Roku refreshes lineup with smaller Express and more powerful Ultra

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, Roku is readying a refreshed lineup of streaming media players. Both its entry-level and top of the line devices have received enhancements today, with a slimmed-down Roku Express and more powerful Ultra being announced. The two updated models make a debut alongside a new version of Roku’s operating system. Head below for a closer look.

Roku refreshes streaming device lineup with two enhanced models

Today’s announcement from Roku doesn’t carry with it entirely new devices, but somewhat refreshed version of existing media players. You’ll find improved models of both the company’s lowest and highest end devices.

Still at $30, Roku Express continues its reign has the lineup’s most affordable offering. The company is doubling down on the media player’s compact size, as the new version is 10% smaller than its predecessor. To help cement its position as an ideal option for secondary TVs in guest rooms and the like by adding adhesive strip for attaching right to the back of a television.

Express still caps out at displaying 1080p content, but now draws less power than before. So you’ll be able to run the device right from a TV’s USB port.

Roku Ultra gets a faster processor and new remote

As its top of the line streaming device, Roku has opted not to change the Ultra’s design. Here, all of the improvements enter in the form of under-the-hood enhancements like a faster quad-core processor and more memory. There’s also a refreshed remote control, which adds in new custom shortcut buttons. These allow you to do everything quickly access a favorite channel to turning on closed captions.

In terms of visuals, you’re still looking at the same 4K HDR support that the previous iteration touts. Pricing hasn’t changed either, as Roku Ultra still retails for $100.

Over on the software front, Roku is also bringing a batch of new features to its impending update. This follows the addition of single sign-in from back in April. Most notably, Roku 9.2 will extend its Direct Play functionality to nearly 40 new content providers. There’s also a Roku Zones feature on the way, which allows you to create home screen shortcuts for content based on genre, as well as other categorization types. Other inclusions enter in the form of a Tips and Tricks section, and more.

Pricing and availability

Both the upgraded Roku Express and Ultra are currently available for pre-order at $29.99 and $99.99 price points respectively. They’ll be shipping in October. As for the upcoming software update, expect to see Roku 9.2 rolling out in the coming weeks. There’s no official launch date, but it’ll likely coincide with the new media players’ official launch next month.

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