Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #72

Hi, everyone !!

After a slow start to the week there was some GREAT NEWS on Thursday 24th, for both Roku and NowTV Box owners alike, courtesy of The Daily Nick! [Twitter Feed: @DailyNickNews] who announced, VIA THIS TWEET, that Nickelodeon UK and Nick Jr. UK are NOW AVAILABLE as part of the 'Entertainment Month Pass' FROM NOWTV with immediate effect. For anyone that may have missed my retweet of the news, via the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels, there was an additional link to a post on the NickALive! blog, FOUND HERE, which included much of the original press release(s) from Nickelodeon UK and NowTV if you want the full story. With the summer holidays having just begun, the timely addition of these two popular channels (catering for all ages, from preschool, to older children & teens) means that the 'Entertainment Month Pass' from NowTV is better value than ever at ONLY £4.99 PER MONTH and still CONTRACT-FREE !!!

Meanwhile, there was some NOT-SO-GREAT NEWS for Amazon, whose latest figures showed that their profits had taken another hit and dropped (once again), largely due to their investment in new projects such as 'Fire TV' which, lest we forget, remains unavailable in the UK just like their 'Amazon Instant Video' channel for Roku... much to the annoyance of the vast majority of UK Roku purchasers! At the risk of sounding obvious, if Amazon wanted to increase short-term profits (which they could, and should, if they want to appease the jitters of shareholders), why not add their already-developed (and paid for) Roku channel, i.e. the afore-mentioned 'Amazon Instant Video' channel, to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store and make some profit from UK Roku owners from the content therein?!! No doubt these comments will fall on deaf ears, as with the multitude of messages I've posted via Twitter on the subject but this continued "head-in-the-sand" approach from Amazon is clearly not yielding any dividends... time for a change, me thinks !! So come on, Amazon! Give UK Roku owners what they deserve, and have been calling for over the past two and a half years, by adding 'Amazon Instant Video' to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store and watch those profit margins rise !!

Anyway, with all of the good and bad Roku-related news from the past seven days covered, 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 SIX 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, 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:-

ELEDEN. NET...................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

LAS VEGAS TRAVEL CHANNEL................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

FIGHT TV PLUS.......................................COST: £2.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

WURA.........................COST: FREE-TO-ADD + $3.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That, as the 'WURA' channel does not feature in the Roku USA Channel Store, the link provided (above) is for the Official Website of WURA TV and not the channel store description on the Roku website, as would usually be the case. However... one important factor which only became apparent when I looked at the channel description, via the built-in channel store on my UK Roku player model(s), is that (whilst this channel may be FREE-TO-ADD to your streaming media player) in order to view the content, use of the 'WURA' channel "MAY REQUIRE ADDITIONAL FEES" which is already the case with the WURA TV apps for iOS and Android mobile devices. That said, a fee of ONLY $3.99 PER MONTH for guaranteed AD-FREE VIEWING of independent African films, plus Urban and Documentary-style programming (with the promise of Latin films to follow) is pretty good for access online, as well as on iOS and Android mobile devices, plus via your Roku player(s). Better yet, for those who like what 'WURA' has to offer, there is also an ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION package for JUST $39.99 PER YEAR (a saving of $7.89 over 12 months) meaning you get almost two months free as your reward for making the upfront payment! Meanwhile, those of you wishing to get social with the folks at WURA TV will find them on Facebook at:- WURA TV (Facebook Page)

SLIDE.........................................................COST: £1.49 (MONTHLY) [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 ten 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 six 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 fifty '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 over one month 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. Meanwhile, it seems that someone else has fallen victim to the lack of channels associated with the streaming media player from NowTV:-

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


Far from her being "bowled-over" by the sheer volume of channels in the Roku Channel Store, as is often the case with purchasers of any genuine Roku streaming media player models in the UK, this poor woman was left "crushed" by the absence of new channel additions to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box which, after her introductory offer for NowTV had expired, suddenly seemed like far less of a "bargain" than she had originally been led to believe. Apparently. So, if she was feeling hard done by, why is there such a big smile on her face? Well, here a few possibilities for you to consider:-

  1. An out-of-shot NowTV customer service rep has just asked her if she'd like her money back;
  2. A Roku retailer has just asked, "Who would like to upgrade to a streaming media player with OVER ONE THOUSAND EXTRA ROKU CHANNELS THAN A NOW TV BOX?", or; 
  3. That tumbleweed really tickles and she's beckoning for somebody to get it off her.

Of course, you may have your own ideas about the circumstances surrounding the above photo... who knows, you might even be able to come up with a suitably funny caption for it?! If so, feel free to voice your thoughts in the comments section below and give the rest of us NowTV Box owners some brief respite over the tragedy that is the Roku Channel Store on the streaming device from NowTV. 

Joking aside, 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 SIX EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things firmly in perspective, in the fifty-two weeks (YES, it's now been A WHOLE YEAR!) since the launch of the NowTV Box, there have been SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN EXTRA CHANNELS added to UK Roku players, 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, a few months back, 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. More recently... we've seen the 'Flickr' channel disappear from the Photos & Video" genre (i.e. category) and, 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 'Flickr' to the channel selection on your NowTV Box. Not that it means much because, with the 'Flickr' channel crashing EVERY TIME you attempt to launch it, there's little reason for it to feature on NowTV Boxes until an update resolves the current issue(s). 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 quite some 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. Similarly... the 'MLB.TV' channel, which had previously gone AWOL from the "News, Weather, Sport" genre, has now returned to that same category. Likewise...another channel lacking an "official" Roku Channel Store category on the NowTV Box for a long while, namely 'HooplaKidz Rhymes', has since returned and remains part of the "Internet TV" genre.

Even with the two recent channel additions, there are still just 49 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 is only fifty-two channels (just two more than there was when the product was launched towards the end of July 2013). Plus, let's not forget, the 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 1,100+ 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're 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 ends, 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 1,050 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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