Roku Rolls Out New OS, 4K Dongle, Remote and Streambar

Roku Express 4K+
(Image credit: Roku)

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Roku is welcoming spring with a slate of new goodies for consumers, announcing a new version of its OS, a new Express 4K+ dongle, Voice Remote Pro and Streambar Pro.

Roku OS 10 is being incorporated into all Roku devices, including streaming players, audio products and Roku TV models. A number of features of the OS 10 are built around getting content faster to consumers. This includes having Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit available on HD Roku devices. AirPlay 2 allows consumers to stream content from an iPhone, iPad or Mac to compatible Roku  devices, while HomeKit allows Roku devices to be controlled through Siri or the Home app on Apple devices.

Instant Resume has also been added to the OS, providing faster reload times for content from where it last left off, Roku says. Instant Resume is supported on more than 15 streaming channels, including AT&T TV, Fubo Sports Network, Starz and The Roku Channel, with more to come.

Users can now customize the live TV channel guide, giving them the option to add channels to a favorite list or hide channels from view. Users can switch between guide views.

HDR10+ is now supported by Roku OS 10. Roku devices will now automatically detect HDR10+ TV compatibility during setup or users can configure the display type within the settings menu. HDR10+ is available on Roku Ultra (2020), Roku Express 4K and the new Roku Express 4K+.

A number of new OS features are meant to simplify the setup, like automatic Wi-Fi network detection, which notifies users of the optimal wireless network band to connect to. Automatic game console configuration is also available, which automatically detects select game consoles and configures supported features to optimize video game play on the TV.

Roku Voice can also now be used with a variety of on-screen keyboards for entering information on a Roku device. Keyboards that support Roku Voice will display a microphone icon.

Additional features include a new virtual surround setting for Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Streambar Pro owners, which creates sound that moves around the room for enhanced audio. Voice search within a streaming channel has also been updated to offer what Roku calls a more visual way to browse Roku Search, with results displaying as a partial overlay with content from the active channel in the first row, followed by rows of other matches from elsewhere on the platform.

Roll out of the Roku OS 10 is underway, with all Roku customers expected to receive the update in the coming weeks.

Continuing with Roku’s new products, the Roku Express 4K+ is a new streaming dongle that Roku says enables 4K picture and HDR color. The Express 4K+ features a more powerful quad-core processor, dual-band wireless and microUSB Ethernet connectivity. It comes with all of the Roku OS 10 features, including the ability to be controlled by Alexa and Google Assistant enabled devices. The Roku Express 4K+ is available for $39.99.

The new Roku Voice Remote Pro is equipped with a rechargeable battery and a lost remote finder feature, which allows users to simply say “Hey Roku, where’s my remote?” (or use the Roku mobile app) and wait for a chime. Users can also save favorite voice commands for one-touch control; the ability to plug in headphones (sold separately) into a headphone jack to automatically mute the TV; and voice control for turning the TV on, volume adjustment and playback control. Roku is selling the Roku Voice Remote Pro for $29.99.

The Roku Streambar Pro is an upgraded version of the Roku Smart Soundbar. Streambar Pro features two-in-one 4K streaming and cinematic sound and now includes a Roku Voice Remote, Roku headphones and the new virtual surround feature. Roku Streambar Pro will be available online starting in May for $179.99 and at major retailers in June.

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