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Roku Updates Roku 3 With Voice Search, Roku 2 With Faster Engine

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Roku is releasing an assortment of upgrades today, improving the company's hardware, user interface, and apps.

The Roku 3, the company's top-of-the-line set-top box, is now equipped with voice search. Users push the new search button on the remote to search by title, actor, or director. The search works from anywhere in the Roku interface, even if the user is watching a program, and searches for content on 17 channels.

"Our goal is to have the most comprehensive and unbiased search," says Roku chief marketing officer Matthew Anderson.

The mid-line Roku 2 has gotten an under-the-hood improvement, and now has the same processor as the Roku 3. The only difference between the two is voice search.

One thing that hasn't changed is price: The Roku 3 lists for $99 and the Roku 2 for $69.

Roku is pushing out a software update today that will go to all current generation models (defined as any introduced after April 2011). The update includes a much-needed channel search. Roku has a vast library of add-on channels—it gained 950 in 2014 alone—and searching through them can be a chore. Roku owners can now search for channels by name (but not by description).

Most of Roku's channels offer free content, Anderson noted, adding, "We think the caliber of the free proposition is growing well."

The interface is gaining a useful new tool called Roku Feed. This area shows a selection of movies released in theaters in the last five months. Users can follow titles they're interested in to learn when they're available for streaming or when they're available for a lower price. The feed checks for new information four times each day.

Roku is also updating its iOS and Android apps today. The apps support the new search and Roku Feed features.

The new Roku Feed feature

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