The Roku Express is Roku’s cheapest streaming stick, capable of playing most popular streaming services at 1080p for just $30. Roku has now announced a new version with upgraded hardware.
Roku’s updated Express has the same form factor and most of the same features as the previous model. It’s a small box with an HDMI port (a short HDMI cable is included), a microUSB connector for power, and a dedicated remote. The Roku Express has the same Roku OS software as the company’s other streaming hardware, but there’s no support for 4K output, TV controls on the remote, or other features found on more expensive Roku products. Still, Express has always been a great option for easily streaming Netflix, Hulu, and most other services on any TV without spending too much money.
The main improvement on the new Roku Express is dual-band Wi-Fi support, which means it can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. While 5GHz networks have been common in homes for years, many low-end tech products still work only on the older (and generally slower) 2.4 GHz band. That should help the Roku Express maintain high-quality video streaming on most networks, especially if your TV is located near your router or a mesh station.
Roku also says the new Express has “extra storage,” but didn’t specify the exact difference. Low-end and older Roku devices often delete less-used channels to make room for others, which means waiting for them to re-download when you want to use them again (icon remains on home screen after deletion automatic). Hopefully that should happen less frequently with the new Express.
The Roku Express is available for pre-order starting today at Walmart, Amazon, and the Roku online store, and will start shipping in mid-October. The company also revealed a new ‘Roku Wireless Bass’, which can act as a subwoofer for the Roku Streambar, Roku Wireless Speakers, or Roku TV Wireless Soundbar. It will retail for just $129.99 and will be sold in a bundle with the Roku Streambar for $249.99.