Roku has leveraged low prices and vast app support to become one of the most well-known media streamer platforms. Devices like the Roku Stick are basically impulse purchases at this point. Today, some of Roku's cheapest streaming boxes are getting new capabilities. The updated Premiere is getting 4K HDR support, and the new Premiere+ adds Google Assistant.

Premiere costs just $40 and has 4K HDR support, but it's only HDR10 and not Dolby Vision. The updated hardware comes with a quad-core processor and a smaller physical footprint than the previous Premiere box. The Premiere+ will cost $10 more, and the box itself is the same as the cheaper model. The difference is in the remote. Rather than a regular IR controller, you get a WiFi-enabled device with voice control.

Roku has basic voice search capabilities, but a new software update rolling out today lets people enable Google Assistant. This applies to the Premiere+ as well as other current-gen Rokus with voice control remotes. The high-end Roku Ultra is getting a new voice remote and included headphones for the same $100 price tag.

You can pre-order the Roku Premiere right now via Roku's site. The Premiere+ is launching on October 7th as a Walmart exclusive. It's unknown if it will launch at other retailers later.

Press Release

LOS GATOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Roku, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROKU) today announced Roku OS 8.2, a software update for Roku TVs that enables new features for seamless compatibility with upcoming Roku TV Wireless Speakers; and Roku OS 9, a new software release with a variety of enhancements to give Roku customers new easy ways to search and control their entertainment experience. Roku will soon enable the ability to use Google Assistant devices to control Roku streaming devices. In addition, premium music services Spotify and Pandora Premium support are coming to Roku devices.

“As we broaden the Roku ecosystem allowing consumers to add new devices to their Home Entertainment Networks, we are in a unique position that is unlike any other TV streaming platform,” said Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku. “Our single operating system running across Roku TVs and Roku TV Wireless Speakers give us the ability to innovate how consumers experience audio and entertainment in their homes.”

NEW FEATURES ACROSS THE ROKU PLATFORM

  • Google Assistant – Soon, you'll be able to use Google Assistant devices to control select Roku streaming devices to pause and search for content and launch channels. Additionally, Roku TV owners can turn their TV on and off, turn up the volume, mute, switch inputs and change channels if there is an OTA antenna connected.
  • Pandora Premium support – With Pandora Premium, listeners can search and play any song, album or featured playlist, with the option to create their own, and access personalized soundtracks based on changing moods. Available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now.

ROKU OS 8.2 FOR ROKU TVS AND ROKU TV WIRELESS SPEAKERS

  • Access and control iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn by voice – Launch live radio stations from across the country, podcasts, custom artist stations and more with iHeartRadio; Playlists, stations and more via Pandora; and live radio stations, play-by-play sports, news, etc. with TuneIn. Use simple voice commands using Roku voice remotes, Roku Touch or the Roku mobile app. Subscriptions not required and premium features available with upgraded services.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling enables a uniform audio level across various types of content, so it will no longer feel jarring when a commercial comes on or when streaming channels are changed. Night mode lowers the volume level for louder scenes, and boosts it for quieter ones. The volume mode setting will be accessible by pressing the star button during video playback when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Speech Clarity – This feature looks for voice frequencies and boosts them to address intelligibility. Speech Clarity will be available via the star menu when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Spotify – Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming service. Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

ROKU OS 9 FOR ROKU STREAMING PLAYERS, ROKU TVS AND ROKU TV WIRELESS SPEAKERS

  • “Free” Genre Voice Search – Browse free content available on the Roku platform with simple voice requests such as “let’s see free sitcoms,” “show me free comedies,” “free dramas” and more.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling will be available on select Roku streaming players, as well as select Roku TVs whether paired or not to Roku TV Wireless Speakers.
  • Spotify – Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Availability

Pandora Premium is available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now. Customers will be able to control Roku streaming players and Roku TVs using Google Assistant devices in the coming weeks.

Roku OS 8.2 is rolling out to Roku TVs now and is expected to be completed in November.

Roku OS 9 will begin rolling out to Roku streaming players in early November and Roku TVs early next year. It is expected to be completed in Q1 2019.

Press Release

LOS GATOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Roku, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROKU) today announced Roku OS 8.2, a software update for Roku TVs that enables new features for seamless compatibility with upcoming Roku TV Wireless Speakers; and Roku OS 9, a new software release with a variety of enhancements to give Roku customers new easy ways to search and control their entertainment experience. Roku will soon enable the ability to use Google Assistant devices to control Roku streaming devices. In addition, premium music services Spotify and Pandora Premium support are coming to Roku devices.

“As we broaden the Roku ecosystem allowing consumers to add new devices to their Home Entertainment Networks, we are in a unique position that is unlike any other TV streaming platform,” said Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku. “Our single operating system running across Roku TVs and Roku TV Wireless Speakers give us the ability to innovate how consumers experience audio and entertainment in their homes.”

NEW FEATURES ACROSS THE ROKU PLATFORM

  • Google Assistant – Soon, you'll be able to use Google Assistant devices to control select Roku streaming devices to pause and search for content and launch channels. Additionally, Roku TV owners can turn their TV on and off, turn up the volume, mute, switch inputs and change channels if there is an OTA antenna connected.
  • Pandora Premium support – With Pandora Premium, listeners can search and play any song, album or featured playlist, with the option to create their own, and access personalized soundtracks based on changing moods. Available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now.

ROKU OS 8.2 FOR ROKU TVS AND ROKU TV WIRELESS SPEAKERS

  • Access and control iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn by voice – Launch live radio stations from across the country, podcasts, custom artist stations and more with iHeartRadio; Playlists, stations and more via Pandora; and live radio stations, play-by-play sports, news, etc. with TuneIn. Use simple voice commands using Roku voice remotes, Roku Touch or the Roku mobile app. Subscriptions not required and premium features available with upgraded services.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling enables a uniform audio level across various types of content, so it will no longer feel jarring when a commercial comes on or when streaming channels are changed. Night mode lowers the volume level for louder scenes, and boosts it for quieter ones. The volume mode setting will be accessible by pressing the star button during video playback when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Speech Clarity – This feature looks for voice frequencies and boosts them to address intelligibility. Speech Clarity will be available via the star menu when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Spotify – Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming service. Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

ROKU OS 9 FOR ROKU STREAMING PLAYERS, ROKU TVS AND ROKU TV WIRELESS SPEAKERS

  • “Free” Genre Voice Search – Browse free content available on the Roku platform with simple voice requests such as “let’s see free sitcoms,” “show me free comedies,” “free dramas” and more.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling will be available on select Roku streaming players, as well as select Roku TVs whether paired or not to Roku TV Wireless Speakers.
  • Spotify – Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Availability

Pandora Premium is available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now. Customers will be able to control Roku streaming players and Roku TVs using Google Assistant devices in the coming weeks.

Roku OS 8.2 is rolling out to Roku TVs now and is expected to be completed in November.

Roku OS 9 will begin rolling out to Roku streaming players in early November and Roku TVs early next year. It is expected to be completed in Q1 2019.