Today, Roku unexpectedly announced that it would be bringing AirPlay 2 and HomeKit functionality to a selection of its 4K steaming media players. But the news from Roku doesn’t stop there, as the company also announced the release of two new pieces of hardware for the home theater. On top of refreshing its flagship Ultra device, we’re also getting a first look at an upcoming hybrid streamer and sound bar fittingly deemed the Roku Streambar. With both releases arriving later this fall, you’ll want to head below the fold for all the details.
Roku debuts new Streambar
By far the most exciting of the new hardware unveils today falls to the Roku Streambar. This 2-in-1 device combines 4K streaming media capabilities with a speaker for a streamlined addition to your TV setup. We’ve seen the same concept from Roku in the past with a full-sized soundbar equivalent, but this delivers a more compact offering that only measures 14 inches long.
Roku Streambar delivers Dolby Audio over HDMI ARC or optical audio ports. You’ll also find built-in Bluetooth connectivity alongside a USB port that can play media from a flash drive or be used for a hardwired Ethernet connection with an adapter. It’ll also pair with Roku’s wireless speakers for a surround sound setup.
Then on the actual streaming side of thing, there’s the expected assortment of integrated services, Alexa and Assistant control, and everything else that comes from Roku OS. It packs 4K HDR picture quality and pairs with a Roku Voice Remote to round out the notable features on the Streambar.
A refreshed Roku Ultra also on the way
Alongside its new hybrid speaker and streamer, Roku is also launching a refreshed version of its Ultra media player. Aside from an upgraded design that’s a bit more compact than the last time around, Roku Ultra now delivers Dolby Vision on top of 4K HDR. Other enhancements this time deliver 50% more Wi-Fi range on top of a more powerful processor and extra RAM.
Launching later this fall
Both the new Roku Streambar and refreshed Ultra are slated to begin shipping next month. The hybrid speaker and streaming media player will enter with a $129.99 price tag, while the Ultra remains at the $99.99 rate that past versions have cost. They’ll each be officially released on October 18 and are now available to pre-order directly from Roku as well as Amazon.
As exciting as the software enhancements from Roku bringing AirPlay 2 and the like into the mix, today’s hardware news further diversifies the brand’s lineup. The Streambar will easily be a big hit for those looking to upgrade a bedroom or guest room’s TV setup in one go, while the introduction of Dolby Vision and other upgrades make the Roku Ultra all that much better.
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