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.