2022 4K Roku Ultra Review – an improved TV streamer

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Erin Lawrence

Roku Ultra 2022 review Dedicated streaming video players are increasingly becoming niche products because many smart TVs and even smart monitors come with streaming features built right in. What’s the point of a streaming device taking up another wall socket right? Higher-end streaming video players like the Roku Ultra might want a word with that. The good news? Even a high-end video player like the new 2022 4K Roku Ultra costs only  about $129 CAD and may serve as a very good upgrade to any TV setup if you plan on using at least some of the exclusive features.

What’s new with 2022 Roku Ultra?

If you’re familiar with Roku TV interfaces, and have even entertained previous generations of Roku ultra, you might be wondering what’s new here? Many of the biggest changes involve the physical remote control. I noticed is that the included remote control is now rechargeable and comes with an included (though kind of outdated) micro-USB charging cable. Known as the Voice Remote Pro, it now also allows for hands-free searches by invoking the now familiar ”Hey”. Roku Ultra 2022 review, what's newSaying “Hey Roku” will allow you to do basic searches for content. It isn’t as smart as Google Assistant or Alexa but it does reduce the steps for playing movies or launching channels. You can also turn off the voice activation and microphone too with a small switch on the remote, because privacy. Roku has also made improvements to the player’s guts to keep speeds fast and nix lag, stutter, or slow loads.

What’s in the box?

Roku Ultra 2022 review, what's newUnboxing the 2022 4K Roku Ultra package reveals the unit itself, which is pretty compact and has these nice, rounded corners along with the usual barrel plug power adapter. You also get an HDMI cable as well as the Roku Voice Remote Pro. Folks who want to enjoy their media content privately will also enjoy the included wired earbuds with purple ear tip accents that give them that Roku identity. Other ear tip sizes are included in the package as well. Handily there’s also a premium high speed HDMI cable, and a micro-USB charging cable for the remote.

Setting Up 2022 Roku Ultra

Setting up this Roku streaming player is similar to setting up other Roku devices. After connecting the HDMI cable and power supply to the unit, you just pair the remote and connect it to your home network. If you never used a Roku player before, you must create a Roku account. Setup was straightforward and took just minutes.

Roku User Interface: still dead simple

Roku Ultra 2022 review, what's newRoku has always had a great and easy to navigate user interface. The company has definitely managed to keep it easy to surf while packing a lot in there. I have long recommended Roku’s television interface, or it’s dedicated TVs because of this ease-of-use. It’s particularly great for technophobes or seniors who don’t like fussing.

What Can You Do With Roku Ultra?

Being a streamer released this 2022, the Roku Ultra unsurprisingly handles all the mainstream streaming services from Netflix to Apple TV to Disney+ and many smaller services in between. For a full list of supported services and channels, browse the channel store section in Roku’s website. Being able to watch streaming TV is just the table stakes and if that’s your main requirement, you might gravitate towards the smaller and more affordable Roku Express 4K.

Dolby support

So why choose the Ultra?  the Roku Ultra comes with both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support for better visual and audio fidelity. These technologies only matter though if the content you watch supports it. It can also handle HDR10+ which is a technology that aims to better replicate colour and light and make it true to the original source media. The Roku Ultra runs on a quad-core processor which helps significantly in the performance department. Some budget smart TVs use slower processors that make the interface and playback performance of higher resolution content a bit sluggish. This might not be something you’ll notice until you actually go hands on with a dedicated streaming player. Some smaller streaming sticks may have speedy processors as well but the Roku Ultra will still feel faster because you won’t run into heat issues which can cause some streaming sticks to throttle down their performance.

Searching for content: big improvements

And one of my earlier reviews of a Roku product, I found the search capabilities rather lacking. Sometimes it was good at finding what I was looking for and other times it was like I was speaking a different language. Roku made a point of letting me know that the search features on the new 2022 4K Roku ultra have been improved. So have they? Roku Ultra 2022 review, what's newI’m happy to report it has. After numerous search tests using the voice interface it was reliably able to find what I wanted all the time… and using that voice interface either by pressing the voice search button or calling to the Roku assistant was super convenient.

Connectivity

The rear of the Roku Ultra features a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI 2.0b port, and an Ethernet port. Using Ethernet is a must if you plan on streaming video from a local server through Plex but the port maxes out at 100 Mbps. This means your computer might be forced to transcode if you stream large 4K movies. On the wireless side, the Roku Ultra does not support Wi-Fi 6 or 6E (though this is still kind of an emerging upgraded Wi-Fi standard) as it only matches the Wi-Fi 5 standard but at least you can connect it to the 5 GHz networks. AirPlay 2 is supported as well, allowing you to stream iOS devices to the player.

Remote control or app control

Roku’s remote has always been a convenient way to quickly control your content without always reaching for your phone, though of course you can also use the Roku app on your phone to do almost any task. The remote control keeps essentially its same core design (with that ubiquitous purple flag) and retains dedicated physical buttons to Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount+, and Netflix. The remote also has a headphone jack so you can plug the included earphones directly into the remote for a quick and easy private listening experience. There’s also Bluetooth Private Listening which allows you to use wireless Bluetooth headphones, connect them to your phone inside the Roku app and listen quietly that way instead of fussing with headphone wires. If you ever misplace the remote, you can quickly locate it using the physical button on the Roku Ultra unit, or just call out to it (assuming you haven’t turned the mic off), by saying, “Hey Roku, where’s my remote.” Roku Voice Remote Pro can also control other devices connected to your TV.

Overall review: 2022 Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra 2022 review, what's newIf you need a media streamer, either to upgrade an older TV that’s not as fast or as smart, or if you just prefer Roku’s user interface, the 2022 4K Roku Ultra is a media streamer that gets the job done. The $129 CAD price does make sense for what you’ll get but it is a bit unfortunate Roku didn’t provide any serious hardware improvements over its predecessor. This makes Roku’s top competitors worth exploring if you have certain hardware needs but I still feel Roku is the best option if you are after a simple interface, but you do want support for higher resolution streams and you like having the added Dolby tricks. On the pro side, it’s easy to use, easy to set up, and you get a lot in the package. Plus with the ability for private listening with either the wired headphones or your own Bluetooth wireless earbuds, this is a great device for those who need to keep it down. I do also like that the remote is rechargeable and that there’s lots to watch including a lot of free Roku offerings. On the downside, there’s no huge improvements in this iteration so if you have the previous version is may not make sense to upgrade. The other consideration is Large size and lack of mount not good for wall mounted TVs. The pros definitely outweigh the cons on this one so if you need a powerful 4K streaming device, you can count on the new Roku Ultra to deliver. **A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgets is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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