The Roku 3 has had a decent run. Released in 2013, this tiny device managed to get into the living rooms of a lot of streamers. The device is still powerful enough but as new hardware is available the Roku 4 is expected to be released sometime this year.
The New 4K Standard
As YouTube introduced the support for 4K videos and this resolution is now more and more popular it is expected to see streaming devices that will also be capable rendering this type of content. At the other end we have the hardware manufacturers and to be more specific, TV displays that support 4K resolutions are more and more popular especially since there has been a sudden price drop.
Roku 4 is expected to support 4K or UHD resolutions which would make it future-proof. Also there has been a price drop on the Roku 3 suggests that a new device will be released and will have the price that the current generation has.
Roku 4 vs. Chromecast
There is no indication that Google will update the hardware of its streaming device. The Roku 4 on the other hand will be a much more powerful device. It is expected to see a quad-core CPU and much more RAM. 4K image rendering needs significantly more RAM and much more processing power. There are a few technical challenges that would make it difficult to build a compact 4K capable device but the current hardware generation should be able to handle it.
In terms of internal storage not much can be said. The Roku 4 is expected to have an expansion slot just like its predecessor but it would not help that much to stream files off the internal storage card as it is much more convenient to just stream content off the web.
Setting Things Straight About Chromecast And Roku
Chromecast has never been a serious competitor when it comes to hardware. It is less powerful than the 2 year old Roku 3 as it has a since core CPU while the alternative uses a dual-core ARM A9 CPU. Roku 4 will take things up a notch and probably will use a quad-core chip to stream in 4K.
Chromecast would never be able to achieve such performances. It was designed to handle 1080p content and even so, sometimes it struggles to deliver as users reported audio lag, loss of frames and other performance related bugs. Roku 4 should eliminate any kind of performance related problems at least for 1080p content. 4K resolutions are a whole different story.
What is clear is the fact that Chromecast is way behind in terms of hardware and it is considerably limited by the fact that it does not work as a stand-alone device. It needs an Android smartphone to stream its screen. This idea does help it cover some gaps in terms of performance but it was never meant to be an impressive device. Roku on the other hand does care about its hardware especially since they endorse and promote games on their streaming device. More powerful hardware means better gaming on the Roku 4 when compared with the previous generation or the Chromecast. There is no doubt that Roku 4 will outperform Chromecast.