New Roku Player Lineup Starts at $30
Roku streaming media players have long been highly recommended by Consumer Reports, with several of its models either topping or scoring highly in our streaming media player ratings.
In October, the company is updating the entire Roku player lineup, replacing all current models (except for the $50 Streaming Stick) with new players.
Among the highlights is a tiny $30 Roku Express model, among the lowest-priced streaming devices you can buy. The top-of-the-line Roku Ultra is among the first Roku 4K models that support high dynamic range (HDR) content.
All the new models except the Express+ (see below) will be in stores starting Oct. 9; you can preorder them now. The Roku Express+ will be available exclusively at Walmart and Walmart.com.
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Along with its vast assortment of channels, one thing we've liked about the Roku platform is its agnostic search; because Roku doesn't offer its own streaming service, it doesn't favor one service over another. Roku has expanded its search capabilities to include more than 100 streaming channels. When you search for a movie or TV show, you'll see where it's available, listed by ascending price.
New Roku Model Lineup
All models other than the Roku Streaming Stick, $50, are being replaced. Here's the breakdown of the new players:
• Roku Express, $30, and Roku Express+, $40
These two models replace the entry-level Roku 1 player and are the most affordable players in the lineup. The only difference between them is that the Express only has an HDMI output, and the Express+, like the Roku 1, also has composite (yellow, red, and white) outputs—plus the cables—for use with older TVs that lack an HDMI input.
Both new models support 1080p video, have built-in 802.11b/g/m WiFi, and come with an HDMI cable plus a simple infrared (IR) remote control. These are small, lightweight devices, and they come with a removable adhesive strip for mounting the player to a TV.
Roku Premiere, $80
The Premiere, which replaces the Roku 2, is the company's least expensive 4K player, but it lacks the HDR support found in the pricier Premiere+ model (see below). This Roku player, which will upconvert regular HD content to 4K resolution, has a quad-core processor and 802.11ac MIMO dual-band WiFi. It comes with a more basic IR remote control. It includes a night listening mode setting, which automatically limits louder sounds to keep volume levels more consistent.
Roku Premiere+, $100
This model, which replaces the Roku 3, gives you everything you get with the Premiere and adds HDR10 support for playing high dynamic range TV shows and movies. It also supports a wider range of colors for programs that include it. Additional features include an Ethernet port for a wired connection to your network, a MicroSD card slot for adding storage, and an enhanced remote control that operates via WiFi and includes a headphone jack for private listening.
Roku Ultra, $130
The Ultra, which replaces the Roku 4, is now the company's flagship model. It takes everything you get with the Roku Premiere+ and adds an optical digital audio output for sending multichannel audio to a receiver or sound bar, a USB port for playing back content stored on a USB drive, and an enhanced remote control that offers voice search and extra buttons for gaming. It also includes the remote finder feature that debuted on the Roku 4—just push a button on the player and the remote will beep until you pick it up.
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