Roku Ultra 2017
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Roku Ultra 2017 vs Roku Ultra 2016 – User Speed Test & Unboxing

I recently got my hands on the new 2017 Roku Ultra and decided to do a little unboxing and a head to head with the older 2016 Roku Ultra. The main question I wanted to answer is would it be worth upgrading.

For our full review please watch this YouTube Video:

Here are the details of the Roku Ultra 2016:

  • Perfect for HD and 4K Ultra HD TVs, features fast quad-core processor and 802.11ac dual-band wireless.
  • Exceptionally brilliant picture quality. 4K Ultra HD at 60fps with four times the resolution of 1080p HD.
  • Vibrant HDR displaying an incredible range of colors, brighter whites, and deeper blacks.
  • Fully loaded with digital audio output, convenient point anywhere remote with voice search and remote finder, headphones for private listening, and gaming controls.
  • Dolby Audio over HDMI and optical

Here are the details of the Roku Ultra 2017:

  • 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless
  • 10/100 Base-T Ethernet
  • 4K UHD HDR TVs – Supports HDR10 technology
  • Power, HDMI 2.0a, Ethernet 10/100, microSD, USB
  • Audio features
  • DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI®
  • Night listening mode
  • microSD card slot for additional channel storage
  • USB port for local playback
  • Voice remote with TV power and volume buttons as well as voice search, headphone jack, and gaming buttons
  • Speaker for lost remote finder alerts
  • Player includes IR receiver, compatible with various universal remotes

After testing out the 2017 Roku Ultra would highly recommend upgrading. There is a noticeable speed improvement that makes the 2017 Roku Ultra well worth the price. Add in the new remote to control your TV and the Roku Ultra 2017 is a great buy for cord cutters.

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30 Responses to Roku Ultra 2017 vs Roku Ultra 2016 – User Speed Test & Unboxing

  1. Avatar
    Albert S. October 5, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    I just bought the 2016 Ultra model a couple weeks ago when my old Roku 2 died after years of use. Walmart had it for $64. It’s good enough. There are features it has that I’ll never use though, like the remote headphone jack, voice search. I’ll take advantage of the 4K when my current 1080p TV dies and I have to buy a new one. 🙂

    • Avatar
      HeyRadar October 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

      I agree. Which means I probably won’t get a 4K TV for several more years and by then there will be even better Roku’s available

  2. Avatar
    Andy Munro October 5, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    I may be wrong, but couldn’t the difference in speed between the two be the fact that the older Ultra is running the old operating system of Roku, whereas the new one is running the new 8 OS ? Surely to get a reliable comparison you should do the same test when they’re both running the new OS. From what I have been told the innards of the new Roku are basically the same as the older model, except for the TOSLink being removed.

    • Avatar
      Kravimir October 5, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

      Quite. I’d like to see a speed comparison when they’re running the same version of Roku OS too.

    • Avatar
      Cord Cutters News October 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

      Maybe but when we tested the Roku Stick+ vs the older Roku Stick the newer one was slower. Not sure the Roku OS 8 explains the speed jump.

      • Avatar
        Phuq_Me October 5, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

        Which means either something was wrong with the new stick or your testing method since the new stick should be 50% faster.

      • Avatar
        Kravimir October 5, 2017 at 8:33 pm #

        True. It may prove to be an incorrect hypothesis, but until it’s tested in a few weeks, we won’t know, will we?

  3. Avatar
    ZeroInterrupt October 5, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    you are saying that maybe a quarter of a second is worth the upgrade?

  4. Avatar
    Lance Fortnow October 5, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    Can you verify that there is no optical audio out in the Ultra 2017? My TV won’t pass through surround sound from external HDMI.

    • Avatar
      Andy Munro October 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

      Correct, no optical audio out in 2017 version

      • Avatar
        Sleuth4Truth December 10, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

        Two things? way over my head but what does no optical audio out translate to? Is that a neagtive change? We just acquired a 4K 8000series Samsung and have yet to upgrade from the roku2 and a 2012 model dvd player. we do not have a soundbar or sub woofer yet and trying to look for compatible components but not go hog wild. It is clear I want to get the ultra roku but I dont know how to distinguish between the 2016 ultra and the 2017. i assume it is a model number

  5. Avatar
    jrossjr October 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Wish they would add gigabit Ethernet. My whole network is gigabit speed, and I have gigabit Google fiber. The speed of response would be incredible.

    • Avatar
      Phuq_Me October 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

      Netflix 4K speeds top out at 15 Mbps. I’m not sure any other streaming service goes faster than that.

    • Avatar
      Kravimir October 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      You seem to be talking about latency more than raw speed of the slowest network connection between you and the server. Latency is improved more by having servers closer to you (in terms of network “hops”, not as a crow flies or as a car would be driven) than anything else, when you’ve got an Internet connection that fast. Roku devices are designed to play videos with an average bit rate of up to 40Mbps, which is significantly below 100Mbps.

  6. Avatar
    Phuq_Me October 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

    roku express 2017 vs roku stick 2016. Just curious.

  7. Avatar
    HeyRadar October 5, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

    Speed should not be the reason to upgrade the Roku here. The 2016 model should already be several times faster then it needs to be.

  8. Avatar
    Iphart October 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    Having the tv vol and power on the remote is pretty convenient.

  9. Avatar
    Andy Munro October 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    Roku have stated that the only differences between the 2016 and 17 Ultra are the remote and the lack of the optical out, so I have to believe these test results were due to you using different operating systems on each.

  10. Avatar
    Michael Williamson October 5, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

    I would like to see a test between Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810) and Roku Ultra streaming player (4660), with both 4k and 2k content. I’ll be upgrading my premiere+ just for the new remote feature.

    • Avatar
      Kravimir October 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

      Are you aware that you’ll be able to buy the new remote separately? It will be available directly from Roku in a few weeks: (Older remotes are listed currently.)

      • Avatar
        Phuq_Me October 5, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

        Actually Roku has said this new remote will NOT be sold separately

        • Avatar
          Kravimir October 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

          Oh? Do you remember where you read that?

          • Avatar
            Phuq_Me October 5, 2017 at 9:52 pm #


            The Stick is also the cheapest Roku with voice capability on the remote, another feature not found on the 2016 stick. It works fine for search and adds new capabilities like input switching and natural language (see below), but it’s a far cry from Alexa. Roku is not selling the new remote separately.

          • Avatar
            Kravimir October 5, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

            That’s talking about the remote for the streaming sticks. The new remote for the Ultra is different.

            Thanks though.

          • Avatar
            Phuq_Me October 6, 2017 at 2:35 am #


      • Avatar
        Michael Williamson October 5, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

        Interesting… I hadn’t seen any press release about the new remote being sold separately and that it would be compatible with the prior gen players with the new 8 OS. For me the question is spend $30? for the new remote or buy a new player.

  11. Avatar
    FranchisePlayer October 6, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    Does anyone know if the newer Roku boxes have built-in GPS like the FireTV? The older models don’t.

  12. Avatar
    The Guy October 9, 2017 at 1:21 am #

    I’m confused as hell… I was under the assumption that the newer Roku’s were faster than last years, yet everything is loading at the same times and even worse, I’m getting more ads in apps 🙁

  13. Avatar
    Azfar Hashmi October 30, 2017 at 5:37 am #

    There is no significant difference in performance and SPDIF is also missing. Doesn’t seems like a must have upgrade.

  14. Avatar
    KVFinn November 27, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

    Can you compare the speed of the 2017 streaming stick+ to the 2017 Ultra?

    The both have a Cortext A53 and the same memory, but are they clocked the same?