Back in the day, our TVs were simply displays that showed movies, the news, TV series, documentaries, and more from television broadcast stations. Nowadays our TVs have gotten smarter, allowing us to download apps, surf the web, play games, watch inte…
Category Archives: roku
The YouTube TV standalone online TV streaming service is now available on select Roku devices. The service enables Roku users to stream live local, sports, and national news channels on-demand. It also provides them with access to major broadcast and…
Voice assistants are increasingly becoming popular and Roku has now confirmed that it’s throwing its hat in the ring as well. The company today confirmed that it’s going to develop and launch its own voice assistant by the fall of 2018. It’s going to release the voice assistant as a free update for all existing Roku TVs and streaming devices. The company also announced the expansion of its licensing program to cover soundbars and smart speakers.
Roku has announced that it’s going to launch reference designs for soundbars and smart speakers. This will help third-party manufacturers develop products that can connect to Roku TVs directly and have the ability to control Roku TV apps through voice commands.
There is a voice control option available to users with a Roku remote or the mobile app. They can use this feature to pull up content on a TV screen when it’s turned on. However, the voice assistant will do that with natural language processing and even let users pull up Roku content on different devices even if the TV is turned off initially.
Roku has also said that TCL is going to be the first company to launch a new device as part of its new entertainment licensing program but it hasn’t provided any details about what this device is going to be and when it’s going to arrive.
Expect Roku to reveal more information about these upcoming products at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 in Las Vegas next week.
Roku today announced that it has added another popular brand to its Roku TV licensing program. Philips-branded TVs are manufactured for the U.S. market by Japan’s Funai. The smart TVs used to be powered by the in-house NetTV platform which wasn’t that great to begin with. New Philips-branded TVs will now come with Roku’s operating system out of the box, providing a much smarter connected TV experience.
A variety of Philips-branded TV sets are sold in the United States. These include 4K UltraHD models while some have support for Chromecast and Dolby Vision.
Funai, the company that makes these TVs for the U.S. market, hasn’t confirmed as yet which Philips models will come with Roku OS out of the box. One can expect that the 4K UltraHD models will have Roku to compete with similar products from companies like TCL.
The Roku OS enables users to access more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes. They can even access more than 5,000 streaming channels. The OS receives automatic updates so users already have the latest features and improvements.
It’s unclear right now how much the Philips Roku TV models are going to cost. Roku has confirmed, though, that some models are expected to be available in the United States this year.
Roku makes some of the best streaming media devices on the market right now. Lately, there have been reports that the company is thinking about jumping on the smart speaker bandwagon. It was recently been discovered that the company acquired an audio startup in September and that acquisition seems like a big indication that Roku wants to get a piece of this expanding pie as well.
Smart speakers have really taken off over the past year or so. Companies like Amazon and Google are trying to capture a big chunk of the market. Even Apple has thrown its hat in the ring.
A recent regulatory filing by Roku has been discovered which reveals that it quietly acquired Dynastrom, a Danish audio startup, in September for $3.5 million. The filing doesn’t mention Dynastorm by name but does mention a privately held tech startup that’s based in Denmark.
Variety did some digging and found that many Dynastrom employees, including its CEO and CTO, joined Roku back in September. The filing does mention that Roku made this acquisition to “enhance the company’s player product offering.”
Dynastorm makes software that can be integrated into a speaker hardware to stream music over Wi-Fi. It has previously been reported that Roku is working on far-field voice technology, which is something that you find on devices like the Amazon Echo.
All of this circumstantial evidence points to the possibility that Roku has started working on a smart speaker. Just what it will be capable of remains to be seen. Roku has not yet confirmed or denied these reports.
Plex today announced that it’s bringing its Live TV service to Roku. It already has support for Apple TV, Android TV, and Fire TV. Support for Roku’s devices was missing, it was hard to miss that fact initially. The wait ends for Roku device owners soon as the Plex Live TV service is finally going to be released for this platform.
Users will require a Plex Pass to access the Live TV service. Plex has confirmed today that a beta release of the service is out now for Roku and that it’s planning to release it to all Plex Pass subscribers in about a week from now.
Plex Pass subscribers who have the Roku preview channel installed will be able to use Roku to watch free HDTV digital broadcast channels. The channels will also include local news and sports.
Users will have the ability to fast-forward, pause or rewind using time-shifting. All they need for this is a Plex Pass subscription and a digital antenna-tuner to enjoy their favorite shows and more.
The Plex Pass subscription costs $4.99 per month. It’s much less than the base price of many over-the-top TV streaming services, but then again, subscribers are limited to the channels they can get from their digital antenna.
It was reported recently that Roku might launch a 4K-compatible streaming stick in the near future and that has happened today. The Roku 4K streaming stick has been officially launched today by the company. It’s not really surprising to see that Roku has refreshed its hardware lineup at this time of the year. It traditionally refreshes its hardware lineup in the fall.
Not only has Roku launched a 4K streaming stick, the company has also upgraded its cheapest streaming players and has also cut the price of the Roku Ultra, its top-of-the-line streaming device.
Priced at $70, the Roku Streaming Stick+ offers up to 4x the wireless range of its predecessor to minimize buffering. It’s capable of streaming 4K, 4K HDR, and HD content up to 60 frames per second.
It comes with a new voice remote which includes buttons for TV power and volume which can be used to control compatible TVs with. The remote is also used for controlling the Roku Streaming Stick.
The Roku Express and Roku Express+ are the new cheapest models from the company. They’re great for first-time streamers or for adding another streaming device to another room. They start at $29.99.
The Roku Ultra remains the company’s most powerful and feature-packed player. It’s also capable of streaming 4K HDR content. The price of the Roku Ultra has been cut to $99.99.
Roku’s refreshed streaming player lineup is available for pre-order starting today from the company’s website, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and other retailers. The products will be available in stores by October 8th.
Roku might be gearing up to launch a 4K streaming stick of its own. According to a new report, Roku is going to release its Chromecast Ultra competitor later this year. The biggest selling point of this stick is likely going to be its ability to stream content in 4K resolution.
According to a report from Zatz Not Funny, Roku is going to announce several hardware updates this fall as it traditionally does. Some of the 2017 models are said to feature a new Roku remote that expands television control and even includes a power button. The volume rocker may be added to more models.
A 4K HDR Roku Streaming Stick+ has also been “confirmed” in the report. It’s going to join the company’s mid-range lineup and will maintain the dongle form factor. It’s also going to ship with the universal remote.
The entry-level Roku Express is reportedly going to get a “significant performance bump,” so it will be interesting to see just how capable the latest generation of this product is going to be.
Roku hasn’t said anything about any of this so far so nothing is confirmed at this point in time. Recent reports have also suggested that Roku might be building its very own Amazon Echo rival.
Those who are in the market for a new 4K TV with High Dynamic Range support should look at the latest options from Hisense. A new series of 4K Hisense Roku TVs is available starting today. They promise the ultimate viewing experience coupled with Roku’s software which brings a world of entertainment content to the user’s fingertips.
The R6 4K Hisense Roku TV series has support for High Dynamic Range or HDR. It also features UHD Upscaling which converts lower resolution content to as close to 4K as possible to provide an enhanced viewing experience with maximum brightness and Motion Rate 120 for smoothness.
The company does mention that the HDR viewing experience is going to vary by model, content availability, and internet connection, but that’s to be expected.
The R6 series is powered by the latest version of the Roku OS which has a simple home screen that puts all entertainment options in one place. It provides access to more than 5,000 channels, the Roku 4K Spotlight channel, over 500,000 movies and TV episodes, and more.
These new TVs from Hisense are available in 50, 55, and 65 inch sizes and are priced at $499, $549, and $799 respectively. The 4K Hisense Roku TVs are now available for purchase from select Sam’s Club outlets across the country and online at samsclub.com.
Following Amazon’s runaway success with the Echo smart speaker, many companies jumped on the smart speaker bandwagon. There are countless options available to customers now that want a smart speaker with an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant. If a new report is to be believed, a Roku Amazon Echo rival is in the pipeline as well.
Roku is best known for its streaming video devices. It’s not a company that you would associate with audio products but Roku seems to be willing to change that. Variety reports that Roku has been working on advancing voice control and is also ramping up its audio offers.
Roku has reportedly posted new job offers that show it wants to focus more on audio. Variety has also reviewed other public documents. After compiling all of the information, it’s of the view that Roku is building its very own smart speaker.
Roku has recently posted job offers for audio-centric roles that include a “Sr. Software Engineer, Audio” and a “Sr. Software Engineer, New Products, Audio (Expert).” One can argue that perhaps these job openings are for improving the voice integration in Roku’s existing products.
Some Roku video streaming products do ship with remote controls that have integrated microphones. Some streaming boxes also have optical audio outputs.
However, the audio experts it wants to hire will also be responsible for “voice user interface design,” this is commonly used to refer to screen-less interaction design that relies on voice commands from the user and spoken feedback from the device.
Variety has also spotted that some of Roku’s recent hires have a background in speech recognition.
It’s all circumstantial evidence at this point in time but it won’t be surprising at all if Roku decides to come out with its own smart speaker.