Saturday, June 28, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #68





Hi, everyone !!



It may have been a long time coming but, for Roku owners who happen to also be users of Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 mobile devices, the wait for an "Official" Roku Windows Mobile App (i.e. remote) came to an end this week heralded by an announcement, IN THIS POST, via the "Official" Roku blog.
Here's some screenshots (taken from the afore-mentioned blog post) showing the user interface (UI) for the newly introduced "Official" Roku Windows Mobile App by way of illustration:-





PLEASE NOTE:- That, with the exception of Netflix, Rdio, MLB.TV, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Toons and YouTube, none of the channel icons featured in the above screenshots relate to any channel that is currently of relevance to UK Roku owners. The images were first published via the official Roku blog and, therefore, feature selections from the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store.



In other Roku-related news, the 'Crackle' channel received a facelift this week thanks to a brand new channel icon (perhaps) inspired by fans of the Netherlands national football team (?) or the recent release of the second season (in it's entirety) for a certain "Netflix Original"... leading the "suits" at Sony to declare "Orange Is The New Black" and change their 'Crackle' channel icon accordingly! For those who may have missed it (although, I'm not sure how you could) the new icon looks like this:-






However, LEST WE FORGET...






So, why on earth someone would edit the 'Crackle' channel for Roku to add a new channel icon and yet NOT take the opportunity to EDIT "Channel Stores" in the Roku PKG file AND REMOVE the UK from the equation AT THE SAME TIME simply beggars belief !! Being, as we are, just a few days shy of three months since support for 'Crackle' ended in the UK and not just on Roku, but on all platforms which (prior to 1st April 2014) had carried the channel & it's programming in the UK !!


Meanwhile... for those of you who missed my tweet on the subject recently, via the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels, the Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) [Model: 3500EU] is NOW AVAILABLE via Misco [A Member of the Systemax Inc. Group] in the UK and you'll find the product information VIA THIS LINK. As was the case when Amazon UK and then Tesco began selling the Roku Stick in recent weeks... Roku, in their usual (un)timely fashion, have (yet again) not seen fit to update the "Where to Buy" information on the "Official" Roku UK website to reflect this. So (as before) I thought I'd mention it here for the benefit of any visitors to this blog who may be considering a purchase. Quite why Roku is only showing three of their 'Recommended Retailers' in the UK as selling their latest product when (in fact) there are six (i.e. twice that number) from whom you can "Buy now" seems rather short-sighted of them. Unless, that is, they have done so in order to steer any potential purchasers towards the company (currently) handling all of the sales from the "Official" Roku UK website (namely, MediaStreamingMarket.com)... but, surely not?!!


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 channel line-up have provided us with FRESH CONTENT in the Film & TV, News, Weather, Sport, Internet TV, International, 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 with an independent (slightly more expansive) assessment of each one:-







MTD STUDIO CLASSICS...............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That, although the 'MTD Studio Classics' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku player(s), the description from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store states that it "May require additional fees" in order to view the content.






THE CULT MOVIE NETWORK.............COST: $2.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That, although 'The Cult Movie Network' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku player(s), the description from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store states that it "May require additional fees" in order to view the content. Further research revealed that you will (in fact) need to pay either a MONTHLY FEE of $2.99 (US Dollars) or an ANNUAL FEE of £35.00 (US Dollars) in order to view any of the 'cult movies' from the selection available on this channel. That said, there is a SPECIAL OFFER for those who subscribe to 'The Cult Movie Network' newsletter whereby you can get your FIRST MONTH FOR ONLY ONE CENT, i.e. $0.01 (US Dollars)... a SAVING of $2.98 !! For further details and to subscribe to the newsletter, in order to qualify for the special offer, please visit the Official Website for 'The Cult Movie Network' channel at:- www.cultmovienetwork.com






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






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






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






FAITH COMMUNITY CHURCH...................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






PURSUIT CHANNEL......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]






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






CAR SHOW TELEVISION.............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]




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Anyway, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, whilst it doesn't quite the match-up to the fifteen 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 !!




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In the meantime, for my last forty-six '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 have been ONLY THREE NEW CHANNELS ADDED to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box SINCE THE PRODUCT LAUNCHED and two of those first appeared just a fortnight ago !!  Of course, getting two new channels from the so-called "developers" at NowTV in one go was always likely to be no more than a "flash in the pan" and (perhaps) unsurprisingly, since then, it's been back to "business as usual" as far as (not) adding any new channels to the (already severely reduced) Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box is concerned. Were it not for the fact that it happens with alarming regularity, the Roku channel developers at NowTV might be able to put the lack of channels produced down to a "bad hair day"... in which case, they should visit this place:-




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



Maybe the developers could get part-time jobs at the Tumbleweed Hair Salon and ask the clients for some ideas as to what new channels could be added to the Roku Channel Store on NowTV boxes. It might even be the case that one of those clients happens to own a Roku player and could point them towards any one of a thousand or more Roku channels that have already been developed and could easily be added to the streaming media player from NowTV without too much effort. However, based on past performance, it's unlikely that the channel "cherry-pickers" at NowTV will allow that to happen. The concept of choice (other than NowTV paid content) is, apparently, alien to them !!


Consequently, it's likely to be of no surprise to any of you that (as with EVERY WEEK BAR TWO since launch) there has (yet again) 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 forty-eight weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of FIVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-THREE EXTRA CHANNELS added to the Roku Channel Store on UK Roku players, as compared with THREE EXTRA CHANNELS 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', 'ITV Player' and 'BBC Sport' being the only channels added to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box since it launched !! Then, seven 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 '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".


Even with the two recent channel additions, there are still just 48 CHANNELS to be found in the NowTV Box version of the Roku Channel Store PLUS the 'NOW TV', 'Sky News' and 'Sky Store' channels which (unfortunately) means the overall total remains at only fifty-one channels (just one more than there was when the product was launched back in July 2013). Plus, let's not forget, those last three 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 46 channels in total compared with 1,050+ 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 1,000 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 !!




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