Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube all offer large 4K libraries but accessing your favourite movies and TV shows on a Smart TV isn’t always a particularly straightforward process.
That's why there is still a market for a streamer, such as the Roku Streaming Stick+. Out-the-box it offers all your favourite apps, it’s simple to setup and is pleasantly affordable. However, Amazon, Google and Apple also offer similar features.
The Roku Streaming Stick+ will display video content at up to 4K Ultra HD at 60fps and supports HDR10. It comes with all the streaming apps you’ll ever need, and it comptetively priced.
However, it does lack Dolby Vision support or a personal assistant, but otherwise, it’s a perfectly competent streaming stick with a few special features of its own.
Set-up and ease of use
Unlike its main rivals, which pack all the required electronics in one neat housing, the Streaming Stick+ splits the video and Wi-Fi components apart, housing the former in the HDMI stick and the latter in an inline module on the USB power cable.
The Wi-Fi bit houses an 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless chip, which plugs into the 3.7in stick via mini-USB. The Roku needs power to run, which is provided via a USB cable; this can be either plugged into a spare socket on your TV or through the provided wall adapter.
It connects to the internet and Wi-Fi with ease. It is very straightforward to learn and find your way around the menus, making it very pleasant to use and master.
Armed with a quad-core processor, the Roku is also quick to respond. Flicking between apps is instantaneous and the ability to search by title, actor or director across multiple services from one search box is a genuinely awesome feature. Voice control can be used to interact with the Streaming Stick+, but it isn’t up to the standard of Amazon or Apples alternatives.
The remote control is easy to understand and offers an overall sense of simplicity and includes buttons giving quick access to search, the homescreen and apps. Roku has chosen to include dedicated Netflix, Red Bull TV, R TV and YuppTV buttons on the remote, certainly different apps to the competitors – not sure why these apps are preferred. The remote also has power and volume buttons that can be used to control those functions on your TV.
The Roku covers pretty much all your TV streaming bases, making it an excellent hub for all types of content. On the 4K front, there’s support for services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.
It also has Amazon and Google services on board, despite both of them being direct competitors.
As for non-4K content, there’s a nice selection here as well, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5, plus the TV Player app, which you can use to watch live TV.
Watching 4K HDR and Full HD content on the Roku is a real joy- on the Samsung UE49KS7000 TV we tested it on, colours look realistic and with an Ultra HD resolution the picture is really sharp.
You’ll need a 4K HDR10-compatible TV to make the most of the stick. As for audio, the Roku Streaming Stick+ has Dolby Audio and DTS passthrough.
Price and competition
The Roku Streaming Stick+ Stick+ is £79. It slightly more expensive costing an extra £10 more than the all-new Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and the Chromecast Ultra, which are without doubt its main rivals.
Roku also sells a non-4K streamer – the Roku Express, for £30.
The Roku Streaming Stick+ offers everything you’d could want in a 4K streamer. It costs a bit more than its Amazon and Google rivals and the Roku does lack a voice assistant.
However, if you’re considering purchasing a 4K streamer that works with both Amazon and Google’s services, has a remote control and a easy-to-use interface, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is a truly viable option.