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Roku’s new $50 Streaming Stick 4K replaces one of the company’s best players

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The $50 streaming device includes Dolby Vision and faster performance than the Streaming Stick Plus

Image: Roku

Roku today announced the Streaming Stick 4K, the company’s latest streaming device. Priced at $49.99, the new product replaces the popular Streaming Stick Plus, which has long been a go-to recommendation as one of the best streamers for under $100.

The new hardware improves on the old with features like Dolby Vision HDR and speedier performance. It now boots up 30 percent quicker and has a long-range Wi-Fi receiver that delivers speeds that are up to twice as fast. Roku says the device can intelligently optimize bandwidth and streaming performance based on your network conditions. Like its predecessor, the Streaming Stick 4K supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit and can also be tied into Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant smart homes.

The Streaming Stick 4K has a similar design to the Streaming Stick Plus that it’s replacing.
Image: Roku

As usual, the Streaming Stick 4K plugs directly into a TV’s HDMI port and can be neatly hidden from view. Roku includes a voice remote (with TV controls), which has support for push-to-talk voice commands. If you prefer hands-free controls for finding something to watch, you can step up to the $69.99 Streaming Stick 4K Plus. This time, the “Plus” means you’re also getting the Roku Voice Remote Pro, which has a rechargeable battery and mid-field microphones that allow the remote to pick up your voice searches or commands even when it’s sitting on a table. Those voice controls include the ability to easily locate the Voice Remote Pro should it get lost in the couch cushions or go MIA elsewhere in the living room.

Separately, Roku also announced today that it’s adding the ability to create a 5.1 surround system using a Streambar or Streambar Pro, two pairs of its Roku Wireless Speakers, and a Wireless Subwoofer. (Previously, you were limited to just the soundbar, sub, and rear surrounds.) In this setup, the soundbar acts as a dedicated center channel and lets the front left and right speakers provide more immersion.

TCL is releasing a soundbar designed for Roku TVs.
Image: Roku / TCL

And on the subject of soundbars, TCL will be releasing a Roku TV Wireless Soundbar for $179.99 in October. As the name suggests, it’s designed to be paired with a television that runs Roku’s software. If that’s the case, you get integrated soundbar controls in the TV menus, automatic audio/video sync, and more flexible placement since you don’t need to worry about running a cable from the soundbar to your TV.

Roku says the Streaming Stick 4K is due to arrive at US and UK retailers in mid-October and will come to Canada as well as Mexico and other Latin America countries in the coming months. The Streaming Stick 4K Plus will also be available from Roku.com and all major retailers in the US in October.

Aside from these hardware announcements, Roku also shared some new features that are coming to its Roku OS with the update to version 10.5. My colleague Catie Keck has covered those here.