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Roku updates streaming boxes with voice search, new cinema feed (hands-on)

If it ain’t broku, don’t repair it.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku’s softly updated new boxes and program won’t prove tech enthusiasts who wanted a Roku 4K or an interface estimable of Minority Report, though that’s not indispensably a bad thing.

Today a association creates strictly accessible in a United States a initial new Roku box hardware in dual years, debuting somewhat revamped versions of a Roku 3 and Roku 2. (The boxes apparently were already on sale in some locations yesterday.) Both new inclination are shipping to a US currently for $99.99 and $69.99, respectively–the same prices as a tide boxes. The Roku 1 and Roku Streaming Stick sojourn accessible for $49.99 each.

Meanwhile, UK business will usually get a new Roku 2 for now. It will be accessible in May for £69.99.

Roku, of course, is CNET’s favorite streaming platform, delivering thousands of apps, extensive hunt and a dead-simple, refreshingly agnostic, interface that doesn’t pull a sold calm provider (we’re looking during you, Amazon, Apple and Google).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Voice hunt from a Roku 3 remote

The new Roku 3′s large underline serve is voice hunt from a remote, something a opposition Amazon Fire TV box had had for a year.

In a demo we attempted it works in flattering most a same proceed as Amazon: hold a dedicated symbol and a dialog pops adult to prove that a mic is listening. The complement was flattering good during noticing a terms we tried, and as common Roku’s hunt formula were relevant, extensive and orderly by cost so we don’t incidentally buy something we already get for “free” from a subscription service.

We’re looking brazen to serve tests in a review, in sold either it can improved Amazon’s glorious voice search, not to discuss that of a Google Nexus Player. Assuming they’re any likewise decent during voice recognition, Roku seems to have a large advantage given a voice hunt hits all 17 services lonesome by Roku’s tide calm search, including vital services Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Fox Now, FXNow, HBO Go, M-Go, Time Warner Cable and Vudu. Amazon and Google’s voice hunt catalogs are some-more limited; both still replace Netflix results, for example.

New Roku 2 equals a speed of Roku 3

The new Roku 2 has been upgraded to a same lightning-quick turn of speed as a tide (and new) Roku 3, according to a company. We found a 2013 chronicle decidedly pokier than a some-more costly brother, so a speed boost, if it truly does move a dual to parity, is a genuine boon.

So what do we trade to get faster opening and keep a same price? The new Roku 2 omits a headphone jack-equipped remote found on a tide version. Now a usually proceed to get that marriage-saving additional is to hack adult for a Roku 3. Sad trombone.

And no, we can’t buy a new Roku 3 remote alone yet, though it is able of operative with a new Roku 2 as good as a existent Roku 3. Amazon, if you’re gripping score, sells a separate voice-control remote that works with a Fire TV Stick. For now, voice hunt is a US-only underline and won’t be accessible in a UK.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku Feeds your new recover needs

Rather than revamp a program with an wholly new interface, Roku motionless to keep a same entirely customizable, tile-based perspective and supplement a new choice to a categorical left-hand menu. It’s something called “Roku Feed.”

If we wish to watch a new film that’s not nonetheless accessible to tide on a Roku channel — for example, a film in theaters currently — we can “follow” it by adding it to your feed. You can check a feed for updates and you’ll accept a presentation for when a film is accessible to stream, and how most it costs. If a cost or accessibility changes, you’ll be told again.

It seems like a crafty proceed to a difficulty of recover windows, where a film becomes accessible during opposite times to opposite outlets (theaters, disc, streaming, wire VOD, etc.) and for several prices. It’s also a underline no other device offers, and serve leverages Roku’s channel-bridging approach. Feeds will start with Movies Coming Soon, though Roku intends to supplement other kinds of windowed calm in a future.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Another inestimable interface serve is a apart choice to hunt for particular apps from a categorical Channel Store page. Previously apps would come adult as formula from a categorical tellurian Roku search, though adding a dedicated app hunt is a acquire change, given Roku’s catalog of some-more than 1,700 channels.

The new updated program will hurl out to to all tide era Roku inclination starting currently and will be finished in a US by a finish of April. UK business will get a refurbish in May.

Current era Roku inclination are those introduced after Apr 2011 and embody a Roku 3, Roku 2, Roku 1, Roku Streaming Stick (both HDMI and Roku Ready versions), Roku LT, Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS and a Roku HD.

New Roku Remote app: Feeds and voice

Roku’s Remote app for iOS and Android also get an refurbish that among other changes will embody a Feeds view. Roku told me a app will not offer notifications for new movies, however; apparently you’ll have to open a app and demeanour during your Feed for that.

The Roku Remote app will also offer voice hunt (in a US usually for now), something a Amazon Fire TV Remote app had had given day one. It will work with all tide Rokus. That’s a good serve for phone-centric users, though frequency as available as carrying voice hunt on a remote.

Sarah Tew/CNET

So that Roku do we buy now?

Our rough shopping recommendation is flattering simple: if we wish a imagination new remote with voice hunt and a headphone jack, compensate a additional $30 for a Roku 3. Otherwise a newly rapid Roku 2 seems like a illusory bargain.

Of course, with competitors like Amazon Fire TV and a cheapest-ever Apple TV lifting a bar, Roku has some-more foe than ever.

We’ll know some-more once we’ve had a possibility to examination a new boxes.

Article source: http://www.cnet.com/news/new-roku-3-roku-2-voice-search-hands-on/

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