Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

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Random Poster
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Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Random Poster » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:03 pm

My cable bill hit a new high yesterday and I've hit my limit with paying it.

So I have resolved to cancel the cable and only get internet (likely 100 Mbps, but maybe "downgrade" to 30 Mbps).

In any event, I have also resolved to try Roku.

The only issue is that I do not know which of two models to buy.

Option 1 is the Express+, available only at Walmart, currently priced at $39.00 (see here: https://www.roku.com/products/roku-express-plus). The main appeal is that it comes with a voice remote with tv controls.

Option 2 is the Streaming Stick+, currently priced at $49.99 (see here: https://www.roku.com/products/streaming-stick-plus). The main appeal is that, along with the voice remote with tv controls, would allow for streaming in 4K and HDR and apparently has better wireless connectivity options.

That being said, I own a 10 year old tv that only provides a 1080p HD resolution. I am not interested in buying a new tv. Additionally, I know literally nothing about wireless connectivity, or even how to set wifi up. I'm currently renting the modem/router/gateway from the cable company (probably not a great financial move, but meh).

From what I can tell, Option 1 meets my needs and desires just fine. But Option 2 would allow, I presume, for some "future-proofing" if I were to buy a new TV later.

I expect to use YouTube TV with the Roku device. Maybe Netflix. It is hard to say at the moment, simply because I don't have any experience with any of those options, but various threads here have pointed to YouTube TV as being one of the better options.

So, I ask those of you who have experience and knowledge with this sort of thing, which Roku device should I buy?

The Express+ or the Streaming Stick+?

Thank you.

Ed_Sandwich
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Ed_Sandwich » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:07 pm

I recently upgraded from Express+ to Streaming Stick+ and it's much better. No need to use the TV remote at all for volume/mute, and no worries about someone putting a book in front of the receiver and the remote not working. Also the software is much faster and everything loads more quickly. YoutubeTV did not even work in any functional way on my Express, it was very slow. I'd say go with the Stick.

Conch55
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Conch55 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:10 pm

I'd pick the Streaming Stick+ since the price difference is not much and wifi capability is better. You state you know very little about wifi, does that mean you have no wifi connected devices? You will need to be able to configure the Roku to join a wifi network to work so that is a critical part of the setup process. Having said that it's pretty easy. Good luck.

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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Random Poster » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:22 pm

Conch55 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:10 pm
I'd pick the Streaming Stick+ since the price difference is not much and wifi capability is better. You state you know very little about wifi, does that mean you have no wifi connected devices? You will need to be able to configure the Roku to join a wifi network to work so that is a critical part of the setup process. Having said that it's pretty easy. Good luck.
I wasn't very clear: I have an iPad and three iPhones that are connected to the internet at home. I just don't know how to put a wifi network together, or how to set up the modem/router/gateway, or anything like that. But I can certainly find the wifi, type in the wifi password, and get a device hooked up to the wifi, if that makes any sense.

Conch55
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Conch55 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:38 pm

I also have an older TV and use the Roku for the "smarts". Once you get it connected you will see a screen of installed apps such as Netflix and Amazon. Not sure about Youtube TV but it shouldn't be difficult to install. How an individual app works once you launch it varies.

rj342
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by rj342 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:39 pm

The more expensive option is better for better performance -- snappier menus, video buffering, etc.
Plus will probably be supported w software upgrades/bug fixes longer since newer.
Worth extra $10.

Make sure you check into your cable providers internet service tiers.
You might be perfectly satisfied with a speed less than 100mbps, but with watching a lot more video over the internet you may find you exceed the smaller data cap (however many gigabytes a month) on the slower plan. There may be an in-between option where for a bit more money than the cheaper, slower plan, you have the same slower speed but a higher data cap. Probably no real need to decide that up front if you downgrade the internet -- use it for a month or two and see if you get any data overage charges.

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elcadarj
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by elcadarj » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:02 pm

We cut the cord last November. AT&T 300Mbps fiber to the house. YouTube TV w/o add ons. + Netflix and Amazon Prime TV.

Bedroom TV is TCL with built in Roku. Primary TV is Samsung smart TV w/4k Apple TV, second den TV is Samsung smart TV w/3rd Generation Apple TV.

By far my favorite set up is the Samsung with the 4k Apple. We use the Apple TV for all interface with the TV so our apple remotes and Apple Remote apps on our devices all work the TV. I can ride our spin cycled using my iPad as my iFit screen and turn on the TV, change channels, select movies etc.

On the second den TV we use the built in Samsung smart feature for YouTube TV (the 3rd gen Apple TV doesn't support the YouTube TV app) and the Apple TV for NetFlix and Amazon. I haven't upgraded the Apple TV because of its audio interface.

The Roku set up is my least favorite. Clunky interface with ads. Blech. And when we use the smart function of the Samsung for accessing YouTube TV we get ads as well. So, in addition to Google, Samsung and Roku are watching us too.

Sorry for the ramble but to sum up, if you like the Apple universe, get Apple TVs and use your smart TVs as dumb monitors.

staustin
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by staustin » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:29 pm

For standard tv viewing the Roku premiere has been fantastic for us. We have it on 4 TV's. If I were buying today I'd go with the stick.

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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:27 pm

elcadarj wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:02 pm
We cut the cord last November. AT&T 300Mbps fiber to the house. YouTube TV w/o add ons. + Netflix and Amazon Prime TV.

Bedroom TV is TCL with built in Roku. Primary TV is Samsung smart TV w/4k Apple TV, second den TV is Samsung smart TV w/3rd Generation Apple TV.

By far my favorite set up is the Samsung with the 4k Apple. We use the Apple TV for all interface with the TV so our apple remotes and Apple Remote apps on our devices all work the TV. I can ride our spin cycled using my iPad as my iFit screen and turn on the TV, change channels, select movies etc.

On the second den TV we use the built in Samsung smart feature for YouTube TV (the 3rd gen Apple TV doesn't support the YouTube TV app) and the Apple TV for NetFlix and Amazon. I haven't upgraded the Apple TV because of its audio interface.

The Roku set up is my least favorite. Clunky interface with ads. Blech. And when we use the smart function of the Samsung for accessing YouTube TV we get ads as well. So, in addition to Google, Samsung and Roku are watching us too.

Sorry for the ramble but to sum up, if you like the Apple universe, get Apple TVs and use your smart TVs as dumb monitors.
Is it the lack of optical audio that you dislike?

02nz
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by 02nz » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:29 pm

I've used the Streaming Stick + since it came out in 2017. It's an excellent device. The faster processor, 4K support, and ability to control your TV volume from its remove are easily worth the upgrade over the cheaper models.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, the Fire TV devices are a good alternative. You can get most of the same apps like Netflix and Hulu, but the Fire TV unsurprisingly puts Amazon content front and center.

Topic Author
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Random Poster » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:31 pm

Thanks for the responses.

I bought the streaming stick+ tonight and will pick it up in a few days.

Thank you.

Saving$
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Saving$ » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:59 pm

For these Roku's with "voice remotes" how do these work? Are they always listening like Alexa, or can you turn them on and off? If they are always listening, is there a way to disable the listening part and just use the remote the old fashioned way?

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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by Random Poster » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:21 am

Saving$ wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:59 pm
For these Roku's with "voice remotes" how do these work? Are they always listening like Alexa, or can you turn them on and off? If they are always listening, is there a way to disable the listening part and just use the remote the old fashioned way?
I haven't used it, but from what I gather you have to press a button to activate the listening part and use the voice control. When you stop pressing the button, the listening stops.

At least, that is how it looks on the videos I've watched.

02nz
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by 02nz » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:40 am

Random Poster wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:21 am
Saving$ wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:59 pm
For these Roku's with "voice remotes" how do these work? Are they always listening like Alexa, or can you turn them on and off? If they are always listening, is there a way to disable the listening part and just use the remote the old fashioned way?
I haven't used it, but from what I gather you have to press a button to activate the listening part and use the voice control. When you stop pressing the button, the listening stops.

At least, that is how it looks on the videos I've watched.
That's how it works on my Streaming Stick +. There's apparently no way to disable the function altogether. Not clear if the microphone is potentially listening even when you haven't pressed the button. I suppose you could tape it up, but I'm not one of those people who tape up the webcam on their laptops thinking it enhances security.

hlfo718
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by hlfo718 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:47 am

Have you thought about Amazon Fire stick? I had Roku sticks for years and the remote always stops working after a few months. I finally switched to Fire stick and like it much more than Roku.

rich126
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Re: Roku Express+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ for a Non-Tech Cord Cutter?

Post by rich126 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:05 pm

I have both the Roku Streaming Stick+ and the Amazon Fire Stick. I prefer the Roku because they had an app (channel, whatever you prefer to call it) for Vudu and Amazon didn't. They both work the same way. You plug the stick into your TV's HDMI port, and connect it to an outlet. Then you create an account. Usually you have to associate a credit card with the account although there isn't a fee to use the Roku, if you decide to purchase movies or add a paid channel (e.g., Disney) it would go on the card. If you use the Fire Stick then it would be connected to your Amazon account.

Once you enter your WiFi password and account info, you are good to go.

As to the speeds, I think people greatly exaggerate what they need. If you are doing just standard (i.e., non 4K streaming, 4K streaming requires a TV capable of displaying 4K video) streaming, a two person household should easily be able to live with a 30 Mbps Internet connection. Most streaming takes 4-5 Mbps so 30 would give you easily 4 and possibly 6 streams of video. My family visited over Christmas and there were 5 of us and the Internet never had any issues. We probably didn't get pass 3 or 4 streams.

If you are doing 4K streaming then you probably want to get 100 Mbps since each channel is roughly 25 Mbps.

Too often people waste money on a high speed Internet bill where they are never going to use that speed. As to data caps, so far I've never run into any issues. I haven't checked my data usage but I use it constantly at nights and on the weekends, just not during the work day.

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