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The 2020 Roku Ultra now comes with the 2021 Voice Remote Pro

Roku today announced that it’s now packaging the Roku Ultra with the Roku Voice Remote Pro. The former was last updated in 2020, and the latter is the new remote with hands-free voice commands and a rechargeable battery, released in 2021 alongside the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+.

What this is not, any headlines to the contrary, is a new Roku Ultra. It’s a new bundle is all, at the same price that Roku Ultra usually retails for, which is $99 (though you often can find it on sale). New bundle, old hardware. Make sense?

Roku Voice Remote Pro.
The 2021 Roku Voice Remote Pro. Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Still, what you get are two of the best products Roku has to offer. Roku Ultra is the most powerful Roku player (that is: stick/dongle/box that stands on its own), ticking all the specs boxes that Roku has to tick. That means Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. HDR10+ and the best networking. And Voice Remote Pro takes the old Roku Voice Remote and adds a rechargeable battery (or removes the removable batteries, if you want) and tosses in an always-listening microphone.

You can still buy the Voice Remote Pro for $30 on its own, so you don’t have to update your entire Roku system to get that extra functionality. If you already have a Roku Ultra from the last, oh, five years or so, you’re almost certainly still good. These things last forever, and it’s usually going to take a few versions before Roku decides to end-of-life older hardware. In fact, Roku currently supports four older Ultra models that “are no longer manufactured, but can run the latest Roku OS.” They’re the 4640X, 4660X, 4662X, and 4670X. (The 2020 model is the 4800X. Technically this new one is 4802R, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Why Roku didn’t just sell the best remote with the best box from the jump is anyone’s guess. (That’s what Amazon Fire TV did when it updated its remote control.) The answer, of course, almost certainly just comes down to business.

But this latest move makes sense, and good on Roku for making the change.

But what it doesn’t make is some sort of new Roku 2022 model. For new hardware, we’ll just have to wait.

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