Roku Revamps Streaming Video Player Line26 Sep, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Entry-level "Express" model starts at $29.99
Facing an increasing streaming-video-centric domestic household, Roku Sept. 26 announced a new line of streaming players, including entry-level “Express” and “Express+” models with 1080p HD resolution and HDMI cable for $29.99 — $10 below the original Roku device.
The “Express+” will be available exclusively at Walmart beginning Oct. 9, while the “Express” and other new models will be available at Roku.com, Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart.
The updated line comes as more than 20 million households avoid the need of a streaming device by virtue of so-called “smart TVs,” which feature third-party apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Pandora, The NPD Group reported earlier this year. About 29 million households connect the TV to the Internet through a video game console and 17 million homes use a connected Blu-ray Disc player.
Regardless, 40% of Internet connected households in the U.S. are projected to use a streaming media player by 2017, which include either an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast or Roku, according to Statista.com.
Parks Associates found Roku was the best-selling device in 2015, generating 30% of all units sold.
Other updated Roku models include “Premiere” ($79.99) and “Premiere+” ($99.99), featuring a quad-core processor and the capability to stream 4K Ultra HD up to 60 frames per second (fps). The latter supports HDR resolution and MicroSD card slot for additional channel storage.
The “Ultra” ($129.99) device includes all “Premiere+” features, in addition to Dolby Digital/Dolby Digital Plus decoding for home theaters, optical digital audio out port to connect to a receiver or sound bar and USB port for local media playback.
The “Ultra” also includes a feature that allows users to locate the remote with the touch of a button on the player.
“Today we’re celebrating the biggest player launch in our company’s history,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood said in a statement.