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When it comes to present-day TV market, spotting a new TV that doesn't come with smart features is like spotting a Bigfoot. It's just not that common. But don't let the built-in smart platform of your brand new TV lull you into a state of consumer complacency—if you're setting up a new TV and you don't already own a dedicated streaming device, you're going to want one. Trust us.
Here at Reviewed, we specialize not only in helping you find the right products, but to help you get the most out of them, too. That's why we're putting our foot down, dagnabbit, and insisting that you hear us out on this one: You should invest in a streaming box, and that streaming box should probably be a Roku Ultra.
Let's get into it.
Why do I need a streaming box?
Nearly every TV on the market today comes with a built-in smart platform right out of the box. Most of these smart platforms even come with Netflix! So the question is, do you even need a streaming device if you have a smart TV? We believe that you do.
It basically boils down to this: Streaming boxes typically offer more content, better hardware, and more reliable software updates than the smart platforms that come pre-installed on your smart TV. Even premium, high-end TVs often feature less-than-stellar app experiences.
Which Roku should I buy?
For our money, the all-new (as of 2019) Roku Ultra is not only the best Roku you can buy, it's also the best streaming device, period. And we should know—we tested pretty much every streaming box and stick you can buy in our quest to find the best streaming device.
Why is Roku Ultra the best streaming device?
While the Roku Ultra isn't the most budget-friendly of Roku devices, there's few key features that set it apart from the rest of the pack.
1. Roku Ultra supports 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos content.
If you just bought yourself a brand new TV, it's almost certainly a 4K TV. Additionally, there's a very good chance that your new TV also supports HDR, even if it doesn't do so in an impressive fashion. Whatever the case, you'll be kicking yourself if your primary streaming device doesn't support 4K/HDR playback. Plus, if your new TV supports Dolby Atmos, who wouldn't want the corresponding streaming device to support it, too?
2. It comes with the best remote in the game.
We love how responsive the buttons are, and the Roku Ultra's remote even comes with a headphone jack, which gives your TV a quasi-wireless headphone experience should the situation call for silence.
3. The Roku software is great.
No, really: We love the Roku smart platform interface more than just about every other streaming suite currently available. It's simple to navigate, quick to boot, and doesn't often run into hiccups.
What do I need to know about using Roku?
You can mount your Roku!
As small and sleek as a Roku box is, you might still find its presence on your TV table to be throwing off your living room's groove. If you're a stickler for presentation, you'll be happy to know that mounting your Roku box on the back of your TV is a cinch, provided you pick out a reliable Roku mount.
The Roku app is ridiculously useful.
If you don't have a Roku remote capable of voice recognition—or if you just want to streamline your entire Roku experience—you can download the Roku app for iOS or Android. Once the Roku app syncs to your Roku box, you can handle all of the searching, browsing, and typing from your personal device, which is infinitely easier than using the Roku remote's directional buttons. You can read more about the Roku app in my guide to using your smartphone to control Roku.
What's the best place to buy a Roku Ultra?
At the time of publishing, Amazon is offering the Roku Ultra for the sale price of $69—a solid deal for what we feel is the best streaming box for most people. If your new TV is a Roku TV, you might decide that the Roku Ultra is a bit redundant. If you don't, you ought to consider falling back on a dedicated streaming device.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.