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Roku Premiere review: A cheap 4K streaming device
Roku Roku Premiere
Retail price: $39.99$39.99 at Amazon
What we like
What we don't like
Inexpensive streaming devices don’t have to cost you in terms of features. Sometimes you just have to find the perfect balance of price and power. That’s Roku’s goal with the Premiere, but does it live up to the billing? You won’t find many frills here, but it’s time to see how the Roku Premiere fares in our review.
The home streaming market is a fairly crowded one, but some features can help a device rise to the top. We’ll tackle the good, the bad, and deliver our shopping verdict right here for you.
See also: Roku buyer’s guide
What you need to know about the Roku Premiere
- Roku Premiere: $39.99/£39.99
The Roku Premiere is a small set-top box you can plug into a spare HDMI port on your TV. It supports pretty much all major streaming platforms both paid and free. The Premiere is also small enough to easily fit into a pocket for trips to visit family or overnight hotel stays.
As for streaming quality, the Roku Premiere comes ready for 4K streaming and it offers HDR support. Both features are notable additions to a reasonably priced device that’s barely larger than the entry-level Roku Express.
You’ll also get a basic remote with your Premiere that’s good for controlling the streaming device directly. However, it does not offer any control over your TV set and you can’t deliver voice commands directly to it. To add this functionality, you’ll have to pick up an Amazon Echo speaker.
One of the best features of the Roku Premiere is its portability. You can take it just about anywhere, even if you are traveling and want to hook it up to a hotel TV or a friend’s television. On the other hand, you can also commit the Premiere to a single TV with the included adhesive strip.
Tuck your Roku Premiere out of sight with a simple adhesive strip.
Like most Roku devices, the Premiere is incredibly easy to set up. It just takes a few minutes to plug into your HDMI port and log into your Roku account. Of course, you’ll have to log in to each of your streaming services individually. If your TV has a free USB port, you can also use it as your power supply. It’s a helpful feature particularly if outlets are scarce.
See also: The best TV deals
You shouldn’t have much trouble jumping around the Roku OS, either. It’s home to pretty much all of the major streaming platforms, so there’s not much limit to what you can do. If you do come across an app that’s not available on the Premiere, you can always mirror it right from your phone or tablet. Roku recently added Apple AirPlay 2 support for casting apps from your iPad and iPhone to your TV. There’s also limited Android mirroring too.
Finally, its inexpensive price is perfect for people who are new to TV cord-cutting. It’s tough to beat $40 for a 4K ready device, and the Premiere is often on sale.
What’s not so good?
While the Roku Premiere is a great value, it’s not all perfect. The design of the device itself does not make it as easy to hide as the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. We’ve already mentioned that the simple remote doesn’t allow for voice commands, so you’d need an Amazon Echo speaker. Further, if your TV does not have a free USB port, it’s a bit of a pain to rely on the short power cable.
Finer points aside, it’s worth noting this isn’t a speed demon. There’s a limited amount of onboard memory and storage. That means occasionally you could see a reloading screen when you have not accessed a Roku streaming app in a while.
Finally, be prepared to see lots of ads on the home screen and screen savers. These minor annoyances allow Roku to sell the stick for next to nothing and while they won’t detract too much from your use, it’s still worth noting.
Roku Premiere review: Should I buy it?
If you are looking for a no-frills streaming device and want to turn your existing 4K TV into a smart one, the Roku Premiere is a great option. It pairs well with any newer TV that already offers 4K support, especially those without a smart TV interface or a poorly designed one. Plugging in the Roku Premiere box is an excellent way to get up to speed and start cutting the cord at a relatively inexpensive price tag.
If you don’t have a 4K TV, you should consider the Roku Express, which is basically this device but it only supports 1080p resolutions. For an even more portable option and support for a voice remote, consider the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. Users looking for Ethernet speeds should check out the more expensive Roku Ultra set-top box.
Overall, this is a great buy for those looking for 4K support but without tons of unneeded extras.