Roku’s 2017 media streamer lineup includes devices ranging in price from $30 to $100. The entry-level Roku Express is said to be 5 times as powerful as last year’s model, while keeping the same price. The top-of-the-line Roku Ultra, meanwhile, adds new features and gets a price cut.
One of the most interesting models, though, is the new Roku Streaming Stick+. It’s a $70 device that plugs directly into the HDMI port of your TV and lets you stream 4K and/or HDR video at up to 60 frames per second.
We’d been expecting this device since blogger Dave Zatz first mentioned it in July, but now the Roku Streaming Stick+ is up for pre-order, along with an updated $50 model that supports 1080p content.
The Streaming Stick+ features an HDMI 2.0a connector, a mini USB port, and an “advanced wireless receiver” which is basically a power cable with some wireless components, because apparently it was tough to actually fit everything into the stick itself.
Roku’s 4K stick measures about 3.7″ x 0.8″ x 0.5″ and weighs less than an ounce. It comes with a remote control that’s powered by two AAA batteries and which supports voice input.
The 4K stick is the same price as the new 4K-ready Amazon Fire TV and Google’s Chromecast Ultra, which are also both designed to plug directly into the HDMI port of a TV, although the Amazon and Google models both dangle from the HDMI port instead of sticking out like a… stick.
Roku’s other new products include:
- $50 Roku Streaming Stick (3800) with 802.11ac WiFi and 1080p support + basic remote (non-voice)
- $30 Roku Express (3900) with 802.11n WiFi, 1080p, faster processor
- $40 Roku Express+ (3910) with all of the above, plus HDMI and A/V ports (Walmart exclusive)
- $100 Roku Ultra (4660) with 4K & HDR support at up to 60 fps, 10/100 Ethernet jack, USB port, microSD card slot, and voice remote with headphone jack
Roku is also rolling out a new version of its operating system. Roku OS 8 offers improved natural language processing for voice search, support for TV Everywhere single sign-on, and an updated Roku 4K Spotlight channel that makes it easier to find 4K content.
If you’ve got a TV with Roku built in, new features for those devices also include new voice control features (like switching TV inputs by voice), has a “fast TV start” feature that lets you say something like “start Hulu” to turn on the TV and open Hulu with one command,” and a new electronic program guide for Roku TVs.
Roku says its new media streaming boxes will be available starting October 8th. Roku OS 8 will begin rolling out to devices later this month starting with Roku boxes and then followed by Roku TVs in November. By the end of the year, every compatible Roku devices should be updated to the new software.