Saturday, February 7, 2015

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #100

Hi, everyone !!

Welcome to the "late edition" of my current 'Weekly RoundUp' post, in which I intend to flesh-out the "early edition"of the article (published, as per usual, on Saturday evening) with all of the Roku-related news and details for some "private" Roku channels that I had lined-up for you. So, without further ado, let's get stuck into those "interesting snippets of Roku-related news" that I promised, while writing the "early edition"of this article, were "to follow" - and here they are...

The first of those "interesting snippets of Roku-related news" to come my way this week happened, as is often the case, purely by chance... thanks to a "hint" of something lined-up for UK Roku users, which was let slip by Roku in response to what was basically an "afterthought" to an entirely unrelated question from 'Mike Ellis' [Twitter Feed: @m1ke_ellis] as to whether the cross-platform "Search" feature (as is currently enabled solely for USA Roku users) was on the "to do" list for the company. Amazingly... instead of the (all too common) "cut & paste", less than helpful, corporate "cookie-cutter" response of "We can't talk about future plans... blah, blah... hang in there" the reply from Roku seems to suggest that the cross-platform "Search" feature might just be in the pipeline for a future Roku UK Software Version, by stating that it was "Definitely on the list!", as evidenced by the following screenshot of the afore-mentioned exchange via Twitter:-

Now, obviously, there was no indication of any time-frame given for this but, with UK Roku users having already waited since October 2012 (when the feature was first introduced, VIA THIS POST, in a special announcement on the "Official" Roku Blog), it's not like Roku haven't (yet) had a chance to start work on this... I mean, IT'S BEEN NEARLY TWO AND A HALF YEARS ALREADY !!!!!! The other thing is, just because it's "on the list" for Roku, it doesn't (necessarily) mean that it will ever see the light of day... anybody remember when Netflix "Profiles" was "on the list" as being developed for "additional" Roku models, after first appearing on 'Roku 3' & 'Roku Stick' devices?! Still, let's give them the benefit of the doubt and (for now, at least) accept that the Roku "Search" tool might be on the horizon in a future implementation of the Roku software version for UK streamers. YAY! Sort of... :-/

Speaking of Roku software, further to the recent 'Version 6.1' update, there have been some revised 'Build' numbers for all UK Roku devices courtesy of another software update during this past week. As promised in the "early edition" of this post, I now have a COMPLETE RUNDOWN of all the latest 'Build' numbers for each and every UK Roku model - as follows:-

ROKU 3...................................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5604

ROKU 2 XS.............................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5605

ROKU LT.................................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5605

ROKU 1....................................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5610

ROKU 2....................................................................Version 6.1 - Build 5610

ROKU STREAMING STICK......................................Version 6.1 - Build 5609

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. Meanwhile, any UK Roku owners yet to receive the original software update to 'Version 6.1' 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:- That, while the above list contains the NEW 'BUILD' NUMBERS, anyone wishing to check the previous 'Build' number for their Roku device(s) can do so easily by referring to a similar chart published in my "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #98" a couple of weeks ago. That previous post has the original 'Build' numbers from the initial update to 'Version 6.1' that contained the new-look 'Settings' menu and a revised 'Home' screen, with 'Channel Store' renamed and now referred to (bizarrely) as 'Streaming Channels', and what was 'My Channels' now referred to as 'Home' ?! Quite why that was necessary, I don't know... more (unnecessary) "tinkering" from the look of it !! This time around, it appears to be mainly "background" updates with (possibly) bug fixes and/or stability issues resulting from the initial update to 'Version 6.1' being the likely reason for the latest 'Build' being added. It's hard to say, at this stage, if there will be any further changes to the 'Build' for this software version on the horizon, but (as always) if we learn of any changes, you will read about them here as & when they happen, as well as via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels.

One thing which might be on the horizon, however, is a NEW 'GO PRO' CHANNEL for users of Roku devices, enabling you to share the videos of all those "outdoor activities" you get upto in your spare time... well, maybe not all of them?! Even so, anyone with 'Go Pro' cameras will doubtless be pleased to learn of this new channel - coming to Roku devices "in the Spring" of 2015 - just as I was, when I first came across this tweet by 'Jim Geduldick' [Twitter Feed: @Filmbot] during the week:-

Having seen this, I did try to establish whether or not the 'Go Pro' channel would definitely be made available on UK Roku devices but (as yet) have received no word on the matter. That said, given the 'Go Pro' range of cameras are widely available in this country, I would expect the 'Go Pro' channel to be accessible to UK Roku users as well. Let's put it this way... I feel there is more chance of us seeing the new 'Go Pro' channel added to UK Roku devices before the cross-platform search tool from Roku, than the other way around. As always, when things are "on the list" at Roku, only time will tell...

Meanwhile... those of you who may be interested in adding the 'Go Pro' channel to your Roku device(s), if / when it becomes available to UK Roku users, may like to engage in some further reading on the subject - courtesy of a dedicated article, FOUND HERE, published by 'Engadget' - which also goes into greater detail about 'Go Pro' cameras, for anyone who'd like to know more. The original tweet which led me to the piece, published by Engadget, also includes a photo of one of their cameras to give you some idea as to what I'm talking about if you're not already familiar with them - as shown:-

PLEASE NOTE:- That, although the caption beneath this photo makes it sound as though the author is encouraging members of the clergy to devote their time to "watching others skydive or rappel" (not that I'm against it, in any way), it is not actually directed to such a narrow target audience. Should you read the full article (via the above link) you will soon discover that it was Twitter which changed the sense of the written word, that otherwise should have read: "...prepare to live vicariously through GoPro-toting adrenaline junkies, because the adventure camera's channel is arriving on the media player 'this spring'." - So (as you can see) no suggestion as to when, why or how vicars should use their Roku or that their lives would be any less fulfilled if they chose not to! :-P

Joking aside... in retrospect, it's probably no bad thing that the 'Go Pro' channel is coming "this spring" and not any sooner because another of those "interesting snippets of Roku-related news" to come my way this week concerned a (possible) backlog of new channels for Roku devices which are stuck in hiatus (apparently) due to the "approval" process which they must go through before they can be added to the "Official" Roku Channel Store, in any given "region" supported by Roku, for the devices. This was brought to my attention by the folks at 'StreamFREE TV' who published this tweet:-

If anyone is interested in viewing the original source of information, which resulted in the above tweet from 'StreamFREE TV' being made, you will find full details, VIA THIS THREAD, on Roku Forums. Notably, among the replies, there is a comment from 'RokuJoel' which says: "Huge backlog, we are working to scale up the process to handle the ever-increasing channel submissions". Meanwhile, as can be seen from my response, I wasted no time in dropping (yet) another hint to both Amazon and Amazon UK that we are STILL WAITING for 'Amazon Instant Video' to be added to the "Official" Roku Channel Store, here in the UK... in fact, at this point, I think most UK Roku users would even welcome a "private" channel version of 'Amazon Instant Video', never mind a "public" one!

Anyway, while we're on the subject of 'Amazon Instant Video', someone was kind enough to share a screenshot with me (again, via Twitter) of an email response they received from Amazon, having raised the issue of no 'Amazon Instant Video' on UK devices. So, thanks to 'Phil Harrison' [Twitter Feed: @OldGitPhil], we finally have an "official" comment on the matter, as can be evidenced from the following images of Phil's original tweet and the accompanying screenshot of the Amazon email:-

Now, whilst it's fair to say Roku often use "cut & paste" corporate "cookie-cutter" responses, at least Roku employees appear to have mastered the art of "cut & paste" (as well as the english language) to the extent that they are able to construct intelligible messages! However, a brief glance through the above reply from Amazon to Phil Harrison will tell you, the same cannot be said of their employees. For example... "I'm sorry for THE ANY inconvenience caused to you", never mind that the original query concerned "Amazon Video on Roku UK" and the response goes on to talk about Phil's concern that "Roku is available in the US but not in the UK"... Seriously?! Aside from the "concern" being the lack of "Amazon Video on Roku UK" and not the lack of Roku devices in the UK, they (i.e. Amazon) are a "Recommended Roku UK Retailer" and they have been selling Roku devices in the UK since the products were first made available to UK purchasers back in January 2012 !! Don't even get me started on why they feel the need to explain that and are separate websites?! Then it's back to more gibberish with, "...we test both new and existing features on our services drive customer satisfaction", and, while I assume that is meant to read as: "...on our services TO drive customer satisfaction", it comes across as rather "slap-dash" to say the least! It also raises the question as to why they have yet to "test" the very "existing feature" which Phil asked about, i.e. "Amazon Video on Roku UK" because, if they did, I'm sure it would help to "drive customer satisfaction" to the maximum - as just about every UK Roku user would attest!

The email response from Amazon then drew to a close by saying they'd, "...forwarded your message to our Amazon Instant Video development team for consideration"... Hmmm! Would that be the very same "Amazon Instant Video development team" responsible for the 'Amazon Instant Video' channel on Roku devices in the USA?! In other words... a Roku channel, for which the development costs have (presumably) long since been recovered thanks to Roku users in the USA and which could (with a few basic code changes) be edited for use on UK Roku devices, such as the channel shown below?!!

Let's face it, with the lion's share of the development already done on this, all it would take is a minimal investment to make it available on UK Roku devices and, consequently, any costs in so-doing would soon be negated by the (as yet) untapped revenue stream (for Amazon UK) that is made up of UK Roku users who, in turn, have been crying out for the channel to be added since the product(s) first launched here, back in 2012. So... "WHY ARE WE WAITING?" or, more to the point, "WHAT ARE AMAZON UK WAITING FOR?" !! The likelihood is it's not Christmas, because we've already had three of those since Roku products came to the UK... so, WHAT'S THE HOLD-UP?! Really, that is all down to what Amazon means, by " enable streaming in Roku as well soon", from their reply to Phil Harrison. So... if we (again) ignore the "bad english" which (surely) should have been written as, " enable streaming ON Roku, as well, soon", can we assume that Amazon UK are looking to "enable streaming" of the 'Amazon Instant Video' channel on UK Roku devices "soon"? Or, is it more a case of being "on the list" (as with Netflix "Profiles" on "additional" Roku models) where it will just sit there until someone decides to publicly admit that it's not going to happen? Again, only time will tell!

RANT: On a separate, though not entirely unrelated, topic... those of you who "follow" the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels for this blog are (doubtless) aware that, aside from Roku news, private channel details, special offers, daily Roku bargains and such like, I often campaign via Twitter, on a (fairly) regular basis, attempting to right the wrongs suffered (often unnecessarily) by UK Roku users. One recent success of note was getting the (long since non-functional) 'Crackle' channel removed from UK Roku devices and I am still campaigning to get the 'Amazon Instant Video' channel added to Roku devices in the UK by reminding Amazon / Amazon UK, on an (almost) daily basis, of it's absence from the platform. Add to that the 'Weekly RoundUp' posts on this blog, to keep you all informed of the new channels that have been added recently, and the "behind the scenes" work I do to get any channels that are not initially released in the UK, as is often the case, edited by the developers so they are no longer "US-only" but can (instead) be enjoyed by Roku users from the UK and "other" regions and I think it's fair to say that I've (personally) done quite a lot to bring Roku devices from their humble "40 channel" beginnings in the UK to the 1,500 or so channel-choice that is (currently) available. Bearing that in mind, you will (hopefully) forgive my mentioning that (not for the first time) Roku has failed to extend the same courtesy to me as I have shown to them by linking to their website(s), blog posts, etc. and also by re-tweeting information they have shared via social media. This is an independent Roku blog for which I receive no financial compensation from Roku, or anyone else for that matter, and yet I give up much of my (limited) free time towards it's upkeep and do so freely (and gladly) week-in & week-out. That said, every once in a while, when someone asks Roku if there is a list of UK Roku channels - which, let's not forget, is the reason I started this whole thing in the first place - you would think they'd say, "Sure, check out this UK Roku Blog", but instead you get this:-

Now, I understand (perhaps, better than anyone) that I (may) have ruffled a few feathers at Roku by asking the questions that needed to be asked, and have (often) told it "like it is" instead of watering things down, not to mention calling them to task on some perceived misgivings (and "missing" channels) but, at the end of the day, I support the product(s) and keep Roku in the public eye, so-to-speak, for which (at the very least) you would think they could acknowledge my efforts (and existence) while at the same time helping someone who (in the above case) was considering the purchase of a Roku device to compliment his five NowTV Boxes. I can't say for sure how many people I've helped convince of the merits (and advised of the channel content) of UK Roku devices but my blog stats tell me how many people read these pages and it's A LOT... way more than I imagined, so (like it or not) the fact is Roku would do better to make use of the resource(s) I provide for FREE than to ignore them. Hence, you can understand my response (see above) to their tweet. RANT OVER.

On a more positive note, there was some BIG NEWS of the Roku-related, rather than Roku-specific, variety this week when Sky announced their quarterly results. As with the revelation of their plans for "ITV Encore", this not insignificant detail was "buried" towards the end of their statement. Luckily, there is an online PDF available, VIA THIS LINK, which can be viewed by anyone with an interest in such matters. Meanwhile, for the benefit of others, here is a screenshot of the portion which contains the "big news" that I alluded to at the start of this paragraph:-

The very last bullet point here is "key" because it mentions their plan to "Launch next-generation NOW TV Box" which, for those of you who recall my prediction to that effect (in reference to the launch of a new streaming device for Sky Deutschland) that was published towards the end of last year (on 20th December 2014, to be precise) as part of my "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #93", has turned out to be true. As is often the case with Roku-related matters in the UK... you heard it here first! That's why, having made the prediction just before Christmas 2014, I was quick to share the news via Twitter when it first came to light via an article, FOUND HERE, published by 'Tech Radar' which also included the link for the online PDF of Sky's quarterly results bulletin (mentioned above):-

Of course, one thing you still (presumably) won't be able to get, without side-loading one Roku PKG file at a time (assuming, that is, developers are even willing to share them), are the many & varied, plus sometimes essential (I'm thinking 'FilmOnTV' and more recently 'channelPEAR' here), Roku "private" channels. So, while NowTV Box owners can skip this section, Roku owners who consider themselves "Trekkies" or who enjoy female-led action / drama films & TV series, as well as comics and sports, or even radio shows & audiobooks may wish to add the following "secret" or "hidden" channels to their UK Roku devices, as you won't find these in the Roku Channel Store for any "region" !!

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

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: FXDF3

ADD "Maiden Network" PRIVATE CHANNEL to Roku device(s) VIA THIS LINK: Maiden Network

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: maidennetworkprivate

Whilst they may be no match for the ten private channels, which I shared with you in a previous post, "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #96", the TWO PRIVATE ROKU CHANNELS (outlined above) - encompassing live streaming episodes, clips, trailers & "behind the scenes" videos from the various series of 'Star Trek' broadcast over the years (Star Trek Channel), plus the FREE LIVE STREAMING channel and PREMIUM PAID 'ON-DEMAND' CONTENT for fans of female-led action / drama films & TV series, as well as comics and sports, or even radio shows & audiobooks (Maiden Network Private) - 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, as alluded to previously, unlike "public channels" they are not in the Roku Channel Store either !!

Generally speaking, I will publish details of the access codes plus any additional information (website & social media links, etc.) 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" 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 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 as well as bringing the individual listings for each of the channel store categories bang up-to date. As promised, I will endeavour to flesh-out what's missing ASAP! Admittedly, there are still 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 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 thirteen '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 plus "private" channel info, etc) 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 FIVE 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, Internet TV, plus Religion & Spirituality genres (i.e. categories). Specifically... this means that no less than TWO EXTRA CHANNELS in each of the "Film & TV" and "Religion & Spirituality" categories plus ONE EXTRA CHANNEL in the "Internet TV" genre make up the selection of new choices available via 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 (where available) with an independent (slightly more expansive) assessment of each one:-

LIFE TV NETWORK..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

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

PLEASE NOTE:- That, because the 'Alkalema TV' channel does not yet(?) feature among the selection (currently) on offer via the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store, the link (above) redirects you to the channel description published on the official website for channel developer Lightcast.

ALSO:- There is (currently) no 'Roku Guide' review available for the 'Alkalema TV' channel (again) due to the fact that it does not yet(?) feature in the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store. Needless to say, should that situation change, I will (of course) add the "missing" link(s) to this post just as soon as those details have been made known to me.

MISS MISERY's MOVIE MASSACRE.................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

SPUD's CHOP SOCKY...........................................................COST: FREE [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 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 ?!!

Meanwhile... hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the five "public" channels outlined above, or else the "private" channels whose access codes were "gifted" to you via the companion Twitter Feed to this blog at various points throughout the last seven days. Even so, if you didn't find anything to add to your Roku channel selection from the various 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-seven 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 !!

1 comment:

  1. Code for Miss Misery's Movie Massacre is: mmmm
    Also Scout for Roku is now available in the UK! code =SCOUTALPHA
    Still no UK Pokemon though (Thank god!) but my son loves it!