After weeks of speculation, Roku formally unveiled its $130 Roku 4 streaming box, which imbues 4K streaming capability into the Roku ecosystem for the first time.
The Roku 4 is the most expensive product yet for Roku, which leads in market share for OTT devices in the U.S. The company's new puck comes loaded with the new Roku 7 operating system and a quad-core processor capable of streaming 4K resolution at 60 frames per second.
This is a notable event for pay-TV operators. The availability and consumption of 4K/UltraHD content hasn't achieved anything near mainstream mass in the U.S. But shipments of 4K-capable sets is quickening -- global shipments hit a record 3 million in April, according to research firm IHS.
What this means is that a growing number of consumers have 4K capable sets, and operators are competing with SVOD services to be the first to provide video programming to these users when they finally decide to adopt 4K.
In regions like Canada, pay-TV operators are aggressively ramping up 4K services, evidenced by Rogers Communications' announcement today that it will show 101 Toronto Blue Jays baseball and NHL hockey games in the format next year.
In the U.S., operators including DirecTV (NYSE: T) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) have introduced limited amounts of downloadable 4K programming. However, SVOD services Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN) have been far more aggressive in the amount of 4K movies and TV shows offered.
Streaming device makers have entered the fray to complete the value chain, with Amazon debuting a 4K version of its Fire TV device last month.
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