Archives For Roku

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.

roku4-rear

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

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

Roku 4 Just Days Away

Dave Zatz —  September 21, 2015

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.

roku4-promo

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…

Roku4K-Showcase

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…

roku-4

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.

roku-4

(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.

Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  July 29, 2015

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 promohelp@roku.com for instructions.

roku-hulu-deal

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.

Continue Reading…

Update! Roku has asked TechCrunch to remove an inaccurate statement and tells us: “Roku does not collect data from a customer’s WiFi network nor collect data from any other devices on a customer’s WiFi network.” Move along on, folks! Original story follows:

roku-interactive-ad

Assuming neither TechCrunch nor Roku misspoke, our streaming boxes (and sticks) will soon begin snooping on us. As Roku looks to generate revenue beyond meager hardware margins, they’re getting serious with measurement and advertising. And I get the need to monetize. However, the incoming ad platform piloted on Crackle is all sorts of creepy:

These interactive ads can also be personalized using data like a user’s location, as well as by tracking information collected on devices running on a household’s Wi-Fi network using traditional means.

Geo-targeting is a generally accepted practice to fine-tune offers, but sniffing my network to see what other devices I might be running is well out of bounds. Further, what other data will be passed along? For example, as Roku ramps up their analytics business, how might folks linking a Plex library or having installed an “adult” channel feel?

If TC’s nugget holds true, Roku will clearly need to update their privacy policy. It was last revised in March, to accomodate Nuance’s voice search, but makes absolutely no mention of identifying my location or scanning my network — something I imagine privacy groups, the EFF, and others would want to be aware of.