Today we’d like to highlight an exceptional product – the Roku Streaming Stick+ (Buy on Amazon).
This amazing little device is the newest Streaming Stick model from Roku – and I believe it to be the best option for cord-cutters (or cord-shavers) or anyone else who wants to be able to use streaming apps and services such as Netflix, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, HBO Go, and more.
In a nutshell, it’s very affordable and offers amazing Wifi performance. It works where older streaming devices won’t!
Let’s review what’s so great about this device.
We’ve tested this extensively and the Roku Streaming Stick+ (Buy on Amazon) is our preferred option for watching any streaming app.
Why? Here’s a list of key features:
- Small and Compact – It plugs directly into an available HDMI port on any HD TV and includes a USB power cable for convenience. It’s very easy to hide this away behind the TV and not have to deal with dangling cords, or running power cables through the wall. This is because it uses your Wifi network to get it’s Internet connection. It is the ultimate solution for wall mounted TVs – the Roku Streaming Stick+ and power cord plug into the back of your TV for a clutter-free setup.
- Outstanding Wifi performance – This device provides a quantum leap in Wifi performance over older models, and it’s competitors. Roku claims 4x the wireless range – which means you can put it farther from the router/modem and still have outstanding picture quality. How good is it? So good, I recommend you try it wherever you’ve failed with Wifi streaming before. The secret is the USB cable – not only is that used to conveniently power the device but it serves as a fantastic Wifi antenna (so ALWAYS use the included USB power cable!) A bigger antenna is a better antenna – it’s basic physics.
- 4K and HDR support – It’ll work great with regular HD TVs, but it also supports 4K resolution as well as HDR (High Dynamic Range). Of course, you’ll need a TV capable of displaying 4K and HDR, as well as a content source, but even if you don’t have that now, this is a great option to future-proof for the next few years.
- Easy setup – you’ll be up and running in minutes, plug it in, create a Roku account, and connect the device to your Wifi network. It doesn’t get any easier.
- Other advanced features – How about Voice Remote and using your smartphone app instead of the remote?
It can do all that, and it’s got an amazing price:
With that overview out of the way, let’s compare the Roku Streaming Stick+ specs and features to older models and see what it brings to the table.
Cord Cutting (or Cord Shaving) – what is it? It’s all about getting rid of expensive cable TV subscriptions and getting better options, more flexibility, and ditching the long term contracts. Why pay for a bunch of channels you never watch? Why be locked into months and months of contracts and pay all sorts of add on fees such as equipment rental? With an Internet connection, a streaming device (such as the Roku Streaming Stick+ discussed in this article), and the right streaming services such as PlayStation Vue, you can have better options, pay less, and cancel any time you want.
What’s Included in the Box
In the box you get:
- Roku Streaming Stick+ – also known as the model 3810
- Voice remote with TV power and volume buttons
- Two AAA batteries
- USB Power cable that includes an advanced wireless receiver – this part is important – it’s one of the key advantages of this device – it’s got outstanding Wifi performance.
- A wall plug power adapter – always recommended for best performance
Apple TV is a very capable device and it integrates great with other Apple devices in the iOS sphere – but the Roku Streaming Stick+ is significantly cheaper, much more compact, and has lots of great features as well. If you are trying to make the decision between the two – do you value iOS and Apple integration highly? If so Apple TV is your clear-cut choice. For non-Apple users (and Apple users who are on a budget) we think the Roku Streaming Stick+ is the better option for general streaming use.
Outstanding Wifi Performance
As we mentioned earlier, perhaps the best feature of this product – it’s got amazing Wifi performance. What does that mean? It means you have more flexibility than ever – to use this device with any HD TV no matter what the location. If there’s Wifi signal, there’s a good chance it’ll be able to use it and provide excellent picture quality and smooth streaming.
The secret is the included USB power cable – it’s got an advanced wireless receiver built right in. So, always use the USB cable with this device. Secondly, it supports the newest, high performance Wifi standard – 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless. We won’t deep dive into the technical jargon here, but 802.11ac dual-band means the device can utilize both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz Wifi radio signals – to ensure the best range and performance. And 802.11ac uses multiple “channels” to ensure you can transmit enough information quickly for streaming.
Of course, you will need a router or Wifi Access Point that also is compatible with 802.11ac. If you are using an older model with 802.11n the product will still work, but you are not going to be able to get the best performance, especially at distance. If you need to buy a new Wifi router – we recommend the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 – AD7200 (Buy on Amazon.)
The Wifi networking isn’t the only advanced feature of this device – it’s supports all the newest TV technologies, including:
- HD TVs – Up to 1080p (1920×1080) with up-scaling from 720p
- 4K UHD TVs – Up to 2160p at 60fps (3840×2160) with up-scaling from 720p and 1080p
- 4K UHD HDR TVs – Supporting the HDR10 technology standard
What’s all this mean? It means it’ll work with your current TV, provide a great HD picture (under most conditions) and is a little bit future-proof – so that when you do upgrade to 4K or HDR you’ll be all set.
What ports does the device have? Power, HDMI 2.0a, and a mini USB connector for the advanced wireless receiver.
Getting up and running couldn’t be simpler, you just:
- Plug it in – use the provided wall plug to ensure the device has plenty of power
- Plug the device into an available HDMI port on your HDTV
- Connect the included USB cable/WiFi Receiver unit into the USB port on the stick
- Connect to your Wifi network
- Create a Roku account
That’s really all there is to it.
And once you’ve set it up , you can run the streaming app(s) of your choice, or watch free Roku channels.
The Roku Streaming Stick+ includes an awesome remote – it can control your TV’s power and volume controls and it even has voice.
Simply hit the Microphone button and you can use voice search and controls.
If you don’t want to use the voice feature – simply use it old school and press the buttons. You’ll have the best of both worlds.
Roku Mobile App
Here’s another great feature, you can use the Roku mobile app on your smartphone (iOS® or Android™) in conjunction with this device:
- Search easily using your phone’s keyboard
- Private listening – Use headphones to listen as loud as you want without disturbing everyone in the house.
- Voice search – Just say it to search by title, actor, or director across 500+ channels.
- Cast to TV – Share your photos, videos, and music up on your big screen
- Check out the program guide, and see what’s on your channels
The price for the Roku app? Free.
Specs and Features
The Streaming Stick+ provides DTS Digital Surround pass through over the integrated HDMI connection. That means fewer cables – which is always a good thing.
At only 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.47 inches and .9 ounces – it’s small and easy to hide behind the TV. It’s lightweight, so it isn’t going to fall out of place. It’s got big performance in a small package.
Power consumption is typically <3W even when watching 4K UHD video, and it uses a 5V - 1A power adapter.
Photo Credits & Trademarks
- Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick+ are registered trademarks of Roku
- This website is not affiliated with Roku, we just love their products – and we do make affiliate commissions from Amazon sales for links that you click
- Product photos and information are provided by Roku, and are property of Roku