Roku’s new line-up, teased in recent set of leaks online, have now decided to show themselves, with new features including 4K streaming and HDR. But the biggest feature to take away from these new consoles is its price – which starts from $30. Video streaming players can’t get any more accessible and cheap than this.
“Roku stands for streaming innovation and today we’re celebrating the biggest player launch in our company’s history, including the introduction of the Roku Express player which delivers a complete streaming experience for a shockingly low price of $29.99,” said Anthony Wood, Roku Founder and CEO.
The range of Rokus are more compact and more powerful than the previous generation, being faster and now taking up less space on that cramped TV cabinet, otherwise occupied by gaming consoles, music systems and what not. Roku did good with the form factor.
Being $20 cheaper than the last Roku, they must have cut down somewhere right? Well, sort of. If composite cables are needed, the Roku Express+ at $40 will be the only way to get it. There are also a couple of fancier additions to the line-up, the Roku Premiere and Premiere+ that can both output 4K video content at 60fps. These ones are also a lot snappier, being fitted with quad-core processors compatible with dual band WiFi connectivity for better connection. The Premiere+ uses the ‘+’ to offer an added Ethernet port and a microSD card slot. It also comes with an RF remote and a headphone jack.
And if that’s not fancy enough, the high-end $130 Roku Ultra has pretty much the same features as the Premiere+ but adds an extra optical audio port for connecting older receivers and soundbars. The Roku Ultra further adds the function of being able to playback the user’s own files through a USB port. It’s also got voice search and a special button on the player for when the remote decides to play hide and seek.
The new streaming players – Roku Express, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra – is now available for pre-order from Roku.com, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers.
On the technical front, HDR10 will be the only high-quality standard still being supported by the premium players, which is a minus, considering the Dolby Vision is now the standard format. But it’s not that big a deal, because whatever the online streaming options are, there’s a thin chance all of them will be supporting these formats just yet. A convenient new feature in the new range is the ‘night listening’ mode, which decreases the dynamic range of the sound so that it doesn’t disturb those in the next room during the night. Quite thoughtful.
So far so good for the new Roku range. It has got all its bases covered – from cheap to premium. But what the brand will be riding on for the most part will be the Express, because it provides an instant solution for streaming at a lighter cost. Roku has over 100 streaming services to its name, with HBO Now being the latest to join the club.
So there’s a lot to look forward to as switching from traditional set top boxes to the more convenient option of a streaming box is becoming the norm.