Wi-Fi network, depending on the model. Once connected, you can download your favorite streaming apps, sign in to your account, and get your content all through the Roku platform.
Another version of the Roku box model with expanded functionality is the Roku Streambar. This is a soundbar that doubles as a set-top box and provides the functionality of a soundbar, with built-in speakers that help to give you something closer to the home theater experience. At the same time, it gives you access to the Roku platform and connects the same way as other Roku set-top boxes.
The Roku Stick works similarly to the Roku Box but is a bit more streamlined — and typically cheaper. Barely larger than a USB stick, this device plugs in via the HDMI port on your TV and connects wirelessly to your home's Wi-Fi network. It also provides access to your streaming services of choice on a single, unified platform. This comes in a number of models, including the Roku Streaming Stick and Roku Streaming Stick Plus.
Finally, there's the Roku TV. This is a smart TV that has the Roku platform built right in. You won't need a separate device or remote and won't have to navigate over to the HDMI channel on your TV in order to access it. It is all available right through the existing interface on the TV. The features are the same, though you'll have to purchase a TV that comes with support for Roku TV. These TVs can come in a variety of sizes, styles, and picture quality.
Interested in the latest Roku deals? We're rounding up all the best so you can find the right option for your streaming needs.
Best for Your Budget
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus is Roku's flagship streaming stick and a streamlined way to organize your streaming experience. This small device plugs directly into your TV's HDMI port and connects to your wireless network to provide streaming video from just about any streaming service of your choice. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus supports video quality of up to 4K. It comes with a simple remote with shortcut buttons for popular streaming apps. It also features voice-based search and support for Alexa. It's small, simple, and affordable — a great entry point for anyone who is consuming lots of streaming content.
Best for your budget
Roku Express is the smallest and cheapest of the Roku box models, but it's more than capable of being the streaming hub for your home entertainment system. The Roku Express 4K+ model supports 4K streaming video content, which gives it a little future-proofing as more and more content is made available in this pixel-dense picture quality. Just connect the device to your wireless network and start streaming.
Best for media lovers and gamers
Of all of the Roku box models, the Roku Ultra is the most full-featured available. This set-top box provides support for high video quality, including 4K and HDR. It also includes a variety of ports, including MicroSD and USB — a great option for folks who have media on external devices. The Roku Ultra can connect to your wireless network or stay wired thanks to an ethernet port that provides a stable connection. You can also plug in headphones, either directly to the box or the remote, for private listening. The Roku Ultra includes support for voice search. It also comes with a game controller if you'd like to get even more entertainment.
Amazon Prime Video is Amazon's premium streaming service. It includes access to Amazon's extensive library of content, which includes some popular series from HBO as well as plenty of beloved TV series and movies. You'll also get Amazon's original programming, including a number of award-winning shows like Man In The High Castle and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Amazon Prime Video usually costs $9 per month, but a Roku device scores you a 30-day free trial.
iHeartRadio is a popular streaming service for music lovers that provides access to millions of songs and thousands of radio networks, all on-demand. You can seek out playlists and favorite tracks or turn on a local radio station stream and let the DJ do the curating for you. iHeartRadio usually costs $10 per month, but you can get 30 days free through a Roku device.
Daily Burn is a streaming platform for fitness fanatics. It provides access to thousands of videos that guide you through workouts. There are choices for all forms of activity, from dancing and yoga to kettlebell workouts and weight training. There are plenty of options to keep you active and work out every part of your body. Daily Burn usually costs $15 per month, but with a Roku device, you get 30 days free.
Discovery is way more than just the Discovery Channel, and you can find out all that it has to offer with Discovery+. This premium streaming service includes content from a wide variety of popular networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Animal Planet, ID, and of course the Discovery Channel. You'll get exclusive shows that aren't available anywhere else, along with access to more than 55,000 episodes from more than 2,500 shows. This service usually costs $5 per month, but with a Roku device, you get a month free.
Roku devices offer a wide variety of deals for entertainment and service offers in the form of free trials. Many of these are available through the Roku Channel, Roku's own streaming platform that puts free programming front and center. Month-long trials to a variety of different premium streaming services are available, giving you a chance to try them out without commitment.
Other popular set-top boxes have more limited selections for deals. Apple TV devices come with a free year of access to Apple TV+, the company's premium streaming platform. However, sales and other offers for Apple TV devices are few and far between.
Another popular streaming option, the Amazon Fire line of set-top boxes and streaming sticks, regularly go on sale. However, Amazon does not have as many partnerships with streaming services and other content providers. Occasionally, you may see an Amazon Fire device paired with an Amazon Alexa speaker for a cheaper, bundle price.
Roku devices are great entry points for those who enjoy streaming content and can provide powerful tools for media and entertainment lovers. Having all of your streaming services available through one platform makes finding new shows and old favorites easier. Roku devices are reasonably priced, and there are many options for additional savings on Roku boxes, sticks, and other devices. You can also expand your streaming library with a number of deals on premium streaming platforms available through Roku.