Saturday, March 15, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #53

Hi, everyone !!

It seems to have been a case of "first you see them... and then you don't" for much of the past week. Those of you who read my "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #52" will already be aware of the NEW Roku STREAMING STICK (HDMI version) which, despite being announced as "AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER", has yet to receive a thorough review from any of the UK press and (let's face it)  looks unlikely to appear in-store until 21st April 2014 if details on the 'Media Streaming Market' website are to be believed:-

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

So after all of the initial hulabaloo, and the brief exposure of the product at SXSW in the USA last week, we're now left with A FURTHER FIVE WEEK DELAY until anyone in the UK can actually buy the latest streaming media device from Roku. Of course, the danger of such a long lead-time is that your competitors may just sneak in ahead of you and, given that the early announcement from Roku was (most likely) to try & gain some advantage over the imminent release of the UK version of the Chromecast stick, it is (perhaps) unsurprising that Google reacted to this news by shipping their device to retailers across Europe (specifically to the UK, France & Germany) ahead of Roku. In fact... one employee of UK retailer Currys, namely 'Uzumaki Ray' (Twitter Feed: @Rage06) even posted a picture (via Twitter) of some Chromecast boxes being delivered to his store:-

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

However, not long after publication, the photographic "sneak peek" evidence confirming the arrival of the Google Chromecast to these shores was removed. So, like I said, another case of "first you see them... and then you don't", although (in this case) it looks like Google may yet steal Roku's thunder by getting the Chromecast into UK retailers before the new Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI version) arrives. Let's just hope that there are no further delays in Roku getting their stock to UK retailers, as there were last year with the launch of the (then) new 'Roku 1' and 'Roku 2' players. Any such problems this time around could prove even more costly to Roku, and give Google the opportunity to flood the UK market with their own device as potential UK purchasers of the new Roku Streaming Stick are (instead) drawn to the Chromecast due to lack of availability for the former.

Further reading on the whole Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI version) versus Google Chromestick saga can be found, 'VIA THIS ARTICLE', on the 'Gigaom' website. The post by Janko Roettgers (@jank0) also includes links to several other webpages which, 'COURTESY OF THIS POST', provided news of the 'leaked' photos from Currys towards the end of the week. Thanks in no small part should, therefore, go to 'Liliputing' for sharing their discovery through 'Lilibits' and enlightening the rest of us.

Meanwhile, even the latest additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store were not exempt from the "first you see them... and then you don't" fiasco which seems to have plagued many of the Roku-related happenings since my previous ' Weekly RoundUp' was published. To illustrate my point, the following channel, 'Media Browser Plus Plus', should also have numbered among the new releases this week & even had an official channel description published on the Roku (USA) website, 'ORIGINALLY FOUND HERE', from which this screenshot of the channel icon was taken:-

It was only when it came to looking for a 'Roku Guide' review for the 'Media Browser Plus Plus' channel when, on noticing there was no such review available, I realised that the channel must have "done a BBC News" and been removed from Roku UK players within a short time of being added. Hopefully, like the 'BBC News' channel for UK Roku players, the 'Media Browser Plus Plus' channel will (at some stage) reappear in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store so that it can then be added to the channel listings that are included on this blog as a reference for UK Roku owners.

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 NINE 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 Games, News, Weather, Sport, Music, Internet TV, International, Special Interest, plus Religion & Spirituality genres.

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:-

A.R.S.3. MINISTRIES.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

CONSOLE.FM........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

RICH MOM.............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

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

MAROCSTREAM...................................COST: FREE + $10.00 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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

BUZZ:60................................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


So, whether it's getting business tips for "mompreneurs" courtesy of the lovely Renae Christine from '' or (perhaps) enjoying one of her many varied product reviews and/or live hangouts & consultations, or watching the latest match from one of the strongest football, or "Soccer", teams in the USA Premier Division, settling down for some religious programming, or online Arabic & Moroccan Live TV, planning a getaway with reviews, recommendations & critiques for some of the leading, star-rated and award-winning hotels, streaming music from the web, or gaining a fresh perspective on the day's top news stories (including entertainment, sports, celebrities, weird and/or viral news, lifestyle, science, animals & technology) all produced with attitude & style, or (perhaps) even using your logical problem-solving skills combined with various clues to solve the hidden code in an addictive brain-teaser of a game (for 1 or 2 players) on your Roku box... we've pretty much got all of 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 sixteen 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 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 thirty-one '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. So, as we are now (well & truly) accustomed, while time moves on... so (it seems) does the tumbleweed !!

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


ARTIST CREDIT: Danton Damnark (aka 'Tyler')

From the look of it, the tumbleweed has now "moved on" so far, it's become a cartoon parody of it's former self. However, rumours that this is a mock-up for the new 'NowTV' logo have yet to be substantiated. At least this digital art form shows creativity which, let's face it, is far more than can be said for the Roku channel developers at NowTV whose output has been non-existant since the release of '4oD' late last year. Maybe the folks at Amazon UK can put them to work on cloning the existing 'Amazon Instant Video' channel (as found in the Roku USA Channel Store) so that all the UK Roku owners with Amazon Prime memberships can finally stream 'Prime Instant Video' on their streaming media players. The name(s) may have changed but UK Roku owners have been demanding that there be an official 'LoveFilm' / 'Amazon Instant Video' channel (of some description) on UK Roku players ever since the product launched in the UK two years ago. It's not like the channel developers at NowTV would have to do much, as Amazon (USA) has already done most of the development work. Just a few tweaks here & there... and, BINGO !! Then again, maybe the above image is less of a parody for tumbleweed and more indicative of the fact that Roku channel development for NowTV has become a joke and, like the tumbleweed, our hopes of getting any new channels in the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box are just blowing in the wind !!

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 NINE EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things firmly in perspective, in the thirty-three weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FOUR 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 '4oD' being  the one & only channel added to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box since it launched !! At least the 'Havoc Television' channel (which, until last week, had been 'AWOL' for months) and the 'VEVO' channel (which had been missing an "official" Roku Channel Store category on the NowTV Box for a similar period) have both stayed put for the past week, having found their way back into the 'Music' genre (i.e. category) of the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box. Likewise... the other channel which had been lacking an "official" Roku Channel Store category on the NowTV Box for quite some time, namely 'HooplaKidz Rhymes', remains part of "Internet TV".

Fortunately, this means there are still 48 CHANNELS to be found in the NowTV Box version of the Roku Channel Store PLUS the 'NOW TV' and 'Sky Store' channels which (as I said last week) brings the overall total back to fifty channels (as there were at launch). Having said that (let's not forget) those two 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 48 channels in total, compared with 850+ 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 800 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 !!

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