On Monday Roku unveiled an improved version of its high-end Roku Ultra streaming box, as well as an integrated soundbar/streaming device called the Streambar.
In addition, Roku is launching iOS and Android apps for its ad-supported streaming service, Roku Channel. A Roku account is needed to stream content from the apps, but Roku hardware isn’t.
Roku Ultra, list-priced at $100, is getting an improved Wi-Fi radio that’s said to deliver up to 50% more range, as well as Dolby Vision and Bluetooth support.
Like its predecessor, the new Ultra is powered by a quad-core processor and comes with a voice remote featuring a headphone jack.
The Streambar has a $130 manufacturer’s suggested list price and follows Roku’s 2019 launch of a larger, $180, integrated soundbar/streaming device known as the Smart Soundbar. (An optional, $180, wireless subwoofer was also launched last year.)
Whereas the Smart Soundbar is 32 inches long, the Streambar is just 14 inches long. But Roku asserts that “advanced audio engineering within the Roku OS” enables the device to “produce sound well beyond its size while increasing speech clarity and adding intricate depth to music.”
Roku OS 9.4 is promised to roll out to “select” Roku players this month and all other Roku devices “in the coming weeks.” Roku-powered smart TVs will get the OS update “in phases over the coming months.”
The OS enables iPhone, iPad and Mac users to stream content from their Apple devices to Roku devices via AirPlay 2.
It will also leverage the HomeKit protocol to let iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and HomePod users control Roku devices via Apple’s Home app and Siri.
Other new features include…