Roku’s New $50 Streaming Stick 4K Replaces One of the Company’s Best Players

Roku today announced the Streaming Stick 4K, the company’s newest streaming device. The new product, priced at $49.99, replaces the popular Streaming Stick Plus, which has long been recommended as one of the best streamers under $100.

The new hardware improves upon the old with features like Dolby Vision HDR and faster performance. It now boots 30 percent faster and has a long-range Wi-Fi receiver that delivers speeds that are up to twice as fast. Roku says the device can intelligently optimize bandwidth and streaming performance based on your network conditions. Like its predecessor, the Streaming Stick 4K supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, and can also be paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant smart homes.

The Streaming Stick 4K has a similar design to the Streaming Stick Plus it replaces.
Image: Year

As usual, the Streaming Stick 4K plugs directly into a TV’s HDMI port and can be neatly hidden from view. Roku includes a voice remote (with TV control), which supports push-to-talk voice commands. If you prefer hands-free operation to find something to watch, you can switch to the $69.99 Streaming Stick 4K Plus. This time, the “Plus” means you also get the Roku Voice Remote Pro, which has a rechargeable battery and mid-field microphones that allow the remote to record your voice searches or commands, even when sitting on a table. Those voice controls include the ability to easily locate the Voice Remote Pro if it gets lost in the sofa cushions or goes to MIA elsewhere in the living room.

Separately, Roku also announced today that it is adding the ability to create a 5.1 surround system using a Streambar or Streambar Pro, two pairs of Roku wireless speakers and a wireless subwoofer. (Previously, you were limited to just the soundbar, sub, and rear surrounds.) In this setup, the soundbar acts as a dedicated center channel, letting the left and right speakers provide more immersion.

TCL releases a soundbar designed for Roku TVs.
Image: Roku/TCL

And as for soundbars, TCL will release a Roku TV Wireless Soundbar in October for $179.99. As the name suggests, it is designed to interface with a television running Roku software. If so, you get integrated soundbar controls in the TV menus, automatic audio/video syncing and more flexible placement, as you don’t have to worry about pulling a cable from the soundbar to your TV.

Roku says the Streaming Stick 4K will arrive at US and UK retailers in mid-October and will be coming to Canada, Mexico and other Latin American countries in the coming months. The Streaming Stick 4K Plus will also be available in October through and all major US retailers.

Aside from these hardware announcements, Roku has also shared some new features that are coming to its Roku OS with the update to version 10.5. My colleague Catie Keck has covered it here.