Saturday, December 14, 2013

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #40

Hi, everyone !!

It started out as a fairly quiet week in terms of BIG NEWS for UK Roku owners with new channels proving hard to come by early-on but in the end, largely thanks to some prolific output from the developers behind the 'Innovative Language' channels, we managed to exceed the number of new additions from each of the last three weeks. So, if you're planning your vacation for next year over the xmas period... say to Greece, or Thailand, or one of several other countries whose native tongue is something other than English... then it might be worth learning some of the local lingo for wherever it is you are headed, courtesy of these educational Roku channels from the folks at Innovative Languages. Of course there were MANY other EXCITING NEW CHANNELS ADDED to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store during the past seven days, as you are about to discover, so (once again) it's been a week full of GREAT NEWS & MORE GREAT CHANNELS for UK Roku owners !! The best thing is these latest additions mean THERE'S NOW MORE THAN 700 CHANNELS AVAILABLE via the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store on UK Roku players, which (let's face it) is even more of an achievement when you consider there were just forty channels or so when Roku launched their very first streaming media players (i.e. Roku LT and Roku 2 XS) for the UK market in January 2012 !!

By comparison, the less than prolific output from developers for the NowTV Box was made worse this week by news that the 'USTV Now' channel had been removed. This has further reduced the selection of channels available in the (already severely reduced) version of the Roku Channel Store that features on the streaming media player from NowTV [Powered by Sky]. It would seem it's "goodbye forever", as far as the 'USTV Now' channel goes, which could well lead to a "not so merry" festive period for those expats from the USA who opted for a NowTV Box to access the channel. As it stands, the NowTV Box has now lost more channels than it has added to the (massively restricted) Roku Channel Store included on it. NOT GREAT NEWS AT ALL for owners of a NowTV Box !!

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 TWELVE NEW CHANNELS which have been added during the past seven days. These latest additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store provided FRESH CONTENT to the News, Weather, Sport, Music, International, Food, Special Interest plus Screensavers & Apps 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 (where available) with an independent (slightly more expansive) assessment of each one:-

DWYER BOXING & SPORTS NEWS...................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

BBQ PIT BOYS..................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

INNOVATIVE GREEK.......................................COST: £0.69 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

RADIO U TV.......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

INNOVATIVE CANTONESE...............................COST: £0.69 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

INNOVATIVE THAI...........................................COST: £0.69 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

INNOVATIVE ARABIC......................................COST: £0.69 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

INNOVATIVE HEBREW....................................COST: £0.69 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

A.M.P. ..............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

iFILM ENGLISH..................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

N.B. Since this channel does not currently (and is unlikely to) feature in the Roku (USA) Channel Store, the link above is for the Official Website of the 'iFilm English' channel which, incidentally, offers the same content as both the 'iFilm Arabic' and 'iFilm Persian' channels (featured in my previous 'Weekly RoundUp' from last week) but translated into the English language. You can also connect with 'iFilm TV' (in English) via their Twitter Feed: @iFilmEnglish or else, get social with them through their Official Facebook Page: iFilm (Facebook). If, on the other hand, you happen to be fluent in Farsi then you might prefer to get social via their Persian-language Facebook Page: iFilm TV Farsi (Facebook). Meanwhile, visitors to the English language website will also find that the programming featured there has kindly been over-dubbed with an English language audio track for their benefit. To find out what's on & when, there's a handy VIEWING SCHEDULE (which applies to all language versions), although we suggest using the drop-down menu to adjust it for your particular time zone. 

PLEASE ALSO NOTE:- That, due to the fact that the 'iFilm English' channel has not yet been (and is unlikely to ever be) added to the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store, there is no Roku Guide Review available. If, however, this situation does change, I will (of course) add a link to this post.

CHRISTMAS SCREENS....................COST: £1.49 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]


So, whether it's entertaining yourselves with all things music (incl. interviews, live performances & music videos), commercial-free radio and 24/7 music videos, or learning new languages in a fast, fun & easy way as well as getting culture tips for the countries that speak them, or adding seasonal screensavers to your Roku, getting predictions & enjoying 'real talk' for hardcore sports enthusiasts, watching Persian movies & sitcoms (dubbed into English) and streamed 24/7, or (perhaps) even finding some new barbecue & grilling recipes for your next family BBQ or picnic, we've pretty much got all of those bases covered with these latest 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 thirteen new 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 twelve channels outlined above. If not, then you'll just 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 eighteen '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 apps being continually added", is yet to be adhered to, since there has ONLY been ONE NEW CHANNEL ADDED to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box SINCE THE PRODUCT LAUNCHED. So, now with even more tumbleweed having blown into town for the festive season let's shed some light on this lack of new channels...

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


PHOTO CREDIT: 'Chandler Info'

Despite the colourful display which adorns the pile of tumbleweed that has been gathering from day one, it's likely to be of no surprise to any of you that (as with EVERY WEEK BAR ONE since it was launched) there has (once more) been literally NO ACTION in terms of NEW ADDITIONS to the Roku Channel Store selection on the NowTV Box. What this means is that, over the course of the past week, NowTV have (again) produced a (NOT SO) GRAND TOTAL of 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 TWELVE EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things firmly in perspective, in the twenty weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-NINE EXTRA CHANNELS added to the "Official" Roku Channel Store on UK Roku players, as compared with ONE EXTRA CHANNEL being added to the Roku Channel Store on the streaming player from NowTV. That, surely, must tell you something ?!!!

Unfortunately it seems to be a case of one step forward and three steps back when it comes to the meagre selection of channels available in the Roku Channel Store which features on the streaming media player from NowTV. To illustrate my point... from the moment that the NowTV Box was launched, they have managed to completely lose 'EWTN Europe', 'WatchIndia' and 'USTV Now', with 'HooplaKidz' plus 'Havoc Television' electing to hide out in the "Most Popular" channels category and  'VEVO' going completely AWOL from the channel store all together (although it will still be listed among "My Channels" if you happen to have added it previously)... presumably they all went into hiding from the embarrassment associated with the lack of channels in their original channel store categories on the NowTV Box - and who can blame them for that, poor things ?!!

Sadly, this means the most significant factor (in the past week) is that the NowTV Box has taken yet another positive(?) step towards actually becoming the "NO TV Box"... by losing another two of the original fifty channels which were featured on the media player at launch. Fortunately, there is still a total of 46 CHANNELS to be found in the NowTV Box version of the Roku Channel Store PLUS the 'NOW TV' and 'Sky Store' channels, but (let's not forget) they are only there by default and not included with the apps (i.e. channels) in the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box. So, leaving aside the "Most Popular" channels (as I do with my channel count for the Roku player), when it comes to the actual Roku Channel Store categories on the NowTV Box, there remains no more than a paltry 44 channels in total, compared with 700+ in the channel store on UK Roku players !!!

Bearing this in mind... whilst the NowTV Box won't exactly leave you out-of-pocket, and should serve well as a cheap stocking filler, if you are after a streaming media player which can genuinely boast of "more apps being continually added" and is a lot less likely to leave you wanting by the time that the January sales have ended, then I strongly advise you to do yourselves a BIG FAVOUR and spend the extra twenty quid or so to get a genuine original Roku LT streaming media player that will allow you to ACCESS NETFLIX plus many other film & tv channels (incl. NowTV) as well as having the 'Plex' channel readily available via the channel store and will give you more than 650 EXTRA CHANNELS TO CHOOSE FROM compared with the selection (currently) found on a NowTV Box.


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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