Roku TVs link to streaming shows from live antenna TV guide

Newly public Roku announces latest lineup of streaming devices

Hands on: Roku Streaming Stick+ review

"Consumers will love our new sleek Roku Streaming Stick+ with an innovative advanced wireless receiver that gives up to four times the wireless range and a remote that controls TV volume and power". The Roku Express+ adds composite A/V ports in addition to HDMI for those that need to connect to older televisions.

The second-generation Roku Express ($30) and Roku Express+ ($40, Walmart Exclusive) offer five times better performance over previous editions, giving customers a strong entry-level HD experience.

Enhanced Voice Features: Voice search now includes natural language understanding and can search for movies, shows, actors and directors, or even launch streaming channels, in a more conversational tone. Roku says the update will hit all devices by the end of the year. Though it's a pretty minor price cut - and a pretty minor upgrade - it gets the Ultra closer to Fire TV ($70) and puts it well under the Apple TV 4K ($180), both of which have fairly similar features. It also lowered the price of its most powerful, feature-packed streaming media player, the Roku Ultra, which can stream HD, 4K, and 4K HDR at up to 60 fps. Notably, Roku OS 8 adds support for browsing through free over-the-air (OTA) channels when someone plugs an antenna into their TVs.

With its IPO out of the way, Roku took to the pressing matter of refreshing its line of set-top boxes (STB). The price has been unaltered compared to a year ago.

With the introduction of a new Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV last month, Roku is looking to keep up with the pack from a features perspective.

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Dolby Vision is one of two competing HDR formats.

Private listening for over-the-air shows: You've been able to listen to Roku TV audio from apps via headphone, either connected to your phone using the Roku app or with a compatible remote. While Amazon and Apple are trying hard to catch up, Roku's ability to search thousands of content sources at once makes it simple to find anything you want, wherever it is.

Both Hulu and YouTube have launched cable-replacement services since the Roku devices were last updated, and some TV networks have launched or plan to launch their own streaming services. Roku OS 8 features the Smart Guide, a program grid that combines over-the-air options (for TVs with an antenna) with streaming options. Not every app will support it, of course. That makes it cheaper than Apple's alternative - but not Amazon's.

Along with the new hardware, Roku is refreshing its operating system. Likewise, the new version now comes with a voice remote.

Disclosure: I worked at CBS Interactive in 2014 and 2015, and some of my work involved CBS All Access and Star Trek: Discovery.

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