Saturday, December 27, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #94

Hi, everyone !!

As can (possibly) be expected at this time of year... it's been a pretty quiet week in terms of both Roku-related news and new channel additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, which have all been in equally short supply, during the past seven days. Furthermore, if last year is anything to go by, the period over the New Year looks set to be just as lacking in those areas... although, I may still be proven wrong on that count - however, like me, you'll just have to wait until next Saturday to find out for sure!

Anyhow, whenever one year ends, we often find ourselves looking forward to what the next one may hold in store (as well as recalling the events of the one just passed). So, as sure as December ends and January begins, we know it's now only a matter of weeks until the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens it's doors and many of the new "must-have" gadgets to be released in the coming year will be announced to the tech-hungry hordes. In that respect... Roku will (doubtless) be no different to any manufacturer of AV equipment and IF THIS RUMOUR, details published here, which came my way courtesy of "Cable Cutters' News" TURNS OUT TO BE TRUE then WE MAY WELL WITNESS THE LAUNCH OF 'Roku 4' AT CES in 2015 - yes, it now looks like a "definite maybe", for sure !!

I mean, let's be honest... when Amazon released it's "Fire TV" product complete with QuadCore processor,  to compete against the likes of Roku, Chromecast and (to a lesser/greater extent) the Apple TV, it was obvious the competition (i.e. Roku et al) would have to "up their game" and at least equal the processing power of "Fire TV" or (preferably) better it, to maintain "top dog" status among media streamers. To that end... the new 'Roku 4', or "Roku 4K" as some sources tellingly(?) suggest may be it's moniker, could well include support for '4K Video' which (itself) is reportedly the future of both Netflix and Amazon streamed content. That being the case, a more powerful (most likely) QuadCore chip looks set to be "on the cards" for any new set-top box (STB) that Roku (might) release, as is an increase in on-board memory (or, 'RAM', if you prefer) to facilitate the streaming of  '4K Video' using these new Roku devices, should they ever see the light of day.

Other (circumstantial) evidence which lends itself (rather well) to support the case for a new generation of Roku device being "in the pipeline" comes in the form of (recent) price-cuts to many of the current UK Roku models. For example, we have seen the price of (current) flagship model 'Roku 3' cut to just £69.00 in recent weeks (very similar to what happened with the former flagship model, 'Roku 2 XS', prior to the announcement of the [then] new 'Roku 3' device). Likewise, both 'Roku 1' and 'Roku 2' models are (at the time of posting) still being offered for £29.99 and £39.99, respectively. This, in turn, echoes what happened to the original 'Roku LT' streaming media player before the aforementioned models replaced it in the budget to mid-priced segment of the market. The (very real) possibility remains that the 'Roku 1' may well get phased-out (as with the 'Roku LT' before it) to be replaced by the cut-priced 'Roku 2' as the "budget" streaming option, with a reduced-cost 'Roku 3' occupying the mid-priced level (much like the 'Roku 2 XS' did previously) being vacated by the 'Roku 2', to make way for a new top-of-the-line device, aka 'Roku 4' or (perhaps) 'Roku 4K' as has been suggested.

So, it would seem that the future looks bright for UK Roku purchasers (as well as those in other regions) with bargains galore to be had on current generation models PLUS (potentially) a beefed-up "NextGen" Roku model for all the "early adopters" out there. Looks like we're all going to have to start saving our pennies because, from the look of things, 2015 is going to be the year of the (new) Roku and I (for one) can't wait to see this mere rumour of a "dream streamer" become a reality !! Let's just hope they decide to add "Amazon Instant Video" to the new UK Roku model, if it materialises because (whilst I already have an alternate means of streaming it) the addition of that particular service to UK Roku devices is lonnnnnnnng overdue and I neither want nor need a "Fire TV" to view it... which I'm sure is (also) the case for a large proportion of current (if not future) UK Roku owners too !!

In the meantime... those of you who happen to have read my previous post (from this time last week) on this blog, "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #93", or else use social media to "follow" the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels will (perhaps) recall a few "gifts" being sent your way, in the spirit of the season, by way of several Roku private channels (i.e. "secret channels", or "hidden channels", otherwise called "beta channels" by some). If you are not familiar with the concept, unless you happen to know the access code (otherwise quoted as an "invitation code", by Roku), then you will not be able to add them to your Roku device(s) since these private channels (and their details) are not published via the "Official" Roku Channel Store, as found on your streaming media player(s). Anyway... I came across another such channel during the past seven days and (as with last week) I've decided to re-publish details of this additional "gift", including the access code, so that all of you can have something extra in your Roku "stocking" to (maybe) provide a touch of nostalgia to your New Year celebrations, provided (of course) you're old enough to remember these bygone times:-

ADD "Vintage Home Movies" PRIVATE CHANNEL to Roku device(s) VIA THIS LINK: Vintage Home Movies

Or, LOGIN to your Roku Account, AS NORMAL, and SCROLL DOWN the page, until you come TO the 'MANAGE ACCOUNT' section, CLICK the link TO 'ADD A PRIVATE CHANNEL' and then USE ACCESS CODE: HomeMovies

As the title suggests, if you do decide to add the "Vintage Home Movies" private channel to the selection on your Roku device(s), you can expect to find a collection of (largely USA-based) vintage home movies which were originally captured on either 16mm, 8mm or Super-8 film sometime during decades past. The developer, Fire Mountain Digital LLC, plans to enhance the collection (and maintain interest in the channel) by adopting a policy whereby NEW CONTENT WILL FEATURE WEEKLY among the selection available through "Vintage Home Movies" private channel for Roku streaming media devices. One thing I should (perhaps) point out is that the ability to record sound was a rarity among amateur film-makers at the time when most of this footage was shot, so much of what is on offer (each week) will be of the "silent movie" variety. Even so, there's nothing stopping you from putting your own soundtrack to these vignettes by choosing some music of your own to accompany them !!

Anyway, before I proceed any further with this 'Weekly RoundUp'... a brief reminder that, whilst I had hoped I'd be able to catch-up on the missing Roku-related news from this blog in recent weeks, with all the extra work I've been burdened with of late it remains unlikely that I'll be fully caught-up anytime soon. Until I do find the time... my one saving grace is that (as mentioned previously) I have somehow managed to remain up-to-date with all the latest additions to the "New" category of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store and will endeavour to flesh-out what's missing ASAP! Admittedly, there are quite a few articles that I need to catch up on but, rather than post links for individual weeks, I'll simply refer you back to my "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #78", which contains all of the pertinent information you might need when researching back over the items in question. Again, I'm sorry this has dragged-on (far) longer than anticipated, and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you, but (all being well) things will be back up to speed soon!

For now... all I can offer you (once more) is a brief summary of the latest channel additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store from the past seven days. As with my other recent posts, you can expect any additional Roku-related news from the past week, along with details of any changes to the channel selection found on NowTV Boxes, to be added at some point in the near future. As for "mending" all of the "broken" links from previous 'Weekly RoundUp' posts, I still can't put a time-scale on how long that is going to take but (like I said before) if you "copy" the existing link(s) and change the "http" prefix to "https", as well as removing the "forward slash" between 'channels' and '#!details', so that "channels#/!details" becomes "channels#!details" in each weblink, you should find that they will all work for you and redirect to the new-look version of each individual channel description. As with the last seven 'Weekly RoundUp' posts, every link from this week (plus all future posts) will use the new format, so it's only those from 'Weekly RoundUp #1' up as far as 'Weekly RoundUp #86' which you'll have to amend... at least, until I can edit/repair the links for you !!

Still, with all the "missing" Roku-related news (and links) yet to follow, let's now press on with the current 'Weekly RoundUp' of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. This time there are THREE NEW CHANNELS which have been added during the preceding seven day period. These latest additions to the channel line-up provided FRESH CONTENT in each of the Film & TV, Games, plus News, Weather, Sport genres (i.e. categories). Specifically... this means there has been ONE EXTRA CHANNEL in each of the "Film & TV" plus "Games" and "News, Weather,  Sport" categories, among the selection of new choices made available in the channel store on Roku UK streaming devices during the last week. 

In keeping with previous installments from the 'Weekly RoundUp' series, details of these new channels have 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:-

CASINO SLOTS.............................COST: £1.49 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]

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

CRIME and DRAMA..................COST: £1.99 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]


Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, whilst it doesn't happen all that often, we have (once again) managed to equal and (more unusually) match exactly the three channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store during the same time-frame !! Still, no matter which Roku "region" you happen to hail from (including Ireland, Canada and those marked as 'Rest of World' as vague as it seems) it's always better to have SOME NEW CHOICES than none, don't you agree?!!

Meanwhile... hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the three 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 like I say, 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 !!


As mentioned earlier in this post, you can expect my usual summary of all the goings-on (or not) in the (severely restricted) Roku Channel Store that features on NowTV Boxes to follow in the near future. Meanwhile, whether you happen to own a Roku player, a NowTV Box, OR BOTH, as I do... be sure to check my previous posts (as mentioned above) for all the new additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store in each of the twenty-one preceding weeks and then come back again in seven days' time for my next 'Weekly RoundUp'. However, 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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