Roku has refreshed its entire line-up of streaming players, which leaves just one of them with the classic box form factor. The four others are streaming sticks. Prices start at $30 dollars for a HD device and $70 for a 4K device.
Roku 2017 streaming line-up
Amazon has announced a new Fire TV and Apple has launched the Apple TV 4K. Roku’s answer is a refreshed full line-up of hardware. So what does the future of Roku look like? It apparently looks like a small and affordable stick.
Four of the new streaming players are based on the stick form factor. The Roku Express and Express+ support HD resolution and are “5x more powerful than their predecessors”, the company said. These two cost $30 and $40 dollars.
The Roku Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick+ offer HD streaming and 4K HDR streaming, respectively. The Streaming Stick+ is Roku’s cheapest 4K HDR device to date at $70 dollars. It also features improved WiFi to ensure a stable 4K streaming connected.
Lastly, there is the Roku Ultra, which maintains the box form factor. It supports 4K HDR and features an Ethernet port and micro SD slot. Roku adds that “with our new remote, you can power up and change volume on the TV, plus use voice to find your favorite shows. It also includes a headphone jack for private listening and a remote finder button that helps locate lost remotes”.
It is interesting to see Amazon and Roku react to the launch of Apple TV 4K. In many ways, it mirrors development in the smartphone market where Apple tries to capture the premium segment of the market and competitors react by lowering prices while trying to offer largely similar features.
Roku is not even trying to match Apple’s A10X performance, hoping that consumers will settle for “good enough”. The new players do not support Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos either.
Case in point, Roku is now selling a 4K HDR capable stick for $70, down from $80 dollars last year (4K only). The price of the Roku Ultra has been slashed by $30 compared to last year’s version. Roku also offers more HD players in this year’s line-up compared to last year, which is a down-market play.
The new Roku players are available for pre-order from retailers such as amazon.com and are expected to ship later this week or next week.