Roku updates streaming players and operating system

Roku OS 9.2 is adding shortcuts to the homepage. (Roku)

Roku is putting out two updated versions of its Roku Express and Ultra streaming players along with announcing Roku OS 9.2, an update arriving in the coming weeks.

The new Roku Express, priced at $29.99, is 10% smaller than its predecessor and can be fully powered by most televisions, according to Roku.

The new Roku Ultra, priced at $99.99, supports HD, 4K & HDR picture quality and has a quad-core processor and 802.11ac dual-band wireless. The device also features a new fast channel launch feature and programmable personal shortcut buttons on the remote.

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The new devices join Roku’s lineup that includes the Express+, Premier, Streaming Stick+, Streaming Stick+ HE and Ultra LT. The Roku Express+ will be available broadly at the end of September with the rest of the devices on sale in October. Roku is also expanding its streaming player lineup internationally in Canada, the U.K., the Ireland and select countries in Latin America.

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Roku OS is also getting an update soon. The company said version 9.2 will have enhanced search and discovery features as well as voice functionality. Roku Zones will let users search for a genre or topic for a curated selection of relevant content from channels across the Roku platform. The update also includes a new 4K spotlight channel.

New voice functions include a sleep timer, search by movie quotes, 4K content search, support for the Roku Media Player and the ability to control multiple Roku devices with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support.

Roku is also adding a new shortcut section on the Home Screen where users can add shortcuts for channels and functions like sleep timer.

Roku OS 9.2 will begin rolling out to select Roku players this month and is expected to roll out to all supported streaming players, including the Roku Smart Soundbar, in the coming weeks. Roku TV models are expected to receive the update in phases over the coming months.

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