CNET First Look
Roku releases five new TV streamers, and the cheapest is just $30The Roku Express looks like all the Roku most people need, and at $30 costs even less than Chromecast. The other four range up to $130 and offer analog outputs, fancy remotes, 4K and/or high dynamic range (HDR) video.
Roku makes our favorite streaming devices, those things you use to watch Netflix on your TV. And today the company introduced five new boxes. You heard that right, there are five new Rokus now. The first, the Roku Express, is probably the biggest news. That's because it costs just 30 bucks. It still provides the full Roku experience with all those thousands of apps In a simple snappy, customizable interface. It's also tiny. About the size of a remote control. And unlike Google's popular $35 Chromecast, it actually includes a remote of its own in the box. One downside of its tiny size, I'm guessing Is a tendency for the connected wires to drag it down. The second new Roku, the Express+ is 40 bucks and looks the same as the normal Express. The difference is that it's designed to connect to older TVs that have yellow, red and white analog inputs instead of the HDMI jacks found on newer sets. Basically no other current streaming device does analog videos. So the express plus one of the few options to bring streaming to older TVs. The next three Rokus are all more expensive, feature 4k resolution output, and are designed to work with the latest 4K TVs. The Premiere costs 80 bucks and has a standard, no frills remote. But is otherwise very similar to the current Roku 4. It makes 4K TV shows and movies even easier to find than competing devices and the cool 4K spotlight app services different 4K shows from various apps but not Netflix. Unlike the Roku 4, all three 4K Roku's have a fan list design. Next up the ladder is the $100 Premiere Plus. It adds Roku's enhanced remote, which allows you to plug in headphones and listen without disturbing anyone else. It also supports high dynamic-range HDR video, currently offered by both Netflix and Amazon, for potentially even better image quality to 4K. Of course, you'll need to connect it to a 4K HDR TV to enjoy the benefits. Finally, there's the big kahuna, the Roku Ultra, coming in at $130. It has a more powerful processor, a few more jacks on the back, and the best remote of the bunch. In addition to that headphone jack, the Ultra's clicker has voice search capability and a finder function. Function. So it emits an alarm from under the couch cushions. If you're looking for the best Roku yet, the Ultra is it. These new Rokus join our favorite Roku device ever, the $50 streaming stick, to create the most complete line of media streamers on the market. We'll review them all as soon as they become available for sale. I'm David Katsmeyer, for CNet. [MUSIC]