Roku has announced the much leaked new Roku 4. As expected, the new box supports 4K UHD and improved 802.11ac wifi. The mysterious rectangle on top, first seen in the image I uncovered, is a remote locator button that causes a small speaker in the remote to sound off when pressed. Other than that, the remote is identical to the Roku 3 remote. Also being released is an update to Roku’s OS with some nice new features.
The new Roku 4 packs in a quad-core CPU, but no mention of its clock speed, GPU, or RAM. It still has the same Ethernet, and USB ports, along with a newly added optical audio port that was pulled from the Fire TV to make room for a microSD slot, which the Roku 4 also has. The device is capable of 4K at 60 fps, an improvement over the new Fire TV’s 4K at 30 fps, but it only supports that frame rate when the content uses HEVC (h.265) compression. That means YouTube, which uses VP9 compression and is one of the main sources for 4K 60 fps video, will be limited to 30 fps on the new Roku.
In addition to new hardware, the company announced Roku OS 7 with some nice new features. You’ll be able to “follow” content which the device will then alert you about when that content becomes available through one of your channels. So you can, for example, follow a movie currently in theatres and be alerted when that movie becomes available on Netflix several months later. The follow feature is also supported through their revamped Roku mobile app, so you can follow interesting content you hear about when you’re away from your living room.
Roku OS now finally supports connecting to wifi that requires you to authenticate through a browser, like at hotels and college campuses. Instead of displaying a browser on your TV like the Fire TV does, it has you connect to a wifi hotspot with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop that the device creates, and has you use your computing device’s browser to authenticate. Roku OS 7 will be making its way to select older Roku devices later this month.
The new Roku 4 is available for preorder today for $129.99 and will be released October 21.