Saturday, January 17, 2015

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #97

Hi, everyone !!

For the first time since July 2014... pretty much all the Roku-related news updates, from the last seven days, have concerned themselves with, errrm... UPDATES! So, for those of you who may have missed out on the news, here is an (ahem!) update on those updates... starting with the (current) flagship Roku model, in all regions, (perhaps) better known to you and I as the 'Roku 3' which (as per the norm) was the first to benefit. For the record, the 'update' saw the firmware for the award-winning media player incremented from 'Version 5.6 - Build 60' to the newer 'Version 6.1 - Build 5517' with the main objective (apparently) being to implement some (fairly) major changes to the 'Settings' menu as well as a few (relatively) minor alterations to the 'Home Screen'. Around that same time, the update must have also been rolled out to additional UK Roku player models because I then noticed my 'Roku 2 XS' happened to be running 'Version 6.1 - Build 5518' when, prior to that, the installed software on the device was 'Version 5.5 - Build 410'.

Following a tip-off from blog reader 'Cab Davidson' [Twitter Feed: @gnomeicide] that the 'Home Screen' menu on his 'Roku 3' was showing "Channel Store" renamed as "Streaming Channels" - which (incidentally) is what first led me to discover the update (late at night) on Tuesday 13th January 2015 for both my 'Roku 2 XS' and 'Roku 3' models - I decided to try reaching out to other readers via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels to establish whether any of the remaining UK Roku models (i.e. 'Roku 1', 'Roku 2' and 'Roku LT', plus the newer 'Roku Stick' streaming devices) had also received an update. Luckily it wasn't long before I received a further contribution to the cause, made by 'Dean Rogers' [Twitter Feed: @Dean2E0CZR] the very next day, where it was learned that 'Roku 1' models had been updated from 'Version 5.5 - Build 428' to 'Version 6.1 - Build 5521'. Since then there was one further comment, from 'Graham Wakeman' [Twitter Feed: @graham8525] shortly afterwards, confirming that 'Roku 2' players had also been updated to the same software as now featured on UK 'Roku 1' models (i.e. 'Version 6.1 - Build 5521', as mentioned previously). My most sincere thanks go out to Cab, Dean & Graham for their valuable contribution(s) in this matter - your (collective) efforts are much appreciated & my task would have been far harder without your input - THANK YOU ALL!

Anyhow... having already learned, from my own UK Roku devices, that UK 'Roku 3' players had been updated to the newer 'Version 6.1 - Build 5517' software and that UK 'Roku 2 XS' models were since updated to 'Version 6.1 - Build 5518', and since coupled that with the extra input from readers of this blog, we are now close to having the full picture as to what the current software should be for each of the available UK Roku models. Here is a breakdown of the information gathered thus far:-

ROKU 3...................................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5517

ROKU 2 XS.............................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5518

ROKU LT.................................................................Version 6.1 - Build ??? (TBC)

ROKU 1....................................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5521

ROKU 2....................................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5521

ROKU STREAMING STICK..................................Version 6.1 - Build ??? (TBC)

So... if you own either an original UK 'Roku LT' model or  'Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version), which has been updated to 'Version 6.1' software, please contact me with the relevant build number(s) for those devices as soon as possible. For the benefit of any UK Roku owners that may not know how to check their Software Version and 'Build Number', you simply need to look at the 'About' section in the 'System' sub-menu of your Roku 'Settings' menu to find the information for your player model. If you could then leave a comment (below) with the relevant version / build number, or send a tweet to the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels for this blog, I'll mention it in a future post once I've had a chance to confirm it. Meanwhile, any UK Roku owners who have yet to receive this latest software update on their streaming media players can perform a 'System update' via the "Settings" menu on their streaming media players, selecting 'Check now' to "force" the latest version to be added.

PLEASE NOTE:- I spent a good deal of time during the past few days taking photos / screenshots to document the update process and the resulting changes to the User Interface (UI) on UK Roku devices. However, with everything else going on, I've run out of time to add them to this post ahead of my (self-imposed) publishing deadline. So, if you'll bear with me on this, I'll try and get them added in the next week or two... to give you all a better idea of how these changes will affect you. For now, there's no difference to the choice of streaming content (other than what's listed here today) so, until the additional content is posted, feel free to stream something on your Roku devices while I catch-up! Just be sure to come back and check out the revised edit, with all the extra content, in the near future! Your patience in this matter is much appreciated! THANK YOU!

Of course, with the new year now well and truly underway, we can (rightfully) expect the output from Roku channel developers to start ramping-up again as the weeks and months pass by. Not that it's much of a boast (in reality) but it's no less impressive to hear that we've trebled the number of new additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store this week, when compared to last. That said, there was (among them) ONE RATHER SPECIAL NEW ADDITION TO UK ROKU DEVICES during the last seven days which may have escaped your notice! Should you be in any doubt... the channel I'm referring to is none other than:-

... which, BIZARRELY, you won't find listed in the "New" category of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store although it has (mysteriously) found it's way into the 25 "Most Popular" channels which is (probably) the most likely place you will have seen it, unless (of course) you spend your spare time trawling the channel store listings for the "News, Weather, Sport" category - as was (presumably) the case with 'James D' [Twitter Feed: @jamch] who first pointed it out to me on 14th January 2015. Now, I don't intend to waste time discussing scandalous suggestions of "chart rigging" by Roku or devote any more space on this blog to that "other" channel which doesn't belong in the "Most Popular" category (for entirely different reasons) - you know the one... SNAP!... BLANKETY-BLANK!... POP! - since I don't wish to draw attention away from the addition of the "WWE Network" channel to UK Roku players which, unlike the SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT that heralded it's arrival on Roku devices in the USA last year, SEE THIS POST, on the "Official" Roku Blog... was sneaked in through the back door of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, much like the "back door" updates we've discovered on our streaming media players during the past week, without so much as a whisper of it's arrival! Could it be that, with Sky currently advertising the forthcoming "Royal Rumble" as a Box Office event with a price tag of almost twenty quid, they didn't want the word to spread of a channel which gives you the same event (plus a whole month to access both live and on-demand wrestling content) for only half that amount?! No, surely not ?!! Anyway... IF YOU WANT TO WATCH WWE WRESTLING in the UK, from now on, WHAT BETTER (& WALLET-FRIENDLY) PLACE THAN THIS for you to do so, courtesy of the OFFICIAL "WWE NETWORK" CHANNEL FOR ROKU UK !!! So, instead of paying the best part of twenty pounds to Sky for one single wrestling event, why not put that money to good use and GET A TWO MONTH SUBSCRIPTION to the 'WWE Network' instead?!!

To DISCOVER MORE about the 'WWE Network' channel for Roku, you should make a point of visiting their "Official" website, FOUND HERE, which also includes details, VIA THIS LINK, of all the other devices on which you can watch the 'WWE Network' whenever your Roku is not to hand. If you have any further questions about the 'WWE Network' channel for Roku devices, then feel free to send a tweet to their "Official" Twitter Feed: @AskWWENetwork for support and answers. If you're a fan of WWE... and I know, from last year, there were a lot of you asking when the 'WWE Network' channel would be added to UK Roku devices... THE TIME IS NOW for you to add the channel and show your support to say "thank you" to the 'WWE Network' for delivering their channel on time and as promised, so that UK fans of WWE can enjoy the "Royal Rumble" and all other BIG EVENTS in the WWE calendar for 2015 (and beyond!) on their favourite streaming media players !!

Had there not been this flurry of activity with software updates, plus special announcements for some fairly MAJOR NEW CHANNELS that were added to Roku players (across various regions) this week and other Roku-related news / special offers as mentioned (frequently) on Twitter, then I was hoping to continue with my "theme" from recent weeks of sharing with you a bunch more "private channels" (i.e. "secret channels", or "hidden channels", otherwise called "beta channels" by some) to boost your choice of Roku channels still further. 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). That said... anyone who read my recent 'Weekly RoundUp' posts, like "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #93" from a few weeks back, or the followup "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #94" a week later and/or the more recent, "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #95", or else the very latest one, "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #96", from last week - or who uses social media to "follow" the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels will (more than likely) already be aware of what to expect, since similar offerings (or, "gifts", as I referred to them) were made in each of those. Anyway... despite my extra workload, I did find time to squeeze-in TWO PRIVATE CHANNELS for you (both previously shared on Twitter) the details for which I've decided to re-publish (complete with access codes and direct links) so you can each have some extra choices in your Roku channel selection to add to your Roku account(s), alongside your pick of the "public channels" which came your way, during this past week - but, more of those later! Meanwhile... give these channels a try:-

ADD "Wilderness Channel" PRIVATE CHANNEL to Roku device(s) VIA THIS LINK: Wilderness Channel

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: fl821095

This channel will likely appeal to nature enthusiasts, outdoor survivalists and those Roku users who are keen to "follow the hunt" across the wilds of North America. The content includes video from several notable sources including, but not limited to, the National Parks Service, Parks Canada and other very spectacular footage which has been shot across the vast wilderness of North America. Those interested can discover why "Life is WILDer" with the 'Wilderness Channel' private Roku channel by visiting the "Official" website, FOUND HERE, for more information. Meanwhile... those looking to connect with the people behind the "Wilderness Channel" for Roku, on a more "social" level, can do so easily via their Facebook Page: Wilderness Channel (Facebook) and provide valuable feedback on the channel.

ADD "The Conspiracy Channel" PRIVATE CHANNEL to Roku device(s) VIA THIS LINK: The Conspiracy Channel

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: YQJ5B

This "private channel", on the other hand, is geared towards those who enjoy a good conspiracy - whether that be only "in theory", or (perhaps) otherwise - and is a slightly different version than the "public channel" equivalent, i.e. 'ConspiracyHD', released via the Roku Channel Store. Anyone with an interest in such matters can find out more about "The Conspiracy Channel" for Roku devices via their "Official" website, FOUND HERE, which is bound to fuel your curiosity even further. You may even like to sample a few videos from their YouTube Channel, VIA THIS LINK, and use it as a good excuse to try out the new-look 'YouTube' channel for Roku devices which has only recently received an update of it's own. If you wish to discuss anything you've watched on this private channel, you can connect with "The Conspiracy Channel" via their Twitter Feed: @japocalypse or, if you prefer, you can also get social with them via their Facebook Page: The Conspiracy Channel (Facebook) with any additional questions, comments and/or "theories" of your own that you may have !!

Whilst they may be no match for the ten private channels, details of which I shared with you in my last post, "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #96", the TWO PRIVATE ROKU CHANNELS (outlined above) - encompassing nature videos from the National Parks Service, Parks Canada and the natural wilderness of North America (Wilderness Channel), plus the other collection of videos in which various conspiracy theories are discussed (The Conspiracy Channel) - will still provide a (slight) boost to the range of content available for UK Roku owners to add to their devices. Better yet... is that both "private channels" come with an ADDED BONUS that they're UNAVAILABLE ON NOWTVBox FROM 'NowTV' and, unlike "public channels", are not in the Roku Channel Store either !!

As mentioned in previous weeks... I will, generally speaking, publish details of the access codes (plus any additional info) for the ROKU PRIVATE CHANNEL(S) that I come across via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels for this blog, before I provide those details (if at all) on these pages. So, if you're on the lookout for some EXTRA CHANNELS to add to your Roku streaming media device(s), which are NOT IN THE "Official" ROKU CHANNEL STORE, then you're better off signing-up for a Twitter Account and choosing to "follow" the tweets of UK Roku Channels (see link above) so that you remain "in the know" about these "hidden", "beta", or "secret" channels !!

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 (in addition to the above private channels) is a brief summary of the latest 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 ten '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 ELEVEN 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, News, Weather, Sport, Photos & Video, Special Interest, Screensavers & Apps, plus Religion & Spirituality genres (i.e. categories). Specifically... THREE EXTRA CHANNELS have been added to the "News, Weather, Sport" category, as well as TWO EXTRA CHANNELS in both the "Film & TV" and "Special Interest" categories, in addition to ONE EXTRA CHANNEL for each of the "Games", "Photos & Video" plus "Screensavers & Apps" and "Religion & Spirituality" genres among the selection of new choices available in the channel store on Roku UK devices this 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:-

KQCK RADIO and TV NETWORK......................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

CHRISTIAN MOVIES DIRECT............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

BRITISH MOVIE AND TV.............................COST: £0.69 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That the 'British Movie And TV' channel for Roku devices, developed by 'Evonne Mandella' is a MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION purchase with recurring payments. As such, if you choose to subscribe to this channel, YOU WILL BE CHARGED £0.69 PER MONTH and will continue to be charged in this manner UNTIL YOU CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION. It is also worth noting, before you subscribe, that ALL PAYMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE !!

WWE NETWORK............COST: FREE-TO-ADD + £9.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

MOOVIETYME................COST: FREE-TO-ADD + $4.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That, whilst the "MoovieTyme" channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku device(s) and does contain some FREE-TO-VIEW content, by way of FREE PREVIEWS for everything on offer, YOU WILL REQUIRE A PAID SUBSCRIPTION in order TO VIEW THE CONTENT in it's entirety. In addition to the monthly subscription option (outlined above) those wishing to signup for this channel can also take advantage of a SIX-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION package for $25.00 effectively GIVING YOU ONE MONTH FREE or, better still, their ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION OFFER of just $50.00 which is the equivalent of getting TWO MONTHS FREE over the twelve month period. Regardless of which subscription package you opt for, you will first have to register for an account with 'MoovieTyme', USING THIS LINK, and then "activate" your Roku device by "logging in" to your newly created account via the "MoovieTyme" channel. HELPFUL HINT: When choosing a password for your MoovieTyme Account, you will need to include at least ONE UPPER CASE LETTER and ONE NUMBER in order TO CREATE A VALID PASSWORD as well as having access to a current PAYPAL ACCOUNT which is the only payment option and is REQUIRED TO REGISTER for any of the subscription options. Should you require "Activation Support" for the Roku channel (itself) you will find installation instructions, codes, etc. published, ON THIS PAGE, for ease of reference. In case of difficulty, I would suggest you use the CONTACT FORM provided, ON THE WEBSITE, should further support be needed. There's a lot more information on this channel in the 'Roku Guide' review (see link above) which I recommend you read, prior to opting for a paid monthly subscription, as you will find THE ONLY FREE CONTENT AVAILABLE on the "MoovieTyme" channel for Roku devices IS NO MORE THAN A VISUAL OVERVIEW OF THE CONTENT LIBRARY !!

Those wishing to EXPLORE THE ENTIRE MOVIE CATALOGUE of the "MoovieTyme" channel for Roku devices can do so easily, HERE, thanks do a dedicated page on the "Official" website. There is also a facility to WATCH ONLINE whenever your Roku device is unavailable with details on how to do so, VIA THIS LINK, once more available courtesy of the main website. In fact, as long as you have a connection to the internet, you can even watch the "MoovieTyme" channel when you're "out & about" thanks to an Android App, FOUND HERE, for compatible mobile devices. Those of you in need of "Activation Support" for the Android App will find all links, installation instructions, etc. have been published, ON THIS PAGE, for easy reference (again) via the website.

Meanwhile... should you wish to connect with the people behind the "MoovieTyme" channel, there's an option for you to do so via their Twitter Feed: @ MoovietymeLLC or, if you prefer, feel free to get social with them via their Facebook Page: MoovieTyme (Facebook) with any additional questions you may have that are not covered in the 'Roku Guide' review (mentioned previously).

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

THE DAILY CUT....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

AVIA FOR ROKU...................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

BREAKEROIDS [Roku 3 ONLY]................COST: £0.69 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]


Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, whilst it doesn't quite 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 ?!!

Meanwhile... hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the eleven "public" channels outlined above, or else the two "private" channels whose access codes have been "gifted" to you. If you add that up, it (once again) means there's a selection of thirteen channels to choose from this week. THIRTEEN... UNLUCKY FOR SOME! As with last week, there's no prizes for guessing that the "some" (once more) refers to NowTV Box owners who are (as is often the case) faced with the harsh reality that NONE OF THESE CHANNELS ARE ON NOWTV BOXES on which the (severely restricted) Roku Channel Store total continues to lag further behind with each passing week. So, thirteen proves to be unlucky (again) for NowTV Box owners but lucky for users of genuine (untethered) Roku devices... once more! Even so, if you didn't find anything to add to your Roku channel selection from the thirteen channels on offer this week, 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-four 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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