Though Roku's new streaming player has a more angular design than its predecessor, the big changes are on the inside, with the device capable of streaming 4K content. The Roku 4 will even help locate a misplaced remote. The announcement comes hot on the heels of both the updated Amazon Fire TV and new Apple TV, both of which are 4K-capable.
Roku Inc. has put an unspecified quad core processor inside the new hardware, which allows it to pump out 60 fps Ultra HD content. Of course, you'll need to be subscribed to a streaming service that hosts 4K content, such as Netflix, to take advantage of that.
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Streaming players tend to ship with small remotes, which are pretty easy to lose. The Roku 4 is no different, but the company has included a useful feature to make keeping track of the remote a breeze. If you can't find the control, simply hit the button on the top of the box and the remote will sound an alarm. As with previous Roku players, the remote also features a mic for voice searching, a headphone jack for private listening, and motion controls for casual gaming.
The player will also come with new software, known as Roku OS 7. The updated platform puts discovery front and center, with a new feed that tells you when box office hits and TV shows arrive become available to view, as well as when new content launches from favorite directors or actors.
It'll also be easier to connect to Wi-Fi networks that require browser sign-in (common in hotel rooms and college dorms), with users able to complete that step of the process via a connected smartphone, tablet or PC.
The Roku iOS and Android apps have also been given an overhaul, with users promised easier access to the box's features (including the new discovery feed) at the tap of a button and easily throw photo and video content from the smart device up onto the big screen.
The Roku 4 seems to be a pretty solid upgrade, and despite not having quite as strong a focus on gaming, looks pretty well equipped to take on the likes of Apple and Amazon.
The Roku 4 will be available from late October for US$130.
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