Roku just added a couple of killer little pieces to its already strong catalog of streaming devices with the new $40 Premiere and $50 Premiere+ 4K. These are now the most affordable 4K boxes on the market.
If you’re familiar with Roku’s existing catalog, you may be confused by this naming scheme, as the company already offers two boxes with the exact same names (for quite a few more dollars)—these new offerings will essentially replace the existing Premiere lineup, bringing the entry price for 4K streaming content to a new low.
The new Premiere devices will also get a new look, replacing the box format from the previous models. These updated streamers will take on the Express form factor, which isn’t as large as a full box—like the Roku Ultra—but also not as compact as something like the Streaming Stick.
As for the differences between the two Premiere and Premiere+, it’s all in the remote. The latter includes Roku’s voice remote for audible control of the unit. If that’s something you’re not interested in, however, save yourself ten bucks and opt just grab the Premiere.
Roku Devices Will Get Google Assistant Integration
Speaking of voice control, Roku also announced that its existing catalog of streaming boxes and TVs will soon get Google Assistant integration. While a rudimentary implementation of Assistant with Roku was previously possible with a third-party app called Quick Remote, this addition will improve that experience dramatically.
Users will be able to launch specific apps, navigate the interface, and control playback with voice commands through Google Assistant—Roku TV owners will even be able to turn their TVs on/off.
Similar features are already available to users who have Roku devices with the company’s voice remote, which will continue to be available despite Assistant integration.
In other software-related news, Spotify will make a triumphant return to the Roku platform after being removed last year. Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn are also getting the voice control treatment as well. j
Finally, a new “free” voice search will be implemented, allowing users to use their voice to search for free content. For example, you can say “show me free action movies” and all available freebies under that category will be aggregated for you. That’s neat.
All in all, these are some excellent updates for users invested in the Roku ecosystem—and with the incredibly low price of the Premiere and Premiere+, those who aren’t yet a part of said ecosystem.
All these updates will be rolling out in the next few weeks. The Premier/Premiere+ will be available in early October, with Walmart getting exclusive availability of the latter.
The Verge: 1, 2