Do I need Roku if I have a Smart TV Here’s an honest answer!

Do I need Roku if I have a Smart TV? Here’s an honest answer!

The question of need is a question of necessity. So when you ask yourself, “Do I need Roku if I have a smart TV?” it’s like you’re asking if you should buy a Lamborghini Sián if you already have a Bugatti Chiron supercar.

You don’t need a Roku if you already have a smart TV. Still, it’s all about customer experience, and getting a Roku means having more streaming apps, better control options, and increased speed and performance.

In this guide, we’ll show you why you should get a Roku device for your Smart TV even though it’s unnecessary. We’ve also included the pros and cons of using Roku on a Smart TV to help you make the best decision at the drop of a hat.

What is Roku?

Roku devices are some of the most affordable streaming options available today, offering access to free and premium on-demand content. You can watch your favorite TV shows and movies across various streaming apps and platforms.

Roku has various products, which include smart TVs, streaming players, soundbars, and speakers. Think of Roku as an all-in-one entertainment hub where you can watch many popular TV shows and movies.

It’s also easy to use Roku devices on your Smart TV as they’re plug-and-play devices that you only need to set up once. Roku TVs are even easier to use since they’re Smart TVs with the Roku OS already preinstalled for your convenience.

What is Roku

With Roku streaming players, you can easily find the best one to fit your smart TV and budget. Below is a table listing the different Roku streaming players you can choose from, along with essential details to help you decide which one to get.

Image QualitySupported AudioNetworkingRemote ControlPrice
Roku Express1080p HD with 720p upscalingDigital stereo over HDMI; DTS Digital SurroundFast WiFiRoku Simple Remote (IR)$29.99
Roku Express 4KHDR10/10+; HLG; 4K 60fps with 1080p and 720p upscaling; 1080p HD with 720p upscalingDigital stereo over HDMI; DTS Digital SurroundFast WiFiRoku Voice Remote with TV power, mute, and volume buttons$39.99
Roku Streaming Stick 4KHDR10/10+; HLG; 4K 60fps with 1080p and 720p upscaling; 1080p HD with 720p upscaling; Dolby VisionDigital stereo over HDMI; DTS Digital SurroundFast and Long-range WiFiRoku Voice Remote with TV power, mute, and volume buttons$49.99
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+HDR10/10+; HLG; 4K 60fps with 1080p and 720p upscaling; 1080p HD with 720p upscaling; Dolby VisionDigital stereo over HDMI; DTS Digital SurroundFast and Long-range WiFiRechargeable Roku Voice Remote Pro$69.99
Roku UltraHDR10/10+; HLG; 4K 60fps with 1080p and 720p upscaling; 1080p HD with 720p upscaling; Dolby VisionDigital stereo over HDMI; DTS Digital Surround; Dolby AtmosBest WiFi and EthernetRechargeable Roku Voice Remote Pro$99.99
Roku StreambarHDR10; 4K 60 fps with 1080p and 720p upscaling; 1080p HD with 720p upscalingPCM Dolby Audio; built-in speaker with 4 1.9” full-range driversBest WiFi and EthernetRoku Voice Remote with TV power, mute, and volume buttons$129.99
Roku Streambar ProHDR10; 4K 60fps with 1080p and 720p upscaling; 1080p HD with 720p upscalingPCM Dolby Audio; built-in speaker with 4 2.5” full-range driversBest WiFi and EthernetRoku Voice Remote with TV power, mute, and volume buttons; personal shortcuts; headphone jack$179.99

From the table, you’ll see that Roku’s Express model is the most affordable with its $29.99 price point. Unfortunately, this is also the only model that doesn’t come with the Roku Voice Remote control.

If you’re looking for the best value for money, we recommend the Roku Ultra for the number of features you get from it. You can also consider the Roku Streambar and Streambar Pro, as both can be streaming and audio devices simultaneously.

So, the Roku brand offers streaming via middleware and Roku TVs. Roku TVs are manufactured under the banner of the biggest TV brands today, and they offer the best of both worlds: smart TVs with Roku capability. 

What will a Roku do for a smart TV?

So, do you need Roku if you have a Smart TV or not? Hands down, the answer is Roku isn’t necessary when you already have a Smart TV, but having one will move your entertainment options to eleven. 

Indeed, connecting a Roku device to your Smart TV is an excellent way to unlock its potential. So, you get more of those movies you like and the quality content you long for. 

After all, you get the following support from the different Roku devices:

  • HD and 4K streaming
  • Dolby Vision
  • Dolby Audio 
  • Dolby Atmos, and more. 

If you get the Streambar models, they also work as an external speaker or soundbar for your TV.

What will a Roku do for a smart TV

These are notable features when using a Roku device on your smart TV. To help you even more, we’ve also listed some pros and cons below if you’re considering getting a Roku device for your smart TV.

Pros of Using a Roku With a Smart TV

Take note: It’s all a matter of preference. The goodies below should put more weight on having a Roku in your smart TV, but it may not appeal to you.

1. Get more content when using Roku devices with your smart TV

Believe it or not, Smart TVs aren’t compatible with every streaming app available in the market due to issues with licensing and exclusivity deals. It means that even with a Smart TV, your choices of streaming services are still limited at best.

Get more content when using Roku devices with your smart TV

As such, it’s not uncommon to miss out on some content depending on the brand of smart TV you own and the streaming platforms it can support. In particular, this is a common problem for smart TV users that own a cheap or budget model.

With a Roku device, you don’t have to worry about the content limitations on your smart TV, even if it’s a cheaper model from an unpopular brand. Roku devices offer the most streaming app options compared to other streaming devices.

Plus, a one-time purchase of a Roku device is also much better as you gain access to over 350 free live and antenna TV channels. Getting this much content for less money is why we recommend using Roku on your Smart TV over cable TV.

2. Improve user experience using Roku on your Smart TV

Where most TV manufacturers succeed is on the hardware side of their product, which sometimes results in unreliable and unoptimized software. A dedicated streaming device like Roku solves this issue since it’s optimized for streaming.

You also get a well-designed user interface with Roku devices, which any TV user will find easy and simple to use. Overall, the more straightforward design elements of a Roku device’s UI are big contributing factors to its ease of use.

Compared to most Smart TVs, the Roku menu looks more presentable, with less bloatware and clutter. The lack of ads in the Roku home screen and menus is also why we think it offers a better user experience than its competition.

You also get an easy way of customizing the apps installed on your Roku device. With a few clicks on the Roku TV remote control, you can move and rearrange the apps on the home screen to your liking.

Improve user experience using Roku on your Smart TV

3. Get better controls with the Roku remote

Another pro that will make you think twice on whether you need a Roki even when you have a Smart TV is the Roku remote control. In our books, access to the voice remote control is one of the best reasons to buy a Roku.

With the built-in voice control option, you can issue a voice command on your Roku device instead of performing manual operations. Sure, there’s an argument for commonplace voice control with most smart TVs, but it’s not enough.

While voice control is available in many smart TVs, it’s not always as optimized as the one Roku offers. This is especially true for cheaper Smart TV models and those sold and manufactured by less popular TV brands. 

Even with the affordable Roku Express that only comes with the simple remote control, it’s still much better than most Smart TVs. Plus, you can always use the official Roku app as a backup control option, which works on all Roku devices.

Get better controls with the Roku remote

You can also buy the Voice Remote Pro anytime you want to upgrade, which also works on most Roku devices. The overall convenience factor and handy control feature that Roku devices offer is why we recommend getting one for your Smart TV.

4. Get a better streaming speed and performance with Roku

As mentioned earlier, Roku devices are dedicated streaming apps, which makes them better when it comes to streaming compared to smart TVs. After all, streaming devices are developed with streaming as their primary function and selling point.

Using a Roku device on your Smart TV also uses less strain on the unit’s processor since the streaming player is the one that performs the task. In this arrangement, the Roku streaming device only uses your Smart TV as a display device.

As such, you can expect streaming to be faster and with reduced occurrence of any lag or buffering when loading content. Again, this is wonderful, especially when you’re using a cheaper Smart TV model, not equipped with the best processor.

Get a better streaming speed and performance with Roku

Below are TV brands that have built-in Roku models.

  • Sharp
  • Hisense
  • Westinghouse
  • TCL 
  • Roku

The list is not comprehensive, so if you’re in doubt, a little due diligence online should do the trick. 

5. Get more software support with Roku on your Smart TV

Software support is a huge downside with a smart TV since manufacturers expect you to switch to a new one after a few years. As such, even big brands like Samsung will only provide software support for their units for two years.

Once your Smart TV stops receiving software updates, you’ll notice that the unit will be prone to more errors and performance issues. This will significantly affect your experience when streaming your favorite content.

With a Roku device, you get more longevity since they’re guaranteed to receive software updates as long as your model is still manufactured. 

Even when Roku does stop supporting the specific streaming device you have, it’s not that big of a deal.

Get more software support with Roku on your Smart TV

After all, Roku streaming players are cheaper to replace compared to a smart TV. 

Thus, using a Roku device on your smart TV is better in the long run since you can still enjoy good streaming quality even if your TV no longer gets software updates.

6. Don’t worry about junk apps and bloatware with Roku

App management is a problem with most smart TVs, especially with the handful of preinstalled apps that’s basically impossible to uninstall. 

This factor limits the number of apps you can install on your smart TV, considering how small their storage spaces are, to begin with. 

Don’t worry about junk apps and bloatware with Roku

On Roku devices, junk apps aren’t a problem since you have full control over the apps that are installed. As such, you can uninstall unused apps and redownload them anytime you want!

Cons of Using a Roku with a Smart TV

It’s not all fine and dandy for Roku-enabled smart TVs, as there are downsides to owning one. Knowing those should help you decide whether you still need a Roku if you have a smart TV. 

1. More money is spent on a dedicated streaming device

Getting a Roku streaming player costs extra money that may not always fit your current budget. In such cases, getting a dedicated streaming device is not a good idea, especially if your TVs preinstalled apps are more than you can handle. 

It’s also much more budget-friendly to get a smart TV with a built-in Roku OS. We believe this is the best option for you if you’re still in the market for a smart TV since you don’t have to buy two separate devices. 

More money is spent on a dedicated streaming device

2. There’s less value from smart features you don’t use

More features from using a Roku device on a smart TV are a con if “smart” features don’t appeal to you initially. Spending money on a dedicated streaming device is wasteful since you wouldn’t use it.

This is true for smart TV users who already pay for a cable TV subscription and only use their units to watch local channels. If you decide to get a Roku device, you’ll get less of your money’s worth.

3. An issue of redundancy in devices

Streaming sticks and players aren’t the only devices that can install and use streaming applications. Even gaming consoles like the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S can use the most popular streaming apps.

An issue of redundancy in devices

You don’t need a dedicated Roku streaming device if you already own one that can meet your streaming needs. Like in the previous con, spending money on a Roku device when you already have a gaming console is just a waste of your money.

What is the difference between Roku and a smart TV?

Roku is a streaming platform and software developed for smart and traditional TVs. On the other hand, smart TVs are traditional television sets with “smart” features that allow them to connect to the internet and install and use online applications.

There are smart TVs with a built-in Roku operating system, but that doesn’t make them the same. Roku refers only to the software and not the hardware (smart TV), which makes them two completely different things.

The differences manifest in the way the two smart devices deliver services. You just need to connect your smart TV to your home network, and you’re good to go while you need to connect the Roku device to an HDMI port to stream online content. 

Is It worth buying Roku for smart TV?

For the number of features and benefits you get from a Roku device, it’s worth getting one in most cases. You can also choose between different Roku device models that will fit your need and budget.

The only reason to buy a Roku device for your smart TV is if you don’t use “smart” features. In this case, we believe that owning a smart TV wasn’t a good idea for you in the first place.

You can still use a Roku device even when it’s not internet-connected. However, this will mean you’ll be losing critical features of the streaming device and unable to stream online content. 

There’s a reason Roku streaming devices are the number one streaming devices in America, leaving Chromecast and FireStick devices as runner-ups. It’s an affordable option that packs loads of free content, the Roku channel including. 


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