Roku today unveiled an updated Roku Ultra streaming player and a new Roku Streambar, adding a long-awaited feature to its hardware lineup and offering a more affordable soundbar.
Roku Ultra has been streamlined and slimmed down a tad, while keeping all the features that have made it stand out over the years (like external storage and ethernet) as well as the $99 price point. It's the most expensive of the streaming player lineup, but it's also the most future proof and has continuously been the Roku model we've recommended.
And Roku Ultra finally has support for the Dolby Vision flavor of HDR, which is widely considered to be the better of the HDR standards. Dolby Atmos audio also remains on board. Both of those features require you to have a TV that supports Dolby Vision, and a sound system that supports Atmos, of course.
Roku Ultra also has an upgraded processor that loads channels faster than ever, improved wireless capability for 50 percent greater range, and it still comes with the Voice Remote that allows you to control things hands free, or use the included headphone jack for private listening.
Roku Streambar, meanwhile, is a smaller version of the Roku Smart Soundbar released at the end of 2019. It lands at $129 and is a quick and easy way to bring Roku and better sound to any television with an HDMI input. It supports 4K resolution and has four internal speakers, with easy sound settings that allow you to quiet harsh commercials and boost quiet dialog. It's also easily expandable with the Roku Wireless Subwoofer and Roku Wireless Speakers. Plus it supports Bluetooth connections so you can stream anything that way that isn't otherwise supported by a Roku Channel.
Both the new Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar will run the new Roku OS 9.4 which, among other things, adds support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, making it the only system to run all three major smart systems — Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.
“We are focused on delivering a variety of innovative, top-performing products at an incredible value to our customers so they can get to the content they care about quickly,” Mark Ely, Vice President, Retail Product Strategy at Roku, said in a press release. “Our new streaming player lineup now includes reimagined streaming devices in the Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar — we continue to offer a great device no matter the use case our customers are looking for whether they are new to streaming or looking to add great sound and streaming to their home entertainment center.”
The new Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar are available for preorder starting today. They're expected to ship in October. Streambar will be available in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.
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