Roku Premiere vs Roku Ultra: Which Roku device is better for you?

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With usability and affordability on its side, the Roku range of media players is a huge hit in the streaming device industry. And if you’re in the market for one, Roku offers a wide range of devices to fit every type of viewer. For those who need a top-of-the-line player and don’t mind the cost, the Roku Ultra may be an excellent choice. But you can still get all of the basics with the more affordable Roku Premiere option.

So to help you choose between Roku Premiere vs. Ultra, this post gives you a detailed comparison of the two options. Read on to learn more about the differences between these two Roku models and which one would be right for you.

Roku Premiere vs. Roku Ultra features and specs

Roku PremiereRoku Ultra 
4K supportYesYes
Dolby Vision supportNoYes
Expandable storageNoNo
Remote controlYesYes
Google Assistant compatibleYesYes
Alexa compatibleYesYes
Siri compatible NoNo
Dimensions3.3 x 1.4 x 0.7 inches4.9 x 4.9 x 0.85 inches

Roku Premiere vs. Roku Ultra cost

At $39.99, the Roku Premiere costs a lot less than the Roku Ultra. Being Roku’s most high-end streaming device model at the time of writing this post, the Roku Ultra will set you back by $99.99. While this is pricey compared to other Roku devices, it still doesn’t cost as much as other premium streaming media players such as the Apple TV 4K.

With that said, the Roku Premiere comes with 4K streaming capabilities as well. This makes it one of the most affordable 4K streaming devices in the market, offering good value for money. You can read more about what else the device offers in our Roku Premiere review.

Roku Premiere vs. Roku Ultra interface and personalization

Roku offers a similar interface across all its streaming devices. So with both the Roku Premiere and the Roku Ultra, you’ll get to enjoy the clean and straightforward Roku interface. On the home screen, you get to browse through your apps in a grid-style layout. The left-hand side of the screen displays tabs to let you navigate between different sections, such as your feed, search, and settings.

The personalization capabilities also remain the same across all Roku devices. You’ll have the freedom to reorder your home screen to put your favorite apps front and center with both the Roku Premiere and the Ultra. Plus, you can access tons of visual themes to personalize the overall look and feel of your home screen.

One of the biggest highlights is the Roku “My Feed” feature that lets you create a feed personalized according to your unique interests. This feed lets you follow your favorite TV shows and media personalities, so you can stay updated with the latest releases and upcoming projects.  

Outside of the interface, the Roku Ultra goes a little bit further with its personalization capabilities. It comes with an enhanced voice remote that has two personal shortcut buttons. You can program these buttons based on your favorite or most frequent actions, which adds another layer to your personalized experience.

Roku Premiere vs. Roku Ultra streaming quality

When it comes to streaming quality, the Roku Premiere and the Roku Ultra are more or less comparable. Both devices let you stream in up to 4K and HDR (high-dynamic range), so you get to stream your favorite movies and shows with vivid details.

But keep in mind that you’ll need fast and uninterrupted connectivity to get seamless 4K streaming. That’s where the Premiere falls behind the Ultra as it only has single-band wireless, which might give you choppy connectivity if you try to watch 4K videos.

The Roku Ultra, on the other hand, has dual-band wireless to support seamless streaming even when playing 4K videos. Plus, you can use the Ethernet port to get even more reliable connectivity, which especially comes in handy on game days and when watching live TV broadcasts. The Roku Premiere doesn’t come with an Ethernet port, so you won’t have the flexibility to switch to a wired connection when needed.

On top of this, the latest Roku Ultra models now come with Dolby Vision support. So you get to further enhance your streaming experience with brilliant colors and ultra-vivid pictures. This feature wasn’t available on older Roku Ultra models, as highlighted in our Roku Ultra review. But keep in mind that the microSD slot is no longer available in these newer models, so you won’t have the option to expand the storage.

Both the Roku Premiere and the Roku Ultra support Dolby Atmos and DTS Digital Surround. So you get to enjoy immersive audio as you stream your favorite movies and shows.

Roku Premiere vs. Roku Ultra compatibility

The Roku Premiere and the Roku Ultra are compatible with the same kinds of TVs. You can use them with all kinds of HD (high-definition) TVs and 4K UHD (ultra-high-definition) TVs as well as 4K UHD HDR TVs. But if you’re using a 4K UHD or a 4K UHD HDR TV, it must also support HDCP 2.2 (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). This is mainly to protect copyrighted content on streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, etc.

Even for digital voice assistant compatibility, the two devices both come with Alexa and Google Assistant support. And neither device works with Siri, so there isn’t too much difference between the two.

But keep in mind that the Roku Premiere doesn’t come with a voice remote by default. You only get a simple Roku remote with a few channel shortcut buttons. So if you mainly rely on voice search, the Roku Ultra might be a better option. Or you’ll have to get one of the Roku voice remotes to use with your Roku Premiere.

The final cut

In the Roku Premiere vs. Ultra comparison, the Premiere offers much better value for money overall. It’s one of the most affordable 4K streaming media players in the market. And although it lacks a few extras, it comes with all the basics that you’ll need in a streaming device. But the Roku Ultra still makes sense if you want premium features like personal shortcut buttons and Ethernet support as well as faster internet with dual-band wireless.

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