There are plenty of media streamers around but few offer as extensive range of apps and channels as Roku.

The company has been manufacturing online streaming boxes for several years, including a couple of Now TV boxes as Sky owns a share in the firm, but which should you choose?

The Roku product offering in the UK has recently been trimmed down to just two players, making it easier to choose one that's best for you. In the US, it's a different story with five players available to choose from.

Different price points are catered for, with various features added or trimmed back, so it's best to be aware of the options before you choose a Roku player.

Before we get to the individual boxes, it's worth knowing how they all work.

All Roku players run Roku OS, a user interface that is designed to make finding content as easy as possible.

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Roku calls its apps "channels" and offers perhaps the widest selection out there, including Amazon Video, Netflix, TVPlayer and all the UK's terrestrial catch-up services. US boxes are equally well served.

Features of Roku OS include Roku Search, which lets you search by movie title, actor or director, and it will return results based on your terms. The results will show you what you can watch for free, what you need a subscription for and what you can rent or buy.

Roku Feed shows you what films are out in the cinema, you can then set reminders so the player will let you know when those films are available to watch on Roku's channels.

You don't just have to find content through the players though, as you can open videos on several different channels, including Netflix and YouTube, on your smartphone and cast them across to the Roku player, in a similar fashion to Chromecast.

Roku offers two different streaming devices in the UK.

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Buy the Roku Express (UK) from Amazon.co.uk


  • Price: £30
  • Features: Up to 1080p, point anywhere remote, Wi-Fi, HDMI

The Roku Express is the most affordable way to gift your TV the vast selection of video apps that the Roku platform offers. It's a tiny device that plugs into your TV via an HDMI cable (supplied) as opposed to plugging in directly like the Streaming Stick+. Roku gives you a small piece of tape so you can attach it above or below your screen if you wish.

You also get a rather chunky remote included in the box, which has quick launch buttons for four of the video apps available through Roku, including Netflix. You can't carry out voice searches using the remote, but if you download the companion app for Android and iOS, you can. 

The Express is only capable of supporting up to full HD 1080p streams from the apps that support it. If it's 4K you're looking for, we'd like to point your attention to the Streaming Stick+ instead. However if 4K isn't your cup of tea and you're happy with full HD, the Roku Express is one of the best devices out there for smartening up your TV.

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Buy the Roku Streaming Stick+ (UK) from Amazon.co.uk


  • Price: £79.99
  • Features: 4K resolution, HDR10 on compatible TVs, Wi-Fi, HDMI

The Streaming Stick+ is the more powerful of the two players available in the UK. Like the Streaming Stick before it, this new model plugs directly into an HDMI port on your TV, but does need a socket nearby for power. It's much smaller than before, and comes in a new black colour finish. The power cable also doubles up as a wireless signal booster thanks to a small module built into the cable. This helps provide up to four times the wireless range to minimise buffering. 

The headline feature of the Streaming Stick+ though, is its 4K HDR capabilities. You can only get 4K content from supported apps, such as Netflix and Amazon, and you will need the relevant subscription options for each. The Streaming Stick+ adds a 4K Spotlight channel to the home screen, that consolidates a whole load of 4K content available through Roku's app channels into one space.

You're supplied with the same remote as you get with the Express, and you can use the companion app to cast content to the big screen, perform searches and use the private listening mode. 

There are five different Roku player options in the US, with 4K support on the higher-end devices.

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Buy the Roku Streaming Stick (US) from Amazon.com


  • Price: $49.99
  • Features: Up to 1080p, point anywhere remote, dual-band Wi-Fi, HDMI

The current version of the Streaming Stick has a much improved processor which Roku says delivers more power than the Chromecast and former Fire TV Stick. It was also given dual-band MIMO wireless connectivity and a clever private listening mode via the companion smartphone app.

The new Streaming Stick costs around $50 in the US, making it more expensive than both the Express and Express+, but it has a different remote control that can be used to carry out voice searches, and is a lot more portable.

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See the Roku Streaming Stick+ (US) on Amazon.com


  • Price: $69.99
  • Features: 4K resolution, HDR on compatible TVs, Wi-Fi, HDMI

The US version of the Streaming Stick+ is the same as its UK counterpart. It's the more powerful of the two Streaming Stick options and plugs directly into an HDMI port on your TV, but make sure you have a  socket nearby for power. It's much smaller than the full HD Streaming Stick has has a power cable that also doubles up as a wireless signal booster thanks to a small module built into the cable. This helps provide up to four times the wireless range to minimise buffering. 

The headline feature of the Streaming Stick+ though, is its 4K HDR capabilities. You can only get 4K content from supported apps, such as Netflix and Amazon, and you will need the relevant subscription options for each. The Streaming Stick+ adds a 4K Spotlight channel to the home screen, that consolidates a whole load of 4K content available through Roku's app channels into one space.

You're supplied with the same remote as you get with the Express, and you can use the companion app to cast content to the big screen, perform searches and use the private listening mode. 

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Buy the Roku Express from Amazon.com or Roku Express+ from Amazon.com


  • Price: $29.99 (Express), $39.99 (Express+)
  • Features: Up to 1080p, dual-band Wi-Fi, HDMI, composite video output for older TVs (Express+ only)

The Express and Express+ are actually smaller than the Streaming Stick, but they don't plug into an HDMI port on your TV. Instead they act as very small set-top boxes and come supplied with some tape to attach them to the underneath of your TV, with an HDMI cable connecting the two and a Micro-USB taking care of power.

The Express+ is designed with older TVs in mind because it lets you connect via a composite jack and A/V cable (red, white and yellow). The Express+ can still be plugged into HD TVs via HDMI though, and supports HDMI upscaling to 1080p.

They perform just like any other Roku player, serving up the same generous selection of channels and come with a remote control too, which some would say makes them more attractive than a Chromecast which relies on your smartphone to operate.

At $30 and $40 respectively, the Roku Express and Express+ represent one of the cheapest smart upgrades for your TV, offer the biggest selection of streaming services and decent performance to boot.

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Buy the Roku Ultra from Amazon.com


  • Price: $129.99
  • Features: Up to 4K, HDR, Dolby Digital Plus, advanced point anywhere remote, dual-band Wi-Fi, Ethernet, HDMI

Finally, the Roku Ultra is the flagship model that has all the bells and whistles. It supports 4K HDR streaming, as well as Dolby Digital Plus over HDMI. All the other US-bound Roku players only support Dolby pass-through over HDMI.

The Ultra also has an Ethernet port, USB port and microSD card slot for playing back stored media and expanding the internal storage, as well as an optical output.

The supplied remote control has a headphone jack for private listening, but gets the added functionality of a lost remote finder. If you've lost the remote, you can press a button on the box and the remote will make a sound to help you track it down. The remote also has voice enabled search and motion control for gaming.

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Roku also has a mobile application for iOS and Android devices to accompany whichever streaming device you have. With it, you can access channels you already have installed, search the channel store for new ones to add and use it as a remote control.

Along the bottom of the screen there is a navigation bar that provides quick access to some of the most popular functions, including channels, what's on, where you'll find recommended content that other Roku users have been watching, quick launch for the remote control and access to photos which you can send to your streaming device to view on your TV.

The remote app can also be used to enable a private listening feature whereby you can connect your headphones to your phone and listen to audio from whatever you're watching in private, instead of having the sound come out of your TV.