Roku Introduces a New Streaming Player Lineup

Posted on September 27, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 22 Comments

Roku Introduces a New Streaming Player Lineup

Roku announced a new streaming player lineup this morning and replaced all of its previous products with new models. Among the notable changes are a $30 Chromecast competitor and a $100 4K/UHD/HDR streamer.

“Today marks the biggest streaming player launch in Roku history,” an announcement on the Roku blog reads. “We’re introducing the Roku Express, Roku Express+, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra. With this lineup, plus our recently updated Roku Streaming Stick, there’s a player for everyone. In addition, we’ve reached another first – now there are 100+ streaming channels in our search feature allowing you to find more of the content you want to stream.”

If you’re familiar with the Roku lineup, you know that the firm previously offered the Roku Streaming Stick alongside Roku 2, 3, and 4 devices, the latter of which supports 4K video at 60 fps. The new lineup sports new branding, some new form factors, and some new capabilities. And lower prices in some notable cases as well.

This is great news since the Roku family of products has long been the best way to stream content in the living room, with the best performance, the best user experience, and the best selection. (That said, you’re kind of stuck using two or more streamers if you need access to certain content, like Apple’s, which are only available on its own devices.)

Here’s the new lineup.

Roku Express. This cute little device sports an all-new form factor and low-low pricing of just $30, matching Chromecast. It can stream at 1080p.

express

Roku Express+. This one is just like the Roku Express, but it supports older TVs with composite or A/V (red/white/yellow) connectors. It costs $40.

Roku Premiere. This device looks more like the old Roku 4, with its squat shape, and it provides 4K video streaming at 60 fps. The cost? A very reasonable $80.

premiere-plus

Roku Premiere+. At $99, the Roku Premiere+ provides everything in the Premier but adds support for HDR for more vibrant picture quality. Also the remote features a headphone jack for nighttime viewing.

Roku Ultra. The “fully loaded” Roku Ultra builds off the Roku Premiere+ (and uses the same case), adding support for Dolby Digital Plus decode, voice search and lost remote finder. The cost is $130.

ultra

The Roku Express, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra are available for pre-order now and will arrive on October 9, Roku says. Roku Express+ will be available exclusively at Walmart.

I recently purchased a Roku 4 to take advantage of my 4K UHD television, but I’ve just scheduled a return so I can pre-order the Roku Premiere+ for its HDR capabilities. (My set features HDR.) I’m very curious to see how it performs, but my experiences with the Roku 4 so far have of course been excellent.

 

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