Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,437
17,780



Roku today announced "the biggest streaming player launch in Roku history," with the company revealing a total of five new devices that let users stream media onto their TVs, with varying levels of picture quality and features. The new additions to Roku's lineup join the Roku Streaming Stick, which got an upgrade in April and retails for $49.99.

With a price of $29.99, the company's new low-end Roku Express comes in even cheaper than the Streaming Stick and offers 1080p HD streaming "with a complete channel lineup." The Roku Express+, for $39.99, offers the same features but is outfitted for older TV sets, including a composite jack and A/V cable. Both Express models are aimed at users new to streaming, or those who want to extend Roku throughout their home at a cheaper rate.

roku-2-800x294.jpg
The Roku Express


The second tier of devices are called the Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+, which run for $79.99 and $99.99, respectively. Both models have a quad-core processor and can stream 4K video in up to 60 frames per second, but the higher-cost Premiere+ also supports HDR "for vibrant picture quality," and has a headphone jack in its remote control.

roku-3-800x370.jpg
The Roku Premiere+


The last new Roku model -- the "fully loaded" Roku Ultra -- is the priciest at $129.99, and includes each feature of the previous models with the addition of support for Dolby Digital Plus decoding, voice search, and a feature that helps users find a lost remote. Each device announced today offers access to 3,500 streaming channels including 350,000 movies and TV episodes.

roku-4-800x335.jpg
The Roku Ultra


Roku players have features called "Hotel Connect" and "Dorm Connect" to make it easy to connect to public networks and stream when not at home. There's also a free iOS app [Direct Link] that lets users control their Roku device through an iPhone or iPad, and even gain access to features like voice search, private listening, and more.

The company said that each of the five new devices can be pre-ordered starting today and are "expected" to launch in retail stores on October 9. The Roku Express+ will be exclusively available in Walmart stores, however.

Article Link: Roku Announces Five New Streaming Devices Between $30 and $130
 
For a company with a tiny fraction vs. Apple's deep cash & human resources, Roku sure GETS the concept of focusing on making the most of this kind of product and it's related offerings. Personally, I wish Apple would adopt an equivalent level of focus on their own little box instead of seeming to get around to showing it some attention every once in a while.

And I'm not really trying to bash Apple there- just basically showing some admiration for what a relatively small team with small cash can accomplish when they are singularly focused on doing the most they can with this kind of product. Just think what Apple could do with theirs if they were as focused.
 

Tinmania

macrumors 68040
Aug 8, 2011
3,524
1,009
Aridzona
For a company with a tiny fraction vs. Apple's deep cash & human resources, Roku sure GETS the concept of focusing on making the most of this kind of product and it's related offerings. Personally, I wish Apple would adopt an equivalent level of focus on their own little box instead of seeming to get around to showing it some attention every once in a while.

And I'm not really trying to bash Apple there- just basically showing some admiration for what a relatively small team with small cash can accomplish when they are singularly focused on doing the most they can with this kind of product. Just think what Apple could do with theirs if they were as focused.
Even Amazon TV beats them. Considering Amazon was essentially still a bookseller when the iPod was being designed, that is a shame.



Mike
 

rp2011

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2010
2,009
2,147
I have a Roku. It's on my main living room TV. Not a fan. Bedroom I have Chromecast and it's the simplest easiest most useful and cheapest TV accessory you can buy. ... And I'm an Apple guy.

I tell loved ones and everyone I know to stick with Google's casting stick. No comparison, best value best experience, best UI (none) best everything.

I tried Apple's previous Apple TV. Never used it and not interested in trying it out again until there's more value in it.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,626
13,084
Europe
One day they might learn that most users don't care at all what the box looks like. If they can't tell within 3 seconds what the difference between Express, Premier+, and Ultra, then you don't need that many versions. Finally, for TV especially, the UI matters more than anything else. By UI I mean both screen and physical remote.

Why are there 4 different buttons that all look like they are pointing back in some way? Which one is the actual back button? Why does anyone want 4 dedicated app buttons? Why are the 4 dedicated app buttons in a different place on each remote? Does Roku actually expect someone to be a subscriber to both Netflix, Sling, and Hulu, when there is so much overlap between those services?
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
26,482
9,997
Detroit
I've been fairly happy with my Roku 4. I had to add some tall rubber feet underneath it to allow extra airflow around it because it would get too hot and lock up. Plus I added a USB fan behind it for some active cooling as well, though I probably didn't have to go that far.

Since I added the rubber feet its only locked up a couple of times. Otherwise its been a pretty good device.
 

adamjackson

macrumors 68020
Jul 9, 2008
2,247
4,334
Way too many choices.

I'm still on a 1080P 55" TV and 120" Projector. Once I'm on 4K across the board, AppleTV will hopefully support 4K and HDR. Projectors are 10K+ right now for 4K so it's going to be another 5 years at least before I upgrade.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,353
5,562
Why are there 4 different buttons that all look like they are pointing back in some way? Which one is the actual back button? Why does anyone want 4 dedicated app buttons? Why are the 4 dedicated app buttons in a different place on each remote? Does Roku actually expect someone to be a subscriber to both Netflix, Sling, and Hulu, when there is so much overlap between those services?

I'd imagine they got paid to put each app button on - it's basically an ad for each of the companies. Roku is a small company - they need to make money somehow.

The 4 arrows pointing the same way are all very distinct and each have obvious and different functionality. If you get those mixed up, I think you probably gets the <, Backspace, Enter, and Left Arrow key on your computer's keyboard mixed up, too.

Roku really should have a cable box. All we're waiting on is a final decision from the FCC. The moment that decision is made, my Comcast box is being sent back and I'm buying something else. I just need some company - any company - to build a better cable box for me to buy.
 

bladerunner2000

Suspended
Jun 12, 2015
2,511
10,471
$69 gets you Android TV from Xiaomi, the Mi Box (which has really nice specs and is 4K capable);

10325300_717584834973223_3725636753872199966_n1.jpg


Also included is a USB port that you can attach devices to including USB sticks and external hard drives for native playback of MP4/MKV files WITHOUT having to rely on another device:

Xiaomi-Mi-Box-3-Wifi-3840x2160-Quad-Core-TV-Box-Android-4-4-4k-Internet-IPTV.jpg


What the hell was the point of Apple putting out their AppleTV with a USB port that you can't use?!

Anyway, it's way better deal than Apple TV and by that extension, better than the Roku as well.
[doublepost=1474900791][/doublepost]
Install Plex on your Mac, point it towards the iTunes media folder. Install Plex on your Roku and enjoy.

Plex is awesome. I've got it running via Chromecast for 40 bucks. I used to use a Boxee Box but haven't touched it in almost a year. I love the fact that my phone is my remote control.
[doublepost=1474900852][/doublepost]
I'd imagine they got paid to put each app button on - it's basically an ad for each of the companies. Roku is a small company - they need to make money somehow.

The 4 arrows pointing the same way are all very distinct and each have obvious and different functionality. If you get those mixed up, I think you probably gets the <, Backspace, Enter, and Left Arrow key on your computer's keyboard mixed up, too.

Roku really should have a cable box. All we're waiting on is a final decision from the FCC. The moment that decision is made, my Comcast box is being sent back and I'm buying something else. I just need some company - any company - to build a better cable box for me to buy.

He meant the arrow buttons, not the app shortcuts.
 

DogHouseDub

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2007
480
1,085
SF
Plex can stream DRM protected iTunes files?
ugh. Sorry, forgot about that. You can install an app to convert all of those to a DRM-free file. But now we're getting further away from the "simple" the user was hoping for.
 

nilk

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2007
675
219
I have a Roku. It's on my main living room TV. Not a fan. Bedroom I have Chromecast and it's the simplest easiest most useful and cheapest TV accessory you can buy. ... And I'm an Apple guy.

I tell loved ones and everyone I know to stick with Google's casting stick. No comparison, best value best experience, best UI (none) best everything.

I tried Apple's previous Apple TV. Never used it and not interested in trying it out again until there's more value in it.

I have both Roku 3 and Chromecast on my living room TV. In their present state, I wouldn't want to give up either one, as I really like both and they serve different use cases. Roku for putting on a TV show or movie -- I still like having the traditional physical remote that you don't have to look at to use and I don't have to go back to the smartphone app or Chrome browser tab to control what I'm watching. Chromecast for spontaneously throwing on a video or music -- it's simply fantastic for this purpose.

What I really want is something like Roku's top-end model combined with full Chromecast-style functionality, including the way the Chromecast uses HDMI-CEC. You can actually cast to a Roku for some apps (e.g. YouTube), but I'd like to see this go all the way. Too bad Google hasn't made it an open standard.
 

Rigby

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2008
5,953
9,856
San Jose, CA
These look good. Maybe time for an upgrade.

Roku is great, the only streaming box manufacturer that doesn't try to lock you into some ecosystem. Also still by far the market leader, despite the best efforts of the mega corporations.
 

BuffaloTF

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2008
1,317
1,447
For a company with a tiny fraction vs. Apple's deep cash & human resources, Roku sure GETS the concept of focusing on making the most of this kind of product and it's related offerings. Personally, I wish Apple would adopt an equivalent level of focus on their own little box instead of seeming to get around to showing it some attention every once in a while.

And I'm not really trying to bash Apple there- just basically showing some admiration for what a relatively small team with small cash can accomplish when they are singularly focused on doing the most they can with this kind of product. Just think what Apple could do with theirs if they were as focused.

I disagree. Roku's feel their age, and their template-based load-every-selection-from-the-web interface is slow and painful. It works, it works better than an Amazon TV... but in contrast to full fledged apps in the Apple TV, and now into the re-emergence of Android on Sony TVs... even Samsung's Tizen and LG's WebOS TVs...... they've got a lot more work to do than ever. It's simplicity was once its winning factor, now it's starting to be at its detriment as apps have gotten better, faster and now are more usable than Roku channels. Even my barely-supporter Opera smart tv apps in my old Sony are prettier and faster than Roku.
 

rp2011

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2010
2,009
2,147
I have both Roku 3 and Chromecast on my living room TV. In their present state, I wouldn't want to give up either one, as I really like both and they serve different use cases. Roku for putting on a TV show or movie -- I still like having the traditional physical remote that you don't have to look at to use and I don't have to go back to the smartphone app or Chrome browser tab to control what I'm watching. Chromecast for spontaneously throwing on a video or music -- it's simply fantastic for this purpose.

What I really want is something like Roku's top-end model combined with full Chromecast-style functionality, including the way the Chromecast uses HDMI-CEC. You can actually cast to a Roku for some apps (e.g. YouTube), but I'd like to see this go all the way. Too bad Google hasn't made it an open standard.

The Roku remote would be a asset if it didn't suck. The battery lid keeps falling off and it's not as easy to use as a phone app. I won't lose my phone. I lost my Roku remote and never bothered to look for it as it was like good riddance.
 
Last edited:

bladerunner2000

Suspended
Jun 12, 2015
2,511
10,471
What I really want is something like Roku's top-end model combined with full Chromecast-style functionality, including the way the Chromecast uses HDMI-CEC. You can actually cast to a Roku for some apps (e.g. YouTube), but I'd like to see this go all the way. Too bad Google hasn't made it an open standard.

What you should get is either Nvidia Shield TV, basically the best device you can buy (it's loaded and stupidly fast) or the Xiaomi Mi Box, simpler hardware / features but costs about 1/3 the price. Both have remotes and the Shield TV sells with a game controller similar to Xbox (with a headphone jack for private listening), though a simpler remote is available as well (also with a headphone jack). Both are compatible with bluetooth devices, so pretty much any controller will work anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nilk

jerm13

macrumors member
May 4, 2016
62
43
Hopefully the new units run a little cooler. I tried out the Roku 4 and you could fry an egg on top of the unit after it ran a few minutes.
 

rp2011

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2010
2,009
2,147
These look good. Maybe time for an upgrade.

Roku is great, the only streaming box manufacturer that doesn't try to lock you into some ecosystem. Also still by far the market leader, despite the best efforts of the mega corporations.

I got my Roku for Amazon Prime. That's the one.thing we couldn't get any other way and it is a selling point. It's what finally sucked me in.
But it was only with time that I learned that Amazon Prime is our least used app.
So if Amazon is your go-to app, then I guess that's it's selling point. Other than that, I'd stick with the Chromecast.
 

shiseiryu1

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2007
534
294
I have used the AppleTV from the beginning and I like the most recent version. I don't have a 4k TV yet so lack of that feature wasn't important for me. I also have a Roku (that I got free through my cable provider for 'streaming tv') and my wife and I don't like it very much. The interface looks terrible compared to the AppleTV. If my cable provider had an AppleTV app I would ditch the Roku instantly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TRSmudge
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.