Roku has just came up with new streaming player, not one but five of them, and at least five bucks cheaper than the competition. All new devices, all of which will go on sale next month itself. Add them to the Stick, the only previous Roku product staying in the line, and you get a streaming six pack frothing over with choice.
Roku’s 2016 devices
Roku Models in detail:
Roku Express: At $30 it’s $5 cheaper than Google’s popular Chromecast, making the Express the least expensive mainstream streaming device around (unless Amazon decides to give its next streaming stick away for free). The Express does everything the current Roku Stick does, like give full access to Roku’s best-in-class app selection, cross-platform search and simple interface. In a quick demonstration with Roku’s reps it seemed plenty speedy and unlike Chromecast, it actually includes a real remote control, albeit a standard IR (infrared) version you have to aim at the device. The Express is tiny, kind of “not-a-box,” and I can imagine cables dragging it down.
Roku Express+: For an extra $10 you get the option to output analog audio and video, courtesy of an included yellow-red-and-white breakout cable. The Express+ is designed for people who want to add streaming capability to older TVs that lack HDMI connectors. If your TV already has HDMI, however, it’s better to just stick with the standard Express; the two are otherwise identical.
Roku Premiere: Last year Roku introduced the $130 Roku 4 as its first 4K-capable streamer. The $80 Premiere is its successor minus a few extras. It still has access to more 4K apps than other streamers, including Netflix, Amazon, Vudu and 12 others, and a 4K spotlight app that makes 4K shows and movies easy to find. Of course, you’ll need a 4K TV to take advantage of the higher resolution. The remote is just standard infrared (IR), so you have to aim it at the box, and it lacks the extra features found on the higher-end boxes’ remotes.
Roku Premiere+: Spending $100 on a 2016 Roku gets you access to high dynamic range (HDR) video from streaming apps that offer it. HDR promises improved contrast and color compared to standard 1080p and 4K video, and requires an HDR-capable TV. The remote uses wi-fi technology, so you don’t have to aim it and can stash the box out of sight. It’s also the least-expensive 2016 Roku to offer a headphone jack on the remote for private listening (although all of them get private listening via the Roku app). Another extra over the Premiere is an Ethernet port for wired internet connections.
Roku Ultra: The Ultra is Roku’s best streamer yet. It offers everything available on the Premiere+, beefed up with a few more ports and a full-featured clicker. Roku Ultra’s remote is the only one in the lineup to offer voice search (available on the other Rokus through its free iOS and Android app), gaming support as well as the cool remote finder function that debuted on the Roku 4.
Roku Streaming devices features
- All of these new devices allow you to listen privately via headphones using Roku’s app, a feature that debuted on the 2016 Streaming Stick.
- Unlike the Roku 4, which had a fan that caused some buyers to complain about noise, the 2016 Rokus are all fanless.
- The 4K models have the same level of processing power (“quad core”), which the company says is higher than any previous Roku.
- The 4K models support Dolby Atmos soundtracks.
- The 4K models support 15 different 4K apps: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Vudu, Fandango, Curiosity Stream, Toon Goggles, Tastemade, UltraFlix 4K, Smithsonian Earth, Plex, Picasa, Flickr, 500px and Roku Media Player.
- The list of apps that will support HDR at launch has not yet been finalized.
- The HDR models support HDR10, not the Dolby Vision format.
- The 4K models output video at 4K/60Hz, without the 4K/24Hz option found on some devices.
- Roku had no comment on the OS and interface update recently seeded to developers.
For more details please visit the Roku website