Saturday, June 7, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #65

Hi, everyone !!

Probably the most exciting piece of UK Roku-related news to come my way during the past week was largely thanks to one of the followers for the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels, namely one 'Darren Newman' of Marlborough in Wiltshire [Twitter Feed: @dnewman4952], who sent me a link, TO THIS THREAD, from the NowTV Community forums which revealed that 'ITV Player' is currently undergoing BETA TRIALS on the NowTV Box! Of course... we know that 'ITV Encore' is due to launch on Monday 9th June 2014 and there have already been some speculative comments to suggest that 'ITV Player' might arrive at the same time but, given how details of the 'Beta Trials' for 'ITV Player' have only just emerged, it seems unlikely we'll see the channel added for a little while longer, at least. Let's just hope that, once the testing is complete, we see an 'ITV Player' channel for Roku added to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store in addition to the channel store that features on the streaming media player from NowTV. Meanwhile, just in case the thread should subsequently be removed from the NowTV Community forums, here's a few screenshots to confirm what has been said on the subject of the 'Beta Trials' for 'ITV Player' on the NowTV Box thus far:-

HINT: Click on the above images TO ENLARGE THEM for easier viewing !!!

Those of you who do follow the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels on a regular basis may recall a tweet I made, a few months back, concerning the development of a web browser for Roku players by the folks at Mozilla (creators of 'Firefox', used by many of the visitors to this blog). Now, whilst that has yet to come to fruition, I did come across an interesting article, FOUND HERE, by the good folks at 'Liliputing' which made mention of the fact that Mozilla are (currently) testing a "Roku Casting Feature" in the 'Pre-Release' version of their new 'Firefox' browser for Android mobile devices. This Chromecast-like ability to "cast" to Roku players can only be achieved by those using the 'Nightly Build' of the new 'Firefox' browser for Android, in conjunction with a Roku channel (or, app, if you prefer) called 'FirefoxNightly' which can be added to your Roku player, VIA THIS LINK. If you'd rather login to your online Roku account and add the channel yourself, using the "Add a private channel" function, then you'll need to type-in the ACCESS CODE: firefoxnightly to facilitate this. Here is a screenshot of the tweet I made, announcing this GREAT NEWS, for the benefit of Roku owners IN ALL REGIONS with an Android mobile device to "cast" from:-

It has since come to my attention that there is a ZIP file which can be side-loaded onto NowTV Boxes, much like owners of the streaming media player from NowTV have been doing with 'Plex' before it, which will allow the 'Nightly Build' of the new 'Firefox' browser for Android to be used to "cast" video to NowTV Boxes in much the same way as it does to Roku players! So, who was responsible for this great discovery? You guessed it! None other than 'Darren Newman' of Marlborough in Wiltshire, who (yet again) has come up trumps this week with the NowTV news and has even posted links to all of the relevant information, VIA THIS THREAD, on the NowTV Community forums. Thanks, Darren!

Meanwhile... those of you that don't yet follow the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels, but who would like to stay on top of all the Roku-related breaking news stories such as this, I'd recommend that you sign-up for a FREE Twitter Account (if you don't yet have one) and "follow" me there for all the latest information that UK Roku owners (and those in other regions) could possibly want to know! Another example of why you might wish to "follow" this blog on Twitter is for the occasional tweets that contain details of the ACCESS CODES needed FOR NEW PRIVATE CHANNELS to be added to your Roku. To illustrate my point here are some screenshots, of some messages I exchanged with Paras Nath Chaudhary (who was involved with the development of the 'One Nation Network' as well as the 'i-Land' channel for Roku players), which have info on TWO ROKU PRIVATE CHANNELS that can be added to your Roku players using the access codes included therein:-

HINT: Click on the above images TO ENLARGE THEM for easier viewing !!!

If you do decide to add either the 'MediaBox' or 'FightTV Plus' private channels, both of which are in 'Beta' or 'Test' versions (prior to submission as 'Public Channels' in the Roku Channel Store), please consider providing some feedback to Paras Nath Chaudhary [Twitter Feed: @opnchaudhary] to assist with ironing-out any bugs and/or suggesting any improvements you might like to see to the channel(s). If it was unclear from the screenshots (above) you will need ACCESS CODE: fighttvplustest to add the 'FightTV Plus' private channel and ACCESS CODE: mediaboxprivate to add the 'MediaBox' private channel to your Roku streaming media players via your online Roku account(s). Thanks, Paras!

In other Roku-related news, as with last week, another Roku UK "Recommended Retailer" has finally begun selling the new(ish) Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) [Model: 3500EU] to UK buyers. If you happened to miss my tweet on the subject, during the past seven days - via the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels - the Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) [Model: 3500EU] is NOW AVAILABLE via '' for the R.R.P. of £49.99 + FREE DELIVERYand you will find all other relevant product information VIA THIS LINK. Unlike last week, when Roku neglected to update the "Where to Buy" information on the "Official" Roku UK website to reflect that one of their largest resellers (namely, Amazon UK) had started selling the product, you'll (no doubt) be pleased to hear that the listing for has been amended as necessary. Meanwhile, despite being ignored by Roku in their "Where to Buy" listings for the 'Roku Stick', Amazon UK are offering even better deals on other UK Roku models with the 'Roku LT' available for just £28.99 + FREE DELIVERY which can be purchased online, VIA THIS LINK, while the original flagship UK player: Roku 2 XS remains on offer but is NOW LESS THAN HALF-PRICE at only £48.00 + FREE DELIVERY and can be found HERE if you're interested. If you ask me, you're better of buying the Roku 2 XS at that price than the newer 'Roku 1', on account of all the additional features (ethernet, USB, MicroSD, motion gaming control, etc) that it offers. In fact, even with the 'Roku 1' being sold via Amazon UK for just £39.00 + FREE DELIVERY I'd still go for a Roku 2 XS because all those extras are easily worth paying-out an extra nine quid for. That said, if you absolutely must have a 'Roku 1' from Amazon UK, you can buy it HERE. If, however, the "private listening" function afforded by the headphone remote that is supplied as standard with the newer 'Roku 2' is of more importance to you than the additional features of the older Roku 2 XS, you can snap-up a 'Roku 2' for only £57.00 + FREE DELIVERY via Amazon UK, right now, and you'll find that VIA THIS LINK. For those with slightly more cash to splash, or who simply have to have the best, the multi award-winning 'Roku 3' has also had it's price slashed by Amazon UK and is (currently) available at only £79.00 + FREE DELIVERY which, as far as I'm concerned, is just too good to ignore and should be purchased immediately FROM HERE. Of course these prices are subject to change at any time so, if you want to grab yourself a bargain-priced Roku from Amazon UK, I'd suggest you hurry up and GET 'EM WHILE YOU STILL CAN !!!!

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 FIVE 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, News, Weather, Sport, 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:-

ACE PRO WRESTLING NETWORK.....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

MILLION DOLLAR TV NETWORK.....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

THE MOVIE TRAILER CHANNEL.......................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

THE KNOWLEDGE 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 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 five 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-three '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 I keep saying, 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. Despite the promise of at least one new channel, from the so-called "developers" at NowTV, in the (hopefully, very) near future it has been "business as usual" as far as (not) adding any new channels to the (already severely reduced) Roku Channel Store that features on the NowTV Box is concerned. Once again (it seems) as time moves on so, too, does the tumbleweed... as evidenced by the following image of a sadly all too familiar subject:-

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



At first glance, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that the subject of the above photograph was symbolic of the NowTV developers feeling "in the pink" at the prospect of the forthcoming channel addition(s) to the NowTV Box, most notably 'ITV Player', which (as mentioned earlier in this post) are currently undergoing 'Beta Trials' on the streaming media player from NowTV. In actual fact, the art installation depicted in the image is a sculpture by artist & researcher, Tine Bech, who reveals via a page on her website, FOUND HERE, that this particular creation involved forming a 'Tumbleweed' out of no less than sixteen kilometres of pink wire! Although this may sound like a lot, it's still nowhere near the distance covered by the NowTV developers each week as they search for the inspiration they need to come up with some new channels for the feeble excuse of a channel store on NowTV Boxes!

Consequently, 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 FIVE EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things firmly in perspective, in the forty-five weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of FIVE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVEN 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 !! Then, four weeks ago, came the turn for '4oD' to up-sticks and leave it's original home in the "Film & TV" category to hide-out in the "Most Popular" channels, presumably (like 'Flixster' before it) 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 'Flixster' 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 now managed to stay put for the past few months, 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 1,025+ 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 975 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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