What’s the Difference Between the Roku Express and Roku Streaming Stick?
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If you’re looking to buy a streaming device, there are a lot of things you need to consider: Do you need one? Which features are important to you? How much will it cost?

If you’ve worked through everything and decided on a Roku, you’ve made a smart choice. There are lots of hidden tricks and private channels to explore. But now you have another choice to make: Which model should you buy?

Unlike Chromecasts, Nvidia Shields, and Apple TVs, there are a dizzying array of options. In fact, at the time of writing, there are six models! For an entry-level product, focus on these three: the Express, Express+, and Streaming Stick. But what are the differences? Let’s take a look.

More Similarities Than Differences

The three models have a lot of similarities. All three of them are dongle-based (rather than set-top boxes), they all support up to 1080p resolution, they all have a universal search function, and they all offer private listening via the mobile app.

So, where do they differ?

If you’ve got an old television with composite A/V inputs, you need the $39.99 Express+. It’s the only product in the entire Roku family that has A/V ports, and is the perfect way to give a new lease of life to an old TV stuck in the back of your garage.

The Streaming Stick, which also costs $39.99, is the most powerful. It boasts a quad-core processor, so apps open and run much faster as a result.

Roku Streaming Stick (3600R) - HD Streaming Player with Quad-Core Processor Roku Streaming Stick (3600R) - HD Streaming Player with Quad-Core Processor Buy Now At Amazon $38.62

Lastly, the Express ($29.99) and the Express+ both have line-of-sight IR blaster remotes. The Streaming Stick uses a point-anywhere Wi-Fi connection.

Which Roku do you have? Are you happy using a dongle, or would you prefer a set-top model such as the Premiere, Premiere+, or Ultra instead? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Cathy Underwood
    August 16, 2017 at 12:09 am

    We have the Roku Streaming and it's great, I plan on getting rid of my $249.00 Spectrum Bill and go to all Roku devices....sick of paying Spectrum for a little of nothing to watch....

  2. DEB
    August 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    I use the Roku stick in the livingroom and Roku express in the bedroom. It takes the express a little longer to start up but once it starts a show works great with no buffering.

  3. Michael Nelson
    August 15, 2017 at 4:50 am

    The Express and I am in love with the product.

  4. Jennifer Genna-Quaine
    August 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I have the roku 3, I've had it 3 yrs. Theirs things I like about the apps and don't like! But mostly I enjoy the roku player...I have no real complaints ....

  5. Karl
    August 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Bandwidth is a concern so nothing too fancy, IR remote is just fine. Roku express please.

  6. Keith
    August 14, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I have an older Roku streaming stick that I've been using for 3 years with my Roku-ready TV and have been quite happy with it, except for the fact that it does allow for casting from an Android or Windows device. So I "upgraded" to a newer streaming stick but found that my TV remote, which is IR, no longer worked with the stick and I had to use the separate Roku remote. I probably use the casting feature once a year, but I use the remote every day, so I downgraded to the old stick.

  7. Mike ehrlich
    August 14, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Roku stick does not work with slingplayer for iPad. Problem has been documented for almost a year with no support. Roku claims it is sling's problem, but other Roku products work ok.