Well it is that time again, Roku has launched a new OS (v9.2) as well as new streaming players, but also keeping some older models as some older models appear to be relevant for 2019.
First model appears to be the new Roku Express for 2019. This new express is slightly smaller than the current Roku Express, and has identical performance from the carry over 2018 model, but uses less energy. Having a smaller device, makes it easier to hide behind the TV. It consumes so little power you can even power it from your TV's USB port. You get great HD streaming for only $29.99. Oh and it even includes an HDMI cable ($19.99 value free). Also available is a Walmart exclusive Express + for only $10 more that includes a voice remote, but no longer includes the RCA cables. If you wish to have a Roku for an older CRT TV, then you can buy on on their website, or find a leftover model at Walmart. Makes a great stocking stuffer.
Roku has finally decided to make a new Ultra player for 2019. It does not appear to be that much different from the current model, but does have an improved CPU and memory configuration that should allow for faster channel loading and processing (Up to 17 percent faster in some cases and 33 percent faster on apps such as Sling, YouTube TV and so on). Remote loses the gaming buttons, but now includes 2 customizable shortcut buttons (highly requested feature), mute button, but not much has changed as it includes the JBL earbuds as last years model, and the voice remote with headphone jack that can control your TV's volume. Oh there is even a button like the previous models that can find your remote if it ever gets under the cushions of your sweet sofa setup. It also supports ethernet and 802.11ac Wifi. All this for only $99.99.
There is also an Ultra LT which has similar features than the Roku Ultra, but has a voice remote with a headphone jack, but no custom shortcut buttons. This model is a Walmart exclusive as there will likely be a Vudu button on the remote. Same wifi as the 2019 Ultra. However, the price is only $79.99. Most likely these are leftover 2017-2018 models that can be sold at a lower price.
Premiere, and Streaming Stick+ are staying the same rather unchanged. However, there is a Streaming Stick HE that is a best buy exclusive that includes the Streaming Stick+, but has a voice remote instead of the standard remote. Regular non 4K streaming stick has been discontinued and all new models should go on sale on 9/28.
For the OS side of things it seems to be more of an evolutionary update.
There is a new Zone feature that better curates which search results you want. This makes it easy to browse through various movies on different plaforms and so on.
The 4K spotlight channel has been reworked to make it easier to find new content and if you search for 4K, you will get results that are now list 4K content. This should make it easy to find content in 4K resolution for those pixel peepers.
A new shortcut section will be available to make it easier to navigate through the Roku interface.
You can now use Alexa or Google assistant to control multiple devices. This is for households like mine who have multiple Roku's as even though I do not use an assistant, it is nice to have that feature.
There is a tips and tricks channel for those who want to get the most out of their Roku streaming player.
Sleep timer is available on Roku TV's and you can use a voice remote to enable it.
Finally, some other random voice skills. You can now use a voice remote to enter in movie quotes and it will find you that particular movie. You can say what movie does this quote come from (along those lines) and it can find it for you. Roku media player can also search by genre and just some other changes.
Roku OS 9.2 is out now, but it may take a while for the update to come out on various devices.
Available on the model numbers listed below.
Supported Roku devices receiving Roku OS 9.2:
- Roku Streaming Players – 4670X, 4662X, 4661X, 4660X, 4640X, 4630X, 4620X, 4400X, 4230X, 4210X, 4200X, 3931X, 3930X, 3921X, 3920X, 3910X, 3900X, 3811X, 3810X, 3800X, 3710X, 3700X, 3600X, 3500X, 2720X, 2710X, 2700X
Edit: Roku is now including a mute button for their new voice remotes.