Here are Roku’s new HD and 4K HDR set-top boxes: details and images revealed
Stephan Jukic – September 23, 2016
After earlier revealing speculation that Roku would at some point soon be releasing several new set-top streaming boxes, some of which would offer 4K video support and HDR as well, we now have much more detail about the previously rumored devices to share with our readers.
Basically, it seems that Roku will be replacing its entire line of current set-top boxes for both 4K and HD playback and we also believe that these new devices will be emerging quite soon, possibly in the next few weeks on the U.S market. At least a couple of the new boxes will be 4K-capable and also include high dynamic range. In contrast, among the 2015 and older Roku set-top boxes, only the Roku 4 offered 4K video but without HDR support when it was released.
Now let’s take a look at the four new units and the press photos which have leaked onto the web of them all.
First and foremost, on the 4K UHD front, there are will be the 2016/2017 flagship set-top box among Roku’s offerings. This is the upcoming Roku Ultra. It’s basically the replacement for the 2015 Roku 4 4K box and it offers the most robust set of features and specs for a fully cutting-edge home entertainment experience that owners of 4K UHD TVs in particular can enjoy to its max.
The Roku Ultra will offer up 4K resolution just like the Roku 4 but will add high dynamic range support of one type or another into its specs. Most likely this new box will at least come with HDR10 support since this is the more dominant standard in 4K TVs and HDR formatting standard for most ultra HD content today. We’re also expecting the Roku Ultra to come with all of the streaming apps found in the Roku 4 along with other new specs for content viewing on multiple devices at the same time. The Roku Ultra will also offer more powerful optical audio out connectivity and a neat little remote locator button built into the box itself. There is also a rumor that the Ultra box will come with motion-controlled gaming capability as a further enticement to buying it.
Roku Premiere/Premiere Plus
Next up are the Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere Plus set-top boxes. These are both going to act as a dual option replacement for the existing Roku 3 set-top box but unlike the current device which only supports Full HD video, the two new boxes will offer 4K ultra HD video streaming but without support for any sort of high dynamic range standard. It’s reported that the Premiere Plus will offer a superior and smarter remote control and the inclusion of a microSD card slot. There is also a possibility that this set-top box will share the HDR capability of the Roku Ultra, though this is a very loose rumor.
Roku Express and Roku Express Plus
Finally, Roku will be unveiling its two 2016 Full HD set-top boxes, the Roku Express and Roku Express Plus. These are the dual replacements for the current Roku 2 box and while we don’t yet have much detail on what differences will exist between them, we suspect that the Roku Express Plus will come with a superior remote control and possibly also include more content sharing options for multiple devices in the home. In essence, the Express Plus box could be like the HD version of the 4K Roku Premiere Plus.
We’re also expecting all of the new set-top boxes to offer a revamped version of the 2015 smart user platform which we loved so much in the Roku 4 and at least in the case of the new 4K UHD Roku box models, we hope to see the same extremely broad selection of media content apps and 4K media apps in particular crossing over to the next-generation devices. Connectivity specs will likely be similar to those of the old boxes, with HDMI and Ethernet connectivity. However we’re almost certainly going to see HDMI 2.0a in the 2016 versions of the 4K-capable models and it seems that only the Roku Ultra will offer USB ports for accessing local media from external drives and mobile devices.
Pricing and specific release date details are still unknown at this time for all of the above set-top boxes.
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