Roku puts 4K streaming video on a stick for $70

Steve Phelps
October 3, 2017

Smart TVs from brands like TCL, Hisense, RCA and others that run Roku's Smart TV system have always been among CNET's favorites.

According to Roku, the new Streaming Stick+ will offer four times the range of the base model. All were extant products that have simply been refreshed.

Roku on Monday unveiled an updated lineup of video-streaming gadgets. Roku OS 8 will be rolling out to players starting this month, with rollout to all Roku devices by the end of the year. Only available from Walmart. This powerful little device has a "dongle" form-factor, and incorporates an advanced wireless receiver that is built into the power cord. Both offer a quad-core processor and 802.11 AC dual-band MIMO for wireless connectivity, and both now come with a voice-controlled remote that can power up compatible TVs and change the volume. It goes for $49.99.

Viewers without 4K TVs can spend just $30 for the new Roku Express basic-HD box.

Officially, Roku's top model remains the Roku Ultra set-top box, which has an SD card slot and an Ethernet port. "It makes 4K and HDR streaming simple". It costs $99.99, works with the new remote, and includes a headphone jack and a remote finder button.

Last year, Roku brought in close to $400 million United States dollars revenue, which is up 25% from the $320 million USD of 2015.

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Additionally, a 4K spotlight serves up 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision content. It provides superior image quality to the other format (HDR-10), but it is not as widely supported, in part due to hardware licensing fees.

Roku has announced its latest collection of streaming media devices. Smart Guide also integrates the More Ways to Watch feature so users can see additional streaming options, such as: watch a movie or show from the beginning, see more episodes or browse similar entertainment. Apple is reportedly investing more than $1 billion in original content annually.

Roku prides itself on its differentiated streaming approach, which unlike Amazon and Apple TV, does not have its own content platform, nor does it produce its own content. They include CBS, which premiered Star Trek: Discovery exclusively on CBS All Access last week. Now, streaming results and live TV results will list on the same page. There is also improved, simplified sign in, and enhanced voice commands. This means, in theory, that you don't have to keep re-entering your cable provider's password for each new app. It comes with the same redesigned remote that the Stick models offer.

Now it faces competition from all sides, including Google's Chromecast, Amazon's Fire, the Apple TV and the Nvidia Shield, said Paul Erickson, senior research analyst for IHS Markit.

Along with the new hardware, Roku is refreshing its operating system.

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