NEW Roku 2 & 3, With Voice Search, Just Days Away


While I generally only trawl the FCC for new, original filings, Janko Roettgers of GigaOm recently turned up a pair of revised Roku boxes. And those models have just popped up on Zones and Best Buy Canada.

I imagine the prices are off, given prerelease timing and exchange rates, and I wouldn’t recommend pre-ordering from these guys given our limited information. But expected availability of April 13th or so, according to Best Buy, seems quite possible. As to the hardware itself, we’re looking at a refreshed Roku 2 (4210) and Roku 3 (4230)… Unfortunately, very little can be gleaned from the “permissive change” FCC filings beyond the guts of the new 2 will much more closely resemble a 3. Fortunately, the premature Best Buy listings provide greater detail…

As with the revised TiVo Mini, one could reasonably assume manufacturing cost savings and perhaps slight boost in performance as factors in a redesign. Clearly there are some minor cosmetic changes to box styling, including a 90 degree turn on that LED and newfound parity between 2 and 3 enclosures… with hopefully equivalent processing power to support the newer Roku Netflix app, for example.

Some of the more apparent changes are in the remote department. Whereas the current Roku 2 ships with headphones, it looks like that feature will be dropped from the new 2. Further, Roku and Google have doubled down on their partnership with new quick launch buttons for YouTube and Google Play (at least in Canada and displacing former residents like Amazon, Hulu, M-Go, Blockbuster). More interesting is a new search button on the Roku 3 that replaces trick play… and perhaps takes on additional importance:

Search across most channels by using your voice with the enhanced remote

Additional software enhancements wouldn’t be out of the question either, especially given references to a new “Roku Feed.” But I have no reason to believe either of these will be the Roku 4K model alluded to at CES.

The (original) Roku 3 remains my preferred streamer, ahead of Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, so it’ll be interesting to see if there’s enough new here to upgrade — keeping in mind it’s quite possible any software enhancements and a new remote could be made available to my existing unit.

26 thoughts on “NEW Roku 2 & 3, With Voice Search, Just Days Away”

  1. “The two products without two shielding PINs of RJ45 connector”

    Obviously an indication of Apple content access.

  2. This doesn’t exactly makes sense, if there was a new Roku 3 and the original 3 was kept in the line that makes sense. A revamped 2 doesn’t unless it can be sold new at 40 to 50 dollars, but even then that’s the price of the Roku stick.

  3. The built in headset capability of the Roku 3 is now my primary Roku and allows me to enjoy content no closed captioned–but SHOULD be according to new law (at least as I understand it); certain shows have aired on both OTA and closed MVPD’s within the last year, at lest.

  4. Yeah, we’re flying somewhat blind here MJR. However, Roku has reused names and confused generations before. From the Best Buy listings and FCC filings, I’m guessing the 2 and 3 will share the same processing power this time around for greater app parity among boxes. But it also looks like the Roku 2 headphone option may become a Roku 3 exclusive.

  5. I’d love it if the remote for the 3 could do TV volume. Zooming way in on that picture seems to show a line near the front where the IR window would be, so I can hope!

  6. I wish they would at least add HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) capability like every other HDMI connected device on the market so we could power TV off and on and control volume from Roku remote. Every other remote sucks compared to Roku remote.

  7. I’m a little confused and disappointed… I have been following the release date for the Roku 4…waiting to buy all March… Then the date was pushed back to summer… Now this!? I can’t see any reason for someone to upgrade if you already have a 3,but if you are like me, and need a box now, it might be worth it.

    I was really hoping for a better remote on the 4 (lit, and TV power) so I still might wait

  8. Mike, I’ve got quite a few alerts set up and have read several articles on a “Roku 4” the last couple months – none were based in fact as far as I can tell, and I suspect it’s a Google clickbait strategy of some sort. But maybe they’ll surprise us sooner rather than later.

    Dan, Aaron, Agreed IR volume control and CEC would be nice enhancements. Love being able to flip inputs to Fire TV, for example, just by hitting a remote button to wake it. Sadly, the remotes don’t appear to include a power button…

  9. As a somewhat happy owner of the roku 2, I can attest to needing more processing power. This looks intriguing but as I am stuck in the nineties with a JVC CRT TV that only has RCA connections I can only observe with envy.

  10. I love my Roku 3 and would be very disappointed if the new Roku didn’t add 802.11ac support. I have had an ac router going on close to three years now and expect new products to support the 802.11ac connectivity.

  11. Dangit! I finally got us a brand spankin’ new Roku 3 after suffering through Amazon Fire TV Stick and Chromecast, thinking they could replace our very old Roku XD! Of course a new one comes out right after that. :-)

  12. An ATV refresh with Siri at June WWDC could really take the wind out of the sails for products launched in April. Maybe these are just a holdover while Roku waits to see what happens. I could foresee the lack of an app store becoming a bigger liability for them in the very near future.

  13. “An ATV refresh with Siri at June WWDC could really take the wind out of the sails for products launched in April.”

    As everybody knows, Periscope has rendered both products obsolete. Who wants to watch professionally produced programming when you can watch fridges?

    “I could foresee the lack of an app store becoming a bigger liability for them in the very near future.”

    I assume the “them” in your quote refers to Roku. But Roku already has an app store. And Apple most assuredly won’t have one. (Apple would have to let in folks like Amazon if they did, and that would violate the Prime Directive. I’m sure Apple will expand features in their next rev, but they certainly won’t open up the box beyond the walled garden. Which is why folks like me don’t want one.)

  14. “This looks intriguing but as I am stuck in the nineties with a JVC CRT TV that only has RCA connections I can only observe with envy.”

    You do know you buy a brand spanking new 32″ flat-panel HDTV for under $150 bucks, right? (And I’m sure you could get something used even cheaper…)

  15. Don’t think I haven’t thought about it. I don’t want to watch a low end HDTV, and my 150 pound JVC isn’t easily going to get out of my living room.

    I appreciate your suggestion, however. Plus I had a great love for my Panasonic Plasma that I’ve yet to get over selling during a hard time a few years back.

    Sitting in front of an LED screen just doesn’t feel good to me. Too bright and shiny for my tastes. Like sitting in front of a billboard.

  16. No Ethernet?

    Good god. I don’t want my voice getting sent back to Roku’s servers, and I certainly don’t want to lose Ethernet. I guess I hope my current Roku lasts a looooong time…

  17. Yeah, the FCC filing indicates some sort of PIN change to Ethernet which Janko assumed meant they were dropping it. However, the Best Buy descriptions and pictures both indicate Ethernet is present.

  18. “Yeah, the FCC filing indicates some sort of PIN change to Ethernet which Janko assumed meant they were dropping it.”

    I didn’t even read the Janko piece. I just got the meaning of your twit completely backwards. (And I did so well on the SAT Verbal…)

  19. That’s partially on me… I left out the word ‘not’ – although I suspect Karl was led astray by Jankos piece. I’d tell him to update it, but he now works for free.

  20. “That’s partially on me… I left out the word ‘not”

    True. But the twit could still be properly parsed by someone with a 4th grade reading proficiency level. Obviously, the Alzheimer’s has begun quite a bit early for me. I should’ve eaten more blueberries…

    (And while the Ethernet scare is gone, the lack of a microphone and dedicated adware remote buttons are enough to make me quite happy to stick with my current Roku.)

  21. What is the best streaming device on the market to watch Netflix? Netflix recommends Roku, but it doesn’t hurt to get other opinions.

  22. “Best” encompasses a lot of factors… I often watch Netflix via TiVo as it’s all on Input 1, despite being slow to launch and interact. But I’ve obviously invested in TiVo. Roku 3 seems to get the latest and greatest set-top version of Netflix faster than others. Fire TV, for example, launched with an outdated Netflix app. Apple TV is its own thing, and if you’re deep into Apple’s ecosystem with music or would appreciate iOS Airplay, then that could be the answer. Interestingly, I know of two vendors who’ve been blocked from offering Netflix on a set-top — they’re much more choosy these days.

  23. Will they still be using the crappy WiFi Direct remotes that the current ROku 3 uses? I only got one Roku 3 because of that. Since if I used Roku on wireless it cuts my bandwidth available to devices on that AP in half. Since the remote will be using the same channel that data is being sent. So I keep my Roku 3 wired and force the WiFi direct remote to use channel 165. Which is not being used by my four Access points.

  24. “Will they still be using the crappy WiFi Direct remotes that the current ROku 3 uses?”

    No. The revolutionary new remote on the Roku will only connect via wired Ethernet.

    Wires. They’re the new wireless™.

  25. I loved everything about my Roku 3, (the first one) so I’m not sure why they would call this another Roku 3.. why not call it Roku 4? lol. Anyway, the voice search sounds awesome for people like me. Yeah, I’m lazy.. so I bought one for $89.99 today while it on sale
    $89.99 on sale, I’ve NEVER seen it on sale. I picked two up. Gotta love the whole voice search.

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