Roku has gotten to grips with the brand new Roku Express 4K, which is designed to offer crisp Ultra HD picture quality and HDR colors at an affordable price. The new set-top box, which plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port to unlock access to dozens of streaming services and games, hits some of the most popular TVs out there, including the Amazon Fire TV range and Chromecast with Google TV that debuted in the past six months.
Roku Express 4K is optimized for some of the highest image standards available today, including 4K resolution, which is four times the number of pixels than 1080p full definition, HDR, HDR10 and HDR10 + color standards. HD is also supported for those with older TVs or for those restricted by their streaming plan (for example, Netflix only offers 4K picture quality for those paying for the most expensive subscription tier of £ 13.99 per month).
Roku will charge £ 39.99 for the Express 4K when it goes on sale in May 2021. For comparison, Amazon is charging £ 49.99 for its Fire TV Stick 4K, which offers streaming in the same 4K Ultra HD picture quality with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10 +. In contrast to the Roku, Amazon also supports Dolby Vision.
The Chromecast with Google TV costs £ 59.99 and supports the same Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HDR10 + standards.
All of these streaming devices have advantages and disadvantages. The Fire TV range is ideal for those who are deeply invested in the ever-growing ecosystem of Amazon devices like the Amazon Echo and Echo Show, as it leverages the chatty Alexa voice assistant and allows you to integrate existing Echo hardware to Create a surround sound system for your television. Likewise, Chromecast with Google TV includes features that make it more convenient for those who rely on Google and Android on a daily basis.
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And Roku? The biggest selling point over competitors is the wide range of streaming services and games. While no single streaming set-top box has access to all of the services in the area, Roku is as close to a one-stop shop as you will find it. From Apple TV +, YouTube, Prime Video, NOW TV, Shudder, Disney +, StarzPlay, and more – there are now more than 20,000 streaming apps in its library. In addition, it is aimed at both Google Assistant and Alexa voice assistants.
The Express 4K will launch with Roku’s latest operating system, Roku OS 10. The updated software will also roll over to a number of existing devices, including Roku branded smart TVs, the Roku Streambar, and more. Roku OS 10 supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 standard, making it easy to stream, control, and share photos, videos, and games right from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
There’s also automatic Wi-Fi detection that lets Roku users know the optimal wireless network band to connect to in their homes so they can enjoy the best streaming experience possible.
Roku devices running Roku OS 10 recommend the optimal wireless network while connecting. If there is a better network connection available in your home, the Roku device will proactively display a prompt recommending that the user connect to that network for a better user experience. If your WiFi router supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks, this can be a good way to assess which gives the best video streaming experience.
Roku Express 4K also supports HomeKit, which allows users to easily and securely control Roku devices using Siri or the Home app on their Apple devices.
“We want to provide the easiest way for users to stream entertainment to their television at an affordable price,” said Mark Ely, vice president of retail product strategy for Roku. “The new Roku Express 4K offers tremendous value as 4K streaming has become a benchmark for technology and entertainment. We believe consumers will be impressed with the quality they can get from Roku at this price point. “
Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS, added, “The Roku OS offers more value and makes streaming easier with each free update. With Roku OS 10, we’re simplifying setup by taking the guesswork out of the more complex networking and gaming features by automating them. We’re also creating tremendous value by expanding Apple AirPlay and HomeKit support to our current offering. “