October 6, 2015 Last Updated 7:38 am

Roku 4 set for release October 21, new software updates coming

The new Roku will stream 4K and maintain its optical audio out port, but the system’s app store advantage will disappear once the new Apple TV is released later this month

The leading TV streaming system used to be the Apple TV, but Apple dawdled while trying to convince broadcasters to sign up for a new streaming service – that didn’t happen, at least not yet, and in the meantime Roku passed Apple (and others caught up).

But Apple will be releasing a new generation of Apple TV later in October and so I’m sure its competitors need to up their game, including Roku.

roku-4-400Roku appears ready to stay out front. The company will roll out new software updates, and most importantly, a new player in mid-October – right before or at the same time Apple releases the new Apple TV.

The Roku 4 looks like it will keep its lead over its competition (or at least keep it even). The Roku 4 will stream 4K (the new Apple TV does not), it will help find your remote (by pressing the top of the box your remote will beep, and the new devices keeps its optical audio out port (the new Apple TV gets rid of it).

The new box, Roku 4, will cost $129.99 and will be available October 21, with pre-orders be accepted now.

Roku, of course, has had an app store for a while, and that has been one big reason it has become the leader. This will change with the release of the new Apple TV, and will so many developers already working with iOS and OS X, Apple will soon catch up and pass its competitors as far as channel offerings. Apple, for instance, already has HBO Now while Roku does not. But with the release of tvOS, there will be many other offering soon appearing in the new Apple TV app store.

Roku, too, is updating its software, and even owners of current models will receive these updates. Here is Roku’s software announcement – but as of today, the updates mentioned have not appeared to go live:

SARATOGA, Calif. – October 6, 2015 — Roku Inc. today announced Roku OS 7 filled with new discovery features that give consumers more access to entertainment choices. With a major update to Roku Feed consumers can now follow movies, TV shows, actors and directors to receive automatic entertainment updates about pricing and availability. Those at college or who travel and want to stream will now be able to use the new Hotel and Dorm Connect feature for quick wireless connectivity in locations that require log-in credentials to access the network. In addition, the company unveiled a redesigned Roku mobile app that brings more control to a mobile device, and soon will feature an on-the-go mode that allows for access to features such as the Roku Feed while away from home.

Roku-4-os7“Roku OS 7 delivers on our promise to give consumers TV on their terms,” said Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood. “By delivering the best collection of entertainment available for streaming, easy ways for consumers to find and discover what they want to watch, and the flexibility to decide how to stream, Roku delivers a superior streaming experience.”

Built for Streamers – Unprecedented Level of Entertainment Search and Discovery

In March, Roku introduced the Roku Feed, a first-of-its-kind discovery feature that lets consumers know when favorite entertainment becomes available for streaming – and at what price. At that time the company debuted Movies Coming Soon, which allows consumers to “Follow” box office movies they’re interested in and receive automatic updates when the movie becomes available for streaming, from what provider and at what price. With Roku OS 7, consumers can now follow movies, TV shows, actors and directors to receive automatic updates in their Roku Feed. Consumers will receive updates when a movie or a new episode of a TV show becomes available, or the price changes.

Notifications on the Roku Home Screen help consumers easily discover when they have new updates in the Roku Feed. Additionally, new updates within the Roku Feed are clearly marked so consumers can quickly identify new information about the entertainment they follow.

New Mobile App Offers Companion Experience

Roku is also releasing a major update to the free Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android making it easier for consumers to access key features including Roku Search, Roku Feed, Remote Control and Play on Roku. Now, with just the tap of the screen, consumers can instantly access Voice Search, view and add to Roku Feed, launch Play on Roku to display their photos and videos on the big screen and much more. Similar to the Roku Home Screen, the Roku Mobile App also displays notifications to make consumers aware of new updates in the Roku Feed. “Pinch to zoom” capabilities let consumers view every detail of their personal photos.

Hotel and Dorm Connect is a new feature that allows consumers to connect their Roku player, Roku TV and Roku Streaming Stick® to Wi-Fi networks that require sign-in through a web browser like those commonly found in hotel rooms, college dorms and other public locations. Consumers simply connect their Roku device to the password-protected network, sign-in with their login credentials using the browser on their mobile phone, tablet or laptop, and they’re ready to start streaming. Now consumers have TV on their terms anywhere they go, whether it’s after a long day of classes, on a family vacation or in the hotel on a business trip.


Roku OS 7 will be rolled out to current-generation Roku players and Roku TVs through a software update beginning in mid-October and is expected to be completed in November.

About Roku OS 7

At the heart of the Roku streaming platform is the Roku OS, a powerful operating system purpose-built for the TV screen. Designed to run on affordable streaming players and TVs, the Roku OS gives consumers a superior entertainment experience while enabling channel developers to effectively grow and monetize their audiences through advanced development, billing, and advertising tools. Using Roku Scene Graph, content providers can quickly develop custom streaming channels and deliver content to millions of devices worldwide. Roku Billing offers seamless, one-click subscription to certain Roku channels, streamlining users’ access to content, while accelerating developers’ user acquisition efforts. Roku’s Ad Framework enables advertisers to reach Roku’s large audience of TV streamers with sophisticated advertising tools, while helping developers bring more, free, ad-supported content to Roku users.

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