Roku has announced a pair of new streaming media players that make 4K streaming more affordable than ever. The new Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+, which differ only by their remotes, offer 4K streaming and HDR for the staggeringly low price of $39.99 and $49.99, respectively. Roku has also announced that their Roku Ultra will now come with headphones in the box and that they’re adding support for the Google Assistant.
The new Roku Premiere has claimed the title of being the cheapest 4K streaming device. The new model appears to be the same shape and size as their budget Roku Express model and has replaced the larger square Roku Premiere that was introduced in 2016. It supports 4K UHD streaming at 60fps, as well as HDR in the form of HDR10. To get the price down to $39.99, Roku had to drop 802.11ac WiFi support, so the new Premiere only supports 802.11b/g/n. There’s also no support for either Dolby Vision HDR or Dolby Atmos surround sound. Included with the Roku Premiere is an HDMI cable and Roku’s basic IR remote that requires line of sight to the tiny box to function and does not have any voice capabilities.
The new Roku Premiere+, which will only be available to purchase from Walmart, is identical to the new Roku Premiere, but it includes a better remote. The remote that comes with the Premiere+ is radio-based, so you don’t have to point it at the device for it to work. It also comes with voice search and power/volume buttons that can control your TV. At $49.99 for the Roku Premiere+, you’ll essentially be paying $10 for the extra remote functionality. Neither new model support ethernet, external storage, or have a USB port.
Unfortunately, Roku hasn’t updated their flagship Roku Ultra streaming box, but the device will now include “premium” JBL headphones in the box for the same $99.99 price. Roku says the headphones are “valued at $39.95.” The Roku Ultra will also now come with two new remote finder sounds, which include SportsCenter’s Da-Da-Da sound and the Game of Thrones theme song. The Roku Premiere, Premiere+, and Ultra are available to pre-order today and will ship on October 7th.
Lastly, Roku has announced that they’re making it possible for the Google Assistant to control their streaming devices. The Google Home smart speaker will be able to control playback, search content, and load the home screen of Roku boxes, sticks, and TVs. The Google Assistant won’t be accessible through Rokus themselves, like you can access Alexa through Fire TVs. This is more akin to how you can control a Fire TV through an external Echo device. Roku has not given any indication that they’ll be adding support for Alexa in the same manner.