Saturday, May 17, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #62

Hi, everyone !!

Those of you who read my previous post, 'Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #61', may recall my mentioning 'Angry Birds' had "mysteriously" vanished from the "25 Most Popular Channels" in the Roku UK Channel Store. The fact that the 'Angry Birds' game channel, which had previously held a "Top Ten" position in the chart for quite some time, had suddenly been removed was rather perplexing but what really bothered me was how the 'Crackle' channel which is no longer functional on UK Roku players (or, indeed, any other device in the UK) actually moved to a higher position in the chart as a result of this !! Anyway, I'm not sure if it happened as a result of my mentioning it, but...




Given that Roku is perfectly capable of removing any channel from their streaming media players, as evidenced during the past week with the withdrawal of 'Bloody Valley Films TV' from channel stores in all regions (SEE 'THIS THREAD' ON ROKU FORUMS), you'd think that they could manage to remove 'Crackle' from UK Roku players (which has remained unsupported & non-functional in the UK, since 1st April 2014) without too much trouble?! Well... apparently not !! So, until either Roku or Sony / Crackle bother to remove the channel from UK Roku players and/or the Roku UK Channel Store, it looks like we're stuck with it both there and in the chart of "Most Popular" channels on this blog. Then again, maybe I'll just leave the spot "blank" (puns totally intentional, btw) like they did when the Sex Pistols charted in the late seventies?! Afterall, if the UK isn't good enough for 'Crackle', why should they remain in a chart of the UK's "Most Popular" Roku channels?! Either way, you haven't heard the last of this saga... though I really wish we had because this is becoming more of a pain than the constant ad breaks when the channel was actually up and running in the UK, never mind all the technical issues that went with it, so we'll be much better off once it's gone for good !!

Forgetting the whole 'Crackle' issue, in addition to the return of 'Angry Birds' to the 25 "Most Popular" channels in the Roku UK Channel Store, there was more GOOD NEWS early on this week with the announcement, VIA THIS TWEET, from Roku that an "Official" Twitter Feed has finally been set up for UK Roku owners - as evidenced by the following (partial) screenshot:-

As you can see from the above image, I've already lent my support by retweeting the news and those of you with a Twitter account of your own can now follow: @RokuUK in addition to the companion Twitter Feed for this blog: @ukrokuchannels for all your UK Roku-related news & channel updates. One thing which struck me as odd was how this UK Twitter Feed for Roku was setup back in January 2012 (when Roku first launched in the UK) and yet only made it's debut tweet on 12th May 2014 with a mere 13 tweets recorded upto today, as can be seen from the screenshots below:-

Of course, it's still early days yet but I hope that this resource will offer more than suggestions to spend more money via Sky Store and/or NowTV when we are already suffer too much of that through the ads on our Roku player(s) and the weekly posts via the "Official" Roku blog. To their credit, one of the 13 tweets they made this week did ask what we would like to see posted via the Twitter Feed and, as you can see, I wasted no time in providing a few suggestions of which I thought you may approve:-

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

If anyone has any further ideas / suggestions that they might like to contribute, then please share your thoughts via the above Twitter Feed(s) and/or leave a comment on this post. Some UK Roku owners have already requested channels for 'Eurosport' and 'The Smithsonian', amongst others, which I think would be great additions to the Roku channel selection in the UK too. How about you?!!

Turning our attention to the NowTV Box, for a moment, if there are any Business Analysts out there who would welcome an opportunity to work for NowTV you might want to check out the latest job offer from Sky / NowTV, VIA THIS LINK, which could well be of interest to you. In case you were wondering, I came across this information via the NowTV hashtag which I monitor on a regular basis for updates to this blog and the companion Twitter Feed (mentioned previously). Here is a screenshot of the original tweet from which I learned of this vacancy:-

Moving on, in addition to new Twitter Feeds and new job opportunities, we've also had some more new readers coming to the pages of this blog. Once again, there were many repeat visits from various countries that I've mentioned in previous posts but on this occasion, as for the past couple of weeks, there was one country that had not featured previously. So, before we go any further with the current 'Weekly RoundUp', I'd first like to extend a warm welcome to those new readers from the Bahamas, who each took the time to pay a maiden visit to these pages at some point during the past seven days, or so.

To those new readers, and to everyone else who continues to read my Roku-related ramblings here on this blog, I'd just like to say... "Thanks for stopping by" & long may you continue to do so.

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 channel line-up have provided us with FRESH CONTENT in the Film & TV, Music, Internet TV, International, 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:-

D NEWS...............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

OLD WEST MINISTRIES LIVE........................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

SHALOM WORLD TV......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

TBC WORLD......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

CALVARY BAPTIST NORMAL IL.................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

HOLA NY HD....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

MARS HILL BAPTIST CHURCH....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

I'M INSIDE JEW.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

SPUD'S CRIME AND PUNISHMENT..............................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

CLUTCH CARGO..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

DOMINICAN NETWORK CABLE...........COST: £6.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That, in the absence of an official channel store description from the Roku (USA) website, the link provided above is for the 'LiveStream' account of Edward Rosario who is the man behind RC Productions who developed this channel. As well as RC TV from New York, broadcaster  Edward Rosario is also responsible for the development of the 'Hola NY HD' channel for Roku listed here. Since the 'Dominican Network Cable' channel does not (yet?) feature in the Roku (USA) Channel Store, there is no 'Roku Guide' review available for this channel. If and (hopefully) when that situation changes, I will add the relevant link(s) to this post. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you in the meantime. Should you need further info or more immediate assistance with this channel, I would suggest that you make use of the 'CONTACT FORM' on the 'Hola NY' website.

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


THE CAYMAN ISLANDS CHANNEL...........................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


Anyway, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, whilst it doesn't quite the match-up to the twenty-three 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 forty '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. At long last, as evidenced by my previous reference to a job vacancy at NowTV, this continued failure by the so-called "developers" at NowTV to add any new channels may finally be getting addressed... but, is this really the man for the job?!!!!

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



Here we see the new 'Business Analyst' at NowTV trying to convey the message to their channel developers that what is needed from them is more channels and NOT more tumbleweed !! Then again, maybe he is conducting a "workshop" game of cups to focus the attention of the developers?! You can just imagine the dialogue... "So, which one is the channel under?" and, on getting zero response from the developers, "OK, I'll give you a clue... it's not these two" after which they guess it's the third one (i.e. the one on the ground) only to be told, "No. There are no channels. This is tumbleweed!" and the lesson for NowTV developers is... WE NEED MORE CHANNELS, NOT MORE TUMBLEWEED! Let's just hope that, whomever gets the job, they are able to increase the level of productivity such that the number of new channels is not still equal to the number of candles on the cake when the streaming media player from NowTV reaches it's first anniversary in just ten weeks from now. Some rumours have suggested that we may see 'ITV Player' added to the NowTV Box (and, hopefully, UK Roku players) when the new 'ITV Encore' channel launches next month?! Let's hope so, anyway !!

Joking aside... in actual fact, the above image was featured in an article, FOUND HERE, published via the 'Daily Yonder' website. If you're interested, it contains a lot of information about tumbleweed and how it was "accidentally" imported to South Dakota in the late 1870's inside shipments of flaxseed, as well as numerous other snippets of trivia detailing the history of the "Russian Thistle" since this well-known "immigrant" first arrived on the American continent. Some of you may be more interested in the origins of the photograph than of the 'Salsola Tragus', however, so (for your benefit) I'll refer you to the Flickr account of Rob Lee (link in 'PHOTO CREDIT' above) where, if you search for 'Tumbleweed Man' you can view the original photo in all it's glory. While you're there, you may want to check out some of Rob's other photo albums... which include some great 'zombie' images taken at the 8th Annual Zombie Crawl in Denver back in October 2013 - you might even get some costume / makeup ideas for your own Hallowe'en celebrations in 2014 - go on, be brave... take a look! But, BE WARNED... it's far more terrifying than the lack of channels on NowTV Box, so PROCEED WITH CAUTION !!

Meanwhile, it's likely to be of no surprise to any of you that (as with EVERY WEEK BAR ONE since launch) 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 forty-two weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY 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 !! Last week it was the turn of the '4oD' channel which, like 'Flixster' before it, decided to up-sticks and leave it's original home in the "Film & TV" category to hide-out in the "Most Popular" channels, presumably (also) preferring the (relative) obscurity of a twenty-five channel lineup to the company of just six other channels with which it had shared the genre since the 'Flixster' channel went into hiding. Perhaps worse still was the loss of 'MLB.TV' from the "News, Weather, Sport" category which, unless you added it previously (in which case you'll find it under 'My Channels' in the menu), you will not (currently) be able to add to the channel selection on your NowTV Box. In fact, as far as the channel selection on the NowTV Box goes, the best I can say is that at least the 'Havoc Television' and the 'VEVO' channels (which had both been missing an "official" Roku Channel Store category on the NowTV Box for a very long time) have managed to stay put for the past ten weeks, 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 lacking an "official" Roku Channel Store category on the NowTV Box for quite some time, namely 'HooplaKidz Rhymes', remains part of "Internet TV".

Sadly, this means there are still just 47 CHANNELS to be found in the NowTV Box version of the Roku Channel Store PLUS the 'NOW TV' and 'Sky Store' channels which (unfortunately) means the overall total remains at only forty-nine channels (even less than there were when the product was launched in July 2013). Plus, let's not forget, those last two are only there by default and not included with the apps (i.e. channels) in the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box. If we then leave aside the "Most Popular" channels and any additional ones listed in "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 975+ 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 the summer holiday period begins, 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 both the 'Plex' and 'YouTube' channels readily available via the channel store and will give you more than 925 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. Sainsbury's are selling the "NowTV" box at GBP 14.99! Cheeky or what?

    1. Hi, Stephen !!

      Thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave another comment, as well as for continuing to read my Roku-related ramblings, and for contributing your observation for the benefit of other readers.

      For those of you that don't know already, the NowTV Box is normally priced (on it's own) for £9.99 + FREE DELIVERY via the NowTV website. Hence the "Cheeky or what?" comment here.

      Fortunately, after researching the pricing for NowTV Box via Sainsburys, it seems that the £14.99 GBP is for a 'Sports Bundle' which means you're also getting a 'NowTV Sports Day Pass' (RRP £9.99) in the deal. So, you could say that you're getting a half-price NowTV Box with a full-price Sports Day Pass... or, that you're getting a half-price Sports Day Pass with a full-price NowTV Box. Either way, you are actually SAVING £4.99 by purchasing this special NowTV bundle from Sainsburys, meaning it's not a case of being cheeky but of offering a small incentive to those who add a NowTV Box to their shopping basket (or trolley) while visiting the supermarket.

      Sainsburys are also (currently) offering a 'Movies Bundle' for £24.99 GBP that includes 3 months access to Sky Movies (RRP £26.97) which means you're effectively SAVING £11.97 in the deal. Again, you could look at this as getting a FREE NowTV Box plus a saving of £1.98 (in total) on the cost of your 'Sky Movies Pass' for 3 months. Or, that you're buying a full-price NowTV Box and getting your 'Sky Movies Pass' at £5.00 per month (instead of the usual price of £8.99 per month) for a period of 3 months.

      For those of you who may prefer "regular" TV to sports or movies, Sainsburys (currently) also have an 'Entertainment Bundle' for £24.99 GBP that includes an 'Entertainment Pass' valid for four months (RRP £19.96) which means you're effectively SAVING £4.96 in the deal. Again, you could look at this as getting a half-price NowTV Box with full-price 'Entertainment Month Pass' access for 4 months. Or, that you're buying a full-price NowTV Box and getting your 'Entertainment Month Pass' at £3.75 per month (instead of the usual price of £4.99 per month) for a period of 4 months.



    2. /CONTINUED...

      You'll find similar "NowTV Bundles" being offered in other supermarkets & high street retail outlets but, at the end of the day, the best price you're going to get (if you absolutely MUST buy a NowTV Box instead of a Roku player) is by purchasing direct from the NowTV website at:-

      By going direct to NowTV, you'll find BETTER OFFERS and BETTER BUNDLES meaning you'll get EVEN MORE SAVINGS than elsewhere !!

      For example, the NowTV 'Sports Pack' costs £34.99 GBP and includes your NowTV Box plus 5 x NowTV 'Sports Day Pass' each providing 24-hour access to Sky Sports on occasions of your choosing. That means you're SAVING £24.95 GBP (in total) against the usual RRP of £59.94 for those items (when sold separately) effectively halving the cost of the day passes.

      Likewise, for film fanatics, the NowTV 'Movies Pack' costs £34.99 GBP and includes your NowTV Box plus 5 x NowTV 'Sky Movies Pass' providing five months' access to Sky Movies. That means you're SAVING £19.95 GBP (in total) against the usual RRP of £54.94 for those items (when sold separately) effectively reducing the cost of the movie passes to £5.00 GBP per month, instead of the £8.99 GBP per month that would otherwise apply.

      Finally, for TV lovers, the NowTV 'Entertainment Pack' costs £34.99 GBP and includes your NowTV Box plus 6 x NowTV 'Entertainment Pass' providing six months' access to 10 Top Sky TV Channels. This equates to a more modest offer SAVING £4.94 GBP (in total) against the usual RRP of £39.93 for those items (when sold separately) effectively halving the cost of the NowTV Box.

      Of course, there has already been talk of the NowTV prices being increased soon (although that is currently "on hold" pending review) so these packs/bundles could either save you even more or cost a little more further down the line. My advice, as always, is to spend a little extra and invest in a genuine original Roku player which will give you access to FAR MORE than the NowTV Box ever will unless Sky remove the needless restrictions that they're currently imposing as to which channels (if any) get added to the Roku Channel Store on their own-brand streaming media player.

      We can but hope that one day Sky / NowTV see sense and set the NowTV Box free and give it access to all that the regular Roku Channel Store offers because, as much as I like NowTV as a service, I cannot recommend their NowTV Box as a streaming device with it's current limitations.

      Hopefully that has cleared things up for you all?!

      Thanks, again, for reading.