Roku unveils five new streaming players

US_Roku_Ultra_Remote_Front_300dpiRoku has unveiled five new streaming players that it says offer better performance, improved wireless reception, new features and more value than before.

The new line-up consists of four updated streaming sticks and a new lower-priced version of the Roku Ultra streaming box.

At the same time the company announced the latest version of its operating system, Roku OS 8, that includes a number of features aimed at enhancing Roku TV sets.

The new device line-up includes the second-generation Roku Express and Roku Express+. Priced at US$29.99 (€25.50) and US$39.99 respectively, Roku claims they are five times more powerful than their predecessors.

The new Roku Streaming Stick and Roku Streaming Stick+ will be priced at US$49.99 and US$69.99 and will feature a quad-core processor, 802.11 AC wireless, and voice remote.

The Streaming Stick will support HD content, while the Streaming Stick+ can stream HD, 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) content at up to 60 frames per second.

Finally, the new Roku Ultra will be available for US$99.99 and Roku describes it as its “most powerful and feature-packed player”.

The Ultra offers Roku’s best wireless performance, an ethernet port for wired connectivity, micro SD slot to speed up streaming channel load times, and also supports 4K and HDR streaming at up to 60 fps.

“Our new streaming player line up provides performance, price and features to meet our users needs so they can sit back, relax and enjoy their TV viewing experience even more,” said Chas Smith, general manager of Roku TVs and players.

“Consumers will love our new sleek Roku Streaming Stick+ with an innovative advanced wireless receiver that gives up to four times the wireless range and a remote that controls TV volume and power. It makes 4K and HDR streaming simple.”

Roku OS 8, announced at the same time, will offer new features designed to bridge the gap between streaming and free, broadcast TV received via HDTV antennas.

The updated Roku OS features a smart guide for Roku TVs that shows over-the-air broadcast TV and streaming options, as well as a number of other features aimed at providing “seamless entertainment” for Roku TV users that receive content via an antenna – such as Roku search for over-the-air programming.

Other new OS features that apply across all Roku devices include: enhanced voice features; a TV Everywhere single sign-on; and an updated 4K Spotlight Channel.

“At Roku, we love TV and we’re focused on making it better for everyone,” said Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku. “Roku OS 8 delivers on our key pillars of ease, content and value. These new features make the entertainment experience more enjoyable for our customers, while solving some of the biggest pain points when watching TV today.”

The new Roku streaming devices are available now to pre-order in the US and will launch in shops there at the end of the week. The Roku Express+ will be available exclusively at Walmart form October 8.

Roku OS 8 will begin rolling out to Roku players in early October, and Roku TV models beginning in November. The software update is expected to rollout to all Roku devices by the end of the year.

The news comes after Roku made its Nasdaq debut last week, after launching an initial public offering.

The company issued and sold 10,350,000 shares of Class A common stock at US$14.00 per share and the selling stockholders sold an additional 7,668,200 shares of Class A common stock.

Roku’s share price currently stands at US$23.56 and its market cap is US$2.23 billion.

Roku’s latest range of devices follows hard on the launch by Amazon of its new 4K UHD Fire TV device and is likely to up the tempo of the battle for supremacy among providers of streaming devices in the US market, including Apple and Google.

Apple unveiled its own 4K device at the same time as its iPhone 8 and iPhone X launch in September, and unveiled plans to roll out its TV app internationally.

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