Roku 4 vs. 3 - Worth the upgrade?

My wife just got me a Roku 4 for my birthday but honestly, I’m pretty happy with the 3. Can someone persuade me to keep this thing - haven’t even cut the tape on the box yet - or for $130 is it really not that much of an upgrade. My TV only has 760 (yep, not 720) resolution and I’m nowhere near being able to utilize the 4k feature.

Click my profile “I” for Tablo specs

Sorry, I cant do as you asked and help persuade you to keep it. Well except that in my house, I never turn down a birthday present for fear of insulting her and NOT GETTING ANYTHING next time!

Seriously though, no, if you arent going to use the 4K, it doesnt bring much to the table as a REPLACEMENT.

For me, I have been working to replace the satellite box on EVERY TV in the house for over a year. Knowing the Roku 4 would be out by the end of the year, I did wait to get the last 3 and purchased the Roku 4 for my main rooms. This is different though, as I had other TVs (kids and lesser used TVs) to move the old Roku 3s to so it wasnt as much as a replacement as an expansion and i wanted the best for the main locations in hopes that I would future proof them for at least 3 years (and will likely add a 4K projector within the next 18 months)

Had I already had a Roku on every TV, no, it would not have been worth it. I can say, the WiFi AC connection seems to help some when I use the Roku Media Player to play movies on my DLNA server, less “loading Please Wait” and Netflix and Amazon DO load a bit quicker. The Crackle channel is MUCH improved but its likely they will roll this version to the other models at some point.

The find the remote feature is nice but not a necessity by any means.

That’s about it.

IF you were going for 4K and comparing this to the Fire TV, I would be all over YES, it wins since it can do TRUE 4K at 60fps and should be software up-datable to UHD with HDR (once HDR is finalized) where as the Fire TV cant do that.

Or once again, if this was a new box for a new TV, then it wins to help ensure it will last longer before support is dropped or the speed wont work with new apps, but to say its worth the $130, to replace a perfectly good Roku 3 where in the Roku 3 will no longer have a home or be useful. Nope, to me, that’s a waste of money.

I agree with you, and the Cord Cutters did a compairision and came to the same conclusions. I moved the Roku 3 to the bedroom, replacing the Roku LT 2700x with the sound problem going to commercials, and only 2.4 GHz WiFi. I’m thinking about bringing it to my parents house for when I visit. Though the Tablo won’t work, Crackle and Netflix will, along with other Roku channels.

  1. What is the make and model of your HDTV?
  2. Some Roku 3s are known to have issues with the new 1080p 10 Mbps setting due to the 60 fps video and the hardware being underpowered . The Roku 4 is supposed to be able to play this fine.

Dang Daniel, thanks for the detailed reply. But in the time it took you to type all that, I couldn’t wait and opened it :blush: Oh well, this will give me the opportunity to put the 3 in the bedroom as well and not have to use my phone to chromecast everything in there. And like you said, returning stuff after the thought and effort put into it isn’t worth the potential disappointment. @theuser86: Panasonic TH-42PX60U. Don’t laugh - it was top of the line when I bought it back in …'06?? Thanks guys for the replies. I appreciate it.

I’m also an old TV and old receiver user. I bought the R4 because it has HDMI and optical outs. It seems everyone else is going to HDMI only and my old junk isn’t compatible. I can’t justify spending $2K+ when my stuff looks and sounds better than anyone not on avsforums :slight_smile:

Sad to report that the 4 will be returned to Amazon. We experienced even slower loading of the recordings page: 34 seconds vs. 27 for the 3. Also some weird artifacting on a couple of Sling channels that weren’t there on the 3. Definitely not worth it for us and I’m getting some cool Dude Mocs instead .

Yeah, what can I say, I like to talk / type. :smile:

I had forgot about the optical out, that was a plus for me as well though I had already bought a box to split out optical audio from the Roku 3 HDMI out so even that wasn’t a requirement.

Sorry to see you are having issues, strange too. I cant speak for Sling TV, have never used it, but I noticed no differences or issues with Tablo at all.

Accessing the recordings screen did increase in time after the 2.2.6 update, but it did so for both our Roku 3s and 4s. Both are still quicker than the time it used to take our dish network receivers to access our external hard drives with our recordings so no complaint here.

My guess with the sling issue is that it will be temporary, do keep in mind the 4 is brand new and comes with new software. I did notice a few companies have written an app (channel) just for the new setup, not sure if that was out of necessity or just so they could better take advantage of the new hardware but I am sure Sling will be doing the same, not only correcting any issues but likely improving the experience all together.

If you didn’t need another box though, nothing wrong with waiting for the next model, better software or a newer TV to increase the needed resolutions.

So an interesting thing about the optical output on the Roku 4. The Roku 4 is still missing a Dolby chip in it so it cannot convert 5.1 DD+ audio to 5.1 DD audio. 5.1 DD+ can only be passed through HDMI, not optical. DD+ is not part of the optical spec.

So if you connect the Roku 4 to an AVR via optical and expect to get 5.1 audio from Netflix or Vudu, you will not. In this scenario, the AVR likely has no HDMI inputs and also thus does not decode DD+. The older AVRs with no HDMI inputs generally only support the regular DD.

The reason for this is the 5.1 audio on Netflix and other channels on the Roku is only DD+. Some channels on the Roku still use plain old DD, but these generally are not the popular channels.

If you just want the optical output for Stereo audio, then that will work fine and everything I said above is a moot point.

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That statement is wrong. I have a Roku 4 connected to a 4K TV via HDMI to the TV’s HDCP 2.2 / 2160/60fps port for the video output and connected via optical to my Denon AVR for audio and I have no issues with playing DD on Netflix. Amazon or any Roku source that provides Dolby.

What is the make and model of your AVR? It likely decodes DD+. RokuDale on the Roku forums (Roku engineer) confirmed the Roku 4 cannot convert DD+ to DD.

DD+ from say BluRay discs cannot be sent over optical connection because it’s too high of a bitrate for the optical spec. DD+ from Roku is low bitrate so it can go over optical. See this thread for confirmation:

AIV has titles with both DD and DD+. See table below. The newer titles use DD+ for 5.1 audio. See link below.

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Yes the Fire TV box 1st gen has an optical output and it also has a Dolby chip in it to extract the DD track from the streamed DD+ track.

Did they not leave off the optical port on the new fire TV and replace it with space for a memory card?

I would purchase an older Fire TV player if available with the optical port converting DD+ to DD.

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AIV is now only DD+ on the Roku 4. I quote from a Roku engineer: “Amazon has chosen to only support DD+ and Stereo on the Roku 4. I confirmed that this morning. This is an issue with the Amazon channel and not with Roku 4.”

From this thread:

Very interesting stuff. So why bother adding the optical out and NOT provide the decoding?

Seems strange unless it was simply a marketing thing. Sort of like how the FireTV claims 4K, but cant do 4K 60fps nor will it ever support UHD HDR…

Roku 4, YAY, we have optical out, BUY OUR STUFF (pay no attention to the fact its pretty much useless to almost all receivers who actually require optical as DD+ wont transfer).

From above, it looks like a few AVR will work with it, but I imagine those were the ones built right as the standards were switching over, most that can do DD+ likely will have the HDMI passthrough as the preferred and maybe ONLY option…

I guess its time to upgrade my AVR!

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The Roku 4 is getting a lot of backlash, much like the new FireTV. It seems these developers are releasing products before they are ready. I really hope the new AppleTv doesn’t fall into the same pattern.

I am glad I have held off buying a Roku 4, though I still may consider an AppleTV after the Tablo app is created and after the reviews are in.

This has been the exact criticize over at the Roku forums for including optical out on the Roku 4 and yet no DD+ to DD conversion.