Friday, June 15, 2018

Streaming in 4K with ROKU Ultra

roku ultra
In today's market, there are several streaming options we can use for our entertainment. These entertainment apps and services are available on different streaming devices giving us choices. So, it is up to us to choose the device with the best value that has the streaming apps we subscribe to and use often.
roku ultra
We have had a 1080p TV for the past few years and have been enjoying videos in high definition. We recently upgraded to a 4K Ultra HD Display and have been amazed by the brilliant picture quality. Since we have chosen not to have cable TV, our main source of entertainment comes from subscriptions services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime video, and other free streaming services. We have been using the Roku Ultra Player for a few of weeks and here is our experience.

Hardware and Performance
Roku Ultra is Roku's top of the line streamer. Its packed with useful features and is future proofed with 4K Ultra HD support. The Roku Ultra is a 5x5 inch box and it is less than an inch thick. It has an array of ports at the back, HDMI slot, optical port for audio, Micro SD card slot for added storage, and a USB port for local playback, and a 10/100 Ethernet port for connecting to the internet using an Ethernet cable. It also has the latest 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless built in for fast wireless streaming. 

The Roku Ultra has a powerful quad-core processor. If you have used the Roku platform before the Roku OS is fluid and very fast, even on older models. The Ultra performs even better with the faster processor as it handles many tasks at once. Navigating between menus and loading apps is snappy. Except for the random buffering before a movie or show loads, I have not experienced any glitches with the Ultra so far. After hours of use, and being on all the time the box is only warm to the touch even though it's fully enclosed with no grills for heat dissipation. The Roku Ultra is fan-less and does not produce a whirring sound when it is being used.
roku ultra
Roku OS and navigation
Having used past versions of the Roku, there isn't much that has changed OS wise - which might be a good thing. It has the familiar home screen with all the apps in front and menus on the side. The home screen layout including the icons have been formatted for a 4K display. There are a lot of new channels including a News channel and Roku channel which has a selection of free movies every month. Although, these movie selections are not new there are some old favourites and they keep updating each month.  However, I am not sure if these movies are available for users in Canada as the movies do not play and keep going back to the movie summary screen. There are different themes built in, however some of these look very basic. 

If you have a 4K capable TV, then watching content in 4K is a must. It shows clarity, and beautiful images and shows off what your new television is capable of. However, since 4K technology is new, finding content is not as easy. There are only a few apps which have content in 4K, and this can get confusing. Roku has a 4K spotlight channel which gathers 4K content across most providers and showcases it in one channel. Along with 4K technology there is HDR as well. HDR is High Dynamic Range which means to show content with much better brightness and contrast and display objects in their natural colours. Other than the google Chromecast, and some TV's, Roku is the only standalone media streaming device than can display compatible YouTube videos in 4K HDR. 

Remote, and other features
Roku is also known for its multifunction remote. The remote for the Roku Ultra has been slightly updated to better handle button presses. It is slightly thicker and buttons are a little bigger helping us identify the buttons without looking at the remote. The volume up/down keys are located on the side of the remote. There is also a headphone jack on the remote for private listening. There are dedicated buttons for Netflix, Spotify, Google play, and the TED channel. I wish there is a feature to program these buttons to launch the app of our choice. The remote is also a point anywhere remote without the need to point it straight at the Roku for it to work.

There is also a voice search button which makes it easy to search for a specific TV show, movie or by actor, actress, or director. The voice search also works with basic voice commands such as opening apps or getting back to the home screen. In addition to the physical remote, Roku has updated the Roku mobile app which has a fully-fledged remote with similar features. The Roku Ultra has a button to locate the remote when it is misplaced, by pressing the lost remote finder button located on the top of the Roku Ultra.

In conclusion, we find the Roku Ultra to be a media streaming powerhouse packed with premium hardware and features. If you are looking for your first media streamer or have upgraded to a 4K TV, the Roku Ultra is a great choice that is reasonably priced.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.  All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2018. Please Ask First

8 comments:

  1. Thanks very much for this informative review, it sounds like we need to upgrade to the Roku Ultra.

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  2. What a wonderful detailed,thanks for sharing!

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  3. A Roku would be well loved in our house! It provides so many entertainment options!

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  4. I like it, I definitely could use this device to stream and binge netflix

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  5. We have an older model Roku and have made good use of it.

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  6. OHHH would I love this. A new Roku would mean I would not have to turn off and on to get the sound working right.

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  7. this sounds like a really great thing...I think all members of the family would enjoy!!

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