Roku unveils a new Roku Ultra media streamer, 2-in-1 Roku Streambar, Roku OS 9.4, and Roku Channel mobile app
With so many subscription services out there, you’re going to need a device to stream them with. Enter the newest Roku Ultra, which features Bluetooth support, Dolby Vision, and improved Wi-Fi performance — up to 50% more range. There’s still an Ethernet port if you prefer a hardwired connection.
The latest Roku Ultra continues to offer Dolby Atmos support, and Roku has also introduced support for decoding the AV1 codec, which more and more video streaming services are beginning to encode their video content in. In other words, the Ultra is futureproofed and offers a well-rounded experience that’s great for in-home theaters.
The new Ultra comes equipped with a quad-core processor, support for Alexa and Google Assistant, and ships with a remote that include personal shortcut buttons and a headphone jack for private listening. There’s also a remote finder function for the times you misplace the remote.
The new Roku Ultra is available for preorder right now at $99, with an expected shipment date of October 15, 2020.
What if you want a streaming device and soundbar in one convenient device? Say hello to the Roku Streambar, a 14-inch Soundbar that also supports outputting 4K HDR video. The new Streambar arrives a year after Roku introduced a Smart Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer.
The Roku Soundbar features access to all the channels and services you’d come to expect from other Roku devices and combines that experience with a robust sound experience powered by four speaker drivers. You can also combine the Soundbar with Roku’s Wireless Subwoofer and Wireless Speakers.
One of the Roku Streambar’s headlining features is the ability to quiet obnoxiously loud commercials, which is almost worth the price of admission alone, in my opinion. You can also boost the volume of voices and optimize the sound for night listening.
The Roku Streambar connects to your TV via HDMI ARC or optical audio and features a Bluetooth receiver along with support for Spotify Connect. The device also comes with a USB port, allowing users to connect a portable hard drive and play content locally.
The Roku Streambar is available to preorder today for $129.99 and ships in mid-October.
Roku OS 9.4
To go along with Roku’s new hardware, the company also announced Roku OS 9.4, which will start rolling out to devices in the coming weeks. According to Roku, the latest software update will provide users with new ways to access content quickly and feature a range of performance enhancements.
With the update, Roku users will be able to access the Live TV Channel Guide directly from their home screen. “Users can select what “Live TV” input tile on the Roku home screen and access more than 115 free live streaming channels from The Roku Channel,” Roku said. “Users can also choose between two program guide views, including recently watched channels.
If you use a Roku TV with an antenna, the update will provide users with one-click access to a combined program guide that features the free live streaming channels and over-the-air broadcast channels.
The update will also include support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit later this year. Additionally, Roku OS 9.4 will provide users with helpful hints for voice commands and the ability to adjust surround level control for multi-channel audio.
Finally, Roku is releasing a Roku Channel mobile app for iOS and Android that will offer free and premium content. In terms of free content, the Roku Channel will expand its free live/linear channel lineup in the U.S., and if you prefer your Roku home screen to have a little style, there are updated Theme Packs that will make it easy to customize.
Roku OS 9.4 is set to roll out to Roku players, with a wider rollout to other support streaming players, including the new Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar, in the coming weeks.