Skip to main content

Roku is testing its own Wi-Fi extender to improve streaming reliability

Roku is testing its own Wi-Fi extender to improve streaming reliability

Share this story

Roku 4 My Feed

Roku is making a Wi-Fi extender called the Roku Relay, which is meant to improve wireless connections inside a home and improve reliability while streaming. The device, which has not yet been announced, is currently in testing with users outside the company, a person familiar with the tests tells The Verge.

The Relay is a small white gadget that plugs into a power outlet and rests alongside the wall. Instructions show that it’s meant to be used with Roku devices to improve their Wi-Fi connection; it isn’t stated whether other devices can be connected to it, too. The product is seemingly being marketed as an extension of Roku players, with the manual directing people to install the Relay halfway between their router and TV.

Roku has just started expanding its hardware beyond streaming devices

A product launch doesn’t appear to be imminent. Though the hardware is ready for testing, it’s yet to pass through the Federal Communications Commission’s clearance process, which it’ll have to in order to make it to market. Bloomberg, which first reported the device’s existence, said that Roku remains undecided on whether the product will even go on sale. A Roku spokesperson said the company doesn’t “comment on rumors or speculation.”

Roku has only recently started to expand beyond its core offering of streaming media players. Last year, the company launched a pair of wireless speakers designed to be used with Roku TVs. That’s it for now, though. The Relay would be Roku’s second device beyond streaming sticks, boxes, and TVs (which the company doesn’t make itself).

Despite being best known for its streaming devices, hardware sales only represented around one-tenth of Roku’s profits last year. For the most part, Roku’s income comes from ads, subscriptions, sales, and other services that happen on its devices after they’ve been purchased. Last year, Roku CEO Anthony Wood told The Verge that those services are what support the overall business. “That’s not paid for by the hardware. That’s paid for by our ad and content business,” he said.

Like the wireless speakers, the Relay would give Roku another piece of hardware to sell to existing customers, helping to expand its hardware business. One analyst firm projects Wi-Fi extenders to become a $2 billion market by 2023, and they’re already becoming increasingly popular through mesh Wi-Fi systems. While those systems would render something like the Relay unnecessary, they aren’t yet present in most people’s homes. As a turnkey solution for patchy internet, the Relay could be an easy sell to customers who already trust their Roku.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 38 minutes ago Not just you

Emma Roth38 minutes ago
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma RothAn hour ago
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma Roth5:52 PM UTC
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.