Roku Premiere Review 2020: Everything to know about the streaming device

Roku Home Screen

What is Roku Premiere? 

Roku Premiere is a set-top-box that streams your apps and subscriptions to your TV. Whether you want to watch Stranger Things on Netflix, or listen to the Joe Rogan Experience on Spotify, Roku Premiere lets you stream it all to your TV. Roku used to offer the Roku Premiere Plus, but recently discontinued production of this premium model. So if you’re looking for an upgraded version of Roku Premiere, you’ll have to consider one of Roku’s other devices. 

As one of seven Roku streaming media players, Roku Premiere is best categorized as a mid-tier model when it comes to features and price. Roku’s other devices (in order of value from cheapest to most expensive) include Roku Express, Roku Express+, Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku Streaming Stick+ HE, Roku Ultra LT, and Roku Ultra

Roku Premiere fits between Roku Express+ and Roku Streaming Stick+. Unlike Roku Express+, Roku Premiere streams 4K content, but it’s bulkier than Roku Streak Stick+. Just like all of Roku’s other devices, Roku Premiere comes with a unique remote. 

Keep reading to learn more about Roku Premiere’s defining features. We’ll also take a look at what sets it apart from some of Roku’s other devices. 

Roku Premiere

Roku Premiere pricing 

Roku Premiere costs $39.99, making it the most affordable of Roku’s devices for streaming in 4K ultra high definition (UHD). It’s priced identically to Roku Express+, but the models differ when it comes to 2 key features. First, Roku Premiere supports 4K UHD streaming, while Roku Express+ can only stream in up to 1080p. And second, Roku Express+ comes with a better remote with voice controls. Roku Premiere provides only a ‘simple’ remote. We’ll explore these features more in-depth below. 

Keep in mind that for $10 extra, you can get the more popular Roku Streaming Stick+ at $49.99. It’s more discreet and is accompanied by a voice-control remote. For all of the latest deals, we recommend that you first visit Roku’s website. Amazon provides frequent discounts for Roku products, so it’s also worth checking out. And if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you can take advantage of free two-day shipping. 

Roku Premiere features 

When it comes to features, Roku Premiere is limited in some ways. Where it really stands out is with its quality of streaming mixed with its affordability. Here’s how Roku Premiere stacks up next to some of Roku’s other products. 

Roku Premiere setup

The setup process for all of Roku’s streaming devices is essentially the same. First, you need to connect your Roku device to your TV. Roku Premiere plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port with the HDMI cable provided. Make sure you also have a nearby outlet for your power source. From there, use your TV’s input controls to navigate to the correct screen. 

During the setup process, you’ll be prompted to complete the following steps: choose a language, connect to your network and Wi-Fi, wait for the latest software updates to automatically load, set the display type, and create a Roku account. 

Once accomplished, you’re all set. And, if this all seems complicated, don’t worry! The process is relatively easy, with on-screen instructions to help you along the way. 

Father curled up on the sofa with his two daughters. They are watching a movie with popcorn.

Roku Premiere Design

The set-top-box for Roku Premiere is compact, produced in the form of a mini-box. The box itself is smaller than the Roku remote it comes with. But if your TV is mounted, then you’d be better off with Roku Streaming Stick+. 

You could feasibly secure Roku Premiere’s mini-box to the back of your TV. But for a few extra dollars, why not avoid the hassle altogether? And as we acknowledge in our Roku Streaming Stick+ review, we think it’s worth your consideration. 

By contrast, Roku Ultra has a larger set-top-box. But since it’s wireless, it doesn’t need to live near your TV. On top of that, Roku Ultra comes with far more features, including ports for additional storage. 

The Roku interface 

Roku’s interface is so popular that it’s used by smart TV brands like Element, JVC, RCA, Sanyo, Sharp, TCL, and Westinghouse. The interface features a grid-style layout that lists all of your apps. There are also a few options to customize your layout. With your remote, you can move your apps around to position them to your liking. 

The Roku interface is user-friendly and simple to navigate. From the menu bar, you can access the following areas: Home, Featured Free, My Feed, Movie Store, TV Store, Search, Streaming Channels, and Settings. To manage your account, just click on Settings. 

In addition to your apps, Roku curates free content for you in its Featured Free category. The Movie and TV stores also provide free ad-supported content, similar to traditional cable. 

Apps available on Roku

You can find all your favorite apps and channels in the Roku Channel Store. Roku’s store is a catalog of every app and subscription service you can imagine. 

There’s everything from niche video-on-demand (VOD) services like Britbox and Crunchyroll to fitness apps like Daily Burn. Other niche services include CBS All Access, Disney+, and ESPN+.

We recommend that you take advantage of all of the free channels offered in the Roku Channel Store. Our suggestion for must-haves are Roku Channel, Live Sports Coverage, PBS, Tubi, The CW, PBS, and NBC News. 

There are quite a few cable-alternative services available, too. These include the following subscriptions: Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Philo, and Sling TV

Listen to your favorite tracks directly from your TV. You’ll find plenty of music streaming apps in the Roku Store with iHeart Radio, Pandora, Stingray Qello, and Spotify. 

You won’t be able to download Apple iTunes on Roku, but you can now add Apple TV+.

Streaming quality

Roku Premiere’s defining feature is its capability of streaming in 4K Ultra HD. And it stands out among all of Roku’s other devices as the cheapest model for 4K resolution. Although, the only Roku streaming devices that don’t stream in 4K are Roku Express and Roku Express+. 

Even though you can watch in 4K, there’s somewhat of a discrepancy when considering the device’s bandwidth. Roku Premiere has single-band 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and not 5GHz, which is stronger and generally recommended for 4K high-dynamic-range (HDR) streaming. That way, you won’t be interrupted by buffering. Unfortunately, this could affect your overall experience when watching 4K content. 

Audio quality

Roku Premiere supports Dolby Atmos playback for enhanced audio for any app that supports it. Dolby Atmos is particularly effective with Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku TV Wireless Speakers. Apps that contain Dolby Atmos compatible content include Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney+. 

Roku Remote 

As referenced above, Roku Premiere doesn’t come with the best remote. In fact, what you get is Roku’s ‘simple’ remote. This means, unlike the more robust Roku remotes with voice controls, Roku Premiere’s remote will only let you do the basics. These functions include simple navigation, a sleep timer, buttons dedicated to subscriptions like Netflix, as well as playback controls (pause, play, rewind, and fast-forward). 

That said, there’s a simple and free workaround. If you want all the best features of a Roku remote, then you may be interested in the Roku mobile app. The app is free in the App Store and Google Play, with features like voice commands and private listening (with the use of earbuds). So, if you’re someone who’s already used to doing pretty much everything else from your phone, Roku’s remote app is solid. 

The final cut 

If you want to experience your favorite apps on your TV, chances are Roku has a device for you. Roku Premiere comes in the form of a set-top-box. It’s not easily hidden from view like Roku Streaming Stick+, and you won’t get a remote with voice controls. But, when it comes to watching content in 4K, Roku Premiere is your most affordable option. 

Roku Premiere works great for cord-cutters. It lets you stream all your favorite on-demand apps like Netflix and Hulu. You could also use it to replace traditional TV, and stream cable-alternative services like fuboTV

Did any of Roku’s other devices pique your interest? If so, we recommend that you take a look at the Roku Express, Roku Streaming Stick Plus, and Roku Ultra