Chromecast 4K on the horizon? Roku expands its lineup

By Jim O'Neill on Sep 26 2016 at 9:45 AM
Chromecast 4K on the horizon? Roku expands its lineup

There may be a paucity of 4K content available to stream at the moment -- with big question marks about how much is in the pipeline and how much consumer demand there really is – but rumors abound that Google will announce a new Chromecast 4K device at its Oct. 4 event.

Android Police is reporting that its sources say the latest iteration of the popular Chromecast dongle, with the snappy name Chromecast Ultra, likely will retail at $69, twice what the current price is for a standard dongle. A bigger concern likely should be, “will it deliver HDR?”

Android Police say the high dynamic range format, which expands the range of contrast and color, resulting in a significant increase in viewer experience without nearly the data needed for 4K delivery, is a “bullet point” for the new dongle.

And, news from Roku…

Roku, meanwhile, isn’t sitting on its hands waiting for Google’s reveal…

The company today announced its own lineup of connected devices that range in price for $29.99 to $129.99.

Its new Roku Express ($29.99) and Roku Express+ ($39.99) offer 1080p HD streaming and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. The Express+ allows consumers to use older TVs via a composite A/V cable (red/white/yellow), and is available only at Walmart.

The Roku Premiere ($79.99) and Roku Premiere+ ($99.99) deliver HD and 4K up to 60 fps streaming plus HDR on the Roku Premiere+ and works with both HD and 4K UHD TVs. It includes a quad-core processor, 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless and its night listening mode setting adjusts audio sounds to maintain volume consistency. The Roku Premiere+ also includes HDR support, enhanced point anywhere remote with headphone jack for private listening, MicroSD card slot for additional channel storage and Ethernet for wired internet connectivity.

The Roku Ultra ($129.99) is the Big Daddy of Roku’s cast…. In addition to everything the Premiere+ has, it also includes Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital Plus decoding for advance surround sound in home theaters, optical digital audio out port to connect to a receiver or sound bar, a USB port for local media playback, the RF-based remote that also includes gaming buttons and a lost remote finder feature.

All are available for pre-order beginning today from Roku.com, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers. They should be in stores beginning Oct. 9.

A July report from Futuresource said the digital media adapter market – which includes Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and other similar devices, is valued at $1.9 billion globally with a forecast that expects it to grow 50% by 2020 with 63 million devices shipped annually.

In May, Parks Associates said 36% of all broadband households in the United States owned at least one DMA, with Roku the top dog.

It said Roku accounted for 30% of the devices purchased in the U.S. from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016, with Amazon and Google each grabbing 22% of shipments.

Stay tuned.     

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn

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