Roku's Refreshed Lineup Goes Toe-to-Toe With Apple TV, Firestick
It's been a good year for 4K streaming.
Google came out of the gate strong with a reasonably priced 4K streaming device, followed shortly by Apple and more recently Amazon - not including heavyweights like Dish, TiVO, Comcast, Sony, and Microsoft who put out their own solutions.
So naturally, Roku followed suit, but with a different strategy. Before even looking at the benefits of their devices, Roku rolled out a new lineup that hits every price points that are sure to give their competitors a run for their money.
"Our new streaming player lineup 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."
The Roku Express enters at a $30 price point, $40 for the Express+, and are "five times more powerful than their predecessors." It is more of a bare-bones approach but gives options to even the most limited of budgets.
The classic refresh to the mid-range Roku Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick+ are the most familiar and have voice search built-in to the remote (a la Amazon Alexa.) Streaming Stick+ offers 4K HDR at 60 FPS and has a "four times stronger" wifi connection. Roku notes that HDR10 is the only supported standard, unlike Apple TV 4K that supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
Closing out on the hardware side, the Roku Ultra is a standalone device that goes pound-for-pound with Apple TV, streaming 4K HDR (only HDR10) at 60 FPS with an included ethernet port and microSD card. The remote comes with voice recognition, headphone jack for private listening modes, and a remote finder.
Tieing all of the updates together, Roku OS 8 rolls out on all Roku devices, adding free over-the-air channels from an antenna, as well as a complete refresh to their UI.
It's less a move that blows the features of its competition out of the water, and one that gives you the same benefits at a reduced cost.