Saturday, September 28, 2013

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #29

Hi, everyone !!

The BIG NEWS this week was announced VIA THIS POST following an announcement made through the Official Roku Blog, on Wednesday morning, confirming the Official Launch of the Roku 3 streaming media player for the UK market. In itself, this would not have been too much of a surprise for most of you given that the cat (i.e. Roku 3 UK model) has been well & truly out-of-the-bag for a few weeks now. However, the UNEXPECTED SHOCK came when Roku revealed there were also a couple of kittens (i.e. Roku 1 & Roku 2) in that bag, that we weren't previously aware of !!

This introduction to the "ALL-NEW ROKU FAMILY"led to Roku proclaiming, via the "Official" Roku UK Website, that: "TV just got better, for everyone!". As it turns out, what that really means is EVERYONE... EXCEPT those poor folk (like me) who placed their pre-order for a new Roku 3 [UK Edition] streaming media player VIA AMAZON UK only to discover that they were just about the only Trusted Roku UK Reseller to be OUT OF STOCK on the publicised release date for the product. WORSE YET, they STILL ARE... with DELAYS of "1-3 weeks" to be expected, PRIOR TO DISPATCH of the Roku 3 according to the BUYING CHOICES on the Amazon UK product page.

As predicted, the official announcement of a Roku 3 UK release date did lead to the mysterious '500 Error' on the Maplin product page disappearing. However, they still only have the Roku 3 available as a 'Web Only' item and it is (currently) NOT POSSIBLE TO PURCHASE IN-STORE from Maplin. Having said that, 'Web Only' has to be preferable to NOT AVAILABLE AT ALL... by which I mean NOT EVEN LISTED, as is the case among the numerous product pages of Argos, Currys (including PC World) and Tesco Direct. Quite how 3 OUT OF 8 Trusted Roku UK Resellers can manage to not even have a PRODUCT PAGE for the Roku 3, when they are all shown as pre-order locations in the "Where-To-Buy" guide from the "Official" Roku UK Website, is completely beyond me !!

Then there was the fiasco of GROSSLY OVERCHARGING for the Roku 3 by initially demanding £134.99 for the streaming media player prior to coming in-line with the MRRP that other Trusted Roku UK Resellers were adhering to of £99.99 later in the week. So, FROM a total of EIGHT Trusted Roku UK Resellers ONLY FOUR of them ACTUALLY HAVE the Roku 3 UK model IN STOCK three days after the official release date for Roku 3 in the UK... PRETTY POOR, really, as I'm sure you'll agree?!! Seems like very few lessons were learned from the official Roku 3 launch in Canada who, from what I gather, experienced similar issues with their Trusted Roku Resellers !!

Let's just hope that Roku manage to get their act together in time for the actual release date for the new Roku 1 and Roku 2 streaming media players which, as I write, are due out on 11th October 2013. For the record, you will also still be able to purchase the Roku LT in the UK just NOT the revamped, remodelled, sleek & sexy version that's just been released in the USA. Instead, we just get to buy up all the old stock which many of the "Trusted Roku UK Resellers" (who had been selling for a reduced price of £34.50) are now asking £49.99 for again. At that price, I'd recommend holding out for a new Roku 1 with an MRRP of £59.99 in the UK and getting the added benefit of FULL 1080p HD and (possibly) some added shortcut buttons on the remote. In case you were wondering, the Roku 2 XS has now been withdrawn from the selection of Roku models available in the UK and superceded by the new Roku 3 streaming media player. So, expect to see some bargain prices for the former flagship Roku player in the UK as Roku resellers clear out their old stock. Unless they decide to increase the price, as with the Roku LT, claiming they are "Collector's Items" or something !! Rip-Off Britain, anyone?! PLEASE... DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THAT ONE !!!

Anyway, let's get on with the details for the current 'Weekly RoundUp' of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. This time, there are NINE NEW CHANNELS which have been added during the past seven days. These latest additions to the Roku UK Channel Store provided FRESH CONTENT to the Film & TV, News, Weather, Sport, Music, Internet TV, Special Interest plus Religion & Spirituality genres (i.e. categories).

In keeping with previous installments from the 'Weekly RoundUp' series, details of these new channels have all been listed below, together with links to obtain further information {by clicking on the channel name(s) beneath the respective channel icon(s) as pictured} and to read a 'Roku Guide' review for each one:-

THE MOTO NETWORK......COST: FREE (2-DAY TRIAL) + $9.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

BIGSTAR....................COST: FREE (30-DAY TRIAL) + $9.99 (QUARTERLY) [Roku Guide Review]

REVIVAL IS HERE TV NETWORK...........................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

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

THE ROTH SHOW...................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

WILD ADRENALINE.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

CAT TV...................................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

CREEPSTER.TV..............COST: FREE (30-DAY TRIAL) + $4.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]


So, whether it's Fun with Furry Felines, Award-Winning Foreign & Film Festival Features, Documentaries, Short Films, Religious Programming, Free Music Radio Channels, Horror Movies, How-To Videos, Extreme Motor Sports, Adrenaline-Fuelled Hunting & Angling, or even the TV Stylings of one David Lee Roth (yes... "Diamond Dave" of Van Halen, with his very own show), we've pretty much got all those bases covered with this latest batch of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store.

Anyway, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, whilst it doesn't quite the match-up to the fourteen channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store during the same time-frame, I always think it's better to have SOME NEW CHOICES than none at all, don't you ?!!

Still, hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the nine channels outlined above. If not, then you'll have to pay us a visit another time when, with any luck, there will be something more to your liking. Afterall, there's no point installing every channel because, as I've said before, when it comes to adding new channels to your Roku player, IT'S YOUR CHOICE and, as with all things Roku... THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS !!


Meanwhile, for my last seven 'Weekly RoundUp' posts, I have been suggesting we spare a thought for all the poor folk who handed over their hard-earned cash for one of those NowTV Boxes [Powered by Sky] which, as you may recall, have (so far) totally failed to live up to their full potential. Likewise, the original promise from NowTV of "more great content" with "more apps being continually added",  is yet to be adhered to, since there still hasn't been a single extra new channel added since the launch of the product. As previously, while time moves on so (it seems) does the tumbleweed...

HINT: Click on the above image to ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!

PHOTO CREDIT: Duncan P. Blackwood [aka 'Jouste']
As we can see from the above photo, despite being "Powered by Sky", the NowTV Box is still proving to be a bit of a damp squib when it comes to adding new channels. As with EVERY WEEK since it was launched, there has (yet again) been literally NO ACTION in terms of NEW ADDITIONS to the channel selection on the NowTV Box. This means that, over the course of a week, NowTV have once more managed to produce a (NOT SO) GRAND TOTAL of absolutely ZERO NEW CHANNELS to add to their (already SEVERELY REDUCED) version of the Roku Channel Store as included on their NowTV Box. Meanwhile, the "Official" Roku Channel Store that features on all UK Roku players has added NINE EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things in perspective, in the nine weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of EIGHTY-TWO EXTRA CHANNELS added to the "Official" Roku Channel Store on UK Roku players, as compared with ZERO EXTRA CHANNELS being added to the Roku Channel Store on the streaming player from NowTV. I don't mean to sound like a scratched record but, as I keep pointing out, if the NowTV Box is going to succeed, they really need to show that it is "Powered by Sky" and ensure that the device lives up to it's moniker by adding those promised "must-see shows" from Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living "NOW" and not "later this year". As I've said in previous weeks... if this lack of support for the NowTV Box continues, it will eventually be branded as the "NO TV BOX" with people becoming more & more disillusioned at the unfulfilled promise of the device & the associated lack of channel choice available on it. In fact the NowTV Box has, this week, taken one step closer towards actually becoming the "NO TV Box" because it has parted company with the 'WatchIndia TV' channel (one of the fifty which featured at launch). This may well turn out to be a temporary blip due to the fact that it has also been (temporarily?) removed from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store on the Roku player. However it does mean that, at this moment, there are only 48 CHANNELS featured in the NowTV Box version of the Roku Channel Store PLUS the NOW TV channel itself which is on the box by default and not included with the apps (i.e. channels) in the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box, making a paltry 49 channels in total, compared with 600+ in the channel store on Roku player in the UK !!!


Still, whether you happen to own a Roku player, a NowTV Box, OR BOTH, as I do... be sure to come back in seven days' time for my next 'Weekly RoundUp' and, 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 !!

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