It's official: These Roku players will bring 4K and HDR in 2016

Roku 2016
Roku 2016

Roku is completely wiping out its old naming scheme and starting over.

Say goodbye to Roku 1 through 4 and say hello to the new line of 2016 players – the Roku Express, Express+, Premiere, Premiere+ and Roku Ultra, the latter of which are the first players from Roku to support high dynamic range (HDR) playback.

The new players come four short days after last week's leak that detailed pretty much exactly what Roku's lineup is capable of. What was missing from the leak, however, were key details about the differences between the models and their premium "plus" versions.

Roku Express

At the bottom of the range are the Roku Express and Roku Express+, which now offer 1080p streaming and 802.11 b/g/n wireless in a drastically smaller form factor for $29 (about £22/AU$38) and $39 (about £30/AU$50), respectively. The difference between the Express and the Express+ is that the plus will also come with a legacy standard definition connection with included R/W/Y cable for those with non-HDMI equipped TVs.

One step up from the Express and Express+ are the Premiere and Premiere+, which replace and improve the capabilities of the Roku 2 and Roku 3.

Roku Premiere

Both the Premiere and Premiere+ can stream 4K Ultra HD content at up to 60 frames per second while the Premiere+ is capable of HDR and comes with a headphone jack built into its remote for private listening and an ethernet port. Pricing will start at $79 (about £60/AU$100) and $99 (about £76/AU$129), respectively.

Roku's putting the Ultra in Ultra HD

The only model that won't have a "plus" companion is the Roku Ultra, which more or less seems like the Roku 4 plus HDR playback for around the same cost as the current Roku 4 ($129/£99/AU$169).

It differs from the Premiere+ in that it includes a USB port on the back for playing media off a USB thumb drive, and has a more advanced remote which includes a 'Find My Remote' function.

That said, that's not a bad deal for a 4K/HDR-ready player as the only other announced streaming video devices capable of showing off HDR content are the PS4 Pro, PS4 and Nvidia Shield, which added HDR playback via a software update back in June.

Roku Ultra

When discussing the name change and the addition of HDR, Roku's spokespeople said that the numbering system was a bit unclear. "The Roku 2, despite being recently refreshed with new hardware, could sometimes be perceived as old to someone just picking it up at the store and looking at it. We did a lot of research on naming conventions and Ultra, Premiere and Express made the most sense."

The new models available for pre-order beginning today from Roku, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers, and are expected to be in stores beginning on Oct. 9. The only exception to that, though, is the Roku Express+, which will only be available at Walmart.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.