Roku Unwraps Its Roku 4 Streaming Video Player

The latest edition adds support for 4K Ultra HD televisions, as well as for traditional HD TVs. 

Roku, streaming video, streaming video player, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Netflix

Roku's latest streaming video player, the Roku 4, gets 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 company announced the latest edition of the Roku player in an Oct. 6 post by Anthony Wood, the company's CEO and founder, on the Roku Blog.

"Today we are very proud to announce the highly anticipated Roku 4 streaming player," wrote Wood. "It is our best streaming player yet. We designed the Roku 4 for entertainment-loving streamers, with an emphasis on superior streaming performance and brilliant picture quality for both 4K Ultra HD (UHD) and regular HD TVs."

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 and is available for preorder immediately at or major retailers. It is slated to be available in stores in late October.

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, according to Wood. Using the hotel and dorm feature, users can sign in through a Web browser as needed in any location using the browser on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop.

The Roku 4 provides access to streaming channels for 4K entertainment from Netflix, M-Go, Amazon Instant Video, ToonGoogles, Vudu and You Tube, according to the company, through a 4K UHD category within the Roku Channel Store that makes it easier to find 4K content.

A new Roku mobile app for Android and iOS offers full device control, and gives users the ability to play photos, videos and music from their smartphones on their televisions. The redesigned Roku mobile app makes it easier to access key features including Roku Search, Roku Feed, Remote Control and Play, the company said.

Roku has also announced a new Roku OS7 operating system for its devices, an improved Roku Feed discovery feature that lets users know when entertainment is available for streaming. Roku OS 7 will roll out starting in mid-October to current-generation Roku players in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and to Roku TVs in the U.S. and Canada through software updates. The updates are expected to be completed in November.

In addition, the company offers 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 product, 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. The new devices will be available in late October.

In May, Lenovo unveiled its first-ever 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 a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (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.