Roku rolls out Roku OS 8, refreshes TV hardware with 4K and faster processors

Photo by Lauren Goode/ The Verge

Roku just announced updates to five of its TV streaming products, as well as a new operating system that marries access to over-the-air TV with video streaming services. The announcements from Roku come after both Apple and Amazon have revealed updates to their own video streaming boxes in recent weeks, with all three companies pushing further into the home with things like 4K, voice control, and improved search functionality.

Roku’s low-cost streaming sticks are getting the most interesting updates. The basic Roku streaming stick, which at $49.99 is priced the same as last year’s model, is getting a processor update that Roku claims is 50 percent faster. The remote is also getting voice control functionality, along with power and volume buttons to control those functions on your TV set.

Then there’s the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, which now supports HDR and 4K Ultra HD. It also has four times the wireless range of the basic stick, which is partly enabled by the wireless module being built directly into the cable, rather than the stick itself. The idea is that moving it away from the television reduces interference. This one, which effectively replaces last year’s Roku Premiere 4K box, will cost $69.99.

The tiny Roku boxes — the Roku Express and Roku Express Plus — are also getting processor updates. They’re still selling for the same price, however: $29.99 for the Roku Express, and $10 more for a model that connects with composite ports on older TVs.

The bigger Roku box — the Roku Ultra — isn’t getting any significant hardware changes, but at $99, it’s less than the $130 starting price point it had last year. This is the highest-end Roku. It includes support for 4K at 60 fps and HDR10, an Ethernet port and USB support, a “Find My Remote” feature, private listening on the remote, and now, power and volume buttons on the remote as well

[“Source-CNBC”]