“Fresh off its IPO on Thursday, Roku has announced its latest line of hardware products, as well as a software update for all TVs running the company’s Roku operating system,” Daniel Howley reports for Yahoo Finance. “Roku, whose shares doubled from their initial price of $14 to $26.54 at the close of the markets on Friday, debuted five devices on Monday including new entry-level and high-end streaming players.”
“The top-of-the-line device, the Roku Ultra, starts at $99, down from $129, and features 4K and HDR compatibility. The box also includes a microSD card slot and USB. It also includes ethernet ports in case you want to connect an external hard drive or run a hardline cable to your router if you don’t have the best Wi-Fi connection” Howley reports. “The next step down is the company’s new Roku Streaming Stick Plus. Starting at $69, the stick is basically a slimmed down version of the Ultra. Instead of a box with various input and output ports, though, the Stick Plus is, well, a stick. Roku says the device, which looks like an oversize USB thumb drive, can stream 4K, HDR content.”
MacDailyNews Note: According to the research firm Park Associates, Roku is the leading seller of video streaming players in the U.S. with a 37% share. Amazon has 24%, up from 16% in 2016; Google’s Chromecast streaming device has 18% and Apple TV sits in 4th pace with 15%.
There’s still plenty room for growth in the market as Park Associates estimates that two-thirds of U.S. households still don’t have a video streaming player.
“Roku has also announced its new Roku OS 8 operating system. The software includes an updated interface that allows Roku-powered TVs — those sets sold with Roku’s smart interface, not TVs you connect the players to — to pull in information from over-the-air broadcast antennas. Connect an antenna to your TV, and Roku OS 8 will provide you with a menu that shows what shows are on and how long ago they began,” Howley reports. “Roku also conveniently allows you to look up shows being broadcast and find out if you can stream them via various streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and others.”
MacDailyNews Take: The over-the-air antenna content integration is a great feature, depending on how well it works. The Ultra’s wired earbuds into the remote is a decidedly low tech implementation versus Apple’s seamless AirPods, but plenty of people who have the need to listen to TV with earbuds will choose Roku as they can use their existing earbuds and it, again, costs $80-$100 less.
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: At $80-$100 less than Apple TV 4K, the 4K HDR-capable Roku Ultra with Roku OS 8 will sell very well even without access to Apple’s Planet of the Apps.