New Roku Models for Cord Cutters

Category: Gadgets

Roku, fresh off its NASDAQ debut, is re-invigorating its product line with faster hardware, nifty software upgrades, and lower prices. Let’s see if one of these new streaming media players can turn you into a cord cutter...

Ready for a Roku Refresh?

Millions of consumers are "cutting the cord" by cancelling their expensive cable TV subscriptions. Instead, they use a streaming media gadget like Roku to bring movies, TV shows and online video to their television screens. (Roku is pronounced like "row-koo.")

A Roku player plugs into one of your TV's input slots, and connects to your high-speed Internet to bring a wide selection of entertainment options to your living room. Hundreds of free channels are available, but additional charges may apply for subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video and other streaming services.

Most consumers find that some combination of the above can replace their cable TV service at a lower monthly cost. Today, we'll take a look at the new line of Roku devices that help to power the cord-cutting revolution.

Roku Ultra for 2017

What's New, Roku?

At the high-end, the Roku Ultra has 4K capability and the most powerful hardware specs of the line. It’s getting an updated remote control, but the list price remains at $100. (Amazon has it for $89 with free Prime 2-day shipping.) The Apple TV 4K costs $90-$100 more, and the Roku Ultra also gives you more streaming options than Apple TV.

One step down is the Roku Premiere, a player for HD and 4K Ultra TVs. The Roku Premiere lists for $70, but can be found on Amazon for $52. The Roku Premiere+ adds HDR capability, if your TV supports high-dynamic range. (The Roku Premiere debuted in 2016, and was not updated in the 2017 Roku product refresh.)

The updated Roku Express is just $30 (or $25 on Amazon). Its new processor is five times faster than previous generations, which should improve performance. The Roku Express+ is the same device but is compatible with older analog televisions; it is available for $35, only via Walmart.

The Roku $70 4K Streaming Stick+ is a smaller gadget plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. A dual-band WiFi adapter built into the power cord greatly improves throughput, especially when streaming super-high-definition 4K and HDR content. This is a direct shot at Amazon’s 4K-capable Fire TV which debuted last month.

The regular Roku Streaming Stick does HD streaming (but not 4K) and now comes with a voice-controlled remote, for $50 (or $40 on Amazon).

Amazon sells most Roku models at a discounted price, and has free 2-day shipping if you're an Amazon Prime member. You can checkout the full Roku lineup now, order directly from Roku or wait for them to show up on retailers’ shelves on October 8, 2017.

Roku's Latest Innovations

All Roku boxes and Roku-enabled TVs are getting natural-language voice control. Speak into the remote and say what you want to watch, and Roku will search for results available in the streaming channels available.

One really nice feature for cord-cutters with a Roku-enabled TV and an HD antenna is the “Smart Guide.” This easy-to-use program guide shows you what’s playing on your local over-the-air broadcast channels.

Roku is the current leader in the streaming device arena, but others such as Apple TV, Google's ChromeCast, Amazon's Fire TV Stick, and the Nvidia Shield are worthy competitors as well.

Are you a cord-cutter? If so, what combination of services have you used to replace your cable TV subscription? If not, why not? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "New Roku Models for Cord Cutters"

(See all 21 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

My family and I have "cut the cord". We use a Roku 3 and subscribe to Netflix and (until recently) Sling (for ESPN, etc.). We also found that we needed a digital antenna for local stations.

All that said, the cable company came back to us with an offer too good to refuse... so we took it.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

can you get any of the sports channels or Christian channels?

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

Can the Roku access multimedia that you have stored on an NAS?

Posted by:

John T
03 Oct 2017

I cut the cord few years ago. Dropped my satellite subscription. currently have high speed internet, Roku's 3 attached to my living room, a Roku Premier on my master bedroom TV, & a Roku Express on my den TV. They all work well with mi WI-FI except for the Roku 3 which is direct connected via an either-net cable. With this I subscribe to Sling-TV and also have a Channel Master DVR+ for over the air channels and DVR capabilities. Also now I can DVR channels with Sling for a bit more $.
I do not seem to miss those over 200 HD channels, that were impossible to watch them all anyway!

Posted by:

John Silberman
03 Oct 2017

Roku is always coming out with something new making older Roku devices obsolete to force you to upgrade. Anything on Roku can be found online legally.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

We cut tne cord in 2010 and never went back with a WDTV Live Hub w/1T drive in it and I put skads of our favorite movies, pics and music on it. Also it play what ever is on any device on the network through DLNA. The only trouble is the channels are hardwired in the firmware (I still get Netflix & Pandora) and they aint updating it anymore. So I bought a Roku Primier+ and it is FAST. It even picks up what is on the WDTV 1T drive! The only thing I don't like about it is the commercials and it wont play VRO (common disk movie files) so I have to convert them to MP4 or never junk the WDTV.

Posted by:

Peter Mauro
03 Oct 2017

My Sony 3700 blu ray player has everything roku has and more.
Is there any reason to get roku?

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

I am still using Roku HD (Old Model) in my bedroom. It must be 8 year old. @John Silberman Roku is the device used to stream content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. This content cannot be found online legally for free.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

At first I thought I would like the ROKU, but after ayear of use, I'm finding I am getting tired
of the news snippits with the same three commercial played more often than commercial tv does.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

We cut the cable cord 20+ years ago, when we realized 90% of the time we were watching broadcast channels. Rabbit ears were just fine. I still have an antenna on my roof. Of course that's changed with some much content streaming now. We have a 1st gen Roku and a Chromecast.

But honestly, we just don't watch that much TV anymore. We usually just end up binge watching something on Netflix once in awhile or renting a movie (and we have to RENT the movie, because Netflix never has any movies we want to see. Seriously, if the kids weren't using it at college, I'd cut that as well).

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

Roku a book!

Or Bob's updates.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

I can't cut the cord with Comcast as they will charge you more for internet ~ $25 if you don't have at least basic cable which cost ~$25 , so cost the same with basic cable or not.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2017

I've been a die-hard fan of Roku for years. I mainly use it for Plex, Netflix, Amazon, Viceland, and CNN, but there is soooo much available and the interface is great. What many people don't know is there is a ton of "private" channels that can be manually added. You can get info on that here:

Posted by:

Sarah L
04 Oct 2017

Onedeafey, Bob meant to write roh-koo for the pronunciation.
Does Roku get international channels?
Me, I get 66 channels with my little indoor antenna, and that is way more than enough for me.

Posted by:

04 Oct 2017

Never had pay tv - never will.... I have Netflix dvd service and more than 60 channels of over the air tv. No complaints!

Posted by:

04 Oct 2017

This really has been a fascinating cost cutter even the lady of the house like amazon and a few others at a very reasonable price. She still hasn't reached what it cost to have Dish or Direct both of which we tried and dumped for various reasons along with cost. We have the digital antenna and is only pixalizes on very windy times because of trees I can't shoot around. All in all we have what she wanted. We use Roku 3, and Roku TV and have few if any complaints. We lose AT&T U verse from time to time which takes out everything including VOIP. Good article Thanks

Posted by:

04 Oct 2017

Switching to streaming services IMHO is not cutting the cord, just trading one cord for another. REAL cord cutters use OTA antennas which so far is free.

Posted by:

10 Oct 2017

I cut the cord years ago and use Roku for almost all streaming now. However, I also use "DigitalStream" to receive local TV broadcasts (over the air), and I've been delighted by a new channel called MeTV, which shows all the oldies and goodies, such as Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, MASH, Carol Burnett, and many more. (I spend almost all my TV watching time on this channel now.)

Posted by:

03 Nov 2017

The antenna feature could be important ... if a person is actually able to get "over the air" television channels. I, however, could place an excellent tv antenna 100 foot above my house and get ... let me count them ... uh, 1 channel, yes, that's right, 1 channel ... and that one from PBS. No CBS, no NBC, no ABC, no Fox (and I live in a City of 200,000 people (with a mountain between me and the "Local Channel" transmitters 50 miles away).

Posted by:

29 Dec 2017

Would someone comment, please, for the technically challenged how one who cannot use an antenna (lives in apt complex and must use Comcast) can get channels for news junkies like me such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Cspan, history channel, CNN? Thanks.

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