Ever been frustrated at the amount of time wasted trying to find what you want to watch?Blame your remote controller for that. Why bother with complicated device that has too many buttons when you can use something more efficient.
Introducing the Roku – a video streaming device that optimises your home entertainment experience. It sits comfortably in the palm of your hand, fits in your pocket and operates to the sound of your voice. This controller is noticeably smaller than that of your standard television, and comes preloaded with popular channels such as Netflix and Hulu. Users looking to keep their entertainment space organised will soon find that the Roku adds more than it takes away. Simply speaking, it’s a pack-sized piece of technology that contains all of the streaming features you could possibly need.
It all comes down to the fact that the Roku isn’t a new and experimental product. There have been four prior releases that have been tested and released on the market. The Roku LT included a HD 1080p output, analog support for older devices, HDMI and built in wifi. It’s predecessor, the “lightning-fast” Roku 2 upgrades the processor to present a cleaner streaming experience. Furthermore, cross-platform support for app devices and MicroSD cards meant that you could use the Roku from anywhere in your living space. Most recently, the Roku 3 included a processor five times faster than its predecessor with 512mb RAM, and added voice controlled headphone jacks.
Roku continuing to improve on it’s technology is one of the reasons why the Roku 4 is worth watching. First, 4K, or ultra-high resolution support is number one on the lists on to-be-added features. Luxury televisions such as the Sony Bravia 4K Ultra HD would simply be amazing with the Roku 4, and pixel-perfect displays are often popular with both gamers and television enthusiasts.
It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Roku Media player support more native codecs, allowing for different file formats to be streamed. Currently only H.264 MKV, MOV and WMV are supported for the player. This places restrictions on files that are formatted for on-the-go jobs. While the Roku is known primarily for it’s use for online video streaming, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more use of the device as a digital video player.
Fibre optimised streaming is another possibility. With more households switching to high-speed internet, wifi technology that is built around ADSL2 speeds will eventually be outclassed by the more reliable optic networks. Current support for wifi includes dual-band a/b/g/n compatible networks. The Roku 3 already has a dual-core processor that makes navigating menus and jumping between channels incredibly fast. Given this, we would expect the Roku 4 to feature a processor that can ideally support wifi networks boosted from a cable connection of up to 100mbps.
Close competitors such a the Apple and Nexus TV may also find themselves more restricted in the development of their operating systems in comparison. The Roku currently runs on a heavily modified version of Linux, known as the Roku OS. Greater flexibility, and a dedicated OS means more security and less crashes for the user on the device. We’ve seen some great upgrades to the interface, so a user interface that supports colorblind interfaces would be a practical idea.
The Roku 4 is rumored to have a released date in Q3 2015. The Roku LT debuted for $50, and the Roku 3 is currently priced at a RRP of $99.99. Streaming enthusiasts should expect to see the Roku 4 come out with a price range in the hundreds, given the growing popularity of the product and the amount of technical innovations that are included.