Roku unveils $70 Streaming Stick+ with 4K & HDR, faster Express & Express+ models

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Roku on Monday announced a new lineup of video streaming devices and software, led the by Streaming Stick+, an upgraded version of its portable player with support for 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR).




The $69.99 product is also said to have four times the wireless range of its predecessor, and come with a voice-enabled remote, supporting voice search previously reserved for devices like the Roku Ultra. A new operating system -- Roku OS 8 -- improves natural language comprehension, while adding other things like the integration of live TV programming into search results, and single sign-on support for paid TV subscriptions, something Apple pioneered with iOS 10 and tvOS 10 last year.

The Express ($29.99) and Express+ ($39.99) continue to lack 4K and HDR, but have been given new processors five times faster than before. The two products are essentially identical except that the Express+ is a Walmart exclusive supporting TVs with composite inputs.

The Roku Express.
The Roku Express.


Also still on the market are a regular Streaming Stick ($49.99) and the top-end Ultra. The former now includes a voice-enabled remote, while the Ultra is essentially unchanged, aside from a dedicated power button on its remote and a permanent price cut to $99.99.

All of the upgraded players are slated to ship Oct. 8. The Roku OS 8 update will be a free download for compatible devices, including Roku TVs, but roll out gradually throughout October and November.

Roku's lineup could create problems for the Apple TV 4K, which shipped Sept. 22. While Apple's set-top is more powerful and sports features like Siri, Dolby Vision, and more elaborate apps, it also starts at $179, well above even the Ultra. The Streaming Stick+ may be more directly aimed at Amazon's new Fire TV, though, which shares similar specifications.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,982member
    sog35 said:
    Why the AppleTV is worth the extra costs:

    1. Roku has ads on the home screen. Pathetic.  And expect more and more ads on the Roku UI.  The CEO of Roku said the future of Roku is ads:

    http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/roku-ceo-anthony-wood-qa-1202576472/

    2. On board memory.  32 GB vs 4 GB on Roku.

    3. Much faster CPU

    4. Much faster GPU

    5. Free 4k upgrades

    6. Much better UI

    7. Much better Apps and App support


    Trying to save a few pennies a day to use a clearly inferior product seems ridiculous to me.

    Especially if you spent THOUSAND of dollars on your display and sound system.
    Meh. For a lot of people price will be the deciding factor unless they’re heavily invested in iTunes content. I mostly use my TV to stream Netflix and HBO Go. I don’t have a 4K TV. So the faster CPU/GPU and onboard storage don’t mean much to me. Can you show any evidence that consumers really care about apps on the TV? Apple rarely gives updates on the TV App Store and aside from showing off a random game on stage they don’t really talk much about new and exciting apps for TV. The only reason I can think of to spend the extra money is either you own a lot of iTunes content or are a huge sports fan and must have an MLB or NBA app with all the bells and whistles.
    DavidAlGregoryOferairnerd
  • Reply 2 of 25
    $70 gets you a 4K streamer. $179 gets you a personal computer that also does 4K streaming. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 142member, editor
    I actually use a Roku Ultra myself. The ads are unobstrusive, and as a rule it's actually excellent at what it's built for, which is streaming video. The interface is very easy, lack of an AI assistant notwithstanding. I don't bother running non-video/audio apps on it, but that may be the separator here - whether people think it's worth an extra $79 for Siri, better apps, and Dolby Vision.
    airnerd
  • Reply 4 of 25
    sog35 said:
    Why the AppleTV is worth the extra costs:

    1. Roku has ads on the home screen. Pathetic.  And expect more and more ads on the Roku UI.  The CEO of Roku said the future of Roku is ads:

    http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/roku-ceo-anthony-wood-qa-1202576472/

    "We have ads on the home screen, and it’s a great place to influence what content viewers watch. So we monetize that." Roku CEO

    2. On board memory.  32 GB vs 4 GB on Roku.

    3. Much faster CPU

    4. Much faster GPU

    5. Free 4k upgrades

    6. Much better UI

    7. Much better Apps and App support


    Trying to save a few pennies a day to use a clearly inferior product seems ridiculous to me.

    Especially if you spent THOUSAND of dollars on your display and sound system.
    I'm in total agreement on this with you. I had to hook up a Roku for my Parents (in their late 60s) when they bought one despite my reccommendation of an Apple TV. They couldn't figure it out, and even I had issue navigating the OS and UI of the Roku. They took it back. $30 more isn't that much to pay for something you plug and play with ease. This coming from someone that hates spending any more money than I have to...
    calipscooter63jony0
  • Reply 5 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,072member
    It would seem to me that Roku is in a precarious position in which they have a single product they rely on for income. The make hardware. They don’t have a streaming video service, they don’t have a music service, they don’t produce content. They rely on other companies for all of that. What if Amazon, for instance, would pull their Prime app from Roku devices like they did the ATV? Roku is tiny compared to Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, either of which could undercut them on price for the hardware. 

    Now I’m not saying that Roku isn’t a good product, it’s very good, but their market is being attacked by giants who have deep pockets and can wage war for a long time. You might say Apple is in a similar situation with the iPhone and you would be wrong. Apple is slowly diversifying with services, hardware, software, original content, the list is growing. If I were the Roku CEO I would be constantly looking over my shoulder at the giants focusing their gaze upon me. Remember when Nokia was the leader in cellphones.
    edited October 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    Can you show any evidence that consumers really care about apps on the TV? Apple rarely gives updates on the TV App Store and aside from showing off a random game on stage they don’t really talk much about new and exciting apps for TV.
    What are the limitations for apps on the ATV? Only what developers believe makes sense for use on a TV. An A10X with 3GB of RAM is going to be able run ANY iOS app that they wanted to make available for ATV, and iOS is obviously a popular app platform for consumers. Of course, there are going to be some things where developers like EA or 2K don't want to release popular iOS games (like Madden or NBA 2K) on the ATV because they would prefer people buy the console versions for TV use. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 25
    The fastest growing part of Roku's business is supposedly licensing their OS to TV manufacturers, not selling hardware.
    DavidAlGregory
  • Reply 8 of 25
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I feel like the irony is, if Apple released a more expensive product it would kill Roku.

    i figured out why Apple won’t make the TV a serious gaming machine, they wanna keep the same price point(like they usually do). They’re waiting until the tech is affordable for $199. The day we see an A12x chip, AR, 3D Touch, Taptic Engine etc. in a $179 Apple TV is the day the consoles will lose market share and the cheap streamers will be undesirable. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    You guys are funny. Roku has been on the market and the sector leader in its category for years. Now that Apple FINALLY updated Apple TV to compete in this category - not so much against Roku but Amazon Fire TV - all of a sudden Rokus work terrible, are impossible to understand and set up etc.? Which, for example, JUST HAPPEN to be the same arguments that you guys use against Android phones and Windows PCs? Hilarious. Well guys I have owned several Rokus. The difficult, arduous setup process is this: 1) create a Roku account using your email address 2) plug in your Roku to the HDMI port 3) plug in the power cable 4) connect the Roku to your Wi-Fi or Ethernet 5) sign in to the default streaming channels 6) add any new streaming channels that you want (which unlike Apple TV can be done either on the Roku itself or by managing it from the Roku website using the browser) That's it. It also just happens to be similar to the setup process of an Apple TV (which I have owned), smart Blu Ray player (which I have owned), iPads (which I have owned) and so forth. If anything a Roku is a breeze compared to the nightmare that is iTunes for Windows. Or the fact that there is no real web-based interface for the App Stores on either iOS or macOS. And all the things that the Apple TV does better than the Roku? Most people have no interest in. They aren't trying to do console-quality video games (there are Playstations, Switches and XBoxes that do it a lot better with much better content and don't cost that much more) or anything that would require all that CPU, GPU and RAM. The vast majority just want to stream Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Prime. You're deluding yourself if you think any differently. Apple TV is for hardcore Apple fans who have a ton of content on iTunes. And not because it is inherently better at it by the way. It is only because Apple TV is the only practical way to access your iTunes content. But if you have content on Google Play, Amazon Prime and Ultraviolet, Roku is better because it can actually play all those things. If being all Apple all the time is good for you, then great. But the rest of the market will choose what is best for them. And yes, for them price is a factor. Especially considering that the best TVs on the market these days - Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio - are already smart TVs anyway.
    AI_liasDavidAlGregoryrogifan_newOferairnerd
  • Reply 10 of 25
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 142member, editor
    cali said:
    I feel like the irony is, if Apple released a more expensive product it would kill Roku.

    i figured out why Apple won’t make the TV a serious gaming machine, they wanna keep the same price point(like they usually do). They’re waiting until the tech is affordable for $199. The day we see an A12x chip, AR, 3D Touch, Taptic Engine etc. in a $179 Apple TV is the day the consoles will lose market share and the cheap streamers will be undesirable. 
    Console marketshare will be difficult to sap until Apple ships a gamepad with each unit, dramatically expands storage (an Xbox One S has at least 500GB), and can guarantee a high-profile game catalog. Top performance is irrelevant if the best games are somewhere else.
    rogifan_new
  • Reply 11 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,354member
    . If being all Apple all the time is good for you, then great. But the rest of the market will choose what is best for them. And yes, for them price is a factor. Especially considering that the best TVs on the market these days - Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio - are already smart TVs anyway.
    Price is a factor, and one of many in what is a very personal choice about what tech to employ.

    (Repeating myself,) but I had to replace a failed 1080p HDTV. I got a good price on a Roku 4k HDR smart TV. I've not turned on my ATV4 since. It isn't that I dislike the ATV4, but the Roku was easy to set up, easy to use, and fits my very modest needs. I dislike the ATV remote. One remote to rule them all is something I really do like. Siri has one redeeming feature for me: "what did he say?" YMMV. 

    I rented my first 4k movie from Vudu. Went like clockwork, and it streamed flawlessly. I thought the 4k was visually stunning, but am not a big movie watcher. The free upgrade on iTunes of the handful of movies I own to 4k is a nice perk, but it is unlikely to make me upgrade the ATV just for that. Again, YMMV. 

    I had a Fire TV stick in one of the ports on the old HDTV. I never used it. The new Roku set has an Amazon app that is essentially the same OS, so the Fire stick, along with yet another remote is now in the "discontinued tech" box in a closet.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    You guys are funny. Roku has been on the market and the sector leader in its category for years. Now that Apple FINALLY updated Apple TV to compete in this category - not so much against Roku but Amazon Fire TV - all of a sudden Rokus work terrible, are impossible to understand and set up etc.? Which, for example, JUST HAPPEN to be the same arguments that you guys use against Android phones and Windows PCs? Hilarious. Well guys I have owned several Rokus. The difficult, arduous setup process is this: 1) create a Roku account using your email address 2) plug in your Roku to the HDMI port 3) plug in the power cable 4) connect the Roku to your Wi-Fi or Ethernet 5) sign in to the default streaming channels 6) add any new streaming channels that you want (which unlike Apple TV can be done either on the Roku itself or by managing it from the Roku website using the browser) That's it. It also just happens to be similar to the setup process of an Apple TV (which I have owned), smart Blu Ray player (which I have owned), iPads (which I have owned) and so forth. If anything a Roku is a breeze compared to the nightmare that is iTunes for Windows. Or the fact that there is no real web-based interface for the App Stores on either iOS or macOS. And all the things that the Apple TV does better than the Roku? Most people have no interest in. They aren't trying to do console-quality video games (there are Playstations, Switches and XBoxes that do it a lot better with much better content and don't cost that much more) or anything that would require all that CPU, GPU and RAM. The vast majority just want to stream Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Prime. You're deluding yourself if you think any differently. Apple TV is for hardcore Apple fans who have a ton of content on iTunes. And not because it is inherently better at it by the way. It is only because Apple TV is the only practical way to access your iTunes content. But if you have content on Google Play, Amazon Prime and Ultraviolet, Roku is better because it can actually play all those things. If being all Apple all the time is good for you, then great. But the rest of the market will choose what is best for them. And yes, for them price is a factor. Especially considering that the best TVs on the market these days - Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio - are already smart TVs anyway.
    Apple TV plays Ultraviolet content. 
  • Reply 13 of 25
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 153member
    Price drives some people. Features drives others. I want the best product with the best features for the money I can afford to spend. Those features for me are in the Apple TV 4K. I want Dolby Vision and HDR 10. Atmos will come later with an update. I’m also deep into the Apple ecosystem. Movies, music, apps, Apple Music, and storage. I love it when everything works together for my good. Vudu even has an app on Apple TV so I no longer have Ultraviolet issues when redeeming my digital copies. 

    I hate ads on my streaming services though so Roku would never be an option for me. Cheaper isn’t always better but enhancements (hardware and user experience) always cost more. 

    Apple’s fan base is intact they’ll buy again and again. Sog35 pretty much nailed it for me with his comments. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 25
    Console marketshare will be difficult to sap until Apple ships a gamepad with each unit, dramatically expands storage (an Xbox One S has at least 500GB), and can guarantee a high-profile game catalog. Top performance is irrelevant if the best games are somewhere else.
    The ATV doesn't match the console business model though. It's really an extension of iOS gaming, which in turn is probably a closer match to how games work with PCs. You've got a relatively broad range of hardware capability to cover, so more graphic intensive games scale will scale in quality to the specs being used. There's also less of a reason to bundle controllers since (similar to PC gaming) iOS and ATV don't require unique controllers for each generation of hardware (unlike consoles). 
  • Reply 15 of 25
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 142member, editor
    sog35 said:
    cali said:
    I feel like the irony is, if Apple released a more expensive product it would kill Roku.

    i figured out why Apple won’t make the TV a serious gaming machine, they wanna keep the same price point(like they usually do). They’re waiting until the tech is affordable for $199. The day we see an A12x chip, AR, 3D Touch, Taptic Engine etc. in a $179 Apple TV is the day the consoles will lose market share and the cheap streamers will be undesirable. 
    Console marketshare will be difficult to sap until Apple ships a gamepad with each unit, dramatically expands storage (an Xbox One S has at least 500GB), and can guarantee a high-profile game catalog. Top performance is irrelevant if the best games are somewhere else.
    IMO, ATV gaming would be more casual.  Like iOS gaming on the iPad/iPhone. There is a massive market for that.

    iOS gaming basically shrunk the standalone portable gaming market in half.  
    Ah, but if all people need is casual gaming, why would they want to buy something that's permanently attached to their TV (putting aside the Nintendo Switch for a moment)? The main differentiator between consoles and mobile devices at this point is that the controllers, storage, and processors on consoles are more advanced, precisely because they don't have to fit in a bag or pocket.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 16 of 25
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,982member
    Why is it heresy to think Apple having a cheaper TV offing would be a good thing? When Jobs announced the iPod Nano and Shuffle I don’t remember people complaining. I’m not saying replace the current TV wit a cheap dongle but create another product that’s is a cheap dongle for people who don’t have 4K, don’t care about fancy apps. The only reason I can think of that Apple isn’t doing this is because they’re worried it would kill sales of the current box. My answer to that is make the current box really worth the extra money. Perhaps turn it into a light gaming platform and ship it with a game controller.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    Ah, but if all people need is casual gaming, why would they want to buy something that's permanently attached to their TV (putting aside the Nintendo Switch for a moment)?
    It's not that easy to get people to agree on what "casual" gaming actually consists of. Some people define it as games that are only played for short periods of time. Some people define as a particular style of game. Some people define it as games that don't require much skill. Some people define it as games that have a limited learning curve. Is Minecraft casual? People can spend hundreds of hours carefully constructing elaborate designs. Is a realistic racing game casual? It's easy to pick up and play, but hard to master. Is the GTA series casual? A bullet hell game? A platformer? City building? Tower defense? Anything that isn't an online multiplayer FPS or RTS?
    edited October 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 25
    AI_liasAI_lias Posts: 293member
    Was surprised the other day to see a friend getting rid of his ATV in favor of Roku. He's a Mac guy (has a Hackintosh) so he likes what Apple is doing in general, but not everything. I'll hold onto my ATV 3 as long as I need to until hopefully they're put out a better remote, and lower the price. I love some Apple things, but for some of them you just get that general feeling that you're getting screwed on price without getting much in return. Hopefully all of this pressure from Amazon and Roku will be good for us.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    AI_liasAI_lias Posts: 293member
    sog35 said:
    AI_lias said:
    Was surprised the other day to see a friend getting rid of his ATV in favor of Roku. He's a Mac guy (has a Hackintosh) so he likes what Apple is doing in general, but not everything. I'll hold onto my ATV 3 as long as I need to until hopefully they're put out a better remote, and lower the price. I love some Apple things, but for some of them you just get that general feeling that you're getting screwed on price without getting much in return. Hopefully all of this pressure from Amazon and Roku will be good for us.
    Screwed on price?

    How is $179 versus $99 screwed on price?  For $79 more you get:

    1. Much faster CPU

    2. Much faster GPU

    NO ADVERTISEMENTS ON THE HOME SCREEN

    3. Much more robust App Store and App suport

    4. Much more memory - 32 GB vs 8 GB

    5. Free 4k upgrades

    6. Much better integration with Apple services - Apple Music, iTunes, Photo's, Family sharing

    7. Much better customer support

    8. Much better build quality

    You can say the ATV is more expensive. But it does give you many stuff the Roku lacks. Now its your decision if you need those extras. Many people do. 

    But saying Apple is screwing people on price is RIDICULOUS.
    That feeling of getting screwed on price by Apple is usually caused by the realization that their price increase is not commensurate with the features added and with technology getting cheaper over time, as is usually the case. This is also when seeing others adding features while keeping the price the same, or even lowering it. 
    as far as your numbers above: it's a goddamn TV box, I don't care how much RAM and what CPUs it has. It's also, I believe $179 vs. $79. Not sure how build quality would affect a set top box, it just sits there. The remote design is not good for the ATV, it could be gold-plated for all I care, would be just as finicky. So, that being said: I'll keep using my two ATV 3s for the time being, but good to see competition in this space. Of course I have all my media in Apple's ecosystem and I'm locked in Apple's Hotel California.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,143member
    sog35 said:
    AI_lias said:
    sog35 said:
    AI_lias said:
    Was surprised the other day to see a friend getting rid of his ATV in favor of Roku. He's a Mac guy (has a Hackintosh) so he likes what Apple is doing in general, but not everything. I'll hold onto my ATV 3 as long as I need to until hopefully they're put out a better remote, and lower the price. I love some Apple things, but for some of them you just get that general feeling that you're getting screwed on price without getting much in return. Hopefully all of this pressure from Amazon and Roku will be good for us.
    Screwed on price?

    How is $179 versus $99 screwed on price?  For $79 more you get:

    1. Much faster CPU

    2. Much faster GPU

    NO ADVERTISEMENTS ON THE HOME SCREEN

    3. Much more robust App Store and App suport

    4. Much more memory - 32 GB vs 8 GB

    5. Free 4k upgrades

    6. Much better integration with Apple services - Apple Music, iTunes, Photo's, Family sharing

    7. Much better customer support

    8. Much better build quality

    You can say the ATV is more expensive. But it does give you many stuff the Roku lacks. Now its your decision if you need those extras. Many people do. 

    But saying Apple is screwing people on price is RIDICULOUS.
    That feeling of getting screwed on price by Apple is usually caused by the realization that their price increase is not commensurate with the features added and with technology getting cheaper over time, as is usually the case. This is also when seeing others adding features while keeping the price the same, or even lowering it. 
    as far as your numbers above: it's a goddamn TV box, I don't care how much RAM and what CPUs it has. It's also, I believe $179 vs. $79. Not sure how build quality would affect a set top box, it just sits there. The remote design is not good for the ATV, it could be gold-plated for all I care, would be just as finicky. So, that being said: I'll keep using my two ATV 3s for the time being, but good to see competition in this space. Of course I have all my media in Apple's ecosystem and I'm locked in Apple's Hotel California.
    The Roku Elite is $99. It’s the one that has 4K and HDR.  The $79 model does not.

    You say the ATV 4K price is ridiculous.  

    Well find me a box that has the same specs and features as the ATV4 that cost less?  You can’t.

    And that’s the point.  To some people a faster CPU/GPU is worth the added costs. Others think the UI and remote is worth the extra cost. Or the extra memory. Or the free 4K upgrades.

    It may not be worth it to you, but its worth it to MANY PEOPLE. Many people want to do more than just stream Netflix on their box. 

    So no the price is NOT RIDICULOUS.  Besides you need to withhold judgement because you never used a ATV4 or ATV4K.  The ATV3 is a whole different animal. 

    The only RIDICULOUS think is you expecting the BMW of streaming boxes ( ATV 4K) to be the same price as the Toyota of streaming boxes (Roku).  
    All people care about in this space is streaming movies/shows through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the like. That’s all. All the other so called advantages such a gaming apps, people don’t care about. I have yet to see people wanting a Apple TV for gaming apps except on extreme Apple blogs. 

    Now I’ll finally be getting a new Apple TV 4K, since Apple decided to catch up in this space, only because I’ll get a great discount on it. Also, because I buy digital movie codes on the secondary market where iTunes movies and shows are ALWAYS CHEAPER, because no one buys them as codes for Vudu or UV are more expensive, this will be a bit of savings for me. 

    The new Apple TV is great like you said. Although, just as has been since the beginning, Apple will still be far behind in this space as they always have been. People just care about streaming. Nothing else. Prove it otherwise. 
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