Technology

Nov 1, 2017

THE NEW GENERATION

Since 2008 that Roku has been producing boxes for the viewing of virtual contents thanks to the growth, accessibility and popularity of digital television channels as Netflix, Acorn, Mubi, Crackle, Pluto, Apple TV and Amazon Fire that are betting more and more on exclusive series and films aimed solely at digital releases.

By NIGEL HAWTHORNE

If on days gone by streaming was a nuisance and very unpractical given that usually it was viewed on a computer or tablet screen and it was needed two extremely long cables if by chance we wished to view the series and films on television, that all ended with the digital boxes.

Roku's digital viewing boxes made it possible to link the Wi-Fi router directly to the television, without the nuisance of analogic cables and functioning on a way very similar to that of any cable television box and respective remote control. Constantly updating its design, software and cost of its boxes, Roku is ready to release on time for the Holydays that which will be its sixth generation of devices, that currently look more like a mere USB pen (well, HDMI actually) with a tiny remote control resembling those of a garage.

The bet is now a major functionality, the viewing options, research and interactiveness of the remote control were updated in a way that tries to resemble as accurate as possible those of a conventional cable TV box. All the Roku players' options now include a high definition 4K technology, erasing any degradations and delays on the images up to 60 frames per minute (UHD – Ultra High Definition), the main inconvenient of opting for an Internet television service over a cable or fibre optic one.

Having several options for all tastes and pockets, there was a care to add an option for those that still have analogic televisions (Roku Express+), supposing that any grandmother or great-grandmother might want to enhance is grandson or great-grandson willingness to visit her on the weekends. For now, this option has an exclusive distribution contract with the Walmart chain stores, given the specificity of its target audience.

The software update of the Roku players was also included on several television brands that signed agreements with Roku. The software tried to perfect to the most the programs and films searching options, which so far had been part of the negative points on the main differences between streaming and cable, having included an option of voice command, allowing its users to research a given film or theme "speaking" to the remote.

Roku Televisions also allow an option similar to zapping, exhibiting on a grid similar to that of a DVD player which films and shows being broadcasted when one turns on the player and which ones are also available on the digital television channels, with the respective episode archive.

With its 4K updating Roku applied to all of its players and with the partnerships it made with several television brands it can now battle on equal terms on a market that has included giants as Apple, Amazon and Google on its frontlines.

It's not surprising that in less than a decade (2008-2017) the Roku players went through six generations, with such competitors it had to continuously place its bet on a better performance, easiness to use (from the original as a classic box up to the current HDMI pen format or already included on the TLC and Hisense televisions as part of its operating system), less chaotic online searching and displaying options and, something also noteworthy on such a competitive market, the constant reduction of prices without affecting quality.

Contacts * resellers@roku.com * www.roku.com * Roku, Inc, 150 Winchester Circle Los Gatos, CA 95032, USA

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