Here’s what your next Roku streaming boxes will look like
After releasing a cheap, updated streaming stick to great reviews, it was only a matter of time before Roku officially revealed updates for the rest of its line-up. This is not that time. Dave Zatz (who also blew the lid off Roku’s rebranding efforts not long ago) has come through with images and details of Roku’s currently unannounced updates, and for the most part, they’re the logical next steps many expected.
First up are the Roku Express and Express Plus, two replacements for the company’s existing Roku 1 streaming box that we really don’t know much about. The design is pretty distinctive, though: while the 1 was a glossy squircle with a flattish top, the Express twins look like a traditional matte black streamer that’s been bisected with a butter knife. A shot of the Express’s rear reveals only an HDMI output, too, which frankly sucks since the Roku 1’s RCA ports came in really handy for older televisions.
The next steps up are the Roku Premiere and Premiere Plus, the latter of which pack an Ethernet port and a microSD card slot for adding local storage. Zatz suggests these two might also pack the ability to playback 4K contact, though we’ll have to wait until Roku gets chatty to know for sure. He is, however, sure that the more premium Roku Ultra will play HDR video and 4K (though the name basically implied it all anyway). That high-end Roku will look near-identical to the Premiere and Premiere Plus save for the addition of a button to find your missing remote and an optical out for improved audio.
We’re not sure that we love the rebranding, but whatever — it seems like a fait accompli at this point anyway. More importantly, these images look to be high-quality press renders, which suggests a full-blown Roku announcement is coming very soon. Do yourself a favor and don’t start your holiday shopping too early, okay?