In addition to its latest operating system update, OS 10, Roku also announced the newest additions to its hardware lineup. The company’s spring 2021 offerings include a 4K-capable Express model, a souped-up remote control and more. Here’s an initial look at what Roku’s got in store for the next few months.
Roku Express 4K+
The company’s bringing 4K support to its Express form factor via a new offering called the Roku Express 4K+. True to its name, this new device in familiar clothing boasts 4K output as well as high-dynamic range video through both HDR10 and the more advanced HDR10+ standard.
The included remote offers voice input and TV controls and like the earlier Roku Ultra, this new model also includes support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.
The Roku Express 4K+ should be available in mid-May with a retail price of $39.99. There’s also a Walmart-exclusive variant that swaps the Voice Remote with TV Controls with a more basic infrared input device. That option will retail for $35 when it comes out in the US, Mexico, and Canada “in the coming weeks,” the company said.
Roku Streambar Pro
The company’s also continuing to push its 2-in-1 line of streaming devices that also serve as speaker upgrades. The latest audio option is the Roku Streambar Pro, which appears to be a revamp of the earlier Smart Soundbar.
This new update packs in a Roku Voice Remote with included personal shortcut buttons and pack-in headphones for private listening.
Beyond that, both the Streambar Pro and the Smart Soundbar will get the new Virtual Surround feature that’s part of Roku’s OS 10 upgrade. The new soundbar should be available by the end of May for $179.99, which mirrors the price of the older Smart Soundbar. The device should start popping up first on Roku’s own site before heading to other retailers in June.
Roku Voice Remote Pro
We reported on rumors of an updated remote control earlier this year, but Roku’s making it official with its announcement of the new Voice Remote Pro.
This $29.99 input device follows the company’s tried-and-true design, but adds on some interesting new features, including an internal, rechargeable battery. The idea there is to eliminate the need to swap in AA or AAA batteries and Roku says the internal unit is good for several months per charge. Recharging occurs via a standard microUSB connection.
There’s also a new mid-field microphone that allows you to access voice commands without having to hold the remote up close. You can start off commands with, “Hey Roku,” to engage that hands-free option.
Alternatively, there’s a built-in cutoff switch if you’d prefer to disengage the microphone — handy if you’re concerned about the number of smart devices with active mics in your home. If you have that mic turned off, you can use a push-to-talk feature to access voice commands on demand.
Beyond that, you’ll also find some familiar remote features, including personal shortcut buttons, TV controls, and private listening support, although Roku isn’t supplying earbuds in the package, so you’ll need to supply your own.
The Roku Voice Remote Pro is available on Roku.com starting on Tuesday, April 13th, for $29.99 and the company expects other retailers to start offering the remote in May. It’s compatible with all Roku TVs, audio models, and certain streaming players.
And if you want to learn more about Roku’s Spring 2021 announcements, be sure to check out our video deep dive as well as our coverage on Roku OS 10.
Of course, we’re aiming to get a whole lot of hands-on time with the company’s newest offerings so stay tuned for more coverage in the near future.
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