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Roku OS8.2/9 and new streamers

Admin65

Administrator
Staff member
https://blog.roku.com/new-4k-roku-premiere-updated-roku-ultra
https://blog.roku.com/roku-os-9

It is that time again, Roku is launching new 2018 models and some OS updates. 2018 is also the year that the Premiere name is coming back (last in 2016 on crippled ultra models), which allows 4K HDR streaming for only $40 with a new carryover Ultra model with new headphones. Current models such as the streaming sticks and Express will remain unchanged at their current prices. Though I did see the Express+ for only 35.00 on Roku.com as a sale price.

Here are the new models for 2018

Premiere - Basic 4K streaming for only $40. Remote is IR only but has the usual Roku channel shortcut buttons. Wifi is b/g/n. HDMI cable is included and such HDMI port can passthrough surround sound. MSRP: $39.99
Premiere+ - Walmart exclusive version of Premiere with a RF voice enabled remote with power button, volume switch, and Vudu as a shortcut button.
Ultra - Looks to be the same as last years model but now includes a $39.99 pair of JBL earbuds. Wifi is 802.11ac and does include Ethernet. Remote also has 2 new lost remote sounds from Game of Thrones (theme song) and Sports Center (Da-Da-Da). MSRP: $99.99

All 3 new players will be launched in October.

On the software side of the house OS9 has been announced but also OS8.2 which is mainly for Roku TV's and provides seamless integration with the new Roku speakers. Finally, this new OS now offers support for Spotify which is a must requested feature as the old app was discontinued.

New features across all models include:

  • Google Assistant – Soon, you’ll be able to use Google Assistant devices to control select Roku streaming devices to pause and search for content and launch channels. Additionally, Roku TV owners can turn their TV on and off, turn up the volume, mute, switch inputs and change channels if there is an OTA antenna connected.
  • Pandora Premium support – With Pandora Premium, listeners can search and play any song, album or featured playlist, with the option to create their own, and access personalized soundtracks based on changing moods. Available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now.
OS8.2 being launched now and should be completed by November and features below.

  • Access and control iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn by voice – Launch live radio stations from across the country, podcasts, custom artist stations and more with iHeartRadio; Playlists, podcasts, stations and more via Pandora; and live radio stations, play-by-play sports, news, etc. with TuneIn. Use simple voice commands using Roku voice remotes, Roku Touch or the Roku mobile app. Subscriptions not required and premium features available with upgraded services.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling enables a uniform audio level across various types of content, so it will no longer feel jarring when a commercial comes on or when streaming channels are changed. Night mode lowers the volume level for louder scenes, and boosts it for quieter ones. The volume mode setting will be accessible by pressing the star button during video playback when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Speech Clarity – This feature looks for voice frequencies and boosts them to address intelligibility. Speech Clarity will be available via the star menu when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Spotify – Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming service. Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
OS9 for Streaming players below to be launched early next year and completed by Q1 2019.

  • “Free” Genre Voice Search – Browse free content available on the Roku platform with simple voice requests such as “let’s see free sitcoms,” “show me free comedies,” “free dramas” and more.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling will be available on select Roku streaming players, as well as select Roku TVs when not paired to Roku TV Wireless Speakers.
  • Spotify – Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
Other than Spotify, this is pretty much a meh update. I love the Automatic Volume leveling as Sling TV can be a pain in terms of commercials on VOD. I kind of wished that the Premiere+ was the default Premiere model, but I guess you can't have it all for only $39.99. Last years models have been selling at a lower than MSRP price so even last years Ultra is not a bad deal if you don't mind not having JBL earbuds. I am sure on Black Friday/Cyber Monday Roku will have some killer deals which could make these players even cheaper as who would not want a $10 or $20 HD media streamer. Express+ is still the sole remaining SD capable Roku as the new Premiere+ will not support non HDTV's as HDTV's are super cheap nowadays. Spotify has been a missed app despite the app not being updated before Spotify pulled the plug. I still think these will sell, but the competition is really trying to bring out new products like Amazon and their OTA DVR. Then again, Roku probably sees their players as advertising vehicles with features such as Game of Thrones and perhaps this is the right move. Roku is probably the most neutral company out there and despite their GUI which might be a little data, it works and they are the best selling streaming device.
 

Admin65

Administrator
Staff member
OS 9 should be rolling out to Roku players. Roku will be discounting the Ultra to 49.99 for Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday.

Edit: Walmart is selling Roku Ultra's for 48.00 with a $5 credit to Vudu and a $35 credit to SlingTV.
 
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Admin65

Administrator
Staff member
Also, there is a new Roku SE for 2018 which is just a rebranded Express for BF and Cyber Monday with a special white case but the front of the unit is black (probably for the IR receiver). MSRP is $19.99 and is a Walmart exclusive.
 
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