Roku has refreshed their hardware lineup for 2017. The refresh brings better performance, improved Wi-Fi connectivity and more convenient features.
Roku Express and Express+
Roku introduced the Express and Express+ last year but this year, they’ve made them five times more powerful than previous models.
The standard Express model still has one HDMI port, while the Express+ has HDMI and A/V ports for older TVs (i.e red/yellow/white jacks). The Express will retail for $29.99 USD and the Express+ for $39.99 USD (and is exclusive to Walmart).
Roku Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick+
Both the Roku Streaming Stick and its Plus model have a quad-core processor, 802.11 AC dual-band MIMO wireless and comes with a voice remote that can also control your TV’s power and volume. The standard Roku Streaming Stick will go for $49.99 USD.
The 2017 Streaming Stick models have more or less replaced the Roku Premiere and Premiere+ that Roku launched last year.
While the standard Roku Streaming Stick can only output video in HD, the Streaming Stick+ has support for 4K Ultra HD and HDR. Roku is aiming the Streaming Stick+ to compete with Google’s Chromecast Ultra and Amazon’s recently announced, new Fire TV dongle. The Streaming Stick+ will be available for $69.99 USD.
The Roku Ultra packs everything you’d ever want in a streaming box. It has support for HD, 4K and 4K HDR up to 60 fps, microSD card slot, remote finder, voice remote with a headphone jack for private listening.
The Roku Ultra will go for $99.99 USD. All the new Roku hardware will be available on October 8th.
Roku OS 8
Roku also announced a new update to their operating system with Roku OS 8. Some features in the new update include support for over-the-air antennas using Roku’s new Smart Guide that can show you info about your local broadcast channels.
The guide can show info from seven days ago or up to 14 days in the future. If you want to start watching, the Smart Guide allows users to see additional streaming options. As you start to use the Smart Guide more, it will be able to identify your favourite channels and put them at the top of the programming guide.
You’ll also be able to use Roku’s search to look for over-the-air content. Private Listening is also supported for over-the-air content in the new update.
Voice Control is also becoming a bigger part of Roku OS, you’ll be able to switch channels or inputs using your voice. Voice Control can be used either via the Roku app on Android and iOS or via the new voice remotes. You’ll also be able to launch a streaming or antenna TV channel using your voice.
The new update also brings support for TV Everywhere Single Sign-On, this allows you to easily log into your accounts for channels you pay for (i.e HBO Go etc). There will also be a redesigned 4K Spotlight Channel that will show you 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision content viewable on your Roku.
Roku OS 8 will be rolling out to Roku players in the next few weeks, including the new models that were just announced. Roku TVs will get the software update in November. The update should roll out to all Roku device by the end of the year.