Roku Inc, maker of the popular Roku line of home media players, has just refreshed their entire product lineup at once. The existing lineup of flagship Roku boxes (but not the Roku Streaming Stick) has been replaced by three new products (with upgraded models for each); the Roku Express, the Roku Premiere, and the Roku Ultra.
The Roku Express is similar in size to a Chromecast, and strangely will be sold alongside the existing Roku Streaming Stick. For $29.99 ($39.99 in Canada), it supports 1080p streaming with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and has a single HDMI port for connectivity. Roku is also offering the Roku Express+ at $39.99 ($49.99 in Canada), which adds composite outputs for compatibility with older TVs, and is available exclusively from Walmart.
Roku's press release doesn't explicitly state if the Express supports 5GHz WiFi networks, but considering dual-band wireless is listed as a feature on the Premiere and not this model, I'm inclined to believe it does not.
Next up is the Roku Premiere, the mid-range model with a price tag of $79.99 ($89.99 in Canada). The Premiere includes support for 4K output and streaming, a "fast quad-core processor," 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless, and a "night-listening mode" that adjusts audio levels to be more consistent. The Roku Premiere+ at $99.99 ($109.99 in Canada) adds HDR support, an enhanced remote, a microSD card slot, and an Ethernet port.
Roku's new flagship box is the Roku Ultra, priced at $129.99 in the US and $139.99 in Canada. The Ultra packs in all of the features of the Premire+, and adds Dolby Digital/Digital Plus decoding for surround sound systems, an optical digital audio port for sound receivers/sound bars, and a USB port for local media playback. This is also the only Roku model with a point-anywhere remote control with voice search, the Express and Premiere have a typical IR remote.
I'll be honest, this product lineup is rather confusing. Some of the features only present in the Ultra should be in the Premiere, for example a USB port and a remote with voice search. Why is HDR support limited to the $99.99 Premiere+, when the rumored Chromecast Ultra at $69.99 will support it? The Plus models only serve to add confusion to the lineup, and to make matters worse, Roku will continue to offer the Roku Streaming Stick alongside the new models.
If you are still interested in purchasing one of these new devices, pre-orders begin today at Amazon, Roku.com, Walmart, Best Buy, and other retailers. You can expect a full release on October 9th. Keep in mind that the Roku Express Plus (a Roku Express with composite video output) will only be available from Walmart.
LOS GATOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Roku, Inc. today announced a new line up of streaming players with features, prices and performance for every kind of streamer. Setting a new milestone, Roku launched its tiniest streaming player yet– the new Roku Express offers a fast and complete experience with 1080p HD streaming for $29.99 MSRP. Roku Express and Roku Express+ are a great solution for consumers who want a low-cost way to start streaming or for those who wish to extend TV streaming throughout their home inexpensively.
For those who seek incredible performance through a quad-core processor and the capability to stream 4K Ultra HD up to 60 frames per second (fps), Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+ offer an amazing value. The Roku Premiere+ also supports HDR for vibrant picture quality and includes a point anywhere remote with a headphone jack for private listening. Rounding out the line is the fully loaded Roku Ultra for an ideal streaming experience which also includes support for HDR, Dolby Digital Plus decode, voice search and lost remote finder. These five new streaming players complement the very popular Roku® Streaming Stick® introduced in April, and offer consumers the most complete streaming player lineup.
“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. “Whether consumers simply want fast HD streaming via an inexpensive device or are looking for a top-of-the-line player with advanced features such as 4K and HDR, Roku is an easy choice.”
Most Comprehensive and Unbiased Search
Roku devices are powered by the Roku OS and feature a simple home screen with access to 3,500+ streaming channels, including 350,000 movies and TV episodes in the U.S. Roku devices feature the most comprehensive and unbiased search in the industry now across 100+ streaming channels. Search a movie, TV show, actor or director and the Roku OS will display where content is available and serve results in order of price; starting with what is free or lowest cost for the user. Roku has added unprecedented depth to its search capabilities with a wide variety of channels that cover comedy, news, concerts, sports and long-tail content.
Features like Hotel and Dorm Connect make it easy to access public Internet networks to stream when away from home. Consumers can use the simple included remote control or the free Roku mobile app for iOS® and Android™ mobile devices which acts as a remote, includes a keyboard and offers features like voice search, private listening, and more for this new line of Roku streaming players.
Roku Express and Roku Express+
$29.99 MSRP and $39.99 MSRP, respectively – our most affordable streaming players ever launched; Roku Express is for TVs with HDMI® and Roku Express+ supports older TVs and can use a legacy Red/White/Yellow connection
- Fast 1080p HD streaming
- Simple IR remote control with popular streaming channel shortcut buttons
- 802.11 b/g/n wireless
- Optional removable adhesive strip for mounting to a TV
- High Speed HDMI® cable included
- Roku Express+ also includes:
- Composite jack and included composite A/V cable (red/white/yellow)
Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+
$79.99 MSRP and $99.99 MSRP, respectively – powerful performance and stunning HD and 4K up to 60 fps streaming plus HDR on the Roku Premiere+
- Works with both HD and 4K UHD TVs
- 4K UHD video playback, delivers crisp detail and brilliant, life-like images
- HDCP 2.2 compatible and capable of up to 60 fps 4K UHD playback
- Can upscale 720p to 1080p on HDTVs, and from 720p or 1080p to 4K up to 60 fps on 4K UHD TVs
- Fast quad-core processor
- 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless
- Simple IR remote control with popular streaming channel shortcut buttons
- Night listening mode setting adjusts audio sounds to maintain volume consistency
Roku Premiere+ also includes:
- HDR support displays an incredible range of colors including brighter whites and deeper blacks
- Enhanced point anywhere remote with headphone jack for private listening
- MicroSD card slot for additional channel storage
- Ethernet for wired internet connectivity
$129.99 – our ultimate player that’s fully loaded and can deliver powerful HD, 4K up to 60 fps and HDR streaming
In addition to everything offered on the Roku Premiere+, the Roku Ultra also features:
- Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital Plus decoding for advance surround sound in home theaters
- Optical digital audio out port to connect to a receiver or sound bar
- USB port for local media playback
- Convenient point anywhere remote control with voice search, headphone jack for private listening and gaming buttons
- Lost remote finder feature finds remotes stuck in the couch with the touch of a button on the player
Roku Express, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra streaming players will be available for pre-order beginning today from Roku.com, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers, and are expected to be in stores beginning on Oct. 9. Roku Express+ will be available exclusively at Walmart.
About Roku, Inc.
Roku pioneered streaming for the TV and aspires to power every TV in the world. As of June 2016 the Roku OS powered TV streaming for 10+ million monthly active accounts. Roku is known for streaming innovation and high customer engagement, offering content providers and video advertisers the best way to reach streaming audiences. Roku customers streamed 4 billion hours of video and music in the first six months of 2016 as compared to 5.5 billion hours in all of 2015. Roku streaming players and Roku TV models are available in 10 countries through direct retail sales and licensing arrangements with TV OEMs and service operators. The company was founded by Anthony Wood, inventor of the DVR. Roku is privately held and headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif. U.S.A.
Roku and Streaming Stick are registered trademarks and Roku TV and Roku Powered are trademarks of Roku, Inc. in the U.S. and in other countries.