Roku today introduced a trio of new devices, led by the new $ 39.99 Express 4K Plus streaming device. The Express 4K Plus will ship in mid-May, basically replacing the Roku Premiere as the company’s entry-level 4K player. It now has a faster processor, dual band Wi-Fi and more internal storage. Plus, Roku says you can now plug in a Micro USB to Ethernet adapter if you prefer a wired connection. The Express 4K Plus is also the first Roku player to support HDR10 +, which will also be coming to the Roku Ultra after a future firmware update.
A stripped-down “Express 4K” player will be sold exclusively at Walmart in the US for $ 35. This model will also make its way to Canada, Mexico and the UK. The only real difference is that it comes with a standard Roku remote instead of the voice remote that comes with the Plus SKU.
Next up is the first Roku remote with a rechargeable built-in battery. We knew it was coming, and you can buy the Roku Voice Remote Pro starting today for $ 29.99. It includes a built-in headphone jack for private audio, two customizable hot keys, TV controls and, another first for Roku, it features mid-field microphones for hands-free voice commands.
By default, the microphones listen to the “Hey Roku” hot phrase. But there is a slider on the remote that turns off the always-listening mode. (If you do, you can still hold down the microphone button on the front of the remote and say a command.) Perhaps a reason to leave the microphones on? You can call out to the remote with a “Hey Roku, find my remote”, and it will make a sound to reveal its location in the sofa cushions.
And the latest of the new Roku products is what the company calls its Streambar Pro, described as “an evolution of the Roku Smart Soundbar.” The Smart Soundbar came with built-in streaming software from Roku, and this updated hardware “now includes a Roku voice remote with personal hot keys and private listening, Roku headphones, and the new virtual surround feature for $ 179.99.” (Virtual surround is also coming to the Smart Soundbar with a software update.)
The Streambar Pro will be available to order from Roku’s website in late May and should arrive at major retailers in June. Roku still has no real competition from Amazon in this category of combined soundbar / streaming players, although Apple is rumored to be experimenting with a product that is similar in concept.
Roku’s player lineup now consists of:
- Roku Ultra
- Roku Streaming Stick Plus
- Roku Express 4K Plus
- Roku Express
- Roku Streambar Pro
- Roku Streambar