Roku is rolling out a major software update to bring network, speed, and input enhancements to supported hardware. The company is also launching new hardware that can take full advantage of the features in Roku OS 10.
The new Roku Express 4K+ is an inexpensive media streamer that supports 4K HDR and HDR10+ content. it’s up for pre-order now for $40. And the Roku Streambar Pro is a $180 sound bar that’s a slight update over the previous-gen model. Coming in late May/early June, the key difference seems to be that it now comes with a Roku Voice Remote.
Want something a little better? Roku is also launching a new Roku Voice Remote Pro which is available today for $30.
What makes the new remote “pro?” It has a rechargeable battery rather than removable batteries. And it supports hands-free voice actions. Among other things, that means you can use it even if you can’t find it while it’s hiding under a pillow.
In fact, one of the things you can say is “Hey Roku, find my remote” and a chime will play to help you find it. You can also use the Roku mobile app to make the remote ring if you have voice commands disabled (you can set it for push-to-talk) or if it’s out of range.
Other features for the remote include a headphone jack for private listening, TV controls, and support for saving frequently used voice commands as favorites.
This new low-cost media streamer comes with a standard Roku Voice remote (not the new Pro model) and features support for 802.11ac WiFi connections or Ethernet via a micro USB adapter.
It also supports Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay2 and Apple HomeKit integration.
Roku will continue to offer a model with a standard non-voice remote as the Roku Express 4K for $35, but it will be exclusively available through Walmart in the US. The non-plus model should be available in Canada and Mexico soon as well.
The Roku Express 4K+ measures 3.4″ x 0.8″ x 1.5″ and weighs just 1.6 pounds, so while it won’t connect directly to the HDMI port of your TV the way a Roku Streaming Stick, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV Stick does, it won’t take up much space on your TV stand.
This is basically a Roku media streamer baked into a 32.2″ x 3.9″ x 2.8″ sound bar designed to live by your TV to deliver better-than-the-built-in-speakers sound. It has four 2.5 inch drivers and support for virtual surround sound and sound modes including normal, reduced bass, and bass boost.
It has HDMI 2.0a, S/PDIF, and USB 2.0 ports, 802.11ac WiFi, and support for streaming 4K@60Hz content. It also supports HDR10 and HLG and there’s support for upscaling 720p and 1080p video for 4K displays.