Now that it’s updated its budget and high-end streaming players, Roku shores up its mid-range streamer with the new Streaming Stick 4K, adding Dolby Vision support, a more powerful processor, and improved Wi-Fi.
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Roku Express 4K+
Roku is also announcing an updated version of the Ultra LT, a less-expensive Walmart-exclusive version of Roku’s top-of-the-line Ultra streaming player, along with a series of Roku OS upgrades, such as easier access to Roku’s live TV programming guide and “direct to playback” voice support for Netflix and Spotify (click here for all the Roku OS 10.5 details).
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is slated to ship in mid-October for $50, the same price as the Streaming Stick+ that it’s replacing. Also coming soon is the Streaming Stick 4K+, a $70 bundle that swaps out Roku’s standard voice remote for the Voice Remote Pro.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K details
Perhaps the biggest improvement that the Roku Streaming Stick 4K will get compared to its predecessor is support for Dolby Vision. The older Streaming Stick+ supported HDR10 (the vanilla version of HDR) and the Samsung-backed HDR10+ (which allows for dynamic frame-by-frame HDR metadata), along with HLG (hybrid log gamma, the HDR standard for 4K broadcasts), but not Dolby Vision. Previously, the only Roku player that did support Dolby Vision was the $100 Ultra.
Also new for the Streaming Stick 4K is a beefier, quad-core CPU, which allows the streaming player to boot up to 30 percent faster while also promising smoother navigation and faster video load times.
Besides the Dolby Vision and processor updates is a revamped long-range wireless receiver, which (according to Roku) is designed to deliver up to double the Wi-Fi speeds of the Streaming Stick+.
The Streaming Stick 4K ships with Roku’s standard voice remote, which allows for push-button voice control. To step up to hands-free voice capabilities, you can pony up for the Streaming Stick 4K+ bundle, which includes the Voice Remote Pro. That upgraded remote boasts a mid-range microphone for hands-free voice commands, a “find my remote” feature, and a rechargeable battery. Given that the standalone Voice Remote Pro costs $30, the $70 Streaming Stick 4K+ bundle represents a $10 savings compared to buying the Streaming Stick 4K and the hands-free remote separately.
Roku Ultra LT
Roku is also taking the wraps off an upgraded version of the Ultra LT, a Walmart-exclusive version of the high-end Roku Ultra.
Slated to arrive in the “coming weeks” for $80, the new Ultra LT adds Dolby Vision support, along with a faster CPU and an improved Wi-Fi radio that promises up to 50 percent longer range than the original.
As with the previous version, the Ultra LT lacks some of the features of the standard Ultra; namely, the ability to stream local media via a USB port.
Look for reviews of both the Roku Streaming Stick 4K as well as the Ultra LT as soon as we check out some test units.