Roku Updates Streaming Box Lineup; Brings in Cheapest Roku

September 27, 2016, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Roku is having a take on the affordable streaming boxes and sticks. The company has just revamped its lineup of media streaming boxes, introducing four new streaming box pitched to cater different user segments and requirements.

Alongside, the company has also diverted from its usual naming pattern that involves numbers, introducing new names to each of its streaming sets.

The cheapest of the new batch is the Roku Express, which comes at $30, also making it the cheapest streaming stick from Roku. It’s a direct take on rival devices like the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick, both of which comes at prices slightly higher than the Roku Express.

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The Express is also a direct replacement for Roku 1, but has doubled the processing power inside along with the support for Full HD stream. It is also 75% smaller than the predecessor. An Express+ model is also being introduced by Roku that will come with an additional composite cable for an extra payment of $10. The intention is to serve Roku for those who don’t want to leave their old TV sets behind.

The next in the range is the Roku Stick, which is the portable Roku that comes at $49.99. Roku Stick comes with streaming features for Netflix, YouTube and other apps and services. It’s also powered with a quad-core processor, and packs dual-band MIMO wireless.

Roku’s Premiere media box is the 4K upgrade that brings 4K streaming at 60 fps, which is a plus considering that rival products like Amazon Fire TV offers only 30fps 4K streaming. Roku Premiere also offers video up-scaling, so that 720p videos can be viewed in Full HD in HDTVs, and 1080p/720p videos to 4K videos in UHDTVs.  For those who want HDR within the segment, Roku has also got the Premiere+ device that also adds Ethernet and microSD slots along with HDR capability. Premiere is priced at $79.99, while the Premiere+ box is priced at $99.99.

The higher-end device among the new lineup is the Roku Ultra, which packs all the features in the Premiere range along with HDR support, and Dolby Digital/Dobly Digital Plus surround sound. It also features an additional USB port and optical digital audio output port along with Ethernet and microSD slots.

The remote is loaded with voice search functionality, and features a separate headphone jack for high-quality audio. Ultra, along with Premium range devices also features the Night Mode Listening option which aims at providing better balance of the volumes. Roku Ultra is priced at $130.

The company says that its new media streaming boxes will be coming out to the market by October.

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