Faster, smarter Roku boxes are on the way

Voice search and Roku Feed also available starting today

The people spoke, Roku listened. Starting today Roku is rolling out an OTA update for all modern devices (second generation and later) that includes the ability for voice search functionality as well as added "Movies Coming Soon" and "Roku Feed" sections to the home screen.

The update comes alongside updated versions of the Roku 2 and Roku 3 set-top boxes, the latter of which will come with a remote with a built-in mic. What's happening to the Roku 2? Roku PR tells us that it will get the same snappy dual-core processor that the Roku 3 has.

When it comes to new features, Roku is clearly taking cues from Amazon's Fire TV, as voice search is something its users have enjoyed since its launch in 2014. But while one feature is an imitation, the other - Roku Feed - is something unlike anything available on set-top sets.

New Roku

Roku Feed is a space to track upcoming films' release on your favorite streaming services.

By designating films you want to track in the Movies Coming Soon section of the home screen or via the Roku iOS and Android mobile app, you'll get daily updates as to which service will get the film and how much it will cost when it gets there.

New Roku

"With the biggest lineup of streaming channels available, the most comprehensive and unbiased search, and new ways to discover new movies; Roku players make it simple for consumers to stream the entertainment they want to watch on their terms," said Roku Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood in a release. "Now with a fast and fun way to search by voice, we've made the Roku 3 – the best streaming player on the market – even better."

While the new Roku 3 remote has voice search capabilities built into the remote, older Roku boxes can use the aforementioned Roku app to find films and TV shows on Netflix, MGo, Amazon Instant, HBO and 13 others, listed by price from lowest to highest.

New Roku

In spite of the new hardware, the Roku 2 will stick at $69 (£49), as will the Roku 3 at $99 (£83). Stay tuned for our updates to the Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick reviews, which will change when we get the opportunity to test these features later this week.

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