Saturday, February 15, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #49

Hi, everyone !!

There was some confusion this week when a channel was seemingly added to "Screensavers & Apps" as well as the "New"genre (i.e. category) of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, despite there being a channel of the same name (by the same developer) listed in the store for close on six months already. The channel I'm referring to is called 'ArmchairTourist' and, somewhat bizarrely, both the original and the new versions are now listed under the "Screensavers & Apps" category. However, after a quick check of both channels, it became clear that the 2013 version of the 'ArmchairTourist' channel is soon to be deleted, after which only the 2014 version will remain. There is no indication given as to when this might happen and, if you launch the original 2013 version of the channel, the only "content" on it is an "episode" (essentially a brief message) informing you that the NEW 'ArmchairTourist' channel can be found under "Screensavers & Apps" (or the "Travel" category, for USA Roku owners). As far as I can tell, since the 2014 version is already available & fully functional, those of you with the original 2013 version of the 'ArmchairTourist' channel installed may as well remove it now & simply replace it with the newer 2014 version of the channel. There seems to be little point keeping the original channel installed on your Roku player(s) just to wait for it to be "officially" deleted, since it will be of little use to you from this point on.

In the meantime... it may have been a long while coming but, when the instruction finally arrived from Netflix UK to "Get Watching!..." on Valentines Day, I'm sure most of you would not have needed to be reminded more than once that the new season of a certain 'Netflix Original' had arrived:-

Yes, folks... ALL THIRTEEN EPISODES that combine to make up 'Season Two' of the hugely popular 'Netflix Original' series "House Of Cards" were made available AT THE SAME TIME, and IN FULL HD, so that binge-viewers could instantly satisfy their craving for the political drama. If you are of that ilk then, by now, you may well be wondering just how long you'll have to wait for the next chapters to arrive. Luckily, there's plenty more on offer from Netflix to occupy your time but I can't help wondering how much pressure this puts on the people that make these shows when they deliver an entire season in one hit and must then leave people (i.e. the viewers) waiting for months and months until the next season has finished filming. Could this result in a rushed effort for 'Season Three' and will the quality of the series suffer as a result? I guess we'll have to wait & see but, if you are prepared to wait a while to then consume an entire season ad-free in a short space of time, this could well be a popular means of content delivery in the future and I hope it works out for Netflix.

The only other Roku-related news of note, during the past seven days, was the arrival of another special theme for the streaming media player... this time, it was in honour of Valentines Day (as you may well have guessed from all the hearts and flowers adorning your Roku over the past couple of days). This was automatically applied to any Roku player with "Featured Themes" set to "On" but, like I say, it came and went pretty quickly over the course of two days at the end of the week and has since been removed. So, for anyone who may have missed it, here's a few screenshots:-

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

As you can see, Roku thought of (almost) everything we could have possibly wanted to have bestowed upon us for Valentines Day... with the notable exceptions of a heart-shaped(?) box of chocolates plus an "Official" YouTube channel for additional player models (including 'Roku LT' and 'Roku 2 XS', as well as the newer 'Roku 1' and 'Roku 2' models) to satisfy the yearning of Roku owners who already invested in those media players before Roku rained on their parade by introducing it on 'Roku 3' only. Consequently, they failed to woo us with their efforts this year & need to do much better in the coming months if they truly wish to make amends for it. That said, a '4oD' channel for 'Roku 1' and 'Roku 2' would go a long way towards restoring our faith and what better way to say, "...forgive me", than with the addition of 'LoveFilm' and 'Blinkbox' for all Roku UK players?!!

Still, they did (at least) remember to send us some pretty flowers to brighten our day...

And I doubt there were many among us who could resist that little cherub, playing Cupid, either...

So, all in all, it wasn't too bad an effort... let's face it, Roku could easily have forgotten it entirely !! Bearing that in mind, I think we can keep accepting their advances (by way of new channel additions) over the coming weeks and months & see if Roku can do any better the next time around...

Meanwhile, for future reference, if you'd like to have these "Featured Themes" applied to your Roku player, simply GO TO: Settings > Themes > Custom settings > Featured themes: On and press the "OK" button on your Roku remote to enable it. On the other hand, if this change of scenery has already been happening on your Roku, and you'd much rather that it didn't... CHOOSE: Settings > Themes > Custom settings > Featured themes: Off and (all being well) it won't happen again.

Anyway that's about it for Roku news this week but, before we get onto the LATEST ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, let's offer up some more speculative thoughts to balance out those news stories... last week, I went out on a limb to say that Roku would announce 'YouTube' for additional models by Valentines Day but, as we now know, that wasn't the case. So, after careful consideration, I've decided to revise my (gu)es(s)timate to Easter. By which time, I reckon that Roku... err, I mean the Easter Bunny (ahem) will deliver the channel (as well as the chocolate), in much the same way that Roku (themselves) made 'Roku 3' owners a present of 'YouTube' in the run up to the holiday season back in December 2013. Again... it's not fact, it's just another "feeling" based on those mysterious "appearances" I mentioned in the Roku Channel Store listings for both iOS & Android Roku remote apps. Now, let's wait and see if I'm right... or, if I'm just continuing to do my bit to keep the Roku rumour mill turning until it does become a reality. If not, I'm wrong again !!

PLUS... DON'T FORGET:- there is still just about time for you to enter and WIN ONE OF TEN 'Roku 2' PLAYERS by completing the voting form for the Guardian Film Awards 2014 which you can access VIA THIS LINK but be sure to SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY by NO LATER THAN NOON TOMORROW (i.e. Sunday 16th February 2014) in order to qualify for the draw. You'll find details of all the other prizes available, as well as confirmation of the rules, by following the above link. I'd also like to say "GOOD LUCK" to anyone that enters... and let's hope that both the '4oD' and 'YouTube' channels have been added to the 'Roku 2' player by the time you get your prize, if you are a winner !!

Anyway, let's now press on with the details for the current 'Weekly RoundUp' of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. This time, there are SIXTEEN 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 Film & TV, Music, Food, Special Interest, Screensavers & Apps, 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 (where available) with an independent (slightly more expansive) assessment of each one:-

MADDY GTV FREE.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That if the above channel icon, as well as the channel description and/or associated 'Roku Guide' review, look or sound familiar to you... then it's most likely because 'MaddyGTV Free' featured in my "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #48" from last week as an 'extra bonus' private channel. The access code for the 'MaddyGTV Free' private channel was published to give UK Roku owners a 'sneak preview' of the content while the public channel was being approved by Roku for addition to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. There was no definite timeline for this to happen but, luckily for us, the process was swift on this occasion and you will now find the channel within the 'Film & TV' genre (i.e. category) of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store on your Roku player(s).

WEIGHT LOSS........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

HOLIDAY KITCHEN TV............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

MODELS IN MOTION.............................................COST: £1.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

TV AMERICA GLOBAL BROADCASTING.................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

AGELESS KNOWLEDGE TV ON DEMAND...............................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

PLEASE NOTE:- That, at the time of writing, there was a problem with the 'Roku Guide' review of the 'Blastro' channel which meant that, whilst the link (itself) functioned as expected & redirected to the correct page for the 'Roku Guide' review, for some (as yet) unexplained reason the page content was incomplete & the main body of text for the review of the 'Blastro' channel was missing from the site. This issue has already been pointed out to the publisher of 'Roku Guide', via their Twitter Feed, and (hopefully) the error should soon be corrected. Meanwhile, since it already functions as it should, I've decided to leave the link to the 'Roku Guide' review in this post so that you can check back as & when to access the webpage for this review of the 'Blastro' channel at your convenience.

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

PLEASE NOTE:- That, as with the 'Blastro' channel (above), there was a similar problem with the 'Roku Guide' review of the 'Roxwel' channel which (again) meant that, whilst the link functioned as expected & redirected to the correct page for the 'Roku Guide' review, for some (yet to be explained) reason the main body of text for the review of the 'Roxwel' channel was missing from the webpage. As before, this issue has already been pointed out to the publisher of 'Roku Guide', via their Twitter Feed, and (hopefully) this error will soon be corrected too. Meanwhile, since it also functions as it should, I've (likewise) decided to leave the link to the 'Roku Guide' review in this post so you can then access the webpage for the 'Roxwel' channel review at your own convenience.

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

LIFE & HEALTH NETWORK.....................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

HOLY HIP HOP.......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

TRIP EUROPE........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

TRIP AUSTRALIA....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

TOUR VIDEOS........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

TRIP USA...............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


Still, whether it's travel videos with advice on local attractions, transportation, backpacking, restaurants, hotel rooms and journeys with virtual tours covering Europe, Australia or the USA, or learning how to lose weight by exploring various weight-loss techniques & exercise routines, getting expert advice, community support and healthy recipes for your chosen plan, or finding holistic and spiritual healing through education & spiritual activism, becoming inspired to awaken to a better life, or taking the Gospel to the streets via the global proliferation of spiritually-enlightening 'Holy Hip Hop' Ministry, Music & Entertainment, or enjoying "HBO for weirdos" featuring original award-winning independent movies & TV shows "for thinking adults", or the raw comedy and entertainment brought to you by 'BEP TV' (aka 'FILNOBEP' or 'Broken Equipment'), or discovering new & emerging country music stars from North America (featuring a mix of Hometown Country, Bluegrass, Christian & Alt. Country music videos), or going behind the scenes with exclusive HD footage of fashion & bikini shoots, as well as interviews with models, or exploring the harmonious relationships within & between the physical, mental & emotional dimensions of individuals, as well as the social aspects of human life, that combine to produce truly good health, or watching new global Urban, Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B, Latin and EDM music videos, or live performances & concert films (feat. Rock, Metal & Indie music artists) or (perhaps) even easy-to-follow video recipes for holidays and special days (incl. Valentines Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas)... we've pretty much got all of 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 twenty-seven 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 sixteen 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 !!


In the meantime, for my last twenty-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 apps being continually added", is yet to be adhered to, since there has been ONLY ONE NEW CHANNEL ADDED to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box SINCE THE PRODUCT LAUNCHED. Moreover, it seems this sustained lack of creativity has led to some drastic measures being taken to improve the output from the Roku channel developers at NowTV, with a very different kind of 'weed' now tumbling around their offices...

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


However, aside from churning out some pretty psychedelic illustrations, it seems this mind-expanding experiment did very little by way of increasing the number of channels available in the feeble excuse for a Roku Channel Store that features on the NowTV Box. This makes me wonder if they (perhaps) spent a little too much time listening to the laid-back riff-laden 'stoner rock' stylings of 'Tumbleweed' (a band from Wollongong in Australia, who are the focus of the illustration used above) and not enough time coming up with new ideas for channels to develop for the media player from NowTV. It seems what Richard Ashcroft (of The Verve) once observed applies just as well here !!

Consequently, 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 a further SIXTEEN EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things firmly in perspective, in the twenty-nine weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE EXTRA CHANNELS added to the Roku Channel Store on UK Roku players, as compared with ONE EXTRA CHANNEL being added to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box. That, surely, must tell you something ?!!!

Like I've said in previous weeks, it seems to be a case of one step forward and two 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 'WatchIndia' and 'USTV Now', with 'HooplaKidz' plus 'VEVO' electing to hide out in the "Most Popular" channels category and 'Havoc Television' 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 that there is still a total of just 47 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 and any additional channels listed under "My 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 45 channels in total, compared with 775+ in the channel store on UK Roku players !!!

Bearing this in mind... whilst the NowTV Box won't exactly leave you out-of-pocket, 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 you settle-in for a family movie over Easter, 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 725 EXTRA CHANNELS TO CHOOSE FROM when 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 !!


  1. Amazon instant video on Roku (so it seems from the description and picture) from next week! :)

  2. Oh well, my bad. Despite the graphic at the bottom showing what appears to be a Roku, I've heard back from Amazon and Roku isn't presently one of their compatible devices:

    "Hello Richard,

    I've checked our list of compatible devices and see that Amazon Instant Video isn't currently available on 'Roku media players'. I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. We're working to expand our Amazon Instant Video service to a broader selection of devices in the future.

    Compatible Mobile Devices:
    Manufacturer and Model Year

    Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 16 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 32 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 64 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX-Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX-Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 64 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX-Display, Wi-Fi + 4G LTE, 16 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX-Display, Wi-Fi + 4G LTE, 32 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX-Display, Wi-Fi + 4G LTE, 64 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX-Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB 2013
    Kindle Fire HD 7", HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB 2012
    Kindle Fire HD 7", HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB 2012
    Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB 2012
    Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 32 GB 2012
    Apple iPad All
    Apple iPad mini All
    Apple iPhone (from 3GS) All
    Apple iPod touch (from 3rd generation) All

    Game Consoles
    Manufacturer and Model Year
    Xbox One 2013
    Xbox 360 All
    Nintendo Wii All
    Nintendo Wii U All
    Playstation 4 2013
    Playstation 3 All

    Manufacturer and Model Year

    LG Smart TV (2012 or newer) 2012
    Samsung Smart TV (2012 or newer) 2012
    Sony Smart TV (2010 or newer) 2010

    Media Player
    Manufacturer and Model Year

    Sony Network Media Player (2010 or newer) 2010

    Home Cinema
    Manufacturer and Model Year

    Sony Home Cinema System (2010 or newer) 2010

    Blu-ray Player
    Manufacturer and Model Year

    LG Blu-ray Player (2012 or newer) 2012

    Samsung Blu-ray Player (2012 or newer) 2012

    Sony Blu-ray Player (2010 or newer) 2010

    I hope the information helps. We look forward to see you again. "

    Bummer!! :(