4K TV, where have you been all my life? I just brought home a beautiful new LG 4K Ultra HD TV, and it’s changed how my family watches television. Everything is bolder and brighter, and even the same old HDTV shows we watch on our cable box look better than before. The only problem? We couldn’t access 4K content via YouTube or Netflix because we didn’t have a 4K streamer , so when I was asked to test the brand new Roku Ultra 4K media streaming device, I jumped at the chance.
The Roku Ultra is part of Roku’s new fall lineup. I went to a media event back in September and they gave me a preview of all of the new Roku devices and the Roku TV, but it wasn’t until I plugged the Roku Ultra into my new 4K TV and used it for a few days that I could really see why it was a home theatre must-have have one. If you want to see a comparison of all 5 new Roku devices, go to Erin’s article to learn “Which of the 5 new Roku media streaming players is right for you?”
If I had to describe it in one word I’d have to use seamless. Long gone are the days when you bring home a new TV and you struggle with the controls and set up. With the Roku Ultra you just plug it into your wall, plug in the HDMI cable, and it’s ready to go.
Appearance and features of the Roku Ultra
The Roku Ultra is a small, light media streamer that comes packaged with the Roku remote and a pair of Roku earbuds. It might be small, but it’s mighty, giving you thousands of channels and beautiful 4K content.
- Roku Ultra is the top of the line Roku from the new Roku lineup released this fall, and has a quad-core processor, dual-band ac MIMO wireless, and an Ethernet connection port
- Gives you access to 2500+ channels and 100,000 movies and TV, with more being added each week
- Has an unbiased search so you can look for what you want to watch and Roku will pull up that TV show or movie and show you where it’s free or paid across all of your channels
- Includes a loaded remote you can point anywhere and comes pre-loaded with Netflix, Ted, and Spotify buttons
- The remote also has a headphone jack you can use to plug in and listen to your TV solo. That means no late night loud TVs, because you can just plug in and listen on your own
- 4K Spotlight makes it easy to find 4K and HDR content, which is really handy when you just set up your first 4K TV
- You can connect a sound bar to your Roku for Dolby Digital/Dolby Digital Plus surround sound
- MicroSD slot if you need additional channel storage
Why you’d want the Roku Ultra 4K Media Streamer
From the moment I plugged in the Roku Ultra, it was easy to use. I’ve had other media streamers that involved a heavy duty set up process where you search endlessly for your Wi-Fi connection, walk through different menus, and finally, you can watch streaming video. With Roku, the set up process happened in under a minute and I was searching for 4K content.
I had already had my new 4K TV up on the wall for a few days before I plugged in the Roku Ultra, but I hadn’t really been able to tap into 4K content. Within minutes of connecting the Roku Ultra, I was off and streaming 4K videos on YouTube.
A few of my favourite features on the Roku Ultra
I did a walk through of how easy it is to use the Roku Ultra in my review video, but there are a few things that really stood out when it comes to this media streamer. To start, it’s fast. There’s virtually no lag time when you’re entering a movie or TV show title, scrolling and installing channels, or streaming your content. It flows from one task to another.
The Roku Ultra also has so much to watch, it can be a bit overwhelming. What I enjoyed the most were the retro channels, the food networks, and the movie channels. I seemed to spend just as much time scrolling through channels than I did actually watching them, and I’d often turn on the Roku and let it stream on a channel while I was doing other tasks at home.
If you asked everyone else in my family what their favourite thing about the Roku Ultra were, you’d get a variety of answers, My kids were addicted to the retro cartoon channels and the Minecraft channel. My teenage daughter loved the food and music channels, and my son loved having access to a full range of BBC and British TV. We’ve never had such clear and easy access to some of his favourite TV shows, and he loved watching them on our new TV instead of his computer.
For my husband, the main event were the Roku Ultra’s ear buds and headphone jack. Our little farmhouse can seem really loud when you’re trying to sleep and someone is watching a movie at night, and he liked being to enjoy the TV while listening by himself.
You can also listen solo by plugging in to your phone and listening to your TV via the Roku app, and what an amazing little app it is. The Roku app instantly finds and connects to your Roku, and it lets you do voice search, choose from the channels, and even stream any content you have on your own phone. I put all of my Instagram photos up on my TV and used them as a screen saver during the day. You can also easily share your own videos and music.
New 4K TV? Roku Ultra is a must-have
I only had to use the Roku Ultra for a few hours and I was sold. I can’t imagine having my 4K TV up on my wall without a Roku Ultra to serve up all of that amazing 4K content. It’s easy to use, has no learning curve, and you’ll never get bored because they are constantly adding new content.
If you’re going to invest in a 4K TV, I highly recommend adding a Roku Ultra to your shopping list too. You’ll be glad you did.
Take a look at the Roku Ultra and the entire Roku lineup on Bestbuy.ca.