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Meet Roku's 2017 streaming players

From the $30 Express to the $100 Ultra there are some familiar names, and one bona-fide newcomer.

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David Katzmaier
ROKU Line updates
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Four familiar names and one new one

Roku's fall 2017 lineup has players: the Express ($30, blue box), Express+ ($40, not pictured), the Streaming Stick ($50, green box), the all-new Streaming Stick+ ($70, gray box) and the Ultra ($100, black box).

Roku Ultra
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Roku Ultra

I'll start with the most expensive and go down the line. The $100 Ultra, $30 cheaper than last year, is the only one with a headphone jack on the remote.

Roku Ultra
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Roku Ultra

It's also the only full-sized box, complete with Roku's patented remote finder. Just press the button on the left and your clicker emits a sound, making it easy to locate among the couch cushions.

Roku Ultra
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Roku Ultra

The back panel is the same as last year but for one omission: no optical digital audio output, a boon for older AV receivers. The Ultra is the only 2017 Roku with an Ethernet port for wired connections.

Roku Ultra
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Roku Ultra

As usual, Roku throws in headphones. All of its players, by the way, allow private listening via Roku's mobile app, but having the jack on the remote is more convenient.

Roku Ultra
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Roku Ultra

The Ultra has a USB port on the side for easier file playback.

Roku Ultra
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Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra
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Roku Ultra

The Ultra remote, complete with A and B buttons for games you'll never play.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

Next in line is the only all-new Roku player for 2017. It's a new $70 streaming stick with 4K resolution and HDR.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

Its remote, like that of the Ultra and the standard streaming stick, has something new for 2017: power and volume controls for your TV. It also gets voice search.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

Like other streaming sticks, this one is tiny and designed to fit discreetly behind your TV.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

So what's this crazy thing? An augmentation for the Wi-Fi antenna, which Roku says boosts reception in weak areas.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

TVs can sometimes interfere with Wi-Fi, so the booster is a neat solution (if it works as advertised; we haven't tested it). 

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

It's pretty weird-looking though.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

You can take it off if you don't like it.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick+

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Roku Streaming Stick

The $50 Streaming Stick doesn't handle 4K, nor does it include that Wi-Fi extender. 

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Roku Streaming Stick

It is the cheapest 2017 Roku with the TV-controlling remote, however.

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Roku Streaming Stick

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
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Roku Streaming Stick

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Roku Streaming Stick

Roku Express Plus
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Roku Express Plus

The $40 Express Plus...

Roku Express
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Roku Express

...and the $30 Express...

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Roku Express Plus

...are basically identical.

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Roku Express Plus

The only difference is the inclusion of an analog cable for older TVs with the Express+. 

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Roku Express Plus

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Roku Express Plus

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Roku Express Plus

The Express and Express+ are tiny, but since they use infrared (unlike the others) you'll have to keep their faces exposed for control.

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Roku Express Plus

And unlike those of the others, their remotes don't control a TV.

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