Roku Ultra 2022: 5 things on my wishlist

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Roku offers a lot of streaming devicesfrom $50 4K Broadcast Stick at $40 Express 4K Plus. The Roku Ultra box is the most powerful, however. It’s long been the streaming giant’s showcase for its platform, offering advanced features, a beefier processor, a find my remote button and Built-in ethernet all for $100. Although, for many people, these extras aren’t worth paying twice as much.

According to Cord Cutters News, a new Roku Ultra may be coming soon. The site spotted a new model number among Roku’s list of supported hardware for its recent version of OS 11. The model number, 4802X, is one above the 4801X sported by the Roku Ultra LT and two above the otherwise current Roku Ultra (4800X) which received a major hardware update in 2020 Roku has since removed the reference to the model, and when CNET asked for comment on the report, a rep replied via email “nothing to share at this time.”

So, with the possibility of a new Roku Ultra in mind, here’s a wish list of a few things I’d like to see Roku adopt for its next high-end player, whenever it might be released.

Read more: Apple TV 2022 wishlist: What I want to see in a refresh this year

Game Broadcast

xbox-gamepass-ultimate

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold in one subscription.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

Roku tried to to make gambling on its players one thing years, a fact that most people probably don’t remember. But in 2022, Roku doesn’t need to woo developers to make platform-specific games; just allow game streaming services to run their apps and stores on Roku Players and televisions.

Game streaming has not only become more mainstream with the rise of Xbox Game PassGoogle Stadia, Amazon Luna and Nvidia GeForce Now — coming soon Sony PlayStation Plus Premium – but it is increasingly becoming a table setting feature for video streaming platforms. Google’s Android TV and GoogleTV play well with its own Stadia service as well as GeForce Now, while Amazon’s Fire TV software and devices can tap into Luna.

Why not have an Xbox Game Pass channel on Roku? Microsoft is gaining a new avenue to boost its platform without requiring the expensive purchase of a console, Roku is gaining a new partner, and gamers are choosing a new way to stream games to their TVs – or be able to play on TVs online. away from home or on a second TV without having to move a console. Looks like it could be an all-around win, and with a more powerful processor the Ultra could probably run those services.

Game Pass is the most exciting for me, but it also makes sense for a more powerful Ultra to run Stadia or GeForce Now. Amazon might be reluctant to beef up Roku’s feature checklist by adding Luna, but that’s probably technically possible too.

Chromecast support

Yes, Rokus works great with Apple AirPlay to stream content from an Apple device and with Screen sharing available for streaming from select Android devices or Windows PCs. It would be great, however, if Roku became even more agnostic and embraced the possibility of allowing people to stream directly from their Android devices via Google’s Chromecast protocol. It’s not only easier than setting up screen sharing, but it would make Rokus work better with Chrome browsers and Chromebooks.

Roku and Google settled their YouTube TV beef last year. It’s time for the two of them to make it happen and put all the possible hardware needed in the next Ultra.

Include Voice Remote Pro

Roku Pro Voice Remote

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The Ultra is Roku’s most expensive streaming box, but the included remote is inferior to the Voice Remote Pro, a $30 upgrade. The Pro packs a built-in rechargeable battery and midfield microphone so you can bark “Hey Roku, find my remote” to locate the clicker when it’s inevitably lost under sofa cushions.

If Roku really wants to move the Ultra boxes around, including a Pro voice remote in the box would be a good idea. The company has already experimented with bundling the product through its Streaming Stick 4K Plus offering, which combines a Streaming Stick 4K with a Voice Remote Pro.

While we’re at it, I wish Roku would update the Voice Remote Pro with USB-C rather than Micro-USB. But that might get too greedy.

Alexa and Google Assistant support

Speaking of voice support, why not ensure that the next Roku box directly integrates other assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant? Roku’s no-name voice assistant is good for basic tasks like finding titles or actors, turning on the TV, or adjusting the volume. On the other hand, it still lags far behind its rivals when you ask basic questions, such as “what’s the weather like?” .

I understand that this particular item might be more of a software “wish list” than something for the next Ultra, but combined with the Voice Remote Pro or the addition of far-field mics like those in the Amazon Fire TV Cube might be really valuable.

Roku already has integrations with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri to control its platform through other devices, like phones or smart speakers. Why not add it directly to the next Ultra? Give users a choice and an option for a better voice assistant.

TV Calibration

Calibrating the Apple TV Screen Using an iPhone

Calibrating the Apple TV screen using an iPhone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple TV has a nifty feature to calibrate your tv via iphone, and a new Ultra could be the perfect place for Roku to launch a similar feature. Apple’s feature requires holding an iPhone X or later to your TV screen, though there’s no saying Roku can’t do something similar with iPhones or Android devices, like the Galaxy line. S from Samsung. It could also be something available through the Roku phone app, similar to the company’s lip-sync audio grading features added in SE 10.5 and OS 11.

The Ultra is designed to give people a premium experience. Adding a TV video calibration capability could go a long way to ensuring they see that experience, even if they’re not comfortable playing with their TV picture settings.

For the past few years, Roku hasn’t provided any major features that differentiate the Ultra from its other devices. Adding one (or all!) of my wishlist items could change that and make Roku’s best gamer even more Ultra than ever.

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