Roku this week introduced a new family of five streaming media players for various needs and customers. The new affordable players support 1080p HD video streaming and some of them are even compatible with older TVs with composite inputs. The more advanced players support streaming of 4Kp60 content (3840x2160 resolution at 60 fps) and the high-end models even supports HDR10 metadata, which will be useful for those who would like to watch 4Kp60 HDR video and have appropriate TVs.

The fifth generation Roku streaming media players run the proprietary Roku OS and support dozens of video streaming services, including those from Amazon, BBC, Google, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Vudu and so on. The set-top-boxes are self-contained devices that are connected using an HDMI input to TVs and can be operated using bundled remote controls. Depending on video output capabilities and feature set, pricing of the new players ranges from $30 to $130.

The 2016 Roku Streaming Player Lineup
  Express Express+ Streaming
Stick
Premiere Premiere+ Ultra
SoC Unknown Broadcom BCM2836 (quad-core, 900 MHz) Unknown SoC with four cores and UHD video capabilities.
Storage 256 MB NOR flash Unknown Flash
microSD
USB
Flash
microSD
USB
Wi-Fi 802.11n Dual-band 802.11ac with MIMO
Ethernet None 100 Mbps
Video Output Connector HDMI 1.4 HDMI 1.4
A/V Out
HDMI 1.4 HDMI 2.0 HDMI 2.0a
Video Output Resolution 720p
1080p
480p
720p
1080p
720p
1080p
1080p
4Kp60
Video Up-Conversion 720p to 1080p on HDTVs Unknown 720p to 1080p on HDTVs

720p/1080p to 4Kp60 on UHDTVs
HDR None HDR10
Audio Output HDMI HDMI
A/V Out
HDMI HDMI
Optical
Audio Features Dolby Audio pass through via HDMI DA pass through via HDMI/optical
Remote IR Wi-Fi Direct IR Wi-Fi Direct with headphone jack.

Player includes IR receiver.
Wi-Fi Direct with headphone jack, voice search.

Player includes IR receiver.
USB Media Formats None HEVC/H.265
VP9
H.264

AAC
MP3

JPG
PNG
HEVC/H.265
VP9
H.264

AAC
MP3
ALAC
FLAC
PCM
AC3
EAC3

JPG
PNG
GIF

Power Consumption < 2.4 W 3 W < 4.5 W
Price $30 $40 $50 $80 $100 $130

The most affordable STBs from the new lineup are the Roku Express and Roku Express+ players, which connect to 802.11n Wi-Fi, support up to 1080p video and retail for $30 and $40, respectively. The Roku Express+ version is especially notable here as it's the only new player from the company in the last two years to support RCA composite video for older, pre-HDMI televisions. Meanwhile the Roku Premier series complements the company’s Streaming Stick product released earlier this year, which has similar capabilities, but is more portable and expensive ($50).

The considerably more advanced Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra are based on more powerful SoCs with four CPU cores to enable 4Kp60 video decoding as well as additional functionality. Furthermore, the premium players also feature Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO dual-band connectivity. Among the higher-end players, the Roku Premiere+ and the Roku Ultra also support displaying HDR video via the HDR10 standard (but note that Dolby Vision is not supported). In addition, both players are also equipped with microSD card readers for additional channel storage and USB ports for local playback. The baseline 4Kp60 Premiere STB goes for $80, while the HDR-capable Premier+ player costs $100. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-range Roku Ultra is available for $130. For additional $30, owners will get a more advanced remote with a speaker (for the lost remote finder feature), a digital optical audio port as well as improved support for lossless audio formats like ALAC or FLAC (but no Dolby Atmos).

The new Roku Express, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra STBs will be available in stores on October 9 and can be pre-ordered immediately. The Roku Express+ will be sold exclusively at Walmart.

Source: Roku

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  • svan1971 - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    I went with Apple TV simply because of the obnoxious advertising buttons on the Roku 4 remote one of which is for a channel that is bankrupt and out of business (Rdio) Reply
  • JeffFlanagan - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    That's a really weird reason, that tells us a lot more about you than it does about Roku. Reply
  • WithoutWeakness - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    I have an older model Roku 3 (no logos on remote) and a Roku 4 (logos on remote). I swapped the remotes because I prefer having the remote with no logos on it in my living room where I see and use it every day, especially when I don't even use any of the 4 apps that the advertisement buttons correspond to. I'd gladly pay an extra $5 for a remote without advertising labels on it and I'd gladly pay an extra $10 for a remote with a "favorite" button that I could map to whatever app I wanted rather than being stuck with 4 apps that paid Roku to be on the remote. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    You could potentially use a "smart remote" like a Logitech Harmony series to control your cable box (if you still use it), Roku, TV, BluRay player etc. They can be quite pricey, but do your research, as Amazon reviews show lots of complaints for certain models.

    But yeah, the dedicated ad buttons on the remote turn me away from Roku devices in general. I'd mostly use it to stream/playback my own media.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    Is anything going to come of the Microsoft PlayReady 3.0 certification so that Windows 10 PCs can stream 4K? I know Pascal has the hardware built in and AMD claims it can be compliant with a firmware update... It's aggravating to see no real attempts to bring 4K media to the PC. Reply
  • Gunbuster - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    They or terrified of unlocking 4K for PC due to "pirates" or They know their CDN's will be crushed and cant keep up with the bandwidth use that bringing it to PC will cause. (you know people who actually have 4K screens and use them at that resolution) Reply
  • Ananke - Thursday, October 06, 2016 - link

    From insiders: Companies are terrified from pirating through Windows platforms. Hence, even when a native Win app exists, or through browser streaming, quality of stream is not the same as on TV app. TV apps receive highest attention to quality, then eventually Android based addons aka Roku, Amazon player, NVidia console etc. Reply
  • Solidstate89 - Sunday, October 02, 2016 - link

    I'm pretty sure Netflix is working on its app to support 4K. Reply
  • Gunbuster - Monday, October 03, 2016 - link

    And at this rate they will bring it in a solid two years after having 4K on their smart TV and streaming box apps... Reply
  • Gunbuster - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    Just to confirm thanks to HDCP these wont work with any first or second gen 4K TV's? Reply

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