Roku Targets Cheapskates And Tech-Heads Alike


Roku has announced three new devices including a $30 ‘Express’ model that’s clearly being pushed as a rival to Chromecast and more expensive models with 4K upscaling.

The company is ditching its policy of numbering its products, reasoning that as it’s launching new entry-level devices, the old “higher number = better device) system might get too confusing. Instead it’s switching to names, with the only existing model that’s staying in production being the $50 Streaming Stick.

That’s now undercut by the new Express model (pictured) which is a tiny dongle that connects to your TV via HDMI cable rather than plugging straight-in. It’s $30, with a $40 Express+ version exclusively at WalMart that throws in a composite output for older TVs. Both are otherwise much the same as the Streaming Stick with wireless connections only; the main cost-saving measure is that there’s a standard remote that has to be pointed directly at the box.

The mid-range model is now the Premiere at $80 that throws in 4K and 60fps plus upscaling. There’s also a Premiere+ variant (available everywhere) at $100 which adds in a wired connection, a “point anywhere” remote with headphone jack, and a microSD slot.

The top-end model is now the Ultra at $130 which adds in voice search, a USB port, gaming buttons on the remote, a “find my remote” feature and an optical digital out port that supports surround sound.