Saturday, March 1, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #51





Hi, everyone !!


When Roku took the decision to add the new 'WWE Network' channel to the Roku USA Channel Store ahead of the "Official" launch of the WWE Network, on Monday 24th February 2014, they had clearly anticipated that there would be a high demand among USA Roku owners for access to it. There were a few puzzled comments on Twitter, as to why the channel could be added when no content was available, but (generally speaking) I think it was a smart move by Roku to effectively "stagger" the addition of the channel to their streaming media players before the big day arrived. Hopefully, if this proved successful, it is a tactic that can be employed in future whenever a 'high profile' channel launch such as this is on the horizon. The only negative, as far as I can see, is that Roku owners had to endure several days of being "teased" by the 'WWE Network' channel icon before they could watch anything.






With the actual launch of the 'WWE Network' channel, heralded by 'THIS ANNOUNCEMENT' from Roku last Monday, it soon became abundantly clear that there were other aspects which had not been anticipated quite so well & these resulted in some major headaches for all parties concerned. Firstly, the comments started appearing on Twitter from disappointed Roku owners who were having difficulty in getting registered & signed-up for their ONE-WEEK FREE TRIAL of the 'WWE Network' channel. Then came this announcement from the 'WWE Network' channel (themselves) which confirmed, as Roku correctly predicted, that demand for the 'WWE Network' channel was indeed exceptional:-




This was followed by a further explanation, that:-





Later on in the day, things went from bad to worse as more & more Roku owners commented (again, via social media) that they were unable to access on-demand content despite the "Live" stream of the 'WWE Network' channel functioning normally. This, as we know, turned into a fairly prolonged state of affairs which then seemed to worsen by the day & prompted a string of further announcements from the 'WWE Network' channel suggesting something fairly major had gone wrong behind-the-scenes that would require some serious attention, as the following series of tweets demonstrate:-






Another day on, and still with the above issue(s) unresolved, there was a further complication:-




However it wasn't until late in the evening ON THE FOLLOWING DAY, i.e. Thursday 27th February 2014, that a collective sigh of relief could be breathed by USA Roku owners when the following message confirmed that matters had finally been resolved via an update from Roku:-




Needless to say... a similar announcement, made via the "Official" Roku Facebook Page, produced many positive responses from relieved Roku owners in the USA which can be 'VIEWED HERE'.


Not quite the dream start that the 'WWE Network' channel would have wished for, as I'm sure plenty of Roku owners in the USA can attest. Although, in fairness, it's not unusual to experience certain "teething troubles" whenever a new TV network and/or channel is launched. Still... from a UK Roku owner's perspective, this will (hopefully) mean that, when the 'WWE Network' channel does eventually launch in the UK (recently confirmed to be sometime in late 2014 / early 2015) things should go a lot more smoothly than they did for our friends across "The Pond". With any luck, the 'WWE Network' channel will also offer UK Roku owners a 'ONE-WEEK FREE TRIAL' just as they did for owners of the streaming media player in the USA this past week and, assuming they do, we might even get to enjoy the channel for A FULL SEVEN DAYS completely FREE-OF-CHARGE unlike our US cousins. Either way, the launch of the 'WWE Network' channel marks a significant move for televised sport with a breakaway from the spiralling costs charged by cable & satellite TV providers, versus what the content providers receive for their efforts. Assuming the 'WWE Network' channel don't hike prices too much themselves and keep things affordable for the viewers, this could bode extremely well for fans of wrestling (as well as sport in general) and (under such circumstances) I'd like to see this practice become more widely adopted so that each and every sport is affordable and inclusive for everyone !!


Another prime example of failure to anticipate demand came when Amazon launched the recently announced 'Prime Instant Video' as part of the 'Amazon Prime' service from Amazon UK this week. In some ways this was even worse than what happened with the 'WWE Network' channel because there was already an existing tried & tested 'Amazon Instant Video' channel for Roku on USA players:-



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


Now... given that their 'Amazon Instant Video' channel is (currently) the 2nd "Most Watched" channel on USA Roku players, as evidenced 'VIA THIS LINK', and (in fact) has been present in the Top 25 channels from the Roku USA Channel Store for quite some time, you'd think that an opportunity such as the UK launch of the same service would have rung more than a few bells at Amazon HQ, surely?!! Had anyone at Amazon / Amazon UK "heard" those "bells" they could have easily arranged for the existing 'Amazon Instant Video' channel, from the Roku USA Channel Store, to be "cloned" and/or modified as necessary for addition to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store in time for the launch of their 'Prime Instant Video' / 'Amazon Instant Video' service(s) from Amazon UK this week. Instead, they chose to ignore the 75,660 (and counting...) USA Roku owners responsible for rating their channel and keeping it in the Top 25 "Most Watched" channels from the Roku USA Channel Store all this time and (conveniently) "forgot" about how successful a platform the Roku streaming media player (which they are still happy to sell you, by the way?!!) had been for their 'Amazon Instant Video' service, deciding to ignore both Roku owners and Android users in the UK and stick with their current mediocre 'LIST OF COMPATIBLE DEVICES' not all of which will work anyway... or so I am led to believe by one owner of an allegedly "compatible" Samsung Smart TV (2012 or newer) who is mighty peeved that he now has to stream 'Amazon Instant Video' from an iPad (via an Apple TV box) to his Samsung instead of using a built-in app on his "Smart TV" which is (apparently) non-existent. Check the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels for an exchange of messages with 'Mark-A' from Leeds (Twitter Feed: @UKMarkLeeds) on Friday 28th February, if you'd like to know more !!


Then again, part of me also wonders if (perhaps) no-one at either Amazon or Amazon UK "forgot" about the success of their 'Amazon Instant Video' channel but, rather, they actively avoided making it available on UK Roku players because they wanted to keep it for the launch of the much-rumoured Amazon STB (originally slated for the end of 2013) now thought to be due for imminent release and possibly even sometime in March (i.e. this very month). There was even a suggestion, 'IN THIS ARTICLE', published by 'Forbes' whereby 'The Motley Fool' speculated as to how the new Amazon STB might be offered FREE-OF-CHARGE to 'Amazon Prime' members to "soften the blow of an expected price increase" which would "boost the annual fee from $79 to $119"... can you believe?!! Should that prove to be the case, then I trust Amazon UK will be retrospectively supplying these new Amazon set top boxes to all their UK 'Amazon Prime' members who, let's not forget, are already being charged £79 for the service (i.e. the equivalent of the $119 price increase for USA 'Amazon Prime' members) and weren't offered anything to "soften the blow" !! In fact, it's more likely that Amazon "tested the water" on UK 'Amazon Prime' members to see how many people would cancel their subscription as a result of the increase, before attempting the same in the USA... "Rip-Off Britain", anyone?!! Sure sounds like it to me !!! Moreover, if anyone at Amazon or Amazon UK happens to read this post, I'm sure that most UK Roku owners would (like me) prefer that you added a UK version of the (already) successful 'Amazon Instant Video' channel (as found on Roku USA players) to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, rather than force us to use an Amazon STB to access our 'Amazon Prime' benefits such as 'Amazon Instant Video' and 'Prime Instant Video' - even if you do send those new Amazon set top boxes out to us for free !! If you wish to compete in the UK media streaming market, why not do it via a proven method (such as your 'Amazon Instant Video' Roku channel) instead of adding yet another bit of unnecessary hardware into the equation?!!


Oh, and speaking of competition in the media streaming market, in other Roku-related news, there were some interesting comments published 'IN THIS ARTICLE' by Dave Zatz (via his 'ZatzNotFunny' website) that alluded to a forthcoming move by Roku to release a $50.00 (fifty US dollar) newly revised version of it's streaming stick to put further pressure on Google's "Chromecast" among the 'budget' streamers. The suggestion is that Roku will eschew the MHL port and (instead) make use of USB for powering the device and, given their more widespread availability, this would make the streaming stick far more compatible with the majority of televisions out there. Further talk of a 'YouTube' channel being added to the new-look streaming stick from Roku, coupled with the existing selection that already features hundreds of Roku channels, would put the device head & shoulders above the competition. Better yet... if the rumours of Miracast functionality being added, to provide screen mirroring via the new Roku Streaming Stick, turn out to be true then this could become a real "game-changer" for Roku and ensure that it even rivals the sort of 'AirPlay' functionality seen on the Apple TV as well as the 'Chrome Tab Mirroring' of the Chromecast device from Google. Nice !!!!!!


Rumours of budget-priced Roku Streaming Sticks and Miracast functionality aside, the 'Roku 3' has made some more headlines of it's own by being shortlisted for yet another award. This time around it's up for "Best Consumer TV Device" alongside the 'YouView+ Box' from (erm...) YouView !! Those of you who would like to see the other devices which made it into the list (as well as nominations for all the other categories) can view the official "TV Connect Industry Awards 2014" shortlist published 'VIA THIS LINK', as you might expect, on the 'TV Connect Awards' website. Way to go, 'Roku 3' !!!


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's TWENTY-THREE 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, Internet TV, Photos & Video, Food, 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 with an independent (slightly more expansive) assessment of each one:-







THE LIFE OF FAITH BROADCAST....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






EVANGEL CHURCH.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






TIMELESS TELEVISION.......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






SIX GUN CINEMA.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






THE IMPACT NETWORK.....................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






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

PLEASE NOTE:- That the links (above) to the "Official" Roku (USA) Channel Store description and the 'Roku Guide' review are actually for the 'Rokagram' channel that was added to the selection of channels on Roku players in the USA last week. As far as I'm aware, the 'Rokagram UK' channel is essentially the same channel, in all but name, and priced in £GBP (British Pounds) instead of $USD (US Dollars) but, suffice it to say, I felt it similar enough to warrant the inclusion of the USA links.







WARREN MILLER................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






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






TEST TUBE.............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






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






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






AWAKE NJ..............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






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






BLACK FLAG TV..................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






THE AVIATION CHANNEL.................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






THE BABY CHANNEL..........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






THE ANIMAL CHANNEL.....................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






THE BIKE CHANNEL...........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






SIMPLE KIDS CRAFTS.........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






LYNN'S RECIPES...................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






RED ROCKS CHURCH.........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






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






KICKFIT PREVIEW...............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]




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Still, whether it's watching the best in classic television, drawing on an archive of over 25, 000 movies, cartoons & TV episodes, sharing simple 'kids crafts' such as doll-making, gifts, cards, toys, games, recipes & experiments plus reviews & general craft tutorials, hearing the personal stories & experiences plus recommendations & reviews from bikers of the latest bike models, beautiful choppers & amazing motorcycles, or getting all-day access to classic western movies & your favourite western series feat. timeless tales & cowboy legends, learning interesting facts about babies, watching childcare tutorials and homemade 'baby' videos, or experiencing the ultimate cardiovascular challenge via a combination of intense kickboxing moves & strength exercises, or trying new dishes & discovering new recipes from a family collection that has been 35 years in the making, or a 'live-streaming' selection of "midnight movies" (feat. horror and sci-fi, cult classics & independent movies) broadcast 24/7, or viewing your photo images plus following "friends" & "trends" via an easy-to-use Instagram client for Roku, learning interesting facts about pets & animals, watching pet-care tutorials and homemade 'pet' videos, or sampling the best in winter sports film-making from one of the most respected names in action-sports cinematography, as well as a premium selection of on-demand content feat. exclusive skate, snow, surf, wake, MX & BMX videos, enjoying assorted religious programming, or classic cartoons for kids & adults, presented in a 'continuous broadcast' format, or being inspired, informed & entertained by a variety of shows focused on popular science, or exploring the diverse world of animals, at times cute & cuddly or else ferocious, fascinating & often funny, or planning a trip to Asia with some of the best travel videos on popular attractions, transportation, hotels & accommodation (incl. China, Japan, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong & more), , or (perhaps) even taking to the air (from the comfort of your couch) with footage of some amazing aeroplanes, turbo props, private jets, aircraft manufacturers, charter companies, aviation management services & designers, as well as hearing stories from aircraft owners, charter guests & pilots from around the world... we've pretty much got all of those bases covered with these latest 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-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 twenty-three 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 !!



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In the meantime, for my last twenty-nine '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, as the Roku channel developers at NowTV have ably demonstrated (time & time again), much like their tumbleweed mascot they are still very much on the "road to nowhere" when it comes to new channel ideas...




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

PHOTO SOURCE: hermitjim.blogspot.com



Meanwhile, 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 TWENTY-THREE EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things firmly in perspective, in the thirty-one weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY-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 800+ 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 750 EXTRA CHANNELS TO CHOOSE FROM when compared with the selection (currently) found on a NowTV Box.



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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 comment:

  1. On speaking to Amazon they have said they are not releasing the Amazon Prime Instant Video to UK Roku users blaming BSB Sky for this.

    ReplyDelete