Roku reportedly will announce 4K-capable device in wake of Amazon Fire TV update

In the wake of Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) announcement that its next version of Fire TV will be 4K-capable, rumors have kicked up that Roku will announce its own 4K device in the very near future.

Roku 3 4230X FCC image

Roku 3 hardware configuration, submitted to the FCC in September.

ZatzNotFunny, citing new FCC documentation, a CinemaNow promotion and a blog post by UK Roku Channels, said that Roku likely will upgrade its Roku 2 and 3 streaming devices with 4K hardware, rather than launch a "Roku 4" model.

In the FCC documents submitted Sept. 22, Roku listed six model numbers: 4210X and 4230X (corresponding with existing Roku 2 and 3 models), 4210X1, 4230X1, 4200X1, and 4205X1. Images of a Roku box with the same form factor as a Roku 3 indicated a hardware update.

The CinemaNow promotion makes mention of a "Roku 4," but may be a simple typo, ZatzNotFunny said.

UK Roku Channels posted screenshots from a new "4K Showcase" channel that it said showed up briefly on the Roku website, but is not available as a channel on its streaming devices yet.

Roku did not respond to FierceOnlineVideo's request for comment by press time. However, Roku VP of Pay-TV Andrew Ferrone, in an interview at IBC 2015, said that the company stays focused on three key areas. "When we really distill our business down there are three priorities: great content, ease of use and value."

He noted that the company refreshed its Roku 2 and 3 devices in April, giving Roku 2 a faster processor and adding voice search capabilities to Roku 3. He also said that the company is concentrating on increasing the number of Roku-enabled smart TVs through deals with several manufacturers, and is focusing on its Roku Powered partner program with pay-TV operators like Sky and Telstra.

Ferrone spoke in general terms about 4K for the industry as a whole. "Obviously in terms of evolution of the format, everyone's looking forward to 4K. That's an exciting development to keep our eyes on," he said. "We think there's a great opportunity for streaming there, to really bring a great content selection to market."

At the same time, Roku is staying mindful of what its content partners are trying to deliver -- and if providers like Netflix are increasing the amount of 4K content they stream to customers, Roku will respond.

"The Roku content experience is only as good as the content that our partners deliver. So when they're embracing new content formats for increased resolution, increased quality, we take it as our role to enable distribution for them, to enable it for the platform," Ferrone said. "There's a lot of links in the chain that ultimately result in those pixels lighting up on screen, and we've all gotta work together to make it happen."

For more:
- see this ZatzNotFunny article
- see this UK Roku Channels post

Related articles:
Amazon refreshes Fire TV, adding 4K capability and gaming option
Execs from Discovery, Roku and others warn the skinny bundle will hamper content creation
Roku, Chromecast top streaming device purchases, usage, research firms find

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