Roku just announced their annual streamer device refresh, and it’s very good news for anyone looking to get 4K and HDR support at a more affordable price this year. Once again they’ve got five devices to choose from, but the biggest development is a new streaming stick capable of 4K and HDR playback — great for anyone looking to save as much space as possible. But, there’s good news for anyone who already owns a Roku device, too — the Roku OS 8 update is on its way.
First, the devices. Up top we’ve got the Roku Ultra, which is mostly unchanged from last year. This is Roku’s 4K HDR box, which also got Dolby Digital Plus audio processing last year. The Ultra is getting a price drop this year, going from $130 to $100.
Last year, the second tier of devices were the Premiere and Premiere Plus. Not so this year, with Roku’s streaming sticks getting more love. The Roku Streaming Stick is the basic option, with 1080p streaming and no HDR support. It’s got dual-band Wi-Fi to ensure faster internet connections and comes with a remote that can control both the stick and the TV. The Streaming Stick Plus adds 60 fps 4K and HDR support and has four times the wireless range of the Streaming Stick, in case you need to use one in a room farther away from your wireless router.
The low-tier Express boxes return, and while they’re a little more powerful in order to cut down on buffering, they’re still the basic 1080p streaming options. These also come with a remote.
The five devices make Roku one of the cheaper options across the board for streaming devices, compared to competitors like the Apple TV 4K. It looks like Roku is trying to capture the customers looking to get a 4K HDR experience on a budget, but there have been some sacrifices made. While the Apple TV 4K supports the high-end Dolby Vision standard and will eventually support Dolby Atmos audio with an update, Roku tops out at HDR10 and Dolby Digital Plus.
If you’re already in the Roku camp, you can expect the Roku OS 8 update sometime soon, with the first devices getting the update in the next couple weeks. This year’s update brings over-the-air broadcasts from an antenna into the Smart Guide, letting you browse local network programming alongside what you’re getting from cable and your streaming device. Over-the-air content will now turn up in searches, too, and Roku will enable voice commands and the private listening mode for those local broadcasts.
If you’re looking to grab a new device, the Roku Ultra, Streaming Stick Plus, Streaming Stick, Express Plus, and Express are available for $100, $70, $50, $40, and $30, respectively. They can be preordered starting today, with shipments expected by October 8. The Roku OS 8 update will start rolling out now, and should come to all supported devices by the end of the year. If you currently own a Roku TV or streaming device, you can check the list below to see if you’ll be getting the update.
Roku Streaming Players – 4660X, 4640X, 4630X, 4620X, 4400X, 4230X, 4210X, 4200X, 3910X, 3900X, 3810X, 3800X, 3710X, 3700X, 3600X, 3500X, 3420X, 3400X, 3100X, 3050X, 3000X, 2720X, 2710X, 2700X, 2500X, 2450X, 2400X
Roku TV – All Roku TV models are expected to receive Roku OS 8