Q. I bought a 4K TV and I want to use the Roku for my programming. My question is: Do I need any special equipment to connect my 4K TV to the Roku so I can watch programs in 4K? Is there anything else I might need? — Carly, Atlanta.
Carly, that’s a great question, and the answer is yes.
For starters, you need a Roku streaming device that supports 4K programming. You have several options at difference price points, such as the Roku Ultra ($89), the Roku Premiere ($39), and the Roku 4 ($99).
The players and streaming sticks all offer the same channels, but they do have different features so be sure to check out the details before ordering.
Second, you’ll need a HDMI 2.0 cable that supports HDCP 2.2, which is a copyright standard imposed by the studios and networks to protect against piracy. You might think your ‘any-old’ HDMI cable will work, but it won’t. To get 4K, you’ll need a HDMI 2.0 cable. (And you can get one here.)
The good news is that the HDMI 2.0 cable isn’t much more expensive than the cable you’ve been using to watch HDTV. For instance, this HDMI 2.0 cable is just $13.95.
Third, you’ll need an Internet service that offers average speeds of 25 Mbps (if not more). 4K programming requires a faster connection so you may need to upgrade your Internet plan.
Fourth, you can find some 4K programming for free on your Roku. (For instance, NASA now has a free 4K channel, and YouTube offers some programming in 4K, although it’s mostly travel videos. See my article, Is 4K TV For Free?) But the majority of available 4K programming on Roku comes from subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime does not charge extra to watch shows in 4K, but Netflix and Vudu do. Netflix’s monthly plan that includes 4K costs $13.99 a month, which is a few dollars more than non-4K packages. And Vudu, which is a pay-per-view service, charges a few dollars more for a 4K rental compared to its HD edition.
That’s it, Carly. Happy viewing!
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— Phillip Swann