Roku Unveils Its 4K Streamer, The Roku four, Plus New Software program, Discovery Options, And Upgraded Cellular App
In what’s been the worst-stored secret because of a quantity of leaks, together with pictures of the brand new participant, streaming media system maker Roku is finally formally saying the launch of its newest product, the Roku four. The up to date hardware is now designed to help each 4K Extremely HD and HD TVs, and features a quicker processor, higher Wi-Fi, extra reminiscence, optical audio out, and extra.
Notably, it’s going to additionally run Roku’s upgraded working system, Roku OS 7, which is concentrated on serving to customers uncover and comply with their favourite content material throughout Roku’s greater than three,000 apps and channels.
Additionally new at the moment is an up to date Roku cellular app that includes a refreshed design that makes it simpler for patrons to make use of Roku’s options, together with Search, the Roku Feed and distant management performance, proper from their smartphones.
- Quad-core processor, as much as 60 fps 4K streaming; HDCP 2.2
- Optical Audio Out
- 1080p residence display and consumer interface
- 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi
- 1.5 GB RAM
- Wi-Fi Direct-enabled distant management with voice search, headphone jack and “Distant Finder” perform
- Dimensions: 6.5″ x 5.5″ x zero.eight″
- Weight: zero.9 lb.
- Companion app for iOS and Android with full gadget management
- 4K help and options to spotlight 4K video
- Extra 4K channels at launch than rivals
- Clear, straightforward-to-use interface and easy distant with buttons for favourite channels like Netflix
- Quicker than older Roku fashions
- Plenty of content material: 300,000 films and TV episodes; over 3K channels
- Can now plug in stereo or sound bar
- New reset button and Distant Finder
- Helps almost all main video providers (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime On the spot Video, Google Play, Hulu, and so forth.). Not concerned in anti-aggressive measures because it’s an unbiased third social gathering.
- Worth improve to $129.ninety nine from the $ninety nine.ninety nine Roku three
- No replace to informal gaming catalog/options to rival Apple TV’s new App Retailer
- Greater! (Con for some!) Roku four is 6.5″ x 5.5″ x zero.eight″ vs. three.5″ x three.5″ x 1″ for Roku three
- Voice help is on the market for search, however it’s not a “sensible” assistant like Apple TV’s “Siri,” or Amazon’s “Alexa”
- HBO NOW (up to now) is nonetheless lacking
- With no 4K TV, not sufficient options to encourage present Roku house owners to improve their hardware
The Roku four’s launch is a big one within the quickly heating-up related participant market, the place corporations together with Apple, Google, Amazon, TiVo and others supply their very own streaming media units – typically a number of – for shoppers to select from, starting from low-value dongles like Chromecast or Hearth TV Persist with larger-finish gamers like the newly refreshed Apple TV.
Amazon lately even upped the stakes much more, by banning gross sales of Apple TV and Chromecast from its website. And TiVo simply rolled out a brand new streaming participant and DVR referred to as TiVo BOLT, which is designed for 4K video and presents a intelligent business-skipping function.
However for a lot of shoppers, Roku’s place as an unbiased third get together making an attempt to help all the favored streaming providers, even area of interest choices, has been its largest benefit.
So when it got here time to improve its participant, the corporate targeted on hardware enhancements that might help newer 4K TVs, mixed with software program upgrades that may assist make discovering 4K content material, and different issues, simpler than earlier than.
Hardware: Introducing The Roku four
When it comes to the system itself, the brand new Roku four has a wider footprint to make room for its upgraded internals, which embrace a quicker quad-core processor, improved Wi-Fi, a brand new audio port, further reminiscence, and extra.
The field has seen a large improve in RAM as properly. Roku did affirm the specs beforehand being circulated on-line which had pointed to 1.5 GB of RAM for Roku four versus the 512 MB in Roku three. (The specs have been pulled from a builders information that was briefly obtainable by way of Roku.com earlier than being pulled down. Roku wasn’t planning on providing a full hardware spec record, nevertheless.)
In the meantime, the palyer helps the standard assortment of inputs and outputs together with HDMI, USB, Micro SD, and Ethernet, however has now added Optical Audio Out, which can permit customers to plug of their Roku to their stereo system or sound bar. (For many who want this feature, this is a bonus over Amazon’s new 4K Hearth TV, which just lately dropped help for optical.)
Additionally new is the “Distant Finder” button. By urgent a button on the highest of the Roku four field, the distant will beep that will help you dig it up from the place it’s buried in your sofa cushions. You may also customise the sounds this function makes use of.
As well as, lots of Roku’s different options have carried over to the brand new product, together with its distant management that gives a headphone jack for personal listening and movement management for informal gaming.
However for the top consumer, what these improved elements translate to is an general improved expertise on the Roku. That begins with a crisper, clearer consumer interface that’s been upgraded to 1080p in addition to help for as much as 4K Extremely HD.
Explains Lloyd Klarke, Roku’s Director of Product Administration, “once we say ‘4K’ we imply full 60 frames per second. We imply full help for HDCP 2.2, which is the safety protocol that makes positive 4K stays true throughout,” he says. “It’s 4K finished proper.”
In fact, Roku four works with normal HD as nicely, although shoppers not planning to improve to a 4K tv any time quickly might discover fewer causes to expire and buy the pricier ($129.ninety nine MSRP) participant.
Software program: Roku OS 7
The Roku OS 7 software program replace each enhances the hardware enhancements by making it simpler for these with 4K TVs to truly discover 4K movies, however it additionally introduces quite a lot of different new methods to seek out and comply with content material from Roku’s rising choice of channels.
Whereas the corporate beforehand rolled out options like common search and the Roku Feed, which helps you monitor films coming quickly, the brand new OS expands the power to comply with content material to transcend films to additionally embrace the power to seek out and comply with favourite TV exhibits, actors and administrators.
When new content material arrives, customers are notified proper on their “My Feed” part on the homescreen, which additionally now exhibits the variety of new updates ready for you.
Sharad Sundaresan, Roku’s senior vice chairman of product administration, tells us this function has been well designed so it doesn’t inundate your feed every time you will have a brand new replace. As an alternative, issues are grouped collectively, when applicable – like when there are a number of episodes of a present you’re monitoring, for instance. In that case, these would all be grouped as a single replace, not a number of. (Assessment models usually are not obtainable till later this month, so we will’t converse to promised performance vs. actual-world outcomes at this level, nevertheless.)
This will probably be particularly useful within the rising world of twine-chopping the place individuals comply with packages they like, not the community or service it lives on. The addition is additionally aggressive, to some extent, with TiVo’s “OnePass” function, which goals to make it simpler to trace favourite packages throughout providers.
Extra importantly, maybe, in mild of Roku four’s help for 4K TVs, are a variety of new options designed to floor 4K video.
For starters, there’s now a “4K” row within the Channel Retailer which can spotlight all of the channels Roku provides that help 4K, together with Netflix, M-Go, Amazon Immediate Video, YouTube, VUDU, and ToonGoogles. That’s a bigger lineup than different streaming gamers have at launch, it must be famous.
There’s additionally a curated 4K Highlight channel unique to Roku four on customers’ homescreens that features a number of TV exhibits, films, clips and extra. There are even 4K themes and display savers which let customers customise their Roku with scenic footage and different photographs, after which pair these with matching “Distant Finder” feels like Star Trek, kittens, Zen and extra.
Although the brand new software program will ship on Roku four, all of Roku’s present gamers from 2011 and on may even be capable of set up the replace when it arrives in mid to late October.
New Cellular App
Alongside the launch of the Roku four and Roku OS 7, the Roku iOS and Android app is getting an overhaul, too. The interface has been improved to raised management the Roku out of your cellular gadget, together with the power to work together with key options like Roku Search, Roku Feed, Distant Management and Play.
Within the new app, customers can entry Voice Search, view and add gadgets to their Roku Feed, launch Play on Roku to see their very own photographs and movies on their TV – even zooming in on the pictures on the telephone to see the identical on the tv display – and extra.
4K clients can use the up to date app to create their very own personalised display savers that may play when the participant is idle.
One other new function is the power for Roku four to hook up with “particular” Wi-Fi networks – like these present in lodge rooms and typically dorms, the place authentication is required. Now customers will be capable of join utilizing their cellular or desktop browser, which can assist those that journey with their Roku in addition to school college students who need to use a Roku within the dorm.
The present app works whenever you’re on the identical community as your Roku, however Sundaresan says help for an “untethered” expertise is arriving within the new model.
“You’ll be able to take the Roku app and use it anyplace you need with out being near a Roku,” he says. “So when you’re out at lunch and any person tells you of an incredible TV present, you possibly can shortly open your Roku cellular app and faucet ‘comply with’ and add that present to the record of belongings you’re following.”
Whereas the app itself seems to supply a greater design – even when it’s nonetheless fairly purple – the platform as an entire doesn’t supply a sensible assistant like Apple’s Siri, for instance, to assist with voice searches. As that is nonetheless a comparatively new addition for streaming units for now, it’s much less of a cause to forgo a Roku should you’re proud of its different options, however the omission might grow to be extra troublesome over time. (Maybe Microsoft ought to license Cortana to Roku?)
The up to date cellular app (iOS and Android) will roll out concurrently the brand new participant, in mid-October, and the untethered function will ship quickly after.
The gadget is out there for pre-order beginning in the present day at www.roku.com for $129.ninety nine.