Saturday, November 18, 2017

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #245





Hi, everyone !!



If you happen to follow the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels to this blog, then you will already be aware that it has been another quiet week, in terms of UK-specific Roku news, and as a result there isn't much to report other than the fact that there has been a minor update to the recently released Roku OS 8.0 software. Having originally rolled-out with a build number of '4108', this latest update to Roku software 'Version 8.0.0 - Build 4128' should (hopefully) fix some of the bugs which have been reported by Roku users (across pretty much all countries and/or regions) since the roll-out began. Here is a screenshot confirming the latest change to the Roku software build in the UK:-





PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew (via Twitter)



If you wish to check which Roku software version is currently running on your device(s) simply go to the 'Home Screen' on your Roku menu (which, for total newbies, can be done by pressing the button on your Roku remote that has a picture of a 'house' on it) and clicking through each of the following three options from the on-screen menus which are displayed:-

  • Settings
  • System
  • System update

...and, from the 'System update' screen, take a look at the 'Software Version' and 'Build' numbers in the lower right portion of the screen (below the highlighted 'Check now' option). Then, if your Roku device is running anything other than the current software: 'Version 8.0.0 - Build 4128', you should press the "OK" button on your Roku remote to 'Check now' for an update to whatever version you are on. Should an update to your current software version and/or build be available, you will then see a message window (similar to the one in the image above) and you must then select 'Continue' before pressing the "OK" button again to initiate the update. 


PLEASE NOTE:- That if your Roku devices are on an older software version and/or build number than the one shown here, and you don't get a message saying "Update available", this just means it is not yet your "turn" to receive the update. That being the case, there is nothing you can do to "force" the update through... you must simply wait until it is either applied automatically, or you choose to attempt a manual update at a later date and that happens to coincide with your "turn" to receive it.


Meanwhile, in the United States, there was an announcement made on Monday 13th November 2017 to the effect that 'Funai Electric' has become the latest partner in the 'Roku TV Licensing Program' as evidenced by this press release from the Roku Newsroom. Interestingly, from a UK perspective, this new agreement will see 'Funai Electric' leverage the Roku TV platform to build & deliver smart TV's under the 'Philips' brand... and, although there was no word from 'Philips UK' as to any forthcoming 'Roku TV' models for the UK market that would run the Roku® OS, it does "open the door" for them to entertain the possibility. Despite this news coming less than one week ago, 'Philips' branded Roku TV models are expected to be available in the U.S. before the end of this year... so, let's hope they are popular enough over the festive period for 'Philips UK' to begin discussions in the new year! ;-) :-)


For those of you who may be interested... there was a related post, published by Chas Smith (via the "Official" Roku Stream Blog) last Monday, introducing the Philips Roku TV and expressing how the company were "pleased to add another great brand to the Roku TV licensing program". However, it adds little to the information contained in the original press release (see link in previous paragraph) other than share the statistic that in the year to date 2017, "1 in 5 smart TV's sold in U.S. and Canada were licensed Roku TV's", which is better than the NONE IN FIVE smart TV's they sold in UK! :-O


Of course, with 'Black Friday' on the horizon for next week, Roku has one eye on the accompanying sales period which extends through 'Cyber Monday', the week after, and will doubtless continue right through the 'holidays' in the hope of shifting some more units to please their new shareholders. With that in mind, there was another press release which came out of the Roku Newsroom last Monday to the effect that the company would be offering $20 USD OFF the cost of a 'Roku Streaming Stick+' in honour of 'Black Friday Weekend' bringing the price down from the usual RRP of $69.99 USD to the bargain basement price of ONLY $49.99 USD for this very capable '4K' streaming device. While they made no mention of any similar offer for their UK customers, I'm hoping there might be one or two reductions from the various UK Roku retailers out there, to tempt would-be purchasers through their (virtual, or otherwise) doorways. A '4K' streaming device for £49.99 would be hard to turn down! ;-)


Both the afore-mentioned press release (see previous paragraph) and the subsequent related post by Melissa Morell, via the "Official" Roku Stream Blog, also included details of 'Holiday Offers' from content partners for Roku purchases in the United States... and, although it wasn't mentioned in the article, there are similar offers available with Roku purchases made in the United Kingdom over the next month or so which can save UK Roku users money on the streaming services outlined below:-





HINT: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!



Speaking of content partners, albeit US-only in this case, a former Roku private channel by the name of 'Philo' got an official "public" release via the Roku (USA) Channel Store this week. Having been thoroughly tested by campus students, during it's previous incarnation, the announcement was made in a post by Ed Lee (via the "Official" Roku Stream Blog) on Tuesday 14th November 2017 to the effect that 'Philo' - the streaming service for entertainment lovers which has a focus on entertainment, lifestyle, and knowledge programming - would bring it's curated selection of more than thirty-five of the top U.S. cable channels to the platform with the launch of their new 'Philo' Roku Channel in the United States. Currently, supported Roku streaming player models for the US-only 'Philo' service include: Roku Ultra (4660x, 4640x) and the new 4K Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810x), as well as the Roku Streaming Stick (3800x, 3600x), Roku Express (3900x, 3700x), Roku Express+ (3910x, 3710x) along with the discontinued Roku Premiere+, Roku Premiere, Roku 4, Roku 3 and Roku 2 (4210x). However, 'Philo' have said that they expect to add support for more Roku devices in the future! ;-) :-)


With a 7-DAY FREE TRIAL followed by a monthly subscription fee of just $16 USD PER MONTH the 'Philo' service will give Roku users in the USA access to live streaming TV from such top-rated channels as: A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, AXS TV, BBC America, Cheddar, Comedy Central, as well as Discovery Channel, Food Network, GSN, HGTV, HISTORY, plus IFC, MTV, Nickelodeon, TLC, Travel Channel, Viceland, and more... with nine more channels available for an extra $4 per month. Additional features include: an unlimited 30-day DVR, a deep on demand library, plus the ability to pause any live channel, start programs from the beginning, and watch programs that have aired in the past three days; you also get the freedom to watch on up to 3 different devices at the same time! :-)


Seemingly not content with bringing us details of their new partnership with 'Funai Electric', as part of the ever-expanding 'Roku TV Licensing Program', there was yet another 'Roku TV' related post by Chas Smith on Thursday 16th November 2017. Again published via the "Official" Roku Stream Blog, the article broke the news that the first 4K Ultra HD Element Roku TV with High Dynamic Range (HDR) will be available at Walmart in the United States from Monday 27th November 2017. This new 50-inch 'Roku TV' model from 'Element' will give consumers in the U.S. yet another reason to look forward to 'Cyber Monday', aside from all the shopping deals... so, while we're unlikely to see any 'Roku TV' models in the UK by then, let's hope Roku gives their UK customers something to look forward to come 'Cyber Monday' as well - like introducing their 'Roku Ultra' model here! ;-) :-)


You can get a look at the (sadly not available in the UK) 'Roku Ultra' model, along with the rest of the current USA Roku line-up, in this "Roku Holiday Gift Guide 2017" video... which, from a UK point of view, also includes the two latest Roku models to merit a release on these shores - in the shape of: the entry-level 'Roku Express', which at £29.99 makes a very affordable gift for families on a budget, and; the 4K-capable 'Roku Streaming Stick+', which has (at long last) made UHD / HDR streaming a possibility for those of us who prefer what the Roku platform has to offer UK streamers vs. the rest! Anyway, without further ado, here's the "Roku Holiday Gift Guide 2017" hosted by Abby Reyes:-





In addition to featuring in the above 'YouTube' video, Abby has also published a related article about the various Roku products featured in the "Roku Holiday Gift Guide 2017", which includes links for each of the streaming media players in the video so that readers in the United States can easily find more information about whichever Roku model happens to catch their eye. Meanwhile, here's what I'm hoping 'Santa' will bring me this year... there's an extra mince pie in it for him, if he delivers! ;-)








Anyhow, with little else aside from details of the latest Roku software build for UK users, plus details of even more US-only 'Roku TV' models and a multitude of different ways for Roku consumers in all regions to give the gift of streaming, to bring you (in terms of newsworthy items) from the last week, I'd best now turn my attention to getting you up to speed on the latest Roku channels in the UK since my last 'Weekly RoundUp' post and, though it's a few less than last week, we've not done too bad! :-)


If you did happen to read my previous 'Weekly RoundUp' post, in which I commented as to how 'Roku Guide' had fallen short of compiling a complete set of reviews for all of the new channels which were released in the seven days preceding their article, you will doubtless be pleased to hear that I have since posted active links to 'Roku Guide' reviews for all of them. Better yet, it seems their most recent article (dated 17th November 2017) has seen them finally "catch up" with all the reviews that were absent from previous weeks, although there is still one 'Roku Guide' review "missing" for a channel which was actually released between 11th November 2017 and 17th November 2017. Then there's another 'Roku Guide' review "missing" for a channel which has been updated and rebranded. Since we're only talking about two channels, this won't leave UK Roku users too short of additional info... unlike we have been for the last few months - but, even so, rather than simply regurgitate what is written in the channel description from the channel store for those apps, I'm (again) going to leave it for each of you (individually) to access the details via the built-in channel store on your Roku device(s). Needless to say, once the "missing" reviews have been published by 'Roku Guide', I will (as I have in previous weeks) ensure that I add the relevant links to this post. Nevertheless, please accept my apologies for any inconvenience that may have been caused by the absence of active links to those 'Roku Guide' reviews but, as you might expect, these things are entirely out of my hands! ;-)


Anyway... while it again falls short of the epic list of fifty-plus channels from four months ago, or the equally impressive tally of forty-six channels we were treated to five weeks ago, you will find there's still a good amount of new channels in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store this week. These latest additions include a handful of additional choices under the "Film & TV" plus "Religious" categories (i.e. genres), as well as a few new apps for those looking to add more "Screensavers" or seeking some additional "Lifestyle" programming, along with a brace of new additions to the "International" genre. There's also the odd new addition to the "Games", "Kids & Family", "Special Interest", "Sports", plus "Travel" and "Web Video" genres of the channel store. In fact, with such a varied selection of apps to choose from, there should be something to please most streamers here. If not, I (once again) shared details for more private channels (via social media) and some special offers related to various Roku channels that are available in the UK. Check out my Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels if you'd like to know more about those and, while you're there, maybe "Like" and/or "Retweet" some messages to help me spread the word about what's happening Roku-wise in the UK and beyond! ;-) :-)


Anyway, back to the list... which, as always, will help you to identify the very latest apps which have been added to Roku devices in the UK. Other websites offering Roku channel listings will base their contents on the Roku USA Channel Store, which means they also include apps that are unavailable to UK Roku users. So, like I've said before... if you really want to know what's available channel-wise, for owners of Roku devices in the UK, you need to be reading this blog each and every week! ;-) :-)


Before I run through the new channels, however, a reminder that UK Roku users are still subject to restrictions (imposed by Roku) and (bizarrely) remain unable to access the channel descriptions from the web store on the Roku (USA) website. That said, the majority of text in those web listings can also be found within the individual descriptions from the built-in "Channel Store" (accessed via "Streaming Channels" from the main menu) on all Roku devices and, together with the associated screenshots (where available), should give a pretty good indication of what those channels are about.


My advice to any UK-based readers of this blog is to ignore the links below (and to the left of) each channel icon shown here and (instead) rely on the link to the right (below each channel icon) which (where available) will redirect you to an 'Roku Guide' review for additional details on that channel. As it stands, the links below (and to the left of) each icon are (currently) only of use to readers of this blog from the USA. This means that Roku users from the other "supported" regions of the world (i.e. Ireland, Canada, France and Mexico) are, like those of us in the UK, unable to browse the Roku Web Channel Store - which for now (at least) remains an exclusive privilege of Roku users in the USA. :-(


Hopefully Roku will (one day) wake-up to the fact that improving the experience for users in "other" Roku "regions" is just as important as it is for those who buy & use their products in the U.S. and that denying access to the Roku website does not help the end-user experience for those of us (outside the USA) who wish to browse the web channel store. Meanwhile, that which Roku (apparently) doesn't want UK Roku users to see on their website (i.e. the list of new channels) is regularly summarised on this blog in my 'Weekly RoundUp' posts. So, without further ado, here's my 'Weekly RoundUp' of all new Roku channels released between the 12th and 18th of November 2017:-







SA OUTDOORS.....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***


PLEASE NOTE:- That since the unique channel store identifier '140222' for this new 'SA Outdoors' channel was previously associated with an earlier (US-only) incarnation of the Roku channel, by the name of "Silent Assassin Chronicles", you will not find it listed among the latest additions within the 'New' category (i.e. genre) of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. Instead, if you wish to install 'SA Outdoors' in the UK, you'll need to either look for it among the apps in the 'Film & TV' genre... or, use the built-in Roku 'Search' feature to find and then add it to your device(s). On a personal note, I was really pleased to finally see 'SA Outdoors' make their channel available to UK Roku users since it is another one of those which were originally 'US-only' until I reached-out to them and requested it to be extended to Roku owners in the United Kingdom. So, if you enjoy these video chronicles of a deaf huntsman, sharing his hunting adventures from all over Texas, be sure to contact them on social media via their Twitter Feed: @SwinesNemesis or their FB Page: Deaf Silent Assassin (Facebook) to let them know... and, if you do, be sure to tell them that you're watching from the UK! ;-) :-)

ALSO:- While the 'Roku Guide' review of the original 'Silent Assassin Chronicles' channel is still available, you will notice there is currently no active link to any such review for 'SA Outdoors'. If at any time the "missing" review does get published, or 'Roku Guide' updates their review so as to take account of the recent changes, I'll add the relevant link for a review of the new & improved channel to this article. Meanwhile... apologies for any inconvenience that may be caused by it's absence! ;-)







STATIONWORLD.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






EROS NOW......................COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "INTERNATIONAL" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






NOIZE TV........................COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






HARBOUR LIGHT RADIO...................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "RELIGIOUS" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






SILENCE TV PREMIUM.....................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






BEST CHRISTMAS CHANNEL EVER 2............................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






THE RUSTED GARDEN.......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "LIFESTYLE" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






GALLINA PINTADITA........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "KIDS & FAMILY" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






AT WORK WITH NIKKI......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "LIFESTYLE" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






SNOWY WINTER SCREENSAVER...........COST: £0.69 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SCREENSAVERS" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






HAPPY NEW YEAR SCREENSAVER........COST: £1.49 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SCREENSAVERS" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






CANYONLAND SCREENSAVER..............COST: £0.69 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SCREENSAVERS" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






NTV HOUSTON...................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "INTERNATIONAL" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






KINGDOM ROCK TV...........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "RELIGIOUS" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






GUNSTUFF............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SPORTS" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






MID-SOUTH BROADCASTING 2.......................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "WEB VIDEO" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






OVERCOMERS CHRISTIAN...............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "RELIGIOUS" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






THE MENORAH 2017..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SPECIAL INTEREST" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






NEW HOPE COMMUNITY CHURCH................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "RELIGIOUS" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






BIG SUCCESSFUL LIFE......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "LIFESTYLE" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






ASTROBLAST...............................COST: £0.69 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "GAMES" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






END TIMES TV.....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "RELIGIOUS" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






SALSA CRUISE TV...............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "TRAVEL" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***



*********************************************


Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, while it barely amounts to three quarters of the thirty-two channels that made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store in the same time-frame, it's still better to get 24 NEW CHANNELS than none at all... as I'm sure you will agree?!


In any event, hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the twenty-four "public" channels outlined above... or else from the "private" channels, whose access codes were "gifted" to you via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels to this blog, at various points throughout the past week. However, if you didn't find anything to add to your Roku channel selection from the assortment of channels on offer this week, you can always pay us a visit another time when, with any luck, there will be something more to your liking. After all, there's no point installing every channel because, like I say... when it comes to adding new channels to your Roku, IT'S YOUR CHOICE and, as with all things Roku... THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS!



*********************************************


As mentioned previously, you can expect my usual summary of all the goings-on (or not) in the (severely restricted) Roku Channel Store (aka "App Store") that features on NowTV Boxes to follow in the near future. Meanwhile, whether you happen to own a Roku player, a NowTV Box, OR BOTH, as I do... be sure to check my earlier posts (as mentioned before) for all the new additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store in each of the one hundred and seventy-one preceding weeks and then come back again in seven days' time for my next 'Weekly RoundUp'. However, if you can't wait that long, remember you can always keep up with all the UK Roku action (as it happens) throughout the coming week, by following the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels where up-to-the-minute info on all things Roku-related (here in the UK) is posted on a daily basis (well, almost).



Until the next time, then...



That's all folks !!