New Roku streaming line goes head-to-head with Amazon Fire TV

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Roku has announced its latest collection of streaming media devices.

If your TV is still lacking in that regard, Roku announced the basic Streaming Stick ($50) now includes Roku's Voice Remote.

Though it maintains a similar form factor as previous streaming sticks, Roku changed up the design a bit.

The company, which has just gained one huge capital infusion thanks to a very successful IPO, has essentially revamped its entire line of streaming hardware and the compact new 4K HDR media stick is sort of a cherry on top of these nearly traditional fall updates to Roku's product roster. The wireless receiver has been moved from within the stick itself to the power cord, in order to improve its performance and range. For OTA channels, the guide depth has been increased from seven to 14 days.

One note on HDR: The Roku Streaming Stick+ only supports HDR10, not Dolby Vision, so if you have a 4K TV with HDR, make sure it supports that format.

There are some updates arriving in Roku OS 8 for all Roku device owners, but those who use their devices alongside an over-the-air antenna will want to pay special attention to this release. However, Roku, which is the market leader in streaming players, is fighting back with an updated family of products to fight the competition from Apple, Amazon and Google.

Smart TVs from brands like TCL, Hisense, RCA and others that run Roku's Smart TV system have always been among CNET's favorites.

Roku's line-up once again begins with its budget-focused Roku Express devices, first introduced in 2016, which are both just slightly bigger than a chocolate bar. For example, the choice ranges from Amazon to PlayStation Vue, HBO Now and DirecTV Now. The benefit here is a faster and more stable streaming experience which translates to faster load times and less time buffering.

The Roku Ultra also plays 4K video and offers more streaming channels than Apple TV, but it isn't compatible with Apple's own video store or Apple's music subscription service. In the absence of complete specs it is hard to say if the current requirements of the new device is greater than what is typically supplied by on-set USB ports, but experience with current models from a variety of 4K models suggest that the factory-supplied adapter will be required. The company says that they're five times as powerful as their predecessors, and the Express+ offers the choice between HDMI and composite A/V ports, although that model is exclusive to Walmart. There's also a headphone jack for private listening and a remote finder button that helps locate lost remotes. Voice control and search have also been updated with enhanced natural language understanding. That's a 23 percent decrease from the Roku Ultra released past year, a device that had been selling for $130 until a recent clearance sale.

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