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6 Reasons I Would Avoid a Roku Streaming Stick

Split screen Roku TV

6 Reasons I Would Avoid a Roku Streaming Stick

Why should you avoid a Roku Streaming Stick? There is no shortage of great options when it comes to getting your home media needs met these days. You’ve got plenty of choices for getting a unified and wonderful experience when it comes to handling most streaming through a device like the Roku Streaming Stick.

However, out of Roku’s entire lineup, the Streaming Stick might be the most unnecessary device in the product line. Take a deeper dive into Roku’s ecosystem and see what you might prefer to get instead when it comes to these low-cost streaming devices.

What Is the Roku Streaming Stick?

The Roku Streaming Stick is Roku’s entry-level streaming device. It lacks the higher-end features of devices like the Roku Ultra, namely an ethernet connection. However, you have support for 4K streaming, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and all sorts of modern audio codec support. On paper, it is a winning combination thanks to the slick Roku OS and wide range of streaming services.

For someone looking to bring their older TV up to a modern standard, the Streaming Stick is a fast way to get smart features. The setup process isn’t convoluted, and you have more than power to handle most streaming apps on the market today. However, there are some notable drawbacks to make note of when shopping around for your next streaming device.

Reasons to Avoid a Roku Streaming Stick

No device is perfect, and the Roku Streaming Stick does have its shortcomings. That said, this isn’t a complete slam of the device. Instead, think of it more as illuminating some of the issues you might have when purchasing a Roku Streaming Stick. As you’ll find from the alternatives, the Roku ecosystem does come heavily recommended.

Spotty Wi-Fi Connection

roku streaming stick
While there’s no shortage of streaming apps, the Streaming Stick does have troubles with network connectivity.

When you have a streaming device that relies entirely on a wireless connection to get online, it needs to be strong. Unfortunately, one of the more common issues cited around the Roku Streaming Stick is the strength of its wireless radio. Users have noted spotty and lost connections. This results in dropped streams and other annoyances when watching your favorite shows.

Now, this same issue isn’t present on something like the Roku Express 4K+. The Express 4K+ is within the same price range and scope but has a better overall wireless connection when it gets down to it. This seems to be an issue that is solely isolated to the Roku Streaming Stick.

No Twitch App for Streaming

Love it or hate it, there is no denying the appeal of Twitch these days. Unfortunately, you’re going to be left sorely wanting if you’re hoping to catch your favorite streamers on the Roku Streaming Stick. This might not be one of the strongest reasons to avoid a Roku Streaming Stick. However, it is something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a complete streaming solution for your needs.

Voice Features Aren’t Up to Snuff

Voice features and smart home integration are a growing want when looking at streaming devices these days. Why bother with a remote if you can just say which app you want to open? Unfortunately, this is one of the strongest reasons why you should avoid a Roku Streaming Stick. The device itself does have voice support, but it isn’t nearly as robust as the competition.

Even in Roku’s own product lineup, it doesn’t excel. As such, you might want to consider an entirely different streaming device if you’re looking to integrate something like Amazon’s Alexa into your streaming experience.

It Is More Expensive Than the Express 4K+

Roku Express 4K+
The Roku 4K+ is an affordable device that is a great alternative to the streaming stick.

The aforementioned Roku Express 4K+ is arguably the closest device in terms of functionality to the Roku Streaming Stick. However, when you look at the base-level performance, you aren’t getting much by opting for the Streaming Stick. The only key difference between both devices is the inclusion of Dolby Vision on the Streaming Stick.

As such, if you’d like to save $10, then the Roku Express 4K+ is a wonderfully capable device. This might not be among the strongest reasons to avoid a Roku Streaming Stick, but it is worth keeping in mind. Roku’s product line is cannibalizing sales for their products.

NO HDR10+ Support

This might be a nitpick of sorts, but still bears mentioning. If you have a Samsung display, you won’t be able to take advantage of HDR10+ support. You do have access to the likes of HDR10 and Dolby Vision. However, it would be nice to know that you’ve got a wide range of support for all available HDR formats on the market these days.

This might not be a top reason to avoid a Roku Streaming Stick. However, it bears some notice. If you’ve got a display that supports HDR10+, you might as well use a streaming device that can take advantage of it.

No Game Streaming Services

Game streaming services like Amazon’s Luma are a fun way to bring console gaming to lower-powered devices. Now, you aren’t going to be doing a whole lot of gaming on the Roku Streaming Stick one way or another. Google Stadia may now be defunct, but there’s zero choice for any of the other prevalent game streaming services.

This might not be a dealbreaker for some. However, if you were looking forward to using that functionality, this is just another reason to avoid a Roku Streaming Stick.

Alternatives to the Roku Streaming Stick

Here are 3 of the top alternatives to the Roku Streaming Stick. As you can tell from the choices, these aren’t venturing too far out of the Roku ecosystem. It is one of the most elegant operating systems for streaming use you’ll find on the market today, so you might as well get the best possible device you can.

Roku Express 4K+

Excellent Value
Roku Express 4K+
$29.99
  • Stream content in 4K with HDR to any TV in your home
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures a steady connection
  • Access to more than 20,000 downloadable apps
  • Voice remote control
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 11:02 pm GMT

One of the best alternatives to the Roku Streaming Stick is the device right below it in terms of overall pricing. You lose out on Dolby Vision support but gain stronger Wi-Fi and all the other benefits of the Roku ecosystem. If you’re going to buy a single streaming device, the Express 4K+ is one of the best possible choices you can make.

It does lack deeper connectivity like ethernet. You also lack the game streaming options. However, as a whole, it is a compact and tidy little package that can handle streaming with the best of them.

Amazon Fire Stick

Tons
Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
$24.99
  • Streaming in Full HD
  • Stream over a million TV shows and movies on Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and more
  • Includes Alexa Voice Remote
  • Supports Dolby Atmos on some titles
  • Listen to music on Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora (may require subscription)
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 11:12 pm GMT

If you’d rather keep with a stick format for your streaming device, the Amazon Fire Stick is a great choice. You’ve got a ton of streaming options as well as tight integration into Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem. It might not be the best choice if you’re looking for more eccentric streaming choices.

However, as a whole, you’ve got a nice little package when it comes to the Amazon Fire Stick. The operating system is a bit clunky to navigate, but still easy to read and use. The base price of the device is right in line with the Roku Express 4K+ as well.

Roku Ultra

Best
Roku Ultra
$94.02
  • Roku's fastest and most powerful player ever
  • Excellent Wi-Fi support with up to 50% more range
  • Streaming quality available in 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+
  • Built-in support for Dolby Atmos sound
  • Hands-free voice controls with "Hey Roku"
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/12/2024 12:57 am GMT

If you want the best of the best, the Roku Ultra is hard to deny. It comes with full support for HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision. Streaming app choice is unparalleled, as you would expect from any Roku device. As such, this makes for an easy recommendation for users looking to expand their horizons.

One of the best features, however, is the inclusion of an ethernet port. If your home theater area is near the router, you can get stable speeds at all times thanks to its inclusion. The Ultra is held back by a slower Wi-Fi standard, but Wi-Fi 5 is still plenty for streaming 4K video.

Closing Thoughts

The Roku Streaming Stick is a great device, but it doesn’t stack up to its counterparts in the same ecosystem. As such, you shouldn’t give on a wide berth but maybe wait for a great sale. If you’d rather just save the money now, the Roku Express 4K+ offers most of the same functionality without having the $10 price hike.

Best Alternatives to the Roku Streaming Stick

1. Roku Express 4K+
2. Amazon Fire Stick
3. Roku Ultra
  1. Roku Express 4K+
    $29.99
    • Stream content in 4K with HDR to any TV in your home
    • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures a steady connection
    • Access to more than 20,000 downloadable apps
    • Voice remote control
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/10/2024 11:02 pm GMT
  2. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
    $24.99
    • Streaming in Full HD
    • Stream over a million TV shows and movies on Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and more
    • Includes Alexa Voice Remote
    • Supports Dolby Atmos on some titles
    • Listen to music on Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora (may require subscription)
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/10/2024 11:12 pm GMT
  3. Roku Ultra
    $94.02
    • Roku's fastest and most powerful player ever
    • Excellent Wi-Fi support with up to 50% more range
    • Streaming quality available in 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+
    • Built-in support for Dolby Atmos sound
    • Hands-free voice controls with "Hey Roku"
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/12/2024 12:57 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Streaming Stick have voice support?

It does, but it is a very basic implementation.

Is the Streaming Stick a good buy?

Just about any of the Roku devices is a safe buy. However, the Streaming Stick is directly competing with the Express 4K+ which is cheaper.

Does the Streaming Stick have access to Apple TV+?

Yes, you can watch Apple TV+ on the Roku Streaming Stick.

Do you need Wi-Fi to use the Streaming Stick?

Yes, you’ll need Wi-Fi to connect the Streaming Stick to your home network.

Does the Streaming Stick support Prime Video?

You can watch Prime Video on the Roku Streaming Stick.

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