Roku has announced its new streaming media player, the Roku 4, with support for Ultra-HD 4K streaming, but it comes at a higher price.
The streaming pioneer’s new media player’s most immediate feature is the larger footprint. An interesting direction for a technology company to go, but in this case, it’s not necessarily a bad one. It also is being touted as the first Roku to support 4k resolution streaming, which is paired with a new 802.11ac WiFi chip for faster internet.
The price also got “upgraded”, marking the first time the company has deviated from its original $99 price ceiling. The new Roku costs $130.
Roku is a company that started with a streaming Internet radio player, the SoundBridge. It’s first video and movie streaming box was the Netflix Player, introduced in 2008 to challenge Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) early dominance in the computerized TV market. When Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced its Chromecast, Roku fought back with a Streaming Stick, and today the company represents the brains behind many smart TVs.
The Roku 4 marks another important moment for Roku, after having released 3 other similar streaming boxes, the 4 is the first, of course, to support 4K video. It also features a quad-core processor, dual band wifi, and, of course, it breaks the $99 traditional price ceiling. Interestingly, Roku finally added an optical audio port, even though those are going out of style in favor of digital audio over HDMI.
The player can upscale video from lower resolutions to the resolution of your TV, in case your television does a bad job of it. It’s HDMI port is fully compatible with the HDCP 2.2 copy protection spec, which also means it’s 4k video mode can run at a buttery 60 FPS.
Storage space has become more important, since the Roku has good support for games, and the Roku 4 now has support for a microSD card as well as a USB port that can access external media.
Currently, although the Roku supports over 2,500 sources, 4k content is still rare. Currently, among the supported channels is: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), YouTube, Vudu, ToonGoogles, and M-Go.