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Roku hails biggest device launch in its history

Roku_Full_Line_Up_1_0Roku has introduced five new streaming devices in what it described as the biggest player launch in the company’s history.

The new device line-up introduces new entry-level options as well as high-end 4K and high dynamic range (HDR)-capable devices.

The full product line consists of the Roku Express, Roku Express+, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra and ranges in price from US$29.99 to US$129.99 – undercutting both Google’s US$35 Chromecast at the low-end of the market and the US$149 Apple TV at the top-end.

The entry level Roku Express models – priced at US$29.99 for the Express and US$39.99 for the Express+ – are Roku’s “most affordable streaming players ever”, according to the company, offering 1080p HD streaming in a simple dongle-style device.

At the top-end, the Roku Ultra box offers HD, 4K at up to 60 fps and HDR streaming. It also supports Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

The mid-range Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+ boxes will retail for US$79.99 and US$99.99 respectively. The Premiere also supports 4K UHD playback while the Premiere+ includes HDR support.

“Roku stands for streaming innovation and today we’re celebrating the biggest player launch in our company’s history, including the introduction of the Roku Express player which delivers a complete streaming experience for a shockingly low price of US$29.99,” said Roku founder and CEO, Anthony Wood.

“Whether consumers simply want fast HD streaming via an inexpensive device or are looking for a top-of-the-line player with advanced features such as 4K and HDR, Roku is an easy choice.”

At the same time, the streaming device maker said that Roku Search had hit a milestone, with content from more than 100 channels now available to browse – up from 50 channels in June. Roku Search is designed to give a cross-service rundown of content, ordered by what is free or the lowest price for viewers.

Roku said that its five new streaming players complement its popular, April-introduced Roku Streaming Stick, and offer viewers “the most complete streaming player line-up”.

“With this new lineup, though added mid-range and high-end depth will address the growing 4K TV set market, Roku’s most disruptive product in the new lineup is undoubtedly the new entry-level Express model,” said senior analyst at IHS Technology, Paul Erickson.

“Chromecast’s low price, despite not being a standalone product, propelled it to become the most popular-selling streaming device in the world. With that as background, it is expected that Roku Express’ delivery of full standalone capability at an even lower price point will result in astrong consumer response.”

The new Roku devices will be available over the coming weeks in US, Canada and Mexico, with no details currently about a European rollout.

The news also comes amid reports that Google plans to launch a new 4K version of Chromecast and its new Amazon Echo-rivalling speaker device, Google Home, at an event planned for October 4.

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