Roku Delivers Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos with Updated Ultra Streamer

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(September 28, 2020) Roku has announced two new products, including an update to its top-of-the-line Roku Ultra player, along with several interesting promotional campaigns. Ultra, a compact streaming device, ships with 50% more wireless range and onboard Bluetooth support. It's also fully compatible with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, while offering voice control conveniences through its remote control and both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices.

The company has also launched its new “Streambar,” a 32-inch soundbar device that houses a built-in 4K Roku player. At just 14.2-inches wide and 2.4-inches high, the Streambar is sized to be unobtrusive. The output from its four-driver configuration can be tweaked using onboard sound modes and add-on wireless speaker products such as the Roku Wireless Subwoofer.

For more information, including details about Roku’s current Pandora Premium, Apple TV+, and Showtime, Starz, and EPIX promotions, read the official press release (below).


SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 28, 2020-- Roku, Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) today unveiled its new streaming lineup for the U.S. to include an all-new and redesigned Roku Ultra (MSRP $99.99) and the addition of the Roku® Streambar™ (MSRP $129.99). Roku Ultra offers the best performance of any Roku player for less than $100, and was specifically designed for avid streamers. For streamers looking to add powerful streaming and premium sound to any TV, the Roku Streambar is the easiest way for consumers to upgrade and de-clutter their home entertainment systems. In addition, Roku also announced Roku OS 9.4 in a separate announcement today.

Roku Streambar
“We are focused on delivering a variety of innovative, top-performing products at an incredible value to our customers so they can get to the content they care about quickly,” said Mark Ely, Vice President, Retail Product Strategy at Roku. “Our new streaming player lineup now includes reimagined streaming devices in the Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar – we continue to offer a great device no matter the use case our customers are looking for whether they are new to streaming or looking to add great sound and streaming to their home entertainment center.”

Roku Ultra
Roku Ultra remains the ultimate streaming player offering powerful, smooth streaming with channels that launch in a snap and our best wireless, now with up to 50% more range and Bluetooth® support. Stream in extraordinary Dolby Vision® picture quality and experience immersive Dolby Atmos® sound when you pair it with compatible devices. Inside the box is a Roku voice remote featuring TV power and volume controls, personal shortcut buttons, and headphones for private listening—it even has a lost remote finder—and now a High-Speed Premium HDMI® cable. Control the Roku Ultra by speaking to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices. Roku Ultra is perfect for cord cutters and people who love to stream. Features include:

  • Power & performance: Loaded with a quad-core processor and channels that launch in a snap.
  • Our best wireless: Enjoy smoother streaming in rooms further from the router now with up to 50% more range.
  • Dolby Vision®: Enjoy favorite films or streaming series with spectacular color, contrast, brightness, and detail. Dolby Vision can deliver colors never-before seen on a screen paired with ultra-vivid picture quality which results in a refined, lifelike image.
  • Dolby Atmos®: Immersive entertainment with sound that moves all around with breathtaking realism. Sound recorded in stereo is limited to left and right channels. Sound mixed in Dolby Atmos allows a deeper connection to shows and movies.
  • Private listening: Use the included headphones to pump up the volume on your shows without disturbing the house.
  • Personal shortcuts: Simply give a voice command, then press and hold a personal shortcut button for one-touch access anytime.
Roku Streambar
Roku Streambar is the ultimate 2-in-1 entertainment upgrade with powerful streaming and premium sound for any TV with HDMI. Hear every detail as you stream in vibrant 4K HDR picture quality on 4K HDR compatible TVs. Crisp, clean audio makes dialogue easier to hear and, with its compact design, it fills the room with sound. Quiet loud commercials automatically. Control the Roku Streambar by speaking to Amazon Alexa and/or Google Assistant devices. Later this year, Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities are expected to begin roll out on select 4K Roku devices. With Apple AirPlay 2, customers can stream videos, music and more to the big screen, and with HomeKit, they can easily and securely control their Roku device using the Home app and Siri. Setup is simple with everything in the box, including one voice remote that controls your TV, sound, and streaming. Additional features include:

  • America’s #1 TV streaming platform by hours streamed: Enjoy an easy to use and snappy experience with access to endless entertainment.
  • Big sound: Four internal speakers fill the room with rich Dolby Audio.
  • Smarter than the average soundbar: Advanced audio engineering within the Roku OS helps Roku Streambar produce sound well beyond its size while increasing speech clarity and adding intricate depth to music.
  • Simple sound settings: Simple volume modes make it easy to adjust sound. Automatically lower loud commercials, boost the volume of voices, and optimize the sound for night listening.
  • Easily expandable: Add deep, rich bass with Roku Wireless Subwoofer and immersive surround sound with Roku Wireless Speakers.
  • Spotify Connect: Spotify is available on the Roku platform and with Spotify Connect, easily launch a favorite playlist from a smartphone and listen through the Roku Streambar’s high performance speakers.
  • Bluetooth support: Easily stream music from mobile devices.
Adding Value Via Content Offers
  • Pandora Premium - Consumers who purchase a Roku device from September 25 – November 6th and redeem by November 8th, 2020 will be eligible for a 3-month trial of Pandora Premium. Pandora Premium gives users on-demand music, ad-free listening, and much more. Total value of $29.97.
  • Apple TV+ - Eligible customers who purchase and activate a Roku device from October 23, 2020 to January 31, 2021 will receive a promotional code to enjoy three months free of Apple TV+. This offer for Roku customers is available to new Apple TV+ subscribers only and must be redeemed by February 2, 2021. $4.99/month after free trial. One subscription per Family Sharing group. Plan automatically renews until cancelled.
  • SHOWTIME, STARZ + EPIX – Redeem the 30-day free trial available via The Roku Channel, good from now until October 4, 2020 with the purchase and activation of an eligible Roku device. Total value $25.97.
More information on these offers and others can be found at Roku.com/Offers.

The Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar are available for pre-order at Roku.com starting today and are expected to ship in October. General availability at Roku.com and major retailers is expected in October. The Roku Streambar will also be available in Canada, Mexico and the U.K. Also available on shelf in the U.S. will be the Roku Express, the Roku Express+, the Roku Premiere, the Roku Streaming Stick+, the Roku Streaming Stick+ HE and the Roku Ultra LT.

For more information visit Roku.com.

 

Sonnie

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I've tried Roku a couple of times... never had anything but handshake issues even with the better processors. I gave up after two tries and no help with their support.

Hopefully they've improved.
 

Kal Rubinson

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Hmmm. I have two Roku boxes and they have functioned perfectly for years. Hard to imagine an improvement.
 

JStewart

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I guess I’m the lucky one. Have three roku without any issues. An ultra and a couple of sticks. I see very occasional audio dropouts on the ATV and have never run into that on a roku. Never a HDMI connection issue.

Having said that, it strikes me that as long as HDMI has been around it’s never quite been ready for prime time. There’s been weird interconnection issues from the jump and if you’re unlucky enough to run into one changing one of the devices seems to be the only solution after making sure your cables are good, which I’m sure yours are.
 

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I have 3 Roku sticks and 1 Roku Ultra... use them to stream Xfinity to TVs in our home that are used less often (TV in the bar/game room, a second sitting area in our basement, etc). Really, no complaints. They were easy to set up and work great
 

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My Ultra never would work properly with my Yamaha processor/JVC combo... and it never worked with my NAD AVR (don't think I ever tried with the M17). I also had issues with it recognizing my Epson projector as 4K. I tried several units the first time around. Then about a year later, tried another one... no luck either time. There were several of us who were unlucky.

Here's the threads about a year apart where several of us were complaining: https://www.avnirvana.com/threads/roku-issues-already.367/ and https://www.avnirvana.com/threads/roku-hdcp-2-2-issues.2738/

These are 3-4 years ago, so things may have very well improved... dunno, but unless they have improved from having intermittent issues with various products, I wouldn't waste my time with them again. Of course I don't really need it right now anyway.

I did not have the same issues with 4K when using the Shield TV Pro or the Apple 4K, so we couldn't very well blame it on the other devices. I use the Panasonic UB9000 right now. I plug up the Shield and the Apple from time to time with no issues. I actually have the A4K connected now to watch Tehran.
 
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Todd Anderson

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Huh. Wonder what the issue was? I have 3 devices plugged directly into TVs and one into a Denon receiver... I wonder if the copy protection standards on your projector and NAD hadn't been updated or were not the same in some way?
 

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In the last few years, I have installed all the different Roku models from the Express to the Ultra for more than 15 of my neighbors and most of them have 2-4 sets with 2-4 Roku installed per home. This makes anywhere from 40-60 Rokus installed.

They have all lasted for a number of years and used everyday. Last week was the second Roku that had to be replaced because it failed.

I think $29.99 for the Express is a great price for such an excellent device.

A few months ago, a neighbor took a 30 day vacation to Sedona. I had them take their Roku Express with them where they connected it to the hotel's TV and were able to watch all the TV just like watching at home such as YouTubeTV, Netflix, etc.
 

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Huh. Wonder what the issue was? I have 3 devices plugged directly into TVs and one into a Denon receiver... I wonder if the copy protection standards on your projector and NAD hadn't been updated or were not the same in some way?
Not really sure. Yamaha, NAD, JVC and Epson... I contacted all four and all four said it was an issue with the Roku and that my only option was to wait for them to do an update or try another unit, as some of their users had luck simply trying another unit. I could never get any support from Roku other than send it back to Amazon and get another unit, so I sent a total of 5 units back to Amazon. The first 3 I replaced... the 4th one I gave up, until a year later, then I tried once again, but did not bother to replace it, as this was when I was on another processor and projector and still had issues.

Here are my Roku Ultra orders... I stated above that it was 3-4 years ago, but here are the actual dates.

35438
 

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I had issues with the Ultra as well. My daughter uses it now on her cheap 4K TV and it works fine. :dontknow: I have a couple Roku Sticks that I use at the cabin and in the garage. They work fine on those 1080p displays. I use ATV and Shield in my theater room and an ATV on my C7. I won't be changing to a Roku in those locations. :rolleyesno:
 

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I have 2 Roku sticks and 2 Fire Sticks. I have never had issues with either but I like the Fire better because it is simpler to use using voice control speaking directly at the remote for search vs having to type it in.
The remote finder on the Roku Ultra is a plus for me. My old box tv that I bought in 1995 had a remote finder incorporated fast forward to present time and there are hardly any remotes out there that have remote finder capacity. Not even my Harmony Ultimate One has it.
 

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I'm a glutton for punishment, so I ordered one of the new 2020 units... we'll see if it works any better.

If there is one thing I don't like about using Netflix and Amazon Prime on the UB9000, it's how slow it starts up. Plus, I have to have a separate box for Apple 4K, so a Roku (that actually works) would be nice, not that it offers Atmos. Then I can keep my UB9000 for physical media.
 

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I'm a glutton for punishment, so I ordered one of the new 2020 units... we'll see if it works any better.

If there is one thing I don't like about using Netflix and Amazon Prime on the UB9000, it's how slow it starts up. Plus, I have to have a separate box for Apple 4K, so a Roku (that actually works) would be nice, not that it offers Atmos. Then I can keep my UB9000 for physical media.
Just like me and JRiver...keep trying them over and over even though it crashes on my system. LOL
 

NBPK402

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I have 2 Roku sticks and 2 Fire Sticks. I have never had issues with either but I like the Fire better because it is simpler to use using voice control speaking directly at the remote for search vs having to type it in.
The remote finder on the Roku Ultra is a plus for me. My old box tv that I bought in 1995 had a remote finder incorporated fast forward to present time and there are hardly any remotes out there that have remote finder capacity. Not even my Harmony Ultimate One has it.
The one thing I really like on the Roku is being able to plug my 6xx headphones in to it and walk around the room to get some exercise.
 
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Sonnie

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Maybe I'll get lucky like some of these other guys.... MAYBE!!!
 

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I had issues with the Ultra as well. My daughter uses it now on her cheap 4K TV and it works fine. :dontknow: I have a couple Roku Sticks that I use at the cabin and in the garage. They work fine on those 1080p displays. I use ATV and Shield in my theater room and an ATV on my C7. I won't be changing to a Roku in those locations. :rolleyesno:
I need to amend this. I have one of my original Roku Ultras out in the garage. I rarely turn that TV on out there but I did yesterday and about an hour or so in it locked up. Had to recycle power to get it back. I'll probably recycle this one next time I go to the eco center with electronics. I have a spare stick sitting around and those don't ever seem to give me the issues that the Ultra does.
 

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Got the 2020 Ultra in today... hooked it up... and it's working fine thus far. :fingers-crossed:
 

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Reporting back on my latest experience. Received the new Roku Ultra 2020 model about 10 days ago. Thus far it has been flawless. Maybe I finally got a good combination between the Roku, processor and projector... and just maybe this won't jinx it.
 

mechman

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Reporting back on my latest experience. Received the new Roku Ultra 2020 model about 10 days ago. Thus far it has been flawless. Maybe I finally got a good combination between the Roku, processor and projector... and just maybe this won't jinx it.
Still good? I noticed that Katzmeier over at cnet calls it the best overall wired streamer.
 

Sonnie

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Lifetime Roon Subscription
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Zero Surge 8R15W-1 | Salamander Synergy Equipment Stand
Yep... zero issues, other than not knowing I needed to set it on "Auto passthrough" instead of "Auto detect" for the audio. But that was not an issue as much as it was a simple setting after discovery of not being able to upmix stereo. No dropouts whatsoever of any kind, which is a success.
 

mechman

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Empire, MN
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Pioneer VSX-832
Front Speakers
Definitive Technology Studio Monitor 55s
Center Channel Speaker
Definitive Technology CS8040
Surround Back Speakers
Definitive Technology DI6.5R
Other Speakers or Equipment
Apple TV 4K
Video Display Device
LG OLED65C7P
Remote Control
Logitech Harmony 650
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HBO Max, YouTubeTV, Hulu, Netflix, Disney+
I picked one up after having issues with the ATV 4K and the Fox Sports Go app. It has been flawless so far (about a month) for me.
 

NBPK402

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Looks like it is time to replace my ROKU Premium with a newer model...I have to unplug the power and replug it in at least once a day to get it to work anymore.If I do not do thaf I have no HDMI signal.
 
Last edited:

Sonnie

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More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
StormAudio ISP Elite 24 MK3 Processor
Main Amp
McIntosh MC1.25KW Monoblock Amps
Additional Amp
StormAudio PA 16 MK3
Computer Audio
Intel NUC w/ Roon ROCK
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Panasonic UB9000 4K UHD Player (for media discs)
Front Speakers
RTJ 410
Center Channel Speaker
MartinLogan Focus C-18
Front Wide Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT
Surround Speakers
JTR Neosis 210RT
Surround Back Speakers
JTR Neosis 210RT
Front Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Rear Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Subwoofers
JTR Captivator 2400 x6
Other Speakers or Equipment
VTI Amp Stands for the Monoblocks
Video Display Device
Sony 98X90L
Remote Control
Universal MX-890
Streaming Equipment
Kaleidescape | FireCube | Lenova X1 - Intel NUC for Roon
Streaming Subscriptions
Lifetime Roon Subscription
Tidal
qobuz
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Satellite System
Dish Joey 4K
Other Equipment
Zero Surge 8R15W-1 | Salamander Synergy Equipment Stand
Still zero issues here with the new Ultra 2020 version.
 
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