Roku announced an update to its operating system two brand new products today along with updates to some of its most popular set-top box models. The new products, which are set to roll out in October include a new Roku Ultra for $99.00 with two programmable custom launch buttons that will allow users to set their own favorite channels up with a one click option. Another major update to their product line includes a big update to the Roku Express +. The Express +, an intro level model sold exclusively at Walmart, will now be sold with a remote that can be set up to control the power and volume of nearly any HD or 4k TV. The Express + also has the added perk of RCA connections and cables that allow the product to work with older non HD TVs for those who have yet to upgrade to the current standard. In addition Roku has updated both the Roku Express+ and Roku Express, (which is available at all major retailers and Roku’s website) case style to be 10% smaller. Walmart will also be home to a new product called the Roku Ultra LT. Roku users might recall the LT designation from the early days of Roku boxes as the little purple intro model. The Roku Ultra LT is anything but that. Priced at $79.00 the model will pack a big punch on the power and performance side while missing a few key features found on the higher end Roku Ultra. Namely the Ultra LT will not feature a remote finder or USB port. But the one step down model will maintain the classic Roku form factor and Ethernet port that allows for more powerful wired connectivity.
Best Buy will get into the exclusivity game as well with what could stand to be a popular new version of the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. The new stick, (The Roku Streaming Stick+ Headphone edition) will be a Roku streaming stick that ships with a built in Wifi amplifier for a stronger connection throughout the home and a remote that can be programmed to control the volume and power of HD and 4k TVs as well as the coveted headphone jack that has up until now only been available on Roku’s top of the line products from each generation.
Roku’s OS is getting a number of new features.
SEARCH & DISCOVERY
- Roku Zones–Search for a genre or topical subject for a curated selection of relevant content from channels across the Roku platform. Roku Zones are organized into browsable, categorized rows that may
include new releases, titles that are free to watch, rentals and more. Examples include the “Drama Movies & TV Zone”or the “Superhero Movies Zone” which will be frequently updated providing users with a refreshed selection of entertainment. Additional genre and topical Zones maybe added over time.
- 4K Spotlight Channel–A content-first, hand-curated selection of brilliant 4K entertainment from channels across the Roku platform now leverages the new Roku Zones architecture.
- Browse a wide variety of 4K titles across a number of categories such as Most Popular, Action,Drama, TV shows, 4K channels and more.
NEW ROKU VOICE FEATURES
- Set Sleep Timers on Roku TVs–Roku TV customers can use their voice remote or Roku mobile app to quickly set a sleep timer on their TV by saying things like “Go to sleep at 11p.m.”
- Search by Movie Quotes–Enjoy finding movie results by searching for the top quotes from thousands of popular movies across the Roku platform
- 4K in Roku Search–Use Roku Voice to say “4K movies” to see results for a variety of popular 4K movies. Entering a text search for“4K”will now return results including the 4K Movies & TV Zone.
- Support for Roku Media Player –Customers who use the Roku Media Player to play their personal music, movies and photos can now use Roku Voice to find, play and control stored files by using commands such as “Play,” “Skip,” and more
- Control Multiple Roku Devices with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant–Customers who use Alexa-enabled devices and/or Google Assistant to control their Roku device can now control multiple Roku devices in their home
New Roku Tips and Tricks Channel
This new channel will have help videos to get Roku users up to date on its features and maybe help solve problems that people would otherwise reach out to support for.
Additional updates include
- Roku TV™support for the new Roku Wireless Subwoofer when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are paired to a Roku TV
- New shortcut section on the Home Screen designed to reduce the number of steps needed to complete popular actions. At launch, Roku players will have a shortcut tile to add channels and power the TV on and off. Roku TVs will have shortcut tiles to add channels and set a sleep timer. More shortcuts are expected to be added over time, including a shortcut on Roku players to turn your TV’s power off.
- Channel performance improvements have been made to video start times within channels on the platform, as well as smarter caching of channels to reduce the number of load screens customers see when launching channels they watch the most, and making initial setup of new Roku devices faster. This includes 33% faster launch of services like Sling TV, AT&T TV etc.
Full Product Lineup and basic descriptions
- Roku Express(MSRP $29.99) –Features an even smaller form factor and offers easy HD streaming
- Roku Express+(MSRP $39.99) –Features the new sleek form factor and a Roku Voice remote. Available exclusively at Walmart.
- Roku Premiere(MSRP $39.99) –Delivers easy 4K &HDR streaming with a simple remote
- Roku Streaming Stick+(MSRP $59.99)–Offers a powerful, portable HD, 4K and HDR streaming with the long-range wireless and a Roku Voice Remote with TV controls
- Roku Streaming Stick+ HE(MSRP $59.99) –Available exclusively at Best Buy and includes the Enhanced Roku Voice Remote with a headphone jack and Roku headphones for Private Listening
- Roku Ultra LT(MSRP $79.99) –A Walmart exclusive featuring HD, 4K and HDR streaming, ethernet, 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless, an Enhanced Roku Voice remote with TV controls and Roku headphones
- Roku Ultra(MSRP $99.99)–Delivers brilliant HD, 4K & HDR picture quality and Roku’s best wireless and new features such as fast channel launch, personal shortcut and mute buttons, premium JBL Headphones and more The Roku Express and Roku Ultra are available for pre-order at Roku.com today.
- The Roku Express and Roku Express+ will be available broadly at the end of September with the rest of the devices on sale in October.