New Roku Models for Cord Cutters
Roku, fresh off its NASDAQ debut, is re-invigorating its product line with faster hardware, nifty software upgrades, and lower prices. Let’s see if one of these new streaming media players can turn you into a cord cutter...
Ready for a Roku Refresh?
Millions of consumers are "cutting the cord" by cancelling their expensive cable TV subscriptions. Instead, they use a streaming media gadget like Roku to bring movies, TV shows and online video to their television screens. (Roku is pronounced like "row-koo.")
A Roku player plugs into one of your TV's input slots, and connects to your high-speed Internet to bring a wide selection of entertainment options to your living room. Hundreds of free channels are available, but additional charges may apply for subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video and other streaming services.
Most consumers find that some combination of the above can replace their cable TV service at a lower monthly cost. Today, we'll take a look at the new line of Roku devices that help to power the cord-cutting revolution.
What's New, Roku?
At the high-end, the Roku Ultra has 4K capability and the most powerful hardware specs of the line. It’s getting an updated remote control, but the list price remains at $100. (Amazon has it for $89 with free Prime 2-day shipping.) The Apple TV 4K costs $90-$100 more, and the Roku Ultra also gives you more streaming options than Apple TV.
One step down is the Roku Premiere, a player for HD and 4K Ultra TVs. The Roku Premiere lists for $70, but can be found on Amazon for $52. The Roku Premiere+ adds HDR capability, if your TV supports high-dynamic range. (The Roku Premiere debuted in 2016, and was not updated in the 2017 Roku product refresh.)
The updated Roku Express is just $30 (or $25 on Amazon). Its new processor is five times faster than previous generations, which should improve performance. The Roku Express+ is the same device but is compatible with older analog televisions; it is available for $35, only via Walmart.
The Roku $70 4K Streaming Stick+ is a smaller gadget plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. A dual-band WiFi adapter built into the power cord greatly improves throughput, especially when streaming super-high-definition 4K and HDR content. This is a direct shot at Amazon’s 4K-capable Fire TV which debuted last month.
The regular Roku Streaming Stick does HD streaming (but not 4K) and now comes with a voice-controlled remote, for $50 (or $40 on Amazon).
Amazon sells most Roku models at a discounted price, and has free 2-day shipping if you're an Amazon Prime member. You can checkout the full Roku lineup now, order directly from Roku or wait for them to show up on retailers’ shelves on October 8, 2017.
Roku's Latest Innovations
All Roku boxes and Roku-enabled TVs are getting natural-language voice control. Speak into the remote and say what you want to watch, and Roku will search for results available in the streaming channels available.
One really nice feature for cord-cutters with a Roku-enabled TV and an HD antenna is the “Smart Guide.” This easy-to-use program guide shows you what’s playing on your local over-the-air broadcast channels.
Roku is the current leader in the streaming device arena, but others such as Apple TV, Google's ChromeCast, Amazon's Fire TV Stick, and the Nvidia Shield are worthy competitors as well.
Are you a cord-cutter? If so, what combination of services have you used to replace your cable TV subscription? If not, why not? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 3 Oct 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- New Roku Models for Cord Cutters (Posted: 3 Oct 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved