Saturday, October 26, 2013

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #33

Hi, everyone !!

At some point during this past week everyone that owns a Roku, in any region, will have noticed a change to the backdrop (i.e. "theme") on the Home Screen of their streaming media player(s). If you're a big fan of the Hallowe'en season (as I am) then you will no doubt have welcomed the change to a more spooky look. However, there will be others of you who were less appreciative of the enforced change of scenery that was thrust upon your television screen(s) as a result of this back-door "update", ahem !! Anyway, if you've not discovered it for yourself already, you can easily switch back to your previous theme (or select another, from the choices available) via the 'Settings' menu on your Roku. All you need to do is navigate to "Settings > Themes > My themes" from the Home Screen and then highlight your choice of "theme". This will give you a thumbnail screenshot of what you can expect to see as your backdrop (if selected) and it's then just a matter of pressing the "OK" button to confirm your choice and save the change.

If, in future, you'd rather not take advantage of (or, be subjected to) these seasonal themes, then you can SIMPLY SWITCH THEM OFF, which is (again) very easily achieved VIA THE CUSTOM SETTINGS in your Roku 'Settings' menu. Simply navigate to "Settings > Themes > Custom settings", from the Home Screen of your Roku, and you will see the option to have "Seasonal themes: On", or else "Seasonal themes: Off". It's then just a matter of deciding what's best for you and highlighting your choice before pressing the "OK" button to confirm it and save the change. Those choosing to leave "Seasonal themes: On" will find that their Roku player(s) will automatically switch to a "Seasonal theme" whenever one is available, and then automatically switch back to their previous choice of "Theme" when it expires. Anyone opting for "Seasonal themes: Off" will find that their Roku player(s) DOES NOT automatically switch to a "Seasonal theme", BUT... for the period of time that a "Seasonal theme" IS AVAILABLE, you can still switch to it (manually) as and when you like. In other words, IF YOU DO NOT WANT to have your Roku switch to a "Seasonal theme", without your actively choosing to do so, then all you need do is deactivate SEASONAL THEMES by choosing "Seasonal themes: Off", which will leave your Roku player "Theme" set just as you like it, with no danger of any unexpected changes in the future, unless you choose otherwise !!

Personally I like the "surprise" element of these "Seasonal themes", which can appear for just a day or a weekend, or perhaps for a week or even longer, and was rather thrilled to discover the 'Hallowe'en' theme on my Roku, so (unsurprisingly) I'll be leaving my "Seasonal themes On" for the foreseeable future to see what excitement lies in store as the days, weeks, months and years unfold. Admittedly, I did feel that Roku had missed a trick (or, perhaps, a treat?!) by NOT carving the pumpkins in their new 'Hallowe'en' theme and turning them into Jack-O-Lanterns but, as Nicole Raines pointed out to me (via Twitter) there is "...always next year!", provided (of course) that I can contain my enthusiasm for that long !! So, PLEASE, don't get me started on the absence of a spooky cat from the current seasonal 'Hallowe'en' theme by the good folks at Roku...

... of course, while all this excitement was going on, I was also attempting to maintain my contributions to the 2013 Countdown To Hallowe'en by continuing with the daily instalments in my (current) series of posts, to bring you "A MummyVision Guide To Hallowe'en On Roku", so as to draw your attention to as much of the horror-themed content available on UK Roku players as possible. I realise it's a bit of a niche market for film fans but, nevertheless, I hope that some of you (at least) have enjoyed this month-long blogathon as much as I have. If nothing else, it's helped me to discover that there is EVEN MORE GREAT CONTENT on my Roku player than I thought there was and I've now got a few things lined up for my own Hallowe'en celebrations that I've never seen before, so (hopefully) you will have made some discoveries of your own throughout the series?!!

Anyway, let's now press on with details for the current 'Weekly RoundUp' of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. This time, there are FOUR NEW CHANNELS which have been added during the past seven days. These LATEST ADDITIONS to the Roku UK Channel Store PROVIDED FRESH NEW CONTENT to the Film & TV, Music plus Screensavers & Apps genres (i.e. categories) on the streaming media player.

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 (where available) for each one:-

FIREFLIES SCREENSAVER...............................COST: £2.99 (ANNUALLY) [Roku Guide Review]

SCREEN MAGIC TV............................................COST: £2.49 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

ALL HIP-HOP, R&B AND URBAN MUSIC................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

GMTN - GLOBAL MUSIC TV NETWORK.................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


So, whether it's family friendly music with live performances, videos & TV shows, that showcase many genres of music (e.g. Jazz, R&B, Pop, Acapella, Gospel, Barbershop, Holiday Music & more) without any kind of profanity or indecency, as well as music educational videos, or a screensaver (complete with multiple image packs, animations, date & weather settings) to turn your display into active wall art when you are not using your Roku, or (perhaps) the coolest indie films & hot new flicks, produced exclusively by the ScreenMagic TV Studios, or even a channel (updated daily) which is dedicated to broadcasting videos by Unsigned Music Artists from all over the world, we've pretty much got all those covered with these NEW ADDITIONS to the 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 six 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 four 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 eleven '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 !!


Apparently... the rumours that have been circulating about the subject of this photo being one of the new NowTV reps that have been deployed to shopping centres nationwide, and that the 'Tumbleweed' head gear was mandatory dress-code to emphasise the absence of any new channels on the Roku LT wannabe media player, have turned out to be untrue. Believe it, or not, this is actually thought to be nothing more than a 'Tumbleweed' outfit for a Hallowe'en costume party... although, personally, I like the idea of the rumour better than the alternative !! That said, given this is going to be the last of my 'Weekly RoundUp' posts before Oct 31st, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of my regular readers for the 'Weekly RoundUp' of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store a very "HAPPY HALLOWE'EN" and may you all get more "treats" & avoid any "tricks" this year !!

In the meantime, it's likely to be of no surprise to anyone that (as with EVERY WEEK since it was launched) there has (once more) been literally NO ACTION in terms of NEW ADDITIONS to the channel selection on the NowTV Box. What this means is that, over the course of a week, NowTV have yet again 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 FOUR EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things in perspective, in the thirteen weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT 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. That, surely, must tell you something ?!!!

It would also appear that Now TV are continuing to ignore my comments about the 'EWTN Europe' channel which, if you recall, had gone AWOL from the "Religion & Spirituality" genre (i.e. category) in the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box. As mentioned previously, it was still there BUT (for some strange reason) it was only listed among the "New" channels and not in any of the recognised channel store categories. Their repeated failure to move it back to the "Religion & Spirituality" genre (where it belongs) suggests that it really could be part of an attempt by NowTV to re-populate their flagging "New" channel category which, as I said before, had dwindled to a count of three (at which it now remains)... NONE OF WHICH are genuinely "New"!! Sadly, all that has done is to reinforce my opinion that even their efforts to disguise the fact that THEY HAVEN'T ADDED ANY CHANNELS to the NowTV Box since it was first launched are seriously futile. Do they really think that no-one has noticed how these (supposedly) "New" channels have featured on the NowTV Box since day one ?!!

Now, I really don't mean to keep sounding like a scratched record but, if the NowTV Box is going to succeed, they really need to start showing us that it is indeed "Powered by Sky" and ensure that the device lives up to it's moniker by adding those long-promised "must-see shows" from Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living "NOW" and not "later this year". I mean, if they can't manage to do any of that in three months, how do they expect us to believe they'll have a 4oD channel by the end of 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. Seriously, folks, do yourselves a BIG FAVOUR and spend the extra twenty quid or so to get a Roku LT that will allow you to ACCESS NETFLIX and many other film & tv channels (as well as NowTV) and which, by November, will most likely give you AN EXTRA 600 CHANNELS TO CHOOSE FROM than the NowTV Box. Given that the Roku LT is a mere four channels away from achieving that figure, as I write, and with an average of more than one new channel per day being added... I'd say that's less of a possibility & more an inevitability !!


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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