King of the streaming sticks updates its range

The new $70 Amazon Fire TV supports 4K HDR video and includes an Alexa-powered remote

The new $70 Amazon Fire TV supports 4K HDR video and includes an Alexa-powered remote

Roku is a public company now, so that means it needs to keep shareholders happy.

The final two devices in the range, the budget-friendly Express and the Walmart-exclusive Express+ have been updated. They cost $49.99 and $69.99, respectively, and include remote controls with voice search and commands.

One note on HDR: The Roku Streaming Stick+ only supports HDR10, not Dolby Vision, so if you have a 4K TV with HDR, make sure it supports that format. In the absence of complete specs it is hard to say if the current requirements of the new device is greater than what is typically supplied by on-set USB ports, but experience with current models from a variety of 4K models suggest that the factory-supplied adapter will be required. Previous versions of a streaming stick from Roku have all been strictly-1080p, with 2160P reserved for the full set-top boxes.

People may have fawned over the new Apple TV 4K and Amazon Fire TV 2017 when they were announced back in September, but remember, it was Roku who started the whole streaming box movement nearly a decade ago.

Roku's new $70 Streaming Stick+ streams in the same 4K HDR at 60fps video resolution as the $179 Apple TV 4K, but for under half the price. These affordable devices feature a new chip, supposedly making it five-times more powerful than the 2016 models. Roku says the Streaming Stick+ can get four times the wireless range as last year's streaming stick.

In the streaming hardware sector, Roku competes with Amazon, Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL)-owned Google and others. There's an Ethernet port, a remote with a headphone jack, and the device is expandable through the use of microSD or USB storage.

The latest free update, Roku OS 8, brings a slew of new additions.

Pre-orders for Roku's new streaming player lineup are set to launch today for an October 8 release.

First, the absence of Dolby Vision leaves the Chromecast Ultra and the new Apple TV 4K as the only streamers now available with that format. That's because Roku seems to have abandoned the United Kingdom market, refusing to offer us anything better than the Roku 3 - despite having launched a number of high end boxes over the past two years.

Finally, the Roku Ultra is the flagship of the bunch. It's launching the new Roku Express, Express+, Streaming Stick, Streaming Stick+ and the Ultra today. They're great for first-time streamers or for adding another streaming device to another room.

Fresh on the heels of its IPO last Thursday, Roku updated its product line with a focus on an improved OS for both stand-alone devices and the growing number of Roku-equipped TVs, as well as replacement models to strengthen its segment-leading market share position.

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