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By Usman Khan Lodhi
Roku announces it's buying now-defunct Quibi's shows
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Roku is buying Quibi's library of content, the firm announced today. Shows produced by the now-defunct service will be available for free through the Roku Channel sometime this year. It is not known yet when these shows will exactly arrive, and Roku did not disclose how much it paid for the content. The Wall Street Journal reported that Roku paid "significantly less" than $100 million to acquire Quibi's shows.
Despite the failure of Quibi, its content was star-studded, as shown in the announcement stating that acquired content will feature "Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Richie, Chrissy Teigen, Lena Waithe, and many others.” According to the deal, more than 75 shows will be added to The Roku Channel.
Acquiring Quibi's content will drive more viewers to Roku's platform and potentially increase its ad revenue. In the streaming industry, having original or exclusive content is vital to a platform's growth. Shows being added to The Roku Channel include #FreeRayshawn, Chrissy’s Court, Die Hart, Dummy, Flipped, Most Dangerous Game, Punk’d, Reno 911!, Survive, and more.
By Rich Woods
2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Streaming solutions
by Rich Woods
Every year, we like to write up some holiday gift guides for those that like to get people some device as a gift, but don't quite know what to get. One of my favorite topics is set-top boxes; you know, those little streaming devices that let you play Netflix, Hulu, and a lot more. The reason is that for so many people, streaming devices are the perfect gift.
There are so many people that only think to upgrade one component of their entertainment system. I can't tell you how many people I see spend a couple thousand dollars on a brand-new LG OLED or Samsung QLED 4K UHD TV, but they're still using their third-generation Apple TV or original Amazon Fire TV Stick. Many people just don't stop to think that they're limiting their experience by using an old device.
It's a meaningful upgrade in our experience too. We spend a lot of our time in front of TVs, whether it's for binging a new show on Netflix or watching movies. Going from something that only supports FHD to something that supports UHD and HDR formats like Dolby Vision can really change the experience. And it's not even an expensive gift.
Amazon Fire TV
If you're buying for someone that's invested in Amazon's ecosystem, the Fire TV is the way to go. What's great about them is that Amazon has some solid deals on its own hardware throughout the holiday season. There are four key products here: Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Stick Lite.
The Fire TV Cube is the best that Amazon has to offer. It's faster than the quad-core processors in the Fire TV Sticks with its hexa-core chipset, and it has an Ethernet port for wired internet speeds. Another key feature is far-field voice microphones for Alexa support. It's normally $119.99, but right now, it's $79.99.
The Fire TV Stick 4K has the same picture quality as the Fire TV Cube, meaning 4K resolution support along with HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and more HDR support. It comes with an Alexa voice remote. Normally $49.99, this product is just $29.99.
Next, we have the FHD lineup, which is the Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Stick light. The Fire TV stick is normally $39.99 and it's marked down to $27.99, so you should probably just spend the extra $2 for 4K and Dolby Vision support. Finally, normally $29.99, the Fire TV Stick Lite is $17.99.
Fire TV Cube Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick Fire TV Stick Lite Google Chromecast
Google's Chromecast was always a product that I had trouble recommending. The whole idea was supposed to be a new take on a streaming device. Instead of a remote control, you cast content from your smartphone to the device, also controlling it with your phone. It was interesting, but not always practical.
The new Chromecast is more traditional though. It comes with an actual operating system, Google TV, which will let you run all of your apps like Netflix, Hulu, and so on. It also comes with a proper remote control. And another thing, you don't need to spend extra money on some "Ultra" variant to get 4K support. The new Chromecast supports 4K resolution, and HDR formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+.
If you want to check it out on the Google Store, you can find it here.
The nice thing about Roku is that it's platform-agnostic. Amazon's Fire TV is built around Amazon Prime subscription content and on-demand content. Apple TV is built around iTunes. Roku isn't built around any service, although it does have a few of its own now. Roku was also the first to make a streaming set-top box back in the day.
These days, it makes a ton of products, and you can check out the full list here. At the top of the lineup is the Roku Ultra, which supports 4K, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and wired internet. Usually $99.99, it's on sale for $69.99. Roku also has the Streambar and Smart Soundbar, which add audio quality to the mix along with 4K HDR support.
There are some other things that are nice about Roku too, such as AirPlay support if you don't want to go all-in on an Apple TV. There's also a headphone jack in the remote control, so you can watch TV without waking people up. Just like Amazon, Roku also has its own range of inexpensive streaming sticks.
Roku Ultra ($69, usually $99.99) Roku Streambar (99.99, usually $129.99) Roku Smart Soundbar ($179.99) Apple TV
Apple TV is great if you're invested in Apple's ecosystem, and the nice thing about iTunes is that Apple doesn't charge extra for 4K content. Apple has two models, the Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K. The difference is pretty self-explanatory. The only problem is that the Apple TV 4K is already three years old, and the Apple TV HD is over five years old.
If you want to check these out, you can find them here:
Apple TV 4K ($179) Apple TV HD ($149) As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support added to select Roku players
by Paul Hill
Roku has announced that select 4K Roku devices will gain support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit with the release of Roku OS 9.4. Devices that are set to get the features are the Roku Ultra, Roku Streambar, Roku Smart Soundbar, Roku Streaming Stick+ and the Roku Premiere.
With AirPlay 2, the firm said that Roku customers can stream, control and share their content directly from their iPhone, iPad or Mac to their Roku device. With HomeKit, users can securely control their Roku device using their voice on the Home app and on Siri on iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and HomePod.
Commenting on the new features, Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku said:
Aside from AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support, Roku said that Roku OS 9.4 also features the Live TV Channel Guide on Roku TVs, helpful hints for Roku Voice, Surround Level Control for Multi-Channel Audio, updated Theme Packs, and performance enhancements. The update will be released to devices in phases in the coming months.
By News Staff
Roku discounts its streaming boxes and sticks, now starting at $21
by João Carrasqueira
Amazon's Prime Day sale takes place this year on October 13 and 14, but some deals have already started popping up ahead of the start date. Roku, known for its streaming devices, is holding its own set of discounts for the occasion, though you don't actually need to have Amazon Prime.
The discounts make these devices the cheapest they have been, starting with the Roku Express, which is now just $21 instead of $29.99, a 30% discount. This is the lowest-end model Roku sells, though it still supports Full HD streaming, and the box includes the remote and HDMI cable you'll need, plus it supports Wi-Fi out of the box.
If you need a little more, the Roku Premiere is also discounted from $39.99 down to $27, which makes it cheaper than even the regular price of the Express. For that price, you now get support for 4K and HDR, plus a "premium" HDMI cable.
Finally, there's the Roku Streaming Stick+, which usually costs $49.99, but is now down to $37. In addition to a more compact form factor that plugs directly into the TV, this model includes support for dual-band Wi-Fi, long-range wireless, and the remote supports voice controls if you just can't stand buttons.
The devices also have some discounts in the United Kingdom, but they're not as cheap as in the United States. Here's the list of UK deals:
Roku Express - £24 (usually £29.99) Roku Premiere - £34 (usually £39.99) Roku Streaming Stick+ - £48 (usually £59.99) All of the models have the same basic set of features, including easy setup, automatic updates, and the ability to listen to shows using your phone so you don't bother other people in the house. Plus, you can control all of them with either Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa.
As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
By Jefferson Mangubat
Roku announces the Streambar with support for Dolby Audio and 4K streaming
by Jefferson Mangubat
Roku has introduced a new soundbar that lets you stream 4K HDR content along with other capabilities. The Streambar features a couple of control options such as through the included remote or with native voice assistant support for Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.
The soundbar combines four 1.9-inch full-range speaker drivers that produce rich Dolby Audio for compatible TV models, including those of Roku. It connects to your TV via HDMI and it also includes a Bluetooth receiver. You can also stream music directly from your smartphone, courtesy of the soundbar's Spotify Connect feature.
Streambar also ships with a voice remote for controlling your TV power, sound, and streaming. Later this year, the soundbar will roll out support for Apple's AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on select 4K Roku devices. AirPlay 2 will let you stream and share your favorite content from your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook to any supported Roku device. In addition, you can control your Roku device through HomeKit using the Home app and Siri on Apple's devices.
Roku will release the Streambar in the UK by the end of October for £129 via online stores and physical retail shops. It will also be available to purchase in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, but pricing for the other regions was not mentioned.