Roku

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For the electronics company, see Roku, Inc. For other uses, see Roku (disambiguation).

The Roku Streaming Player, or simply Roku (/ˈrk/ ROH-koo),[1] is a series of digital media player set-top boxes manufactured by Roku, Inc. Roku partners provide over-the-top content in the form of channels. A Roku streaming device gets data (the video stream) via a wired or Wi-Fi connection to an Internet router. The data is output via an audio cable, video cable, or HDMI cable. The device can be connected to any television set (or other device) with appropriate input connections. Content is available from services such as Amazon Cloud Player, Amazon Video, Ameba TV, BBC iPlayer, Crunchyroll, Google Play Movies & TV, Hasbro Studios, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, MLB.TV, Netflix, Now TV (UK only), Pandora Radio, PBS, PlayStation Vue, Showtime Anytime, Tubi TV, Sling TV, TheBlaze, Time Warner Cable, Vudu, WWE Network, YouTube, Southern Fibernet Corp., and the ITV Hub.

Roku Streaming Players[edit]

First generation[edit]

Original form factor XD/S

Roku announced the first Netflix Internet video streaming receiver box—the Roku DVP—on May 20, 2008. The device runs Linux.[2] Before Autumn 2010, three versions of the Roku DVP were available: the Roku SD, HD, and HD-XR.[3] The Roku SD only streams standard definition (SD) content.[4] The Roku HD streams both SD and HD (720p) content.[5] The Roku SD and HD both have an Ethernet connection and built in 802.11g Wi‑Fi compatible with wireless b, g, and n routers.[6] The Roku HD-XR, which streams both SD and HD (720p and 1080p) content, has built in dual-band 802.11n WiFi support and a USB port on the back.[7]

Roku revamped its lineup of devices in September 2010. The revised HD became the basic model of the line, offering 720p resolution, 802.11g WiFi reception, and an HDMI output. The middle of the line model, the XD, added 1080p resolution (if channel programmers provide it), an enhanced remote with replay capabilities, and single-band wireless-n WiFi. The top-level XD|S offered component video and optical audio outputs, dual-band wireless N, and a USB port for playing videos, photos, and music.[8]

Second generation[edit]

A Roku 2 XS

On July 20, 2011, Roku updated its product lineup with three new boxes. However, the Ethernet connection and remote with motion control for games are available only on the XS model.[9][10] The Roku Game Remote uses Hillcrest Labs' Freespace motion control technology, so users can control games with natural gestures.[11] The Netflix application was revamped for the Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS; the current models now provide the option of subtitles, when the program provides them.[12]

On October 11, 2011, the Roku LT was introduced as a lower cost, stripped down version of the Roku 2 XS. I/O consists of two AV ports, one HDMI, and one 3.5" mini plug composite SD analog. The same content capability is available, except it cannot play games, and its highest video resolution is 720p. There is no Ethernet port nor microSD card slot.[13]

The feature "Roku Search" was added on October 29, 2012. This feature allows users to search movie and TV show titles, actors, and directors for multiple services on Roku such as Amazon Video, HBO Go, and Netflix. The feature is only available on Roku 2, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku LT, and Roku HD, due to technical constraints on earlier models.[14] This useful feature appears to only work in the USA.[citation needed]

On May 14, 2013, an updated software interface was released for second generation Roku units. This is the same interface that was introduced with the release of their third generation player.[15]

On July 26, 2013, BSkyB launched a Now TV-branded Roku LT, allowing users to stream Now TV content to their television, as well as access content from BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Spotify, and Sky News.[16]

Third generation[edit]

On March 5, 2013, Roku announced the release of their updated media player, Roku 3, with a CPU that's five times faster[citation needed] than the Roku 2 XS, and a Wi-Fi Direct remote instead of Bluetooth. The Roku 3 remote includes a headphone jack (with headphones provided) for a private listening mode.[17]

Roku announced two new versions of its streaming set-top boxes, for 2015: Roku 3 (2015) has a new remote control, with a microphone for voice search, and the Roku 2 (2015) has a much faster processor than the old Roku 2, but its remote control no longer has a headphone jack built in. The Roku 3 2015 model number is 4230R; the 2014 model number is 4200R. The Roku 2 2015 model number is 4210R the previous model number was 2720R. The naming scheme has caused some confusion among consumers.[18]

Fourth generation[edit]

On October 6, 2015, Roku officially announced the release of the Roku 4. The new device has 4K video streaming capability, a remote control finder, and updated software (Roku OS 7) and hardware that includes support for Wi-Fi 802.11ac. The Roku 4 began shipping in October 2015.[19]

Fifth generation[edit]

On September 26, 2016, Roku revamped their entire streaming player line-up with 5 new models, with only the streaming stick staying as the sixth option. [20] The Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra will support HDR video using HDR10.[21]

Fall 2016 line-up:

  • $30: Roku Express
  • $40: Roku Express+
  • $50: Roku Streaming Stick
  • $80: Roku Premiere
  • $100: Roku Premiere+
  • $130: Roku Ultra

Critical reception[edit]

Daniel Howley of Yahoo gave it a positive review saying "It’s inexpensive, unobtrusive, and packs Roku’s ginormous collection of streaming channels."[22]

Feature comparison[edit]

Model Introduced Discontinued Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1] micro
SD
slot
Composite,
S-Video
Component, HDMI 480i, 480p 720p, 1080p 4k Analog Optical, HDMI Ethernet 802.11
wireless
First generation
Roku DVP (N1000) May 2008 Oct 2009 Both Both Both 720p No Yes Both Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz [23][24][25] 256 MB 64 MB[26] No
Roku SD (N1050) Oct 2009 Sep 2010 Composite Neither 480i Neither No Yes Neither Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[26][27] 256 MB 64 MB[26] No
Roku HD (N1100) Nov 2009 Sep 2010 Both Both Both 720p No Yes Both Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[26][27] 256 MB 64 MB[26] No
Roku HD-XR (N1101) Oct 2009 Sep 2010 Both Both Both Both[note 2] No Yes Both Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR PNX8935 400 MHz[26][27] 256 MB 256 MB[26] No
Roku HD (2000) Sep 2010 Jul 2011 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI Yes b/g No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[26] 256 MB 64 MB[26] No
Roku XD (2050) Sep 2010 Jul 2011 Composite HDMI Both Both[note 2] No Yes HDMI Yes b/g/n No IR PNX8935 400 MHz[26][28] 256 MB 64 MB[26] No
Roku XDS (2100) Sep 2010 Jul 2011 Composite Both[note 3] Both Both[note 2] No Yes Both Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR PNX8935 400 MHz[25][30] 256 MB 256 MB[26] No
Second generation
Model Introduced Discontinued Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1] micro
SD
slot
Composite,
S-Video
Component, HDMI 480i, 480p 720p, 1080p 4k Analog Optical, HDMI Ethernet 802.11
wireless
Netflix with Profiles
Roku LT (2400) Nov 2011 Apr 2012 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM2835 600 MHz[26][31] 256 MB 256 MB[26] No
Roku LT (2450) Apr 2012 Sep 2013 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7208 405 MHz[26] 256 MB 256 MB[26] No
Roku HD (2500) Apr 2012 Sep 2013 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7208 405 MHz[32] 256 MB[32] 256 MB[32] No
Roku 2 HD (3000) Jul 2011 Apr 2012 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR[note 4] BCM2835 600 MHz[26][33] 256 MB 256 MB[26] Yes
Roku 2 XD (3050) Jul 2011 Sep 2013 Composite HDMI Both Both[note 5] No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR[note 4] BCM2835 600 MHz[26][33] 256 MB 256 MB[26] No[34]
Roku 2 XS (3100) Jul 2011 Mar 2013 Composite HDMI Both Both[note 5] No Yes HDMI Yes b/g [35] Yes Bluetooth & IR BCM2835 600 MHz [33][36] 256 MB 256 MB[26] Yes
Roku Streaming Stick, MHL (3400, 3420) Oct 2012 Apr 2016 Neither MHL only 480p Both[note 6] No No HDMI No b/g/n dual-band[37] No Wi-Fi Direct BCM2835 600 MHz[26] 256 MB[38] 512 MB No No
Roku Streaming Stick, HDMI (3500) Mar 2014[39] Apr 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both No No HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct BCM2835 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No Yes
Third generation
Model Introduced Discontinued Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1] micro
SD
slot
Netflix
with
Profiles[40]
Composite,
S-Video
Component, HDMI 480i, 480p 720p, 1080p 4k Analog Optical, HDMI Ethernet 802.11
wireless
Roku LT (2700) Sep 2013 Mar 2014 Composite HDMI Both 720p No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7218 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No No
Roku 1, SE (2710) Sep 2013 Oct 2016 Composite HDMI Both Both No Yes HDMI No b/g/n No IR BCM7218 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No No
Roku 2 (2720) Sep 2013 Apr 2015 Composite HDMI Both Both No Yes & Remote HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct & IR BCM7218 600 MHz 512 MB 256 MB No No
Roku 3 (4200) Mar 2013 Apr 2015 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Remote[note 7] HDMI Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes Wi-Fi Direct & IR BCM11130 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB Yes Yes
Roku 2 (4210) Apr 2015 Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both No No HDMI Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes IR[note 8] BCM11130 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB Yes Yes
Roku 3 (4230) Apr 2015 Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Remote[note 7] HDMI Yes a/b/g/n dual-band Yes Wi-Fi Direct, IR & Voice Search BCM11130 900 MHz 512 MB 256 MB Yes Yes
Fourth generation
Model Introduced Discontinued Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1] micro
SD
slot
Netflix
with
Profiles[41]
Composite,
S-Video
Component, HDMI 480i, 480p 720p, 1080p 4k Analog Optical, HDMI Ethernet 802.11
wireless
Roku 4 (4400) [42] Oct 2015 Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Remote[note 7] Optical & HDMI Yes a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes Wi-Fi Direct, IR & Voice Search STV7723A01 [43] 1.5 GB 512 MB Yes Yes
Roku Streaming Stick (3600) [44] Apr 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct BCM2836 900 MHz[45][46] 512 MB 256 MB No Yes
Fifth generation
Model Introduced Discontinued Video outputs Video resolutions Audio output Network USB Remote Processor Memory Channel storage [note 1] micro
SD
slot
Netflix
with
Profiles[47]
Composite,
S-Video
Component, HDMI 480i, 480p 720p, 1080p 4k Analog Optical, HDMI Ethernet 802.11
wireless
Roku Express (3700) [48] Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both No Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No IR[note 8] TBD TBD TBD No Yes
Roku Express+ (3710) [49] Oct 2016 Composite HDMI 480p Both No Yes & Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n dual-band No IR[note 8] TBD TBD TBD No Yes
Roku Premier (4620) [50] Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Stream to smartphone HDMI No a/b/g/n/ac dual-band No IR[note 8] Quad-core TBD TBD No Yes
Roku Premier+ (4630) [51] Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Remote[note 7] & Stream to smartphone HDMI Yes a/b/g/n/ac dual-band No Wi-Fi Direct Quad-core TBD TBD No Yes
Roku Ultra (4640) [52] Oct 2016 Neither HDMI Neither Both Yes Remote[note 7] & Stream to smartphone Optical & HDMI Yes a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Yes Wi-Fi Direct, IR & Voice Search Quad-core TBD TBD Yes Yes

Software[edit]

The Roku box runs a heavily modified version of Linux called Roku OS. The first-generation Roku players first came with Roku OS 1.0. After that, Roku has continued to update the software with bug fixes, security updates, feature additions, and many new interface revisions.[citation needed]

Programming[edit]

Online Roku channels[edit]

Content on the Roku DVP is provided by Roku partners, and is identified using the "channel" vernacular. Users can add or remove different channels from the Roku Channel Store. In May 2011, Roku stated the DVP had over one million viewers and had delivered 15 million channel downloads.[citation needed]

Service creation for Roku Player[edit]

The Roku is an open-platform device with a freely available software development kit that enables anyone to create new channels.[53] The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company describes as 'unique', but "similar to Visual Basic" and "similar to JavaScript".[54]

Developers who wish to test their channels before a general release, or who wish to limit viewership, can create "private" channels that require a code be entered by the user in the account page of the Roku website. These private channels, which are not part of the official Roku Channel Store, are neither reviewed nor approved by Roku.[55]

There is an NDK (Native Developer Kit) available, though it has added restrictions."[54]

Services listing[edit]

A partial list of services is currently available through the Roku Channel Store.[56] There is no subscription fee for the basic service, but individual channels and content may require a fee.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e In the first generation players, the size of flash memory limited the number of channels that could be installed. Later models (>2100) removed that limit.
  2. ^ a b c 1080p at p24 or p30 only.
  3. ^ The component video connector on the Roku XDS (2100X) is a nonstandard 3.5mm connector and a proprietary adapter cable, which is sold separately, is effectively required to use this.[29]
  4. ^ a b Bluetooth remote optional.
  5. ^ a b 1080p at p60 only.
  6. ^ 1080p at p24.
  7. ^ a b c d e Analog audio output is available only through the headphone jack on the remote.
  8. ^ a b c d WiFi Direct Remote optional.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ogden, Jon (April 26, 2007). "Re: 'Rock You' or 'Row Coo'". Roku Forums. Roku, Inc. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ Altavilla, Dave (May 29, 2008). "Inside The Tech Of The Netflix Player With Roku". HotHardware. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Roku Streaming Players | Roku HD Player, Roku XD Player and Roku XDS Player". Roku.com. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Roku Labs Roku SD Home Theater Product Product Information". PCWorld. November 24, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ Carnoy, David; Falcone, John P. (September 24, 2010). "Roku N1100 HD player Review". CNET. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "What compatible Wi-Fi devices work with my Roku player? : Featured Questions". Roku.com. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Roku HD XR Player Review – Watch CNET's Video Review". Reviews.cnet.com. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ "What media file types does the Roku USB Media Player channel support? : Featured Questions". Support.roku.com. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Roku Expects User Base to Triple in 2011". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ Roku Hits 15 Million Channel Downloads PDF
  11. ^ "New Products". CED Magazine\date= September 30, 2011. October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Introducing Roku 2". The Official Roku Blog. 
  13. ^ "Roku Introduces New $49 Streaming Player" (PDF). Roku.com. 
  14. ^ "Roku.com: Introducing Roku Search". Roku Blog. October 29, 2012.  (In addition, see follow-up in "Comments" section from Roku)
  15. ^ "Rolling out the new Roku interface". Roku blog. May 14, 2013. 
  16. ^ Martin, Chris (July 26, 2013). "Sky launches Now TV Box for £9.99". PC Advisor. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Roku 3, a faster and more powerful media player, to go on sale". Los AngelesTimes. March 5, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Roku PSA: Here's how to tell the new Roku 2 and Roku 3 from the old versions". TechHive. April 27, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Introducing Roku 4, the Best Roku Streaming Player Ever; New Roku OS 7 Adds New Ways to Discover Entertainment, and More". The Official Roku Blog. 
  20. ^ "Roku Announces All-New Streaming Player Line Up Starting at $29.99 | Roku Online Newsroom". newsroom.roku.com. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  21. ^ David Katzmaier (2016-09-26). "Roku unveils five new streaming boxes with prices as low as $30". CNET. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  22. ^ Howley, Daniel (April 27, 2016). "Roku best streaming device around for some time". Yahoo. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  23. ^ "NXP and Roku Enable Instant Enjoyment of New Release Movies" (Press release). March 4, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2011. The Roku digital video player, powered by the PNX8935 multi-format source decoder from NXP 
  24. ^ "Netflix Player source code released". Hack a Day. July 2, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b Higgins, Tim (September 29, 2010). "Roku XDS Reviewed – Inside". SmallNetBuilder. Retrieved November 11, 2011. the original Roku and XDS, which both use Nexperia's PNX8935 multi-format source decoder. It's obvious that a newer version of the PNX8935 is used in the XDS, given the device's smaller size. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Developer Guide". roku.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b c "MIPS-Based Products". Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Roku HD-XR Digital Video Player ... Roku SD Digital Video Player ... Roku HD Digital Video Player ... Licensee Chip Used: PNX8935 
  28. ^ Lueke, Alan (November 12, 2010). "Netgear Roku XD: Streaming for the Masses". AnandTech. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Looking inside, I discovered the NXP PNX8935 SoC. 
  29. ^ "What is the component cable?". Roku. July 22, 2010. 
  30. ^ Detwiler, Bill (January 14, 2011). "Roku XDS Teardown". TechRepublic. Retrieved November 11, 2011. XDS uses a Trident Microsystems / NXP Semiconductors PNX8935 multi-format source decoder. 
  31. ^ O'Brien, Terrence (September 27, 2011). "Budget-friendly Roku LT pops up at the FCC as the 2400X (Updated with pics)". Engadget. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Inside is the same Broadcom 2835 SOC that powers the Roku 2 XD, XS, and HD 
  32. ^ a b c "New Roku HD player hits the FCC with composite out, new remote, does away with microSD storage". Wireless Goodness. March 15, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b c O'Brien, Terrence (June 29, 2011). "Roku 2 line passes through the FCC with modest hardware updates and a reset button". Engadget. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Inside that tiny case is a new Broadcom 2835 SOC 
  34. ^ "Roku Support". roku.com. 
  35. ^ 3100X model: Software version 7.0 build 9044 no IEEE 802.11n support
  36. ^ "Roku 2 XS 3100R Streaming Media Adapter". Hearst Electronic Products and iSuppli. October 26, 2011. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. The new design twist on the 3100R is the use of a Broadcom (BCM2835) A/V Processor. ... BCM2835MIPPG, TE1119 P31, 136664 B3 W (Die Marking: Logo, BCM2708, 2010) 
  37. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140222045939/http://support.roku.com/entries/20345913-Product-Comparison-All-Roku-Player-Models. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. ^ "TempConfidential_(3400, 3420)Internal photos_20120921 - Internal Photos FCC ID: TC2-R1005 Document ID 1799488". fccid.net. 
  39. ^ "Roku unveils new video-streaming stick in response to popularity of Google's Chromecast". Fox News. 
  40. ^ https://support.roku.com/hc/en-us/articles/208756518-Netflix-Help
  41. ^ https://support.roku.com/hc/en-us/articles/208756518-Netflix-Help
  42. ^ Roku. "Meet Roku 4". Roku. 
  43. ^ Brian. "Roku 4 Tear Down". 
  44. ^ Roku. "All-new Roku® Streaming Stick®". Roku. 
  45. ^ "Roku Streaming Stick (3600R)". wikidevi.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Roku3600b.png". Roku.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  47. ^ https://support.roku.com/hc/en-us/articles/208756518-Netflix-Help
  48. ^ Roku. "Roku Express". Roku. 
  49. ^ Roku. "Roku Express+". Roku. 
  50. ^ Roku. "Roku Premiere". Roku. 
  51. ^ Roku. "Roku Premier+". Roku. 
  52. ^ Roku. "Roku Ultra". Roku. 
  53. ^ "Roku Bows Online Store". Home Media Magazine. November 23, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  54. ^ a b "Developers". Roku. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  55. ^ "What Are Private Channels?". Roku.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  56. ^ "Roku Channel Store". Roku.com. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 

External links[edit]