At first glance, it seems confusing to have so many products that ultimately do the same thing, BUT as the prices go up, the products do that thing (stream content. Just in case you forgot) a little better than the last.
The Roku Express is the most affordable option at $40 Canadian and it gives you all the basics AKA doesn’t give you the ‘premium’ options – 1080p, a remote, connects via single-band Wi-Fi, and of course access to the Roku interface, which includes Roku TV.
Well, today Roku unveiled their updated version of this product, the Roku Express 4K, which actually squares up against the more expensive streaming products, but keeps the affordable price tag of $49.99.
For only $10 more than the original model, you’ll get the upgrade from 1080p to 4K HDR 10+ streaming. You’ll also get a better streaming connection through dual-band Wi-Fi and the option to use Ethernet as well, which is an option only available with Roku’s most expensive option, the Roku Streambar. Plus there’s now a quad core processor and additional storage. Sounds good to me.
Just like the Express, you can also use Roku with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri.
Today, Roku has also announced the software update, Roku OS 10, that is installed on the Roku Express 4K and will be rolling out to other Roku streaming players, audio products, and Roku TV models.
This OS update brings compatibility with Apple Airplay 2 and Homekit to HD Roku streaming devices, such as the original Roku express and select HD Roku TV models – NOT just the 4K models like it was before. Thanks for being inclusive, Roku. I like that about you.
Another nifty trick OS 10 brings is Automatic Wi-Fi Network Detection which notifies Roku users of the optimal wireless network to connect to. This should make setting up your device a lot easier. If there is a better connection on another network, your Roku device will notify you.
For gamers using Roku TV, Roku OS 10 will automatically detect game consoles and configure supported features to optimize the TVs performance for playing video games. For example, your Roku TV will automatically activate Game Mode while you’re playing games. Depending on the Roku TV model, automatic configuration can also include HDR gaming, Auto Low-Latency, Variable Refresh Rate, High Frame Rate, and THX Certified Game Mode.
Lastly, Roku OS 10 brings support for HDR10+, which will make all the colours on your TV jump out at you even more.
So, for $10 more than the original, the Roku Express 4K definitely adds features that are worth spending that extra bit of cash. But, remember all those models I talked about at the beginning? Well, one of them – The Roku Streaming Stick – costs $70 and that $20 extra seems to give you voice control, volume control, and a TV power button on the remote.
That’s actually quite a bit, but you can decide how many extra features you want to pay for. While the specs from product to product is kind of confusing, it’s nice that Roku gives you options, in case you don’t really care about a voice control remote or the option to use ethernet.
It’s up to you! But one thing is for sure…the Roku Express 4K gets you quite a bit for what you pay and it’s still cheaper than most other streaming products from other companies!
You can get more information at Roku.com. It will be available sometime in May.