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My First Impressions of the 2017 Roku Lineup

For the last few weeks, I have been testing out the new 2017 Roku lineup. I want to give you my thoughts on this new line of Roku players now that I have tested them all out and put many of them head to head with other Roku models.

If you want to see this as a YouTube video and hear my thoughts you can see that HERE:

The New Remote

One of the biggest improvements in the 2017 lineup is the new Roku remote. A lot of attention has been given to the ability to power on and off your TV and control the volume of your TV all on the Roku remote.

What is not talked a lot about are the new buttons on the remote. You will now find larger play/pause buttons and slightly different layout across the board. Overall the new remote layout feels a lot more natural. So much so that when I went back home and used our Roku remote at the house it was instantly noticeable that it was not as nice.

The remote is one of the things you need to use to understand, and the remote alone is enough of a reason for many to upgrade.

Roku Express

The 2017 Roku Express and Express+ are two devices I would highly recommend upgrading to. If you have the 2016 Roku Express I would quickly spend the $29.99 to upgrade to the 2017 version because it is noticeably faster and makes for a much better experience. (Note: The 2017 Roku Express remote has the new larger buttons but no voice search or TV controls.)

Roku Stick

The 2017 Roku Stick has similar performance to the 2016 version. The main reason to upgrade would be the new remote. The addition of voice search and the ability to power on and off the TV and control the TV volume would make me pick this Stick over the less expensive 2016 version.

Roku Stick+

The 2017 Roku Stick+ replaces the Roku Premiere in the Roku lineup. I was pleased with the performance, and the new antenna and 4K 60FPS streaming helps make the Roku Stick+ a great replacement for the Roku Premiere.

The better Wi-Fi antenna will also help you get a far better streaming experience on the Roku Stick+.

Roku Ultra

The 2017 Roku Ultra is similar to the 2016 version but at a less expensive price—now starting at $99.99. It also includes the new remote with TV controls.

The one downside is that Roku has dropped the optical audio out. Many won’t notice this is gone; however, for those whose surround sound system needs optical audio out it could move them to choose a different device.

Final Thoughts

The 2017 lineup of Roku players is an aggressive lineup well suited to take on the new Fire TV and Apple TV 4K. With the exception of the Roku Express, there is no huge jump in speed. There is a noticeable improvement in the OS with the addition of the new Roku OS 8, and the new Roku remote is a huge step up over the older Roku players.

While I wouldn’t run out to replace the 2016 line of Roku players I would pick from the new 2017 line of players over a less expensive 2016 version.

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