Roku will offer a new Roku SE special edition video streaming player as a promotion on Black Friday weekend for $25, half the cost of its normal $49.99 retail price.
The Roku SE features 1080p video streaming and a simple user interface, with access to some 3,000 streaming entertainment channels that offer some 300,000 movies and television show episodes, Melissa Morell, Roku's social media manager, said in a Nov. 11 post on the Roku Blog. The device runs on Roku OS 7, the company's latest built-for-TV operating system and works with Roku mobile apps for iOS or Android. The Roku SE works with High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) or analog televisions.
The Roku SE will be will be available in the United States for a limited time during Black Friday weekend starting Nov. 26 online and in select national retail stores, according to Roku. The company confirmed that the SE will be sold at Best Buy, Walmart and Kohl's stores that weekend, as well as on Amazon.com and Roku.com.
The streaming video player includes the ability to search across more than 20 top streaming channels to find streaming options by price and availability, as well as allowing the casting of content from a mobile device to the TV via specific streaming channels or the Roku Mobile App. A Hotel and Dorm Connect function allows users to set up wireless connectivity in locations away from home that require log-in credentials to access a WiFi network, according to Roku.
The Roku SE is the company's second new product announcement in less than a month. In October, Roku unveiled its Roku 4 streaming video player, which received new support for 4K Ultra HD televisions as well as a redesigned exterior, a new feature to help users find the device's remote control and an innovative feature that allows the Roku 4 to be used when traveling.
The Roku 4 is equipped with a quad-core processor, up to 60 fps 4K streaming, HDCP 2.2 and Optical Audio Out and 11ac MIMO WiFi capabilities. The device retails for $129.99.
The device's Remote Finder feature enables users to locate a missing remote control by touching a button on the player, while the new Hotel and Dorm Connect feature lets users easily connect the Roku player, Roku TV and Roku Streaming Stick to WiFi networks in hotels, dorms and public locations.
The Roku 4 provides access to streaming channels for 4K entertainment from Netflix, M-Go, Amazon Instant Video, ToonGoogles, Vudu and You Tube through a 4K UHD category within the Roku Channel Store that makes it easier to find 4K content.
Roku's other streaming products are the $49.99 Roku Streaming Stick as well as the three previous Roku streaming players—the Roku 1 at $49.99, the Roku 2 at $69.99 and the Roku 3 at $99.99.
Roku devices are in a marketplace that continues to get more crowded as companies bring out products to go after expanding video streaming demand from consumers.
In September, Apple unveiled the new version of its Apple TV, with an improved remote, Siri integration, new capabilities for Apple Music, a new operating system, improved gaming and multiplayer options, and more. Apple TV now includes a 64-bit A8 processor and fast 802.11ac WiFi and will come in two versions—a 32GB model for $149 and a 64GB model for $199. The earlier Apple TV version will continue to be sold for $69.
In May, Lenovo unveiled its first Cast streaming video hub, which appears to be aimed directly at Google's $35 Chromecast dongle, Roku's products, Amazon's $40 Fire TV stick and other competitors. The Cast is a streaming hub that can deliver content wirelessly from Android, Windows and iOS devices to a big-screen television. The $49 Cast, which went on sale in August, can be plugged into an HDMI port of a TV and then linked wirelessly to a content source for playback. The Cast, which looks like a black rubber hockey puck, plays media from a DLNA or Miracast-enabled tablet or smartphone using dual-frequency WiFi, and it can transfer content over distances up to 65 feet, including through walls.