What’s the Best Roku for Projector Use?

Roku is a brand of devices used on HDTVs and smart TVs to connect to the Worldwide Web in order to stream content from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Go, and Hulu…

Some look like a bigger USB flash disk, but it has an HDMI connector you’re supposed to put on the HDMI port of your HDTV, display monitor, or projector. Other devices appear like a miniature media player, soundbar, or disk drive.

Further reading: How to Connect a Roku Stick to a Projector: Is It Even Possible?

A projector is particularly handy in viewing things like Cobra Kai on Netflix or The Boys on Amazon Prime. There are several models available that work well with projectors. Choose and pick which ones work best for you instead.

What to Remember When It Comes to Roku Products for Projectors

The Roku can work with certain projectors. Other projectors might require adapters to work, like an HDMI to A/V or VGA converter. Make sure to get a projector that works with the device in order to stream HD videos on the big screen like in a theater.

Watching Videos on Screens Even Bigger Than the Biggest HDTV

The great thing about the Roku player is that it produces images that fit projector screens as big as an HDTV or even bigger. Some of them as big as cinema screens, particularly outdoor inflatable screens. Many of them bigger than the biggest HDTVs.

A particular size of HDTV is more expensive than the same size of the screen. You can save a lot of money buying a projector instead of an HDTV in order to view things with your Roku. Match your Roku with your projector’s native resolution as well.

4K Resolution Roku for 4K Projectors

A good Roku player or device for projectors is the 4K resolution ones. They stream videos on 4K but make sure you have a matching 4K projector.

Regarding this, 4K resolution streaming is something that’s optional and many HD videos are 1080p anyway. Otherwise, they’re upscaled on Ultra HD projectors.

Then again, when viewing a truly 4K video, the millions of pixels fit better on a bigger projector screen versus the small screen of a CRT, HDTV, computer monitor, or laptop monitor.

It makes perfect sense to go the Roku home cinema route when dealing with all these pixels.

Recommendations for Roku Models

We recommend the Roku Streambar, Roku Premiere, Roku Express, and Roku Streaming Stick+.

They all practically worked the same, but the bigger the device the more apps and features you can get.

The lightest ones have the most basic features and the bigger ones have more features, buttons, and the like. 

It’s like the difference between a smartphone and a laptop. With that said, in light of micronization advances, even a Roku Streaming Stick+ has as many features as a smart device.

Both Roku Express and Streaming Stick+ come equipped with Wi-Fi Direct. It can connect your projector to your Wi-Fi to enable quality streaming. 

How These Various Roku Devices Work

The device itself serves as your Wi-Fi connector with its streaming apps. It enables you to stream without the projector being a smart device itself.

The projector is now acting as the computer monitor to the Roku media device. Roku comes with its own operating system and apps. They also work with Alexa for good measure.

Then again, if your projector is already a smart device it might be possible to download the Netflix, HBO Go, or Hulu app onto the projector and stream without the Roku Stick or Express.

The Roku converts the projector into a monitor while it works as its own Wi-Fi connector. These products are made to be plug-and-play media sources for your projector display appliance.

Infra-Red Roku Sticks Can Be Awkward to Use

A Roku Stick with an infra-red or IR feature is uncomfortable to control with your remote.

It’s hard to switch between programs or channels unless you’re using a rear-projection screen or short-throw projector.

Your IR remote control has a limited range versus a Bluetooth remote, for example.

You need to aim the IR remote control or clicker at the projector instead of the screen a la normal HDTV.

The projector is usually located on the ceiling or on the side, which makes angling your remote to control it quite awkward. An overhead projector requires you to practically stand up to change the channel or switch programs. Ditto a projector at the back of your room.

How Can You Link The Roku to a Projector?

You can link the Roku Express or Stick to compatible projectors. As a rule of thumb, the presence of HDMI ports is the way to go.

However, you also need to check if the native resolution of the projector matches the resolution offered by the Roku device.

The best Roku sticks offer HD streams so that you can watch your movies, documentaries, and streaming shows on the big projector screen with amazing fidelity, detail, and clarity when push comes to shove.

The Roku stick and its HDMI connector are designed for most if not all digital projectors for the 21st Century.

Connecting Your Roku Player to the Projector

Plug the Roku device or player into the HDMI port of your projector. It’s like when you’re plugging your BD or DVD player.

The great thing about HDMI is that its plug-and-play. You don’t have to turn the device on or off in order for it to work. It should recognize the connection immediately. 

The Roku Stick or Stick+ activates as soon as it’s plugged in unless you have a dirty HDMI port or there’s damage on any of the connectors or cables involved.

You can also use a premium HDMI cable to connect the stick device without it jutting out of the projector like a USB stick. The Roku Streambar probably requires such a cable.

Older Projectors Require a Bit More Finagling

In order to make a Roku Stick or Roku Express link up with an older projector from the past century, like 20th Century or 1980s-1990s digital projectors, you might need the right connector.

There are projectors with ports for RCA or A/V. There are other projectors with VGA ports used mostly for computers. Because they don’t use HDMI natively, these devices need to be turned off first before plugging.

Roku devices, despite being inventions of the online streaming age, are amazingly flexible when it comes to working with vintage machines.

There are limits, of course. You can make a VGA digital projector turn into a 4K streaming device (there’ll be downscaling of the image quality to about 1080p to 720p).

You’ll also need an extension cable and a wireless connection for such cases.

Going Wireless with Your Roku Player

There’s also the option to go wireless with your Roku player if you’re using an overhead projector.

This way, you can use the wireless remote that isn’t IR in order to control the device or connect it to your projector without the need of so many cables. The way to do this is with a transceiver or dongle. 

Some projectors require these transceivers in order to connect to the Internet in lieu of their own built-in wireless connection means.

You can also use them to connect your Roku wirelessly to your projector, but only a limited amount of projectors will allow this to work.

Perhaps a bigger device like a Roku Streambar can work with a wireless-based connection. It’s iffier with the Stick+.

Projector Setup for Roku with Sound Bar or AVR

You can either depend on the built-in projector speaker for your audio needs or connect the projector to a Bluetooth speaker, soundbar, or a whole sound system complete with stereos, amps, base, subwoofers, and more.

It all depends not on the Roku device but on the sound connector of your projector.

To ensure you get an immersive audio experience and the most beautiful, high-fidelity music possible from the program or film you’re streaming, you can either connect via Bluetooth or something wired.

You can even connect your projector to an A/V receiver or AVR for good measure, if not HDMI or TOSLINK cables. It depends on what ports are available on your various stereos and amplifiers.

The Best Roku for a Projector Reviews

Roku Streaming Stick+

The Roku Streaming Stick+ or Streaming Stick Plus is Roku’s answer to the Amazon Fire TV Stick (or maybe it’s the other way around).

 Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Device with Long-range Wireless and Voice Remote with TV Controls
Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Device with Long-range Wireless and Voice Remote with TV Controls

A stick is truly more convenient to lug around and connect than a whole wired console or box.

Therefore, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is our Editor’s Choice for the best Roku model for projector use.

It’s simply too convenient to not be placed as the top pick for Roku products. A whopping 67,912 reviewers (at the time of this writing) rate the Roku Streaming Stick+ 4K as 4.7 out of 5 stars.

That’s high praise from the highly critical Amazon customer base right there. It’s all available to you for only $48.45 or $50 (prices will vary). It also works with AirPlay and Alexa Devices such as Amazon Echo.

Pros:

  • It has the standard built-in Wi-Fi.
  • It’s also a long-range wireless receiver.
  • It comes with long-range wireless and voice remote with TV controls.
  • It shares music, photos, and videos from your Apple device via AirPlay.
  • It’s a streaming device that can stream 4K/UHD content with HDR features.
  • It works with Alexa devices like Amazon Echo despite it being a competitor for Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.
  • It’s a portable streaming stick that you can take with you in case you have a portable projector with you for good measure.
  • It supports the Roku Channel, Peacock, Showtime, Google Play, Apple TV, Hulu with Live TV, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.

Cons:

  • Some units stopped working after only 5 months.
  • Technical Support can hold your defective Roku device hostage.

 

Roku Express

The Roku Express is an HD streaming media player that comes with a simple remote and high-speed HDMI cable that should work excellently with your projector.

 Roku Express
Roku Express

 

Furthermore, it somehow got 4.8 stars out of 5 stars according to 88,167 ratings.

Although the Roku Streaming Stick+ is our Editor’s Choice, Amazon.com rates the Roku Express about a point higher than Streaming Stick Plus.

It also requires an HDMI cable to work. It makes streaming easy when push comes to shove.

It’s a plug & plays Roku Player that allows you to stream for free for sites like YouTube or stream content from subscription sites like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.

Pros:

  • It uses Wi-Fi connectivity technology.
  • It’s a quick and easy setup (plug & play).
  • More affordable than Roku Streaming Stick+.
  • Use an Alexa device to add voice control with this unit. It also works with Google Assistant.
  • The item might be bigger than the Stick, but it’s still lightweight at 27.22 grams and 1.5 inches by 0.8 inches by 2.8 inches.
  • Its supported Internet services include the Roku Channel, Peacock, Showtime, Google Play, Apple TV, Hulu with Live TV, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.

Cons:

  • Some units have issues in showing programs on full screen.

Roku Premiere

As for the Roku Premiere, it’s the Roku product that delivers more of the same streaming services you can get from Stick Plus and Express.

Roku Premiere | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player
Roku Premiere | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player

 

According to 59,592 ratings (at the time this was written), this streaming device is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, which is a similar rating to the Streaming Stick+ with roughly the same amount of reviewers.

Although it’s smaller than the Roku Express it weighs more than it too. The bottom line here is that it’s another Roku streaming player or device that allows you to stream whatever you want from ad-supported services like YouTube or subscription services like Netflix or Prime Video.

It includes a premium high-speed HDMI cable to connect the device with your projector.

Pros:

  • Supports AirPlay for Apple mirroring purposes.
  • Its controller type is either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
  • It is 36 grams in weight and 3.3 inches by 1.4 inches by 0.7 inches in size.
  • It supports the more unknown streaming services like Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Pandora, and Sling.
  • Its supported Internet services include the Roku Channel, Peacock, Showtime, Google Play, Apple TV, Hulu with Live TV, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.

Cons:

  • Some units have issues in showing programs in full screen.
  • The activation fee is $100, which some customers don’t like. 

 

Roku Streambar

The Roku Streambar is a soundbar-sized, console-sized, or box-sized 4K/UHD/HDR/FHD streaming player recently released back in 2020.

 Roku Streambar 4K/HD/HDR Streaming Media Player
Roku Streambar 4K/HD/HDR Streaming Media Player

It’s the most expensive Roku streaming device on this list because it costs just about $130.

Since it’s a recent release, only 1,622 customers have availed of it so far, with it getting a decent score of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Its main claim to fame is that it’s a streaming device with its own soundbar speakers for better sound while watching your favorite movies or TV shows.

It also offers the Streambar with Subwoofer, the Streambar Surround Set, and the Streambar Surround Set with Subwoofer for additional fees.

Pros:

  • Also compatible with AirPlay and Alexa voice controls.
  • It features connectivity with HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
  • It’s a built-in 4K streaming device that allows you to take advantage of that extra projector screen space.
  • It’s a large device measuring 14 inches by 4.2 inches by 2.4 inches.
  • Its main claim to fame is that it’s a Roku streaming device with its own audio system included in the package.
  • Its supported Internet services include the Roku Channel, Peacock, Showtime, Google Play, Apple TV, Hulu with Live TV, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.
  • You have many extras like a surround set and subwoofer accessories to choose from but it’ll cost you extra to avail of the other packages.

Cons:

  • A minority of reviewers are unimpressed by its sound quality.
  • It’s probably the most expensive device on this list at $130. It gets more expensive when you add other accessories.

 

Never Forget This As Well

The most recommended Roku models have outlined above. They include the Roku Streambar, Roku Premiere, Roku Express, and Roku Streaming Stick+.

Our Editor’s Choice is the Roku Streaming Stick+.

Furthermore, these products can double as HDMI monitors or HDTVs in their own right. You just need a screen or a smooth enough wall in your home and you’re good to go. Screens offer the best image results all-in-all. Additionally, some of these sticks or media devices have 4K capability.

Essentially, you can treat the Roku like you would a satellite or cable box. It’s a more portable device like a USB stick but better and more varied.

James Core
I write dozens of helpful informational articles based on topics that I have identified again and again throughout my research and work experience. I am here to help you find the right projector.

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