Newest Roku streaming device includes 4K support, new OS 7

Roku 4

It’s been a busy six weeks for streaming device manufacturers, with new releases from Google, Apple and Amazon. Last, but not least, of the streaming device updates before the holiday season kicks off is Roku’s new Roku 4.

The new box includes the ability to deliver 4K Ultra HD (UHD) and HD TV content and features a quad-Core processor, up to 60 fps 4K streaming, HDCP 2.2 and Optical Audio Out.

Roku also has updated its user interface, WiFi (802.11ac MIMO), included a remote control with voice search – which has become table stakes, apparently – and a headphone jack for private listening.

Also included available is the Roku mobile app for Android and iOS offering full device control, personalized screensavers for the Roku 4 and soon, the ability to follow entertainment when away from home.

Roku says its new OS 7 has new discovery features that give consumers more access to entertainment choices, enabling them to follow movies, TV shows, actors and directors to receive automatic entertainment updates about pricing and availability.

The device also includes a feature that help deliver quick wireless connectivity in locations that require log-in credentials to access the network, like dorms and hotel rooms.

The device can be ordered from Roku.com for $129.99 later this month. OS 7 will be delivered to current Roku players and TVs through a software update that should be completed by mid-November, the company said.

Why it matters

Streaming devices like the Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and those from Roku have become increasingly important to consumers looking for an easy way to access lots of content through one portal.

Recent studies have shown that nearly one-quarter of U.S. households have at least one of the four major streaming players, with Parks Associates in August saying Roku was the top-seller in the market. It forecast that 86 million streaming devices would be sold globally in 2019 alone.

Google last month, when it rolled out its new Chromecast dongle, that it has sold more than 20 million on the $35 devices since launching in 2014.

Amazon Fire TV and its Fire TV Stick also have ben seen as having a major impact on the sector, with an earlier report from Strategy Analytics saying Amazon was the leading player in the market, shipping more devices in the first quarter than any other player in the market, about 30%. The researcher also posited a higher number of homes in the U.S. own streaming devices, about 30%.

Apple, which until recently has called its forays into the market with Apple TV a hobby, has shipped more than 15 million of the device.

Its newest unit is expected to grab a bigger share of the market, especially if an Apple over-the-top service is on the near horizon when it ships.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn