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- Roku streaming devices are easy to use and set up, plus they’re relatively inexpensive for the category.
- The Roku Premiere offers 4K HDR streaming for under $30, plus it’s as easy and intuitive to use as any other Roku device.
- The inexpensive price tag does have an effect on the device — we missed some of the features found in the more expensive ones — but still found it to be a great value.
Roku has been bringing high-quality video streaming to the masses with its affordable streaming devices. The Roku Express ($29.88) is a great pick for those without a 4K-capable TV, while the Ultra ($100) offers 4K streaming, HDR support, voice control, gaming features, and more.
Roku has other cheaper devices too that support 4K HDR streaming, like the Roku Premiere that only costs $30. But is it worth buying even for $30, or should you skip it for something else? We’ve been using the Roku Premiere to find out.
If you’ve used any other Roku streaming device, you’ll be immediately familiar with many aspects of the Roku Premiere.
The unit consists of a small box that sits on your TV stand and connects to your TV, and a remote — that’s about it. The box measures around 1.4 inches deep and 3.3 inches wide, and has an HDMI port and a micro USB port on the back for power.
The remote is a little more involved, though not much more. You’ll get interface controls like a Home and directional buttons, as well as playback controls and quick buttons for apps like Netflix, Sling, Hulu, and DirecTV Now. There are some handy features missing here like a power button for your TV and voice control, which you’d get in the Premiere+ ($84.93) and Ultra ($100), as well as an audio jack, which you’d get in the Ultra as well.
Generally speaking, the Premiere is well-designed, and as such, easy to navigate. Considering the lack of external audio support and voice control, it might not be for everyone, but for those who don’t want or need those features, it’s more than good enough.
- 3.3 inches wide x 1.4 deep x 1 inch high
- Weighs 1.3 ounces
- Up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second
- HDR10 support
Setting up the Roku Premiere is easy, and exactly like any other Roku device.
Simply plug box into a power outlet and connect it to your TV, put the batteries in the remote, and follow the on-screen instructions. Those instructions will include logging into your Roku account on your phone or computer, or creating an account if you don’t already have one.
You’ll then need to select the "channels," or apps that you want to install on your Roku device. You probably will want to uncheck most of the default ones and just keep the ones that you actually use.
The entire setup process will take around five to 10 minutes for most, which is helpful for those who are impatient like me.
There are plenty of things that make the Roku Premiere a great streaming device, namely that it supports 4K and HDR10 at such a low cost. Assuming you have a TV that offers 4K and HDR10 quality, that means you can stream beautiful high-resolution video while still getting the contrast colors you’d find in any other HDR10-supporting streaming device.
The Roku interface is also very easy to navigate, which is good news for those that just want to watch things on specific platforms like Netflix or Hulu. Some hardware features are lacking like voice control and power button for your TV, but despite those two issues, the Premiere in general was very smart. You can search for a movie, actor, or even director, and the device will pull recommendations for you. We found it to be pretty good at prioritizing content, though we would have liked if the device highlighted content that’s in 4K and supports HDR.
Cons to consider
While some of the cons are to be expected given the price of the Roku Premiere, they’re still worth keeping in mind.
For starters, the Roku interface in general is starting to feel a little dated. It’s the same interface you’ll see across all Roku devices, which isn’t to say that it’s ugly but just that it’s not all that exciting. We think Roku could give it a bit of a facelift.
The remote that comes with the Roku Premiere is also pretty basic. Some will appreciate the simplicity, but others who like voice control and the ability to control their TV might want to shell out a little more cash for the higher-end Roku Premiere+ or even the Roku Ultra.
It’s also important to note that the remote communicates with the box through infrared, so it needs to be in direct line-of-sight with the box in order to function.
The bottom line
The Roku Premiere is a great streaming device for those that don’t care about voice control or fancy features, and want to spend less than $30.
While we missed some of the features available in the Roku Ultra or our favorite Apple TV 4K, not everyone needs anything that high tech in order to stream high-quality video. However, if you do want voice control and don’t have any allegiance to Roku, then it’s worth considering the Amazon Fire TV 4K, or upgrading to the Roku Premiere +.
But if you just want to watch Netflix in 4K and don’t really care about anything else, then the Roku Premiere is a great streaming device for you.
Pros: Easy to use, lots of app support, streams in 4K and supports HDR
Cons: Remote is a little basic and doesn’t support voice control or have power button for TV, Roku interface is outdated
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