Roku has launched upgraded versions of its Roku Express and Roku Ultra streaming players. The latter has a remote with personal shortcut buttons. The company is also introducing Roku OS 9.2.
Upgraded Roku players
The upgraded Roku Express is 10% smaller than its predecessor and is now energy-efficient enough to be powered by "most TVs" via the USB connection rather than a cable to a power outlet. Express is still limited to HD streaming and costs $30.
An upgraded Roku Ultra features a faster processor and more memory. It still supports 4K and HDR10 . In addition, it has "our best wireless performance, USB port for local media playback, lost remote finder, and more".
Roku Ultra now comes with a new remote control that has to customizable shortcut buttons. Any feature that can be accessed via a voice commands can be mapped to these buttons as a shortcut. For example, a shortcut to Netflix. Roku Ultra will be available in October for $100.
Only two of the players were upgraded but the company will continue to sell a full line-up of streaming players spanning Roku Express, Premiere, Streaming Stick+, and Ultra at prices from $30 to $100.
Roku OS 9.2
The company also announced Roku OS 9.2 with new features such as Roku Zones, an update to the 4K Spotlight channel to make it easier to find 4K content, new voice features, expanded Alexa and Assistant integration, and a new Roku Tips & Tricks channel.
We have included a list of new features in Roku OS 9.2 below.
Roku OS 9.2 is rolling out now and is expected to reach all supported players in the coming weeks. Roku TVs will receive the update over the coming months.
Roku OS 9.2 - new features
In the mood to watch an action movie or a comedy? Roku Zones make it easy to discover entertainment across a selection of top genres, as well as a variety of topical subjects, like award winners.
Just use Roku Search to enter any of the dozens of supported genres or topical subjects and receive a Roku Zone within your search results. When selected, a Zone provides you with a curated selection of relevant entertainment from channels across the Roku platform organized in browsable rows such as new releases, free titles, rentals and more. Roku Zones like the Drama Movies & TV Zone or the Superhero Movies Zone are updated frequently, so make sure to come back on a regular basis when you’re looking for something new to watch.
Easy discovery of 4K entertainment
The 4K Spotlight channel has been updated with a new look and simpler navigation to help you find 4K entertainment quickly. Launching the channel will now bring you to the 4K Movies & TV Zone, a regularly updated, hand-curated selection of 4K titles from channels across the Roku platform. Browse from categories such as Most Popular, Action, and more.
Roku OS 9.2 also makes it easier to find 4K entertainment when using Roku Search. Now, you can enter “4K” as a text search term and see a result for the 4K Movies & TV Zone. Additionally, if you have a voice remote and say “Show me 4K movies,” you’ll see results for a variety of 4K movies.
Shortcut section on the Roku Home Screen
A new shortcut section has been added to your Home Screen to help reduce the number of steps you need to take to perform popular actions. Roku players will have a shortcut tile to add channels, and Roku TVs will have shortcut tiles to add channels and set a sleep timer. More shortcuts are expected to be added over time. To find the shortcut section, simply press up on your Roku remote when you’re at the top of your Home Screen.
Roku Tips & Tricks channel
The new Roku Tips & Tricks channel is packed with videos created by Roku to help you learn more about features, new products and popular support topics to help ensure the best possible streaming experience. The channel will automatically appear on your Home Screen when your device updates to Roku OS 9.2. You can move or remove the channel by pressing the * button on the Roku remote.
Control multiple Roku devices with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
An update has been made to Roku’s Amazon Alexa skill, as well as Roku’s Google Assistant action, allowing you to choose to control some or all of the Roku devices in your home. After linking your preferred devices, you can simply say which device you want to control with voice commands like, “Alexa, pause living room Roku” or “Hey Google, turn off bedroom Roku.”
New Roku Voice features
If you own a Roku TV, you can now set a sleep timer using Roku Voice. Simply press and hold the Roku Voice button your Roku TV remote* or in the free Roku mobile app, and say “Turn off the TV in 20 minutes” or “Go to sleep at 11 pm.”
Ever known a movie quote, but couldn’t remember what movie it came from? Now you can use Roku Voice to find a movie by searching for the top quotes from thousands of popular titles across the Roku platform. Just use Roku Voice and say a command like, “What movie is this from – ‘Here’s looking at you kid'” and quickly see results for the movie(s) related to the quote.
If you use Roku Media Player to stream your personal music, movies, or photos, you can now use Roku Voice to find and play files using voice commands like “Play classic rock on Roku Media Player.” Additionally, you can control playback of entertainment within the channel by saying things such as “Skip ahead 20 seconds” or “Play the next song.”
Supported Roku devices receiving Roku OS 9.2:
Roku Streaming Players – 4670X, 4662X, 4661X, 4660X, 4640X, 4630X, 4620X, 4400X, 4230X, 4210X, 4200X, 3931X, 3930X, 3921X, 3920X, 3910X, 3900X, 3811X, 3810X, 3800X, 3710X, 3700X, 3600X, 3500X, 2720X, 2710X, 2700X
Roku TV – All Roku TV models are expected to receive Roku OS 9.2.