Roku reveals new streaming players, OS8
October 2, 2017
Fresh from a successful IPO, streaming platform and device specialist Roku has announced five new streaming players which it says will give people who enjoy TV better ways to connect to the streaming entertainment they love.
The new line-up includes a range of player models that Roku says offer better performance, improved wireless reception, new convenience features and greater value than ever before. Starting at just $29.99 (€25.50) MSRP, Roku says the new more powerful Roku Express makes HD streaming easy while those who want Roku’s ultimate player can get the new lower-priced $99.99 MSRP Roku Ultra. In addition, the company unveiled the newest version of its operating system, Roku OS 8.
“Our new streaming player line up provides performance, price and features to meet our users’ needs so they can sit back, relax and enjoy their TV viewing experience even more,” said Chas Smith, general manager of Roku TVs and players. “Consumers will love our new sleek Roku Streaming Stick+ with an innovative advanced wireless receiver that gives up to four times the wireless range and a remote that controls TV volume and power. It makes 4K and HDR streaming simple.”
Roku Express and Roku Express+:
Great for those who are looking to stream to the TV for the first time or extend their Roku OS experience to other TVs in the home.
The Roku Express+ is great for classic TVs. It offers the same streaming experience, with options to connect via HDMI or composite A/V ports (red/yellow/white jacks).
Roku Streaming Stick and Roku Streaming Stick+:
Small, powerful and portable for those who are on the move or want their streaming player hidden behind their TV. Features quad-core processor and 802.11 AC dual-band MIMO wireless. Now comes with a voice remote that includes TV power and volume buttons that can control compatible TV models and the Roku Streaming Stick together.
Roku Streaming Stick+ boasts exceptional wireless performance with its advanced wireless receiver that is innovatively built into the power cord. This new model offers up to four times the wireless range than the 2016 Roku Streaming Stick to minimize buffering. It combines brilliant 4K Ultra HD and HDR picture quality with the portability of the popular stick form factor.
Roku’s most powerful and feature-packed player offers our best wireless performance and can stream HD, 4K and 4K HDR with up to 60 fps. The Roku Ultra features an ethernet port for wired connectivity and a micro SD slot to help speed up streaming channel load times.
The Roku platform provides streamers with access to 500,000 movies and TV episodes plus more than 5,000 channels. The Roku Channel, which launched just weeks ago, features hundreds of Hollywood hits and more with no fees, subscriptions or logins required.
The new line of streaming players will be available for pre-order immediately from Roku, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers; and is expected to be in stores around October 8th. Roku Express+ is available exclusively at Walmart beginning October 8th. Customers who purchase a new Roku player will receive a $10 Vudu credit towards a rental or purchase.
Roku OS 8, also unveiled by the company, delivers enhanced features that add convenience and value to a Roku TV user’s streaming experience. With a focus on bridging the gap between free, local broadcast TV received via HDTV antennas and streaming, the company unveiled several new Roku TV features, including a Smart Guide that shows over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV and streaming options to help customers search for, find and discover entertainment. Other new features included in the update allow for easier search and voice control, such as enhanced voice commands allowing a user to launch streaming channels, switch inputs or control their Roku TV; TV Everywhere (TVE) single sign-on to eliminate having to enter login credentials multiple times; an updated 4K Spotlight Channel and more.
“At Roku, we love TV and we’re focused on making it better for everyone,” said Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku. “Roku OS 8 delivers on our key pillars of ease, content and value. These new features make the entertainment experience more enjoyable for our customers, while solving some of the biggest pain points when watching TV today.”
SEAMLESS ENTERTAINMENT FOR ROKU TV USERS USING OVER-THE-AIR ANTENNAS
- Smart Guide: An electronic programme guide for Roku TVs that seamlessly integrates information for local broadcast TV via an antenna with streaming options allowing customers to search for, find and discover entertainment. The guide provides programme information for local antenna broadcast TV channels from seven days in the past to up to 14 days in the future. Smart Guide also integrates the More Ways to Watch feature so users can see additional streaming options, such as: watch a movie or show from the beginning, see more episodes or browse similar entertainment. Over time, Smart Guide will even identify favourite broadcast channels available over-the-air by placing most viewed channels at the top of the programme guide.
- Roku Search for Over-the-Air Content: Local antenna broadcast TV options are now included in Roku Search results for Roku TV customers who use a TV antenna to receive free local broadcast TV. Roku search already spans across 500+ streaming channels and now, when a TV antenna is connected, will include results for local broadcast TV along with streaming options sorted by what is free or lowest cost for the viewer. Users can also search for antenna TV content via the Roku mobile app.
- Voice Control: Roku TVs now feature voice controls to make it easy to switch inputs, tune to a local antenna broadcast channel, launch a streaming channel and more. Voice controls for Roku TVs can be used via enhanced remotes with the microphone button or through the free Roku mobile app for iOS and Android mobile devices.
- Private Listening for Over-the-Air Content: Roku TV users with an antenna connected to their TV can now use private listening to hear audio for local antenna broadcast content either using their mobile device via the Roku mobile app or through the headphone jack on the remote control on select Roku TV models. This feature is also available for streaming.
- Fast TV Start: Allows a Roku TV to start quickly and launch a streaming or antenna TV channel in seconds simply using a voice command. For example, a user can say ‘launch Hulu’and the TV will turn on and open the Hulu streaming channel. Or, if they say, ‘tune to ABC’, the TV will turn on and tune to the local ABC station if an antenna is connected to the Roku TV.
QUICKER, EASIER ACCESS TO CONTENT FOR ALL ROKU DEVICES
- Enhanced Voice Features: Voice search now includes natural language understanding and can search for movies, shows, actors and directors, or even launch streaming channels, in a more conversational tone. For example, a user can say things such as, ‘show me movies with Tom Hanks’, ‘launch Hulu’, or even more detailed searches such as ‘show me comedies with Will Ferrell’.
- TV Everywhere Single Sign-On: TVE single sign-on, available for pay-TV customers, eliminates the need to log in to TVE channels repeatedly. Customers who subscribe to Dish, Cox, AT&T and hundreds of other providers will enjoy the convenience of single sign-on when using 30 TVE channels. More providers are expected to be added to the feature over time.
- 4K Spotlight Channel Update: The redesigned Roku 4K Spotlight Channel makes it easier than ever to find 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision content available on the Roku platform for players and TVs that support these standards. The 4K Spotlight Channel now features a new navigation menu to help users quickly select the type of content they wish to view, inclusion of more content categories to easily browse by genre, and the option to choose from multiple streaming channels if a movie or show is available from more than one provider.
In addition, a variety of other enhancements and bug fixes were also included.
Roku OS 8 will begin rolling out to Roku players in early October, and Roku TV models beginning in November. The software update is expected to rollout to all Roku devices by the end of the year.