Gear Roku Ultra Review – 4K UHD Streaming Video Device By Greg Baugher Posted on April 23, 2017 14 min read 0 459 The Roku Ultra is the top of the line streaming hub that will make any TV a smart TV. You can do a huge range of things on it from watching Netflix and Hulu to finding out the latest news. This streaming hub plugs into your TV with an HDMI cable and you just connect it to your Wi-Fi, then you’re able to access all of the great apps available to Roku. It is so easy to use and has a simple and smooth operating system. If you’re a person who loves watching TV on Netflix and HBO Now but doesn’t have a smart TV, this is the perfect device for you. It is the top of the range model with 4K capabilities and is a little on the expensive side. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative then take a look at the Roku Streaming Stick. Is It Worth Spending Extra To Get 4K Capabilities? 4K is a technology that hasn’t been that widely adopted yet. A 4K screen has 4 times the number of pixels as a 1080p HD screen so the quality is absolutely fantastic. As great as 4K is though, there aren’t many movies or TV shows/channels that show 4K footage so most of the time the 4K screen is overkill. To stream 4K you also need ultra fast internet due to the large file sizes of the videos. Netflix recommends a download speed of at least 15 Mbps which is quite high, especially if you don’t live in a city. The quality of a 4K movie is so much greater than standard HD but there aren’t many movies that are streamable in 4K currently. Netflix has about 20 movies and TV shows combined that are playable in 4K. If you have a 4K TV, or plan on getting one, then it is probably worth getting this 4K Roku as more and more movies and TV shows will be released in 4K in the future. See a full list of the 4K movies and TV shows offered by Netflix here. Design The Roku Ultra comes in the form of a hub and a remote. The hub is plugged in to your TV via an HDMI cable and powered by the cord provided. The hub is pretty small and is just slightly bigger than the Amazon Fire TV. It’s a great size and can be easily hidden away behind the TV by using a mount, see it on Amazon here. Other than the hub being small, it’s quite sleek and modern looking. Just like you would expect a smart TV hub to be. The remote is small too, and has all the buttons you would expect it to have. It even has labelled buttons for Netflix, Hulu, Sling and Showtime. You can search on the remote by using your voice and telling Roku what you are looking for, which is a pretty cool feature similar to Amazon’s Fire TV. This can also be done using the Roku app on your phone which works in the same way as the remote. A really cool feature of the remote is that it has a speaker so it can make a sound if you lose it. You just need to press a button on the hub and the remote will tell you where it is. It also has a headphone jack so you can listen to the Movie through headphones plugged into the remote. This is perfect for at night when people are sleeping and you want to silently watch something. The Roku Ultra comes with a microSD slot allowing to expand the memory too if you ever need to. It is mainly a streaming hub though that will pull content from different providers over the internet. Setup Setting up the Roku Ultra is very easy to do. You just need the HDMI cable, the power cable and the remote with batteries in. Once you have that you can plug the Roku into the TV and the plug socket to start it up. When it has turned on you will be walked through connecting the Roku Ultra to the internet and then you can go ahead and login to your streaming services. It’s very easy to do and will only take a few minutes. Anyone could do it. Ease of Use The interface on the Roku is really easy to use and the search integrates all of the services into one. For example you could search for a specific TV show using your phone or the remote and it will bring up that TV and show you the different platforms that will let you view it and the cost if there is one. It is a breeze finding a TV show or movie to watch when searching and if you don’t know what to watch the shows and films will be suggested to you too. You can have a look on your phone using the app and see the top superhero movies for example. As well as looking at movie lists on the mobile app, it will also double up as a remote so you can use your phone just like you would with the physical Roku remote, this includes the voice search feature too. If you have a compatible tablet or smartphone then you will also be able to show the photos and videos from your phone on the Roku so that the whole family can see your latest holiday pictures. This also works for music too. Overall it’s a really easy device to use and the combination of the physical remote and the app make for easy navigation and search. You’ll be able to find that movie you want to watch in no time or let Roku suggest one for you. Verdict The Roku Ultra is a great streaming hub and offers a wide range of features including voice search, mobile app, 4K compatible and bringing all of your streaming services to once place. As great as all of that is, it is a bit pricey. Especially if you don’t have a 4K TV. If you have a 4K TV then this is a great device to have for when more 4K movies and TV shows are being released. However, if you don’t have a 4K TV and don’t plan on getting one, I would recommend the Roku Streaming Stick as an alternative. It shares a lot of the same features and will save you a nice amount of money since it isn’t a 4K device. So, if you’re in the market for a 4K streaming stick then this is definitely one of the top choices out there. It’s expensive due to it being 4K but it does have a massive range of features. Definitely worth considering.