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Roku drops the price of 4K HDR streaming to $40

All 2021 Roku Player devices

Today, Roku took the wraps off some new hardware, including a more affordable 4K streaming media device, an updated soundbar, and an upgraded remote control that gives you hands-free voice commands.

Roku has also discontinued its Premier line of players, leaving the company with a more streamlined offering of four dedicated player devices and two soundbars with built-in Roku OS streaming capabilities.

Here’s everything you need to know about Roku’s new devices.

Roku Express 4K+

Roku Express 4K+
  • $40
  • Available in mid-May

Roku’s $50 Streaming Stick+, which hasn’t changed much since its debut in 2017, has traditionally been the least expensive Roku device that can also handle 4K and HDR streaming content. But the new Express 4K+ drops the price of 4K HDR to $40, making it one of the most affordable ways to add 4K streaming capability to your TV.

The Express 4K+ uses the same design as the company’s non-4K Express models, with a tiny, rounded body that can cling to the underside of your TV thanks to the included double-sided tape strips, but it also grabs the wireless remote from the Streaming Stick+.

This gives the Express 4K+ the ability to hide from sight (the other Express models use an infrared remote that needs line of sight) and also enables features like Roku Voice and TV power, volume, and mute controls.

You can also add an optional Micro USB Ethernet adapter, something that Express models have lacked in the past.

The Express 4K+ can handle up to 4K resolution, with support for HDR10 and HDR10+. Notably absent are Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The 2020 version of the Roku Ultra is the only Roku device with native support for these Dolby formats.

As with other Roku devices, you can control the Express 4K+ via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa smart speakers, and it also supports Apple HomeKit and streaming from Apple devices using Apple AirPlay, something you won’t find on any other 4K streaming device at this price.

Roku also has a Walmart-only version of the Express 4K+ called the Express 4K. It’s identical to the 4K+ except that it has a traditional infrared remote and costs only $35.

Roku Voice Remote Pro

Roku Voice Remote Pro
Roku Voice Remote Pro with optional headphones Roku
  • $30
  • Available now

Until now, all of Roku’s distinctive and simple remote controls have been powered by replaceable batteries. You could use rechargeable batteries if you like, but that requires a separate purchase and a battery charger. As rumored earlier this year, the new $30 Roku Voice Remote Pro fixes that with its own built-in rechargeable battery that charges from any Micro USB connection.

That battery powers some features you won’t find on Roku’s other remotes, including a hands-free way to use the Roku Voice commands and a lost remote finder chime that can be triggered just by saying “Hey Roku, where’s my remote?”

It also has Roku’s other premium remote features, like personal shortcuts; TV controls for volume, mute, and power; private listening via a built-in headphone jack; and the option to press a button for voice commands instead of the hands-free mode.

Roku Streambar Pro

Roku Streambar Pro
  • $180
  • Available for pre-order today
  • Available to buy at at the end of May and at major retailers in June

Technically just a rename of the existing Roku Smart Soundbar, the Streambar Pro features the same four drivers and sound settings for night mode, speech clarity, and volume leveling.

Thanks to the new Roku OS 10, it also gets virtual surround sound. The big difference is that the Streambar Pro ships with an upgraded remote that has personal shortcut buttons, a private listening feature via the built-in headphone jack, and the ability to trigger a lost remote finder via the Roku mobile app.

Roku also tosses in a set of its wired earbuds so you don’t have to go rummaging around in your drawers for an old set of wired buds.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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