Roku Premiere – Review

Do you want 4K streaming with support for Netflix, NowTV and more for just £40? Roku’s mid-level streaming device may be just the thing you’re looking for.

  • Company: Roku
  • Website: https://www.roku.com/en-gb/products/roku-premiere
  • Price: £39.99
  • Available: Now

The entertainment technology world is awash with streaming boxes, be they Android, Windows, Apple or Linux based. However, Roku has firmly installed itself as a leading name, and offers the average punter an inexpensive streaming device that fits the bill.

The Roku Premiere sits between the company’s Express and Streaming Stick+ products, offering HD, 4K and HDR content. Roku’s now legendary channel store is packed full of content covering pretty much everything you’ll ever need to find on a TV. From movies to games, documentaries to free TV, and some stuff you’ve never even likely considered looking up on a TV, it’s on the Roku App Store.

Design

The Roku Premiere isn’t what you’d expect when you get it out of the box. For one, it’s tiny, very tiny. Measuring just 85 x 34 x 18mm and weighing a mere 36g, this crescent-shaped player may sound flimsy on paper, but it’s tougher than it looks.

The front of the Premiere features a glossy IR surface, which is to be placed in direct line-of-sight of the controller. The top has the debossed Roku logo, and the sides curve inward to the rear panel which houses a HDMI 2.0a port, a micro USB port, and a pin-hole reset.

Inside the box you get the Premiere itself, the Roku remote, a micro USB to full sized USB cable, HDMI cable, a couple of triple-A batteries for the remote, USB power adapter, and an adhesive strip that’s designed to stick the bottom of the Roku to any surface.

In terms of specs, the Premier has 802.11bgn single-band WiFi and can display content up to 4K with HDR and HDR10.

Operation

The setup process of the Premiere is extremely easy, and this is something that Roku has down to a fine art. Simply enter your WiFi details, sign on, activate your Roku and away you go. It’s worth noting that you will need a credit card or PayPal payment linked to the account. While the service and activation are free, a linked payment method is necessary if you want to rent or buy TV shows or movies. It’s something that not everyone is happy about doing, especially in this day and age of hacking, but Roku’s service is as secure as possible, and there are ways around the payment setup if you’re canny enough to scout around Google for a solution.

Once activated you’re presented with a base set of apps to get you going, and many more through the menu. Enter the Streaming Channels menu and you’re met with a bewildering number of apps, channels and games. From here it’s all depending on what you want to view. From Netflix to adult channels, cartoons to the latest movies, YouTube, DLNA streaming, the list goes on and on.

You can easily get lost just trawling through the available content, and while having tons of content to surf through is great it can become distracting, especially if there appears to be several different apps that do the same thing. Suffice to say, there’s more here than you will normally find bundled with a smart TV, and the smart TV’s product store.

Performance

HD streaming with the Roku Premiere is excellent. The sound quality works perfectly, and we didn’t come across any issues regarding drops in quality or playback while using the device’s WiFi. 4K worked very well, too, although we did suffer some buffering and playback issues when using the Premiere in some of the remote locations of the house.

Those with routers that offer MESH technologies will benefit here, and can easily move the MESH device nearer the Premiere so that it gets the full WiFi signal. Once in place, and with a good signal to the router, the 4K content played without a hitch.

Needless to say, though, the 4K streaming of the Roku Premiere was certainly more than worth the £39 you’d pay for the device. True you can get better performance from a mini-PC under the TV, but considering the size of the Premiere and its low cost, there’s little wonder why Roku is so popular.

Conclusion

For the vast majority of content users the Roku Premiere is the perfect media streaming device. Up to 4K playback and a wealth of choice in terms of apps, channels and movies; easy to setup, cheap to buy, and small enough to be discretely hidden away. The remote is well labelled and responds quickly, and you’re able to link up to an Android or iOS device to control the Premiere.

For the more advanced content consumer though, something a little more powerful may be needed. These are the type of users who will opt for a mini-PC, specialised Android box, or something along the lines of a Nvidia Shield. But overall, the Roku Premiere is a great little media streaming device.

Roku Premiere
  • Overall
4

Summary

4K content playback, tons of apps and channels, easy to setup and use; what’s not to like.

– Small footprint
– Good remote
– Loads of viewing choice
– 4K and HD playback

David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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