The Roku Premiere Plus was introduced to the world near the end of 2016, and provided an affordable video-streaming option for people that wanted to use the 4K or HDR capabilities of their televisions. It is a fantastic device, and we covered some of its best features in our review. I have this hooked up to my living-room TV at home right now, and it is the primary source of entertainment that I use in my home, as I cut cable a couple of years ago.
While this box is fast, has some great options, and will be the ideal set-top streaming solution for many environments, there are some things to be aware of before you decide to purchase the device. So continue below to read about 5 things to know before you buy a Roku Premiere +.
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1. It is missing optical-out audio and a USB port.
If your 4K or HDR television is the focal component of your home theater, then there may be some features that are a key part of integrating the Roku Premiere Plus into that environment.
Sound is a crucial aspect, and the method that you would use to connect your Premiere Plus to your speaker system could be via optical-out audio. The Roku Premiere Plus does not have that port, however, so you would need to find an alternative solution among the rest of your components. You might be better off with the Roku Ultra (click to view on Amazon), as it does offer both an optical-out audio option, as well as a USB port.
Speaking of the USB port, the Roku has a channel that allows you to connect USB devices, such as external hard drive or USB flash drives, to a USB port on the side of the device. You can then browse through any compatible files on that device and play them through the Roku. This is an important feature for some users, and its absence on the Premiere Plus will require you to find an alternate means to stream your files to the Roku, such as Plex.
2. The remote does not have a voice search option, nor the beeping-remote finder option.
The voice search option can be a blessing when you need to search for something on the Roku. The method of typing that requires you to use the arrow buttons to individually choose each letter can be very frustrating, so the ability to say a movie or show title, then have the Roku automatically execute a search for that term, is very beneficial.
The beeping-remote finder is a cool feature, especially if you find that remote controls often get lost in your house. This is a “premium” feature, however, and is only available on the Roku Ultra.
You can click the chart below to view it on Amazon and see a comparison of all of the features that are found on each of the different Roku models that are currently available.
3. Your Internet connection will have to be very strong to stream 4K video.
Netflix has a set of guidelines that define the optimal Internet connection speed that one should have in order to stream video at a certain quality. You can view that information here.
From that page, the recommended connection speeds are:
- Stream in SD (standard definition) – connection speed of 3 Megabits per second
- Stream in HD (high-definition, or 720p or better) – connection speed of 5 Megabits per second
- Stream in Ultra HD (2160p, or 4K resolution) – connection speed of 25 Megabits per second
If you are unsure of the connection speed that you get in your home, you can visit Fast.com to check it. If you think that you should be getting faster speeds on your Internet connection than what is being shown through that site, then consider checking on a device that is connected to your network via ethernet cable, or that is located closer to your wireless router. Connection speed can be affected by signal strength, so devices that have a stronger signal, and are closer to your wireless router, will often show faster connection speeds.
If you do have a fast enough Internet connection and a 4K TV, and you intend to stream 4K video from Netflix, you will need to make sure that you have a plan that supports UltraHD streaming. You can read more here about 4K streaming with Netflix.
4. The Roku Premiere Plus does not come with an HDMI cable
While you can connect your Premiere + to a wireless network in order to stream content, you are still going to need a cable to connect the Premiere Plus to your TV. If you intend to watch video in HD or 4K resolution, then the cable that connects your Premiere Plus to your television will need to be an HDMI cable.
Fortunately you can get HDMI cables from Amazon for a low price, so it is not a large purchase. But it is worth noting that you will already need to have the HDMI cable available when you are setting up the Roku, as the cable is not included in the box.
5. There are cheaper Roku models available if you don’t need 4K or HDR
The Roku lineup of products includes the very inexpensive Roku Express (click to view on Amazon), and goes all the way up to the most expensive Roku Ultra (click to view on Amazon). The Roku Premiere + is the second-most expensive Roku model, and includes almost all of the bells and whistles that you can get on a Roku device.
However, if you want to save a few dollars and still have access to 4K streaming, then you could buy the Roku Premiere on Amazon. You lose the HDR-streaming capabilities of the Ultra and the Premiere +, but it can save you some money if you weren’t going to use that feature anyway.
Similarly, if you aren’t interested in 4K, an ethernet connection, or the most powerful components, then the less expensive models in the Roku lineup, such as the Express or the Roku Streaming Stick, can save you even more money. If you first started your exploration into the Roku products with the Premiere + and aren’t sure what features you actually need from a set-top streaming box, then it’s a good idea to look at all of them to see which model has the best combination of features and pricing.
Are you in the market for an Amazon Fire TV Stick or an Amazon Echo? Check out these similar articles concerning things you should know before you purchase those products:
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.
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