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Why spend a hundred dollars on a Roku Ultra when you can buy a perfectly fine Roku Express that plays 1080P content for $30? Especially when that extra $70 will pay for almost a year of Disney+
The Short Answer, it depends.
Both the Roku Ultra and Streaming Stick Plus are 4K ready media streamers. A Roku Express only plays content up to 1080P.
While 4K may not seem all that important now if you don't own a 4K TV, there are several other reasons buying a Roku Ultra may be the better choice.
1. The Roku Ultra is the only media player sold by Roku which still includes an Ethernet Port. - Why is this important? Let's say you live in a very crowded area and many of your neighbors all use Wi-Fi for streaming. Direct wiring your Roku to your Router using an Ethernet wire can cut down on buffering substantially and give you the best possible connection for your data to flow.
2. Faster Processor onboard. - Since the Roku Ultra has the fastest processor Roku offers, it will launch and flip through channel menus faster than a Roku Express.
3. Larger Case For Better Cooling - Just looking at the footprint of the Ultra you can see there is considerably more room inside the case. This allows better airflow around electronic circuit boards, and components. Since heat is the enemy of electronics, the cooler you can keep your Roku over its lifespan. The longer it should last.
The Roku Ultra also includes some other extra features which lower cost Roku models won't give you. Like an upgraded remote control. Which besides voice search, it also comes with a Remote locator buzzer. Press a button on top of your Roku Ultra and your remote will make a beeping sound to help easily find it. Especially when it's buried deep inside the sofa cushions.
Also, the included JBL headphones which only come with the Roku Ultra are much higher quality. And they will make late night private listening a real joy.
So if these extra features make sense, spending the extra money on a Roku Ultra is very much worth it. Yet for some, buying a Roku Express, or even a Roku Streaming Stick Plus which has the same processor and 4K performance as an Ultra, are perfectly fine alternatives that will save some money.
While this may not let you get Disney+ for a year. Here are 4/ways to watch Apple TV Plus for Free!
SAVE Money By Buying a Refurbished or Used Roku Ultra
The Roku Ultra is now on its 3rd generation. All previous models were also capable of 4K resolution and included Ethernet ports. So you really won't lose much other than their current 2019 model released this fall which has a slightly faster Quad Core CPU than the previous first two generations.
Check out eBay or Craigslist for bargains on Roku Ultra models. Some can even be found brand new or refurbished at a substantial discount.
Why Buying a Refurbished Roku Ultra or Streaming Stick Plus Makes Sense