The new Amazon Fire TV isn’t the only media streaming box with support for 4K video anymore. Rival Roku has launched a new TV box with a quad-core processor, 802.11ac WiFi and support for 4K Ultra HD video.

The Roku 4 is priced at $130 and it should start shipping October 21st.

roku 4_00

Roku’s box is a little more expensive than a $100 Amazon Fire TV, but the Roku 4 does have a few nifty features to help it stand out from the competition.

Among other things, the Roku 4 has optical audio output and a new button that helps you find a missing remote control. Press a button on the Roku and you remote will beep so you can find it even if it’s fallen into the couch cushions.

Speaking of the remote, it connects to the Roku over WiFi instead of Bluetooth, which should make it more responsive than earlier Roku remotes. The new remote also has a built-in mic that you can use for voice search. There’s also a headphone jack on the remote, allowing you to listen even when your TV is muted.

If you’ve already got a Roku, the main reason to update is probably for the 4K video support. The Roku 4 can play Ultra HD video at 60 frames per second. Not sure where to find 4K video? There’s a 4K Spotlight channel that makes it easy to find content from across multiple video sources.

The company has also updated its iOS and Android apps. You can use your phone or tablet as a remote control for the media streamer to play or pause video. But you can also search or browse for content without interrupting the video that’s playing on your Roku. And the mobile apps support voice search.

The Roku 4 is a little bigger than earlier models, and measures about 6.5″ x 5.5″ x 0.8″. But it packs more horsepower than any Roku device to date.

Other hardware features include a microSD card slot for channel and game storage, a USB port for personal media, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 channel audio through HDMI or optical output, and a 10/100 Ethernet port.

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10 replies on “Roku goes 4K with the $130 Roku 4 media streamer”

  1. WiFi-only is a problem IMO. For the same price I would prefer wired-only GigE if that was the only other option. I would pay more if it had both. But WiFi only stops me cold.

  2. I’m a little surprised they didn’t shoot for the $99 slot. Above that it becomes much less of an impulse / automatic buy for many people. I guess they’re banking on cashing in on their reputation.

  3. No gigabit wired Ethernet. That means you’ll likely
    hear a lot of complaints from consumers that their
    4K videos aren’t streaming smoothly via WiFi.
    Gigabit will probably be introduced in the Roku 5
    to address gripers. Apparently no 802.11ac nor
    USB 3.0, nor playback from microSD cards either.

    Guess I’ll wait for the version with gigabit.

    1. when has 4K videos needed gigabit ethernet? And it has 802.11AC. Looks like you’re totally way off base. USB 3.0 is good, but why do you need it on a Roku? It’s not like it can do anything other than playback of media, which USB 2.0 is enough for.

      1. I’d also be willing to bet that many people already have faster wifi than they do wired. My wifi maxes out at 144mpbs and I don’t even have 802.11ac yet, and my hub only supports 100mbps wired.

    2. I will admit that I missed the ac Wifi. However,
      Roku has traditionally used the microSD card
      for channel storage, and this article doesn’t say
      anything (as far as I’ve read) on media playback
      off the microSD card, so that’s news to me.
      The biggest complaint people have had with
      Roku is that using WiFi to stream has been
      problematic (choppy video, connection loss),
      so I stand by wired Ethernet.

      As far as gigabit and USB 3.0, they’re
      both so cheap you can find both USB 3.0
      and gigabit in $10 adapter (I have such a device),
      so I don’t see any reason for manufacturers not
      to incorporate these.

      1. Because you can find USB 2.0 and 100mpbs LAN in a $5 adapter. Margins are already razor thin on these devices. Every dollar counts. Companies are always having to balance feature sets with the price, especially at the low end of the market.

  4. Have you already forgotten the Nvidia Shield Console? You know, the first 4K set top device.

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