Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Roku's latest streaming players offer 4K at bargain-basement prices

Google Assistant is coming to Roku, new streaming players in tow, too Spotify coming back to Roku, adding Spotify Connect
Julia Gonzales | 25 September, 2018, 04:55

In addition to the two new devices, Roku is also updating its high-end Roku Ultra player. Instead of the rounded box of earlier media streamers, the Premiere is a small black plastic block a few inches long, created to be placed under or in front of your TV.

Roku also announced an incremental upgrade of its Ultra media streamer. Roku Premiere brings a 4K option for just $39. Both are powered by a quad-core processor, afford 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, Dolby and DTS Digital Surround pass-through over HDMI and offer streaming in up to 4K HDR quality. This applies to the Premiere+ as well as other current-gen Rokus with voice control remotes. The headline feature is support for Roku's new TV Wireless Speakers, which promise to make setting up a better home entertainment audio system more straightforward.

Roku's video streamers are about to get a whole lot smarter, with Roku OS 9 previewed along with Google Assistant integration and new support for streaming music services.

The Roku Premiere and Premiere+ are available for pre-order from the Roku website starting today, and will be available through major retailers starting in October.

First up: Google Assistant is coming to Roku devices.

Sirius XM to Buy Pandora in $3.5 Billion Deal
We'll have to see how Pandora plans on competing with the major streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify . PANDORA CEO ROGER LYNCH said, "We've made tremendous progress in our efforts to lead in digital audio".

The Roku Ultra will keep its $99 price but throw in a pair of JBL earbuds for free.

Finally, Pandora Premium is now available, via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store. While Klarke couldn't divulge all the info or give us a demonstration during our meeting, he told us Roku players will soon work like Cast-compatible TVs, allowing you to raise or lower the volume, and play content without ever picking up the remote. New volume leveling functions will also be added, with a Night mode that reduces frequency extremes to avoid disrupting neighbors and a Speech Clarity mode that enhances dialog.

The OS updates are pushing the Roku Wireless Speakers - meant for Roku-powered TVs - back a few weeks to November. And Roku streaming players will begin getting an update to OS 9, which brings better voice control for free content through Roku's own channels.

With Roku OS 9, there'll be a boosted voice search feature that allows viewers to focus exclusively on free content. Roku OS 9 will be pushed to Roku media streamers in November and Roku TVs early next year.

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