Roku announces new $40 Express 4K+ streamer, Voice Remote Pro

Roku on Tuesday introduced its newest 4K media streamer, the Roku Categorical 4K+. As well as, the streaming-device maker launched a brand new non-compulsory voice-remote improve, the Roku Voice Distant Professional, a evenly up to date model of its two-in-one Good Soundbar known as the Streambar Professional, and a Roku OS 10 software program replace for its household of video {hardware}, audio gadgets, and Roku TVs.

A brand new 4K HDR streamer for $40

Beginning with the brand new streamer, the Roku Express 4K+ will cost $40 and change the present Roku Premiere participant when it begins transport in mid-Might. It has the equally small and barely curved design of the prevailing Roku Categorical, however now it could output 4K HDR video as an alternative of fundamental 1080p. It will not assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR—that, together with Dolby Atmos audio, will stay restricted to the high-end Roku Ultra—however it’s going to assist HDR10 and HDR10+. (The latter will even arrive on the Extremely by way of a software program replace.) Like different Roku gamers, it additionally helps Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit for direct streaming and Siri (or House app) management, respectively, from an iOS machine or Mac.

Roku says the Categorical 4K+ has a extra highly effective processor that provides efficiency akin to that of the $50 Roku Streaming Stick+, in addition to extra inner space for storing than the Premiere. Additionally included is a voice distant with TV controls, once more much like the one discovered with the Streaming Stick+. The Categorical 4K+ provides assist for dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi (the Premiere solely had much less sturdy single-band wi-fi) in addition to Micro USB Ethernet adapters, although it will not have the 2×2 MIMO wi-fi tech of the Streaming Stick+ for higher dealing with crowded Wi-Fi networks.

Regardless of being just a few years outdated at this level, the Streaming Stick+ will stick round as an improve for individuals who need that upgraded wi-fi tech and a thinner type issue that plugs instantly into an HDMI port. Nonetheless, the Categorical 4K+’s function set ought to carry it nearer to parity with the Streaming Stick+ than the Premiere, which might give it enchantment for secondary TVs and finances customers. Roku says that Walmart will promote a $35 variant known as the Roku Categorical 4K that eschews the smarter voice distant for a fundamental IR-based mannequin.

A $30 voice distant improve

Enlarge / The Roku Voice Distant Professional is a $30 improve for current Roku machine homeowners who’re keen to pay for a chargeable battery, a built-in headphone jack, and extra superior voice management options.


Past that, the corporate is rolling out the Roku Voice Distant Professional, a $30 remote control upgrade for current Roku video gamers, TVs, and audio gadgets. It has the identical normal design language as most Roku voice remotes, with related TV management capabilities in addition to the 2 programmable shortcut buttons and built-in headphone jack discovered on the latest Roku Extremely’s distant.

The Voice Distant Professional, nonetheless, comes with a chargeable battery as an alternative of counting on separate AA or AAA models. Roku says it will final about two months per cost. It recharges over a Micro USB port as an alternative of the sooner and more and more ubiquitous USB-C, nonetheless, which is likely to be a disappointment.

Regardless, the Voice Distant Professional additionally features a built-in microphone for hands-free voice controls, which you should utilize to launch apps, regulate quantity, activate the TV, assist find the distant via a “misplaced distant” function, and so forth. A toggle on the facet of the distant permits you to change the distant between an always-listening mode—which helps you to set off instructions by saying “Hey Roku”—or a extra conventional push-to-talk mode.

As famous on the r/Roku subreddit, Roku beforehand seeded a restricted variety of these upgraded remotes to pick customers, however now it is making the machine extensively out there. The improve is probably not completely price it for Roku Extremely homeowners who have already got many of those options, and it is at all times potential to make use of a set of rechargeable AA or AAA batteries. However for these with inexpensive gamers who would worth the headphone jack, less complicated battery, shortcut buttons, and always-on voice controls, the choice is now there. Roku says the Voice Distant Professional will start transport on its web site as of Tuesday and arrive at different retailers in Might.

Roku OS 10 replace and a revised streaming soundbar

On the software program facet, Roku says it has began rolling out Roku OS 10, the newest replace to the streaming working system used throughout its household of gadgets and Roku TVs. This doesn’t carry any main modifications to the visible design or total aesthetic of the OS. As a substitute, it focuses on just a few quality-of-life enhancements.

For one, the corporate says the aforementioned Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit assist will now be out there on lower-cost HD Roku streamers and “choose HD Roku TV fashions,” increasing past the handful of 4K streamers, 4K TVs, and good soundbars that first received the function final yr.

A brand new computerized community detection function will pull up a fast choice to hook up with a stronger Wi-Fi community when one is detected, whereas one other function will detect when a recreation console is related to a Roku TV and robotically activate settings like Sport Mode, HDR, auto low-latency mode, variable refresh fee, and so forth for that HDMI port, relying on what the TV helps. A brand new OS-level “Prompt Resume” function will keep in mind the place customers shut an app and choose again up at that time when the app is reopened, too—although Roku says this may solely be supported on “15+” streaming channels at launch, probably the most notable of which being AT&T TV, Starz, Plex.television, FOX Information Channel, and the corporate’s personal Roku Channel.

Additionally new is a digital surround-sound function for Roku’s higher-end streaming soundbars. We have not been in a position to hearken to this for ourselves, however Roku claims it’s going to assist present a extra spacious impact.

To assist push this, the corporate is repackaging its existing Roku Smart Soundbar, which doubles as a 4K HDR video streamer, because the Roku Streambar Professional. Roku says it’s going to have the identical {hardware} and $180 price point as earlier than, however its voice distant will now embrace the non-public shortcut buttons and built-in headphone jack discovered on the Roku Extremely’s clicker. It’s going to start transport in mid-Might. Present Good Soundbar customers will nonetheless be capable of make the most of the digital {surround} software program replace, although homeowners of the smaller and more affordable Roku Streambar won’t.

Itemizing picture by Roku

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