Today Roku has unveiled the Roku Express 4K - a streaming stick that offers 4K HDR streaming for a price of £39.99. The device was announced alongside Roku OS 10, the new software update which will roll out to Roku products, and will be available on the Roku Express 4K at launch.
The Roku Express 4K will arrive at an unspecified date in May. Roku OS 10 has already begun rolling out to select Roku media players and will continue to release on all other Roku devices and TVs over the next few weeks.
As well as boasting HDR10+ picture quality, the Roku Express 4K also features dual-band Wi-Fi and microUSB ethernet compatibility, a premium high-speed HDMI cable, and voice support compatibility with Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled devices.
The price of the product is undoubtedly competitive, considering that the biggest rival with equivalent features – the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – is £10 more expensive. Roku sticks offer the majority of streaming services and catch-up TV apps; including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+, All 4, Now, Spotify, ITV Hub and My5.
Meanwhile, Roku OS 10 will enable support for Apple AirPlay 2 & HomeKit on HD Roku streaming devices (including the Roku Express 4K) and select Roku TV models. This means that Apple users will be able to stream, control and share content via their iPhone, iPad or Mac using AirPlay 2, or integrate their Roku device into their home ecosystem using Siri or the Home app on Apple products.
The new OS also features Automatic Wi-Fi Network Detection, meaning that the device will detect the strongest signal in the house both during the connection set-up, or if it finds a new, stronger signal. This will allow users to get smoother streaming by finding the best connection available. This feature can be turned off.
For gamers, there’s the new Automatic Game Console Configuration, which will detect when consoles are selected and optimise the settings on the TV for videogames. Roku TVs will feature Game Mode, which can be set to turn on automatically and will offer the lowest latency picture while also adjusting other graphics settings, like refresh rate, frame rate and more.
Roku hasn’t yet specified which consoles this mode applies to and has stated that different Roku TVs will have different options available in Game Mode.
Finally, HDR10+ support will be added through Roku OS 10, which is designed to work with the Roku Express 4K. When new users set up their Roku stick, the device will automatically detect if the TV has HDR10+ compatibility and will continuously enhance the settings for the best colours and picture quality. Alternatively, users can have this feature set to manual under the display settings. You can find out more about both products over on the Roku website.
To get the most out of both the Roku Express 4K and Roku OS 10, you’ll need a 4K smart TV with HDR10/10+ and the correct cables to go with it. You can check out our picks of the best 4K TVs right now, as well as our HDMI port explainer article. If you want to stream in 4K, you’ll also need the right account for it. Check out our guide to watching Netflix in 4K.