Roku debuts an affordable Dolby Vision streaming stick

Mike Wheatley

Roku has announced a long awaited update to its streaming stick hardware with a new called the Roku Streaming Stick 4K. Launching in the U.S. in October and the U.K. and elsewhere in the coming months, it’s a very capable-looking streamer that packs in 4K resolution, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision with a very reasonable price tag too.


The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is an upgrade to the company’s Roku Streaming Stick+ that was launched in 2019, so it has been a while coming.

The new stick is a small and therefore extremely portable device that’s powered by a quad-core processor that Roku says can boot up 30% faster than its previous device. It also supports the latest AV1 codec, Roku said.

Other worthy updates include a revamped long range Wi-Fi receiver that’s said to intelligently optimise wireless connectivity to deal with congested networks. Roku claims it can deliver two-times faster Wi-Fi speeds that similar devices of its kind, while switching between 2.4 and 5GHz networks seamlessly and always connecting to the strongest node in a mesh setup.

Typical features such as Google Assistant and Alexa support, AirPlay 2 and Apple Homekit are all available, while the Roku OS operating system that powers it has also been updated. Perhaps the biggest update in Roku OS 10.5 are the improvements in the quality of its voice search capabilities. So, Roku Voice now works throughout the OS and also with most of the apps onboard, including Netflix and Spotify. Further, users can even use their voice to perform traditionally tedious tasks such as entering an email address, password or PIN number, the company said.

There’s also a new Home Tab in the Roku Mobile App that provides content suggestions based on the user’s tastes, plus a new music and podcast search capability provided by Spotify.

By far and away the most significant update is the addition of Dolby Vision and HDR10+, which were previously exclusive to Roku’s high-end 4K HDR Roku Ultra streaming dongle. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are dynamic HDR formats that analyse scene by scene metadata to calibrate the picture and deliver more colourful and realistic images on the screen. The formats are becoming prevalent even on most mid-range TV sets, but it’s also necessary for the content source to support them if users are to benefit.

With both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ likely to become even more standardised over time, not only with hardware makers but also content producers, it’s well worth investing in a streaming stick that supports them to ensure you’re all set up for the future.

A streaming stick like the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is of course also a great way to get one of the best Smart TV platforms onto any kind of television, even a non-Smart TV, and gain access to tons of high quality content.

Roku hasn’t yet said how much the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ will cost in the U.K., but in the U.S. it’s going on sale for a very reasonable $49. There will also a second option that includes the stick and the Roku Voice Remote Pro, costing $69, Roku said.