Archives For Roku

Roku 4, For Real This Time

Dave Zatz —  October 6, 2015 — 41 Comments

After weeks of leaks, the Roku 4 finally breaks cover. As expected, new 4K and 801.11ac capabilities receive top billing, Also, not too shabby is the additional of optical output, unlike the majority of its streaming competition. And the mystery of that top port or sensor is finally solved. It’s neither. But, rather, a remote finder button used in conjunction with a small speaker grill on the back of an updated remote. To contain the upgraded tech, including a new quad core processor, the iconic Roku puck is no more — replaced with something that resembles a hotplate.


On the app side, Roku boasts more 4K content than others — beyond the requisite Amazon and Netflix, the HDCP 2.2 platform will also bring Vudu and M-Go at launch. But these app updates could end up replicating what one finds natively on their 4K televisions. And why it pains me that Roku didn’t sneak an OTA tuner or HDMI pass-thru into the larger chassis this time around. They’ve got a pleasant and efficient user interface (that already includes television support) and could keep non-DVR folks pinned to Input 1. Perhaps they disagree on the value of unifying that OTA linear and over-the-top content, like a TiVo or Xbox. Or maybe they’ve got some sort of non-compete in place with their television partners. Another missed opportunity is cleaning up that remote. Roku’s top tier streamer breaks the $100 threshold for the first time, clocking in at $130 – $30 more than the 4k Fire TV. I’d think this flagship model could easily do away with the spam buttons. And one reason why I may never upgrade from my 2014 Roku 3.

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As we continue to hunt the elusive Roku 4, a source has provided the below image… which, after a long absence, indicates the triumphant return of S/PDIF optical audio to the Roku platform. And what makes this detail even more compelling is that Amazon has dropped optical from their competing 4K Fire TV this generation, to the consternation of some.


Beyond these restored audio capabilities, which we’d expect from a flagship streamer, we know the Roku 4 serves up 4K video hand in hand with 802.11ac wireless for the first time. A previously disclosed full frontal photo (below) more clearly depicts a new elongated form (“the hotplate“) and from the FCC filing we know there’s a handy new finger-depressable reset button on the bottom. What we don’t know are specific 4k-specific details, like HDMI version or potential support for HDR. Plus, it’s unclear what that sensor or port on the top of the Roku is all about. Lastly, and possibly related, I’m hopeful Roku’s got some software surprises for us. Continue Reading…

The Roku 4 Has Been Spotted

Dave Zatz —  September 28, 2015 — 16 Comments

As you know, we’ve been tracking the Roku 4 and fully anticipate it’ll stream 4k – like the revised Amazon Fire TV. Further, via FCC filings, we know the Roku 4 (4400) moves from WiFi Direct to Bluetooth — perhaps suggesting Roku will make another run at gaming, which is also one of the new Apple TV’s marketing angles. And now, via AFTVNews, an image of the new streamer has appeared… that fully confirms this model will indeed go by “Roku 4.” Further, we can see Roku has redesigned the enclosure to accommodate whatever circuitry is required for its new capabilities. As to timing and pricing, I assume we’ll receive official word either later this week or next… as I have intel that indicates hardware is en route.


Roku 4 Just Days Away

Dave Zatz —  September 21, 2015 — 45 Comments

The largely forgotten Cinema Now movie streaming service, once acquired and then sold by Best Buy, appears to have launched a promotion in cooperation with Roku… that seemingly announces the Roku 4. Or a line of 4k Rokus. Hard to tell if this is a clerical error or true indicator that a Roku 4 set-top and 4k-streaming Roku TVs will be available real soon. But the timing certainly seem reasonable.


Of course, given what Amazon is doing with the new Fire TV and what Apple has neglected with their new hardware, I’d think an upgraded Roku would feature 4k UHD streaming resolution (in conjunction with beefed up processing power and memory).

UPDATE: By way of UKRokuChannels, the evidence continues to mount that Roku 4k is nearly here…


UPDATE 2: New Rokus just passed thru the FCC. Given the documentation, I’m guessing it’s possible the 2015 Roku 2 & 3 could both be upgraded to new 4k hardware and that perhaps there is no actual “Roku 4.” It’s also possible these are a coincidental and minor hardware refresh of existing models — the plot thickens…


UPDATE 3: What I believe to be the “real” Roku 4 (4400) has just passed thru the FCC. From the filing itself, we’ve learned it gains new wireless capabilities, including Bluetooth and dual band WiFi with support for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. Beyond that, we see a brand spanking new reset button – which could give a sense a scale and might suggest the Roku 4 is larger than than the existing Roku 2/3. Of course we assume this Roku 4 will stream 4k content and, rumor has it, that it’ll also pack a beefed up 2GB of memory. If the filing isn’t proof enough of a new unit, a 4400x has been showing up in app developer usage logs.

UPDATE 4: AFTVNews has turned up a new box … which we now know for certain is called the Roku 4. Of course, we still believe it’ll feature 4k streaming. But hopefully there are some other things going on here worthy of an upgrade, as Roku remains my preferred streamer.


(Thanks AeroR1, via L7AV)

With no fanfare, Dropbox has arrived in the Roku channel store. And the video playback possibilities are highly intriguing.

Dropbox is a simple way to store and share your files. And now you can bring all the photos and videos in your Dropbox straight to your TV.

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Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  July 29, 2015 — 7 Comments

A stitch in time saves nine…

As older TiVo set-tops losing Amazon Instant and YouTube, Roku has drawn a line in the sand with similar partner responses. No Roku players produced prior to May 2011 (a lifetime ago in this space) will receive software updates. And, as app complexity and hardware requirements increase, existing channels will be dropped. Namely HBO GO – which was retired this week:

Beginning July 14th 2015, HBO GO will no longer be available on the Classic Roku devices. HBO strives to offer its customers the best possible experience on the Roku platform. Due to Roku’s discontinued support of the classic Roku players, HBO would be unable to guarantee a great video experience on these Classic Roku devices. Classic Roku players (those made before May 2011) have a more limited experience than current generation Roku players due to ongoing changes in software. Unfortunately, HBO Go will no longer be compatible with these devices

Time marches forward and this really isn’t a case of forced obsolescence. Not to mention, as with Amazon on TiVo, Roku will throw you a bone — offeringing a 20% discount on any new Roku 1, 2, or 3.

We understand this may be an inconvenience and we’re offering a discount if you are eligible so that you can update your player. Please email for instructions.


This weekend, Hulu and Roku are offering two months of free streaming to new customers. Where “new” generally means new email address. Given the imminent arrival of Showtime on Hulu (for an additional fee), I figured I’d strike while the iron is hot. However, the signup process was something of a turn off. Hulu, Roku, or maybe both require a gender and birth year to complete the registration process and surely feed their advertising initiatives. Obviously those can be spoofed if one so chooses, but I played along. However, where they lost me is Roku, versus Hulu, requiring a credit card on file.

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