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Roku Escalates OTT Gadget War, Matches Walmart with $30 Price for Roku Express 4K+ (Updated)

Roku Express 4K+
Roku Express 4K+ (Image credit: Roku)

Updated 6/9/2021: Pricing for the Roku Express 4K+ has returned to its normal $39.99 MSRP on Amazon and Walmart.com.

Original story starts here:

Roku has responded to Walmart’s aggressive entry into the connected TV device business, discounting its recently introduced Roku Express 4K+ to just $29.99. 

Roku introduced the low-priced 4K streaming player only a month ago with an MSRP of $39.99. 

Last week, however, Walmart—long a key destination for Roku at retail—made its own aggressive entry into the connected TV gadget business, introducing its own 4K-capable player, based Android TV, for $29.99.

Roku’s new low-priced OTT box supports HD, 4K, HDR, HDR 10 and HDR 10+. Equipped with a quad-core processor and dual-band WiFi capabilities, the Express 4K+ also includes a voice remote.

Notably, Roku also debuted a more bare-bones version of the Express 4K+ just for Walmart. The “Roku Express” comes with a basic IR remote, sans voice support the  and “plus,” and now retails at Walmart for $29.99 vs. its original $34.99 MSRP.

The price reduction comes at an inauspicious time for Roku’s hardware business. Roku’s “player” segment revenue was up 22% to $107.7 million in the first quarter, while its hardware segment’s profit was up 42% to $14.8 million.

But Roku advised investors during its Q1 call that chip shortages will eat into hardware profits for the remainder of the year resulting in “negative margins.”

Roku’s priority, however, remains fixated on platform distribution. Walmart remains one of its most important retail destinations. And Google’s Android TV platform is also one of its bigger competitive threats.