Saturday, March 21, 2015

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #106

Hi, everyone !!

Following on from the revelation that not one, but (at least) two new Roku models are now in the pipeline... both based on the (current) flagship Roku 3 device, plus the suggestion that there may also be one or two special offers to come for the existing range of Roku players in the UK - as evidenced by the content of my last post: Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #105 - details have since emerged of a promotion from Roku whereby all qualifying UK Roku purchases, between now and the end of the year, will be eligible for a FREE NOWTV 3-MONTH ENTERTAINMENT PASS (subject to any T&C's of the offer) as this screenshot from the Roku UK website shows:-

Those of you who follow the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels may already have seen me publish details of this promotion but, for the benefit of everyone else, you will find more information (including the FULL T&C's of the offer), VIA THIS DEDICATED WEBPAGE, on the "Official" Roku UK website. Furthermore, when the time comes to redeem your unique promo code, you can claim your 3-month NowTV Entertainment Pass, BY COMPLETING THIS FORM, on a separate page from the "Official" NowTV website. The GOOD NEWS is that this offer is available to both new and existing subscribers to the 'NowTV' service, but is dependant on your purchasing one of the qualifying UK Roku devices - as per the T&C's, linked-to previously. The real question is whether to purchase one of the existing UK Roku models - like the flagship 'Roku 3' streaming media player, currently ON SALE FOR £79.99 IN ARGOS stores, as well as online - or, to hold-out for one of the newer Roku devices that will (hopefully) be made available before the end of 2015.

Meanwhile... later in the week news broke, VIA THIS ARTICLE, on 'BuzzFeed' that another new streaming device is planned for later this year. However, as you'll see if you read the article, it is not Roku... but Apple who are reportedly behind this new product, with a fourth-generation 'Apple TV' now looking more likely than ever to try and make-up ground lost to Roku, Google's Chromecast and (more recently) the 'Fire TV' devices from Amazon in the media streaming marketplace. Among the new features rumoured to be included are a version of the iTunes App Store PLUS the same voice-search functionality afforded by 'Siri' as found on other Apple products. What I'm curious to know, as a UK Roku owner, is whether the app store on this new 'Apple TV' will offer users a fully functional application for "Amazon Instant Video" that will do away with the need for 'Prime' members to use 'AirPlay' technology for streaming 'Prime Instant' and 'Amazon Instant' video(s) to their TV's - by using a separate AirPlay-enabled device, in conjunction with one of the current / earlier 'Apple TV' models. If so... that would leave UK Roku devices seriously disadvantaged, compared to both the 'Apple TV' and 'Fire TV' media streamers, as the only one of the three popular brands not to have an "app" (or, "channel", as Roku prefers to call them) for "Amazon Instant Video" available to UK streamers!

Regardless of whether Amazon, NowTV / Sky or Roku are responsible for the absence of this vitally important streaming service from UK Roku devices, DEMAND IS HUGE among UK Roku owners to have the option of streaming content via "Amazon Instant Video" - as already enjoyed by Roku owners in the USA - without having to purchase another device in order to do so. Unsurprisingly... with three years having now passed, since the launch of Roku players in the UK, those without an alternative means of streaming 'Prime Instant' videos - as, thankfully, I already have - are becoming more and more frustrated and disillusioned with no "Amazon Instant Video" channel on UK Roku models, all the while knowing that a functional app for the platform has been in existence in the USA for years!

For those who fall into that bracket, and who are (currently) unable to access the full benefits of their 'Prime' membership with Amazon UK due to the inability to stream "Amazon Instant Video" on UK Roku device(s) & who have no other means of doing so, HELP COULD SOON BE AT HAND thanks to " offer you can't refuse" from Amazon UK, full details of which will be revealed at 8am on Tuesday 24th March 2015, as the following screenshot from the Amazon UK website shows:-

Having (myself) done a little "digging" into the matter, I soon discovered that the Amazon website in Germany had a similar "teaser" ad to the one above, whereas the Amazon websites in all other markets did not. This suggested to me that the UK launch of Amazon's 'Fire TV Stick' may be imminent and I was quick to share the information with 'AFTVnews' who later published an article, FOUND HERE, to that effect. Adding further weight to my theory, the image source revealed the name of the file used (in conjunction with the above "teaser" ad) included the text "fts_teaser", which surely must be a reference to the 'Fire TV Stick' from Amazon? I mean, what else could "fts" stand for, given this particular set of circumstances?! Anyway... those who remember the U.S. launch of the 'Fire TV Stick' last year may recall that an "offer" was also made to 'Prime' members in the USA, as shown:-

Given that the pricing from Amazon UK, for products also sold via the Amazon website in the USA, usually means replacing the dollar sign ($) with a pound sign (£)... my guess is that, when Amazon UK make their "offer" to 'Prime' members on Tuesday morning, the 'Fire TV Stick' will be available (for a limited time only) at a price of £19.00 GBP (British Pounds) - a saving of twenty pounds versus (what I expect to be) the regular selling price of £39.00 GBP for purchasers in the UK - which is (almost) too good an opportunity to miss for those who already have a 'Prime' membership with Amazon UK and (quite possibly) worth registering for one, to take advantage of this deal, for those who (currently) don't!

Essentially, provided you still have a spare HDMI socket on your television, this is likely to be the least expensive way for UK Roku owners (with a 'Prime' membership) to stream "Amazon Instant Video" on their televisions until Amazon UK / Roku see fit to add the Roku channel to UK devices. It's not ideal... and (even though I can already access it via other means) we'd all love to see Amazon UK add their service to UK Roku players, but the "powers that be" seem to be giving us very little choice in the matter - with none of them speaking-out to offer a reasonable explanation for it's continued absence. So, as a quick-fix solution to a "problem" we (ideally) should never have endured for this long - especially with Roku "...continually working to expand streaming content over time" as they say - the "time" may have come for UK Roku owners to not "hang in there" any longer for such an (ahem) "prime" service to be added and to take advantage of this "offer" from Amazon UK (come Tuesday) to put an end to this nonsense. Then, if "Amazon Instant Video" does get added to UK Roku devices at a later date, you can always use the 'Fire TV Stick' on another TV, take it on vacation, or sell it on - as you please!

Meanwhile... sadly, as with last time around, my time is (yet again) so tight this weekend that I'm not going to be able to leave you with details of any "private" channels. Should you find yourself "jones-ing" for more Roku content, however, I suggest you look back over my tweets from the last seven days on the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels where you will find details for some "private" channels I intend to add to this blog at a later date, as well as one or two others which you may (or may not) have come across. Those of you who don't mind waiting a while longer, and/or have no desire to go "trawling" through my ramblings on Twitter, can expect to find the info for several more of these "private" channels in a future 'Weekly RoundUp' post to "reward" your patience! :-)

Anyway, before I proceed with listing the current crop of new channels (plus providing links to their associated reviews) for this particular '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, all the extra work I've been burdened with of late means 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 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 nineteen '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 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 News, Weather, Sport, Internet TV, Food, Special Interest plus Religion & Spirituality genres (i.e. categories). Specifically... this means that no less than ONE EXTRA CHANNEL in each of the "News, Weather, Sport", "Internet TV", "Food", "Special Interest" plus "Religion & Spirituality" genres - all of which combine to make-up the selection of new choices which have been added to the channel store on UK Roku devices during this past 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:-

HAIRSTYLE CONFESSIONS...............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

HANDLE THE HEAT............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

WXC TV................COST: FREE-TO-ADD + $30 NZD (Season Pass Fee) [Roku Guide Review]

PLEASE NOTE:- That, whilst the 'WXC TV' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku device(s), the channel description from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store does state that it "May require additional fees" in order to view the content. In this particular instance... what that means is that, having first registered for an WXC Account, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO PAY $30 NZD for a "Season Pass" IN ORDER TO VIEW THE CONTENT OF THIS CHANNEL in the UK or elsewhere. For those who may be unfamiliar with "$NZD" it stands for "New Zealand Dollars" and (at the time of writing) the "Season Pass" fee of $30 NZD is equivalent to £15.18 with British Pounds (£GBP) being roughly double in value to New Zealand Dollars ($NZD) on the currency exchange.

While this may seem like a high price to access the content of a single Roku channel, you'd do well to remember that this does give you the ability to WATCH EVERY LIVE EVENT throughout the current season. With EACH LIVE EVENT INCLUDING around FOUR HOURS OF RACING across all classes with replays, heats, features and everything in-between PLUS the fact your "Season Pass" also entitles you to view "On-Demand" footage of all the races from the previous 3 years at WXC Western Springs, and it starts to look like pretty good value for your money. ADD TO THAT an on-demand library of past episodes of "The Dirt" and, coupled with the live streaming capability & other raw footage (i.e. unedited videos) of past events, for speedway fans who love watching Kiwi speedway at its best this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to follow the sport you love! Meanwhile, those who'd like to know more about WXC Western Springs Speedway can always visit their official website, VIA THIS LINK, for further information as to what they are all about. ;-)

Due to media rights surrounding the content, 'WXC TV' can only be streamed to offshore viewers. This means that the service is blocked for NZ customers. However, even among those watching from elsewhere in the world, they are limiting this initial season to 5,000 streaming users – in other words, you'd better be quick to sign-up if you want to be sure of a pass! That said, registration is easy and can be completed very quickly, ON THE SIGN-UP PAGE, from the 'WXC TV' website. Once that has been taken care of, you will then need to activate your Roku streaming media player for use with the streaming service by linking it to your WXC Account. The URL (web address) for doing this is shown on your TV screen, along with a UNIQUE SIX-CHARACTER CODE to activate your device, when you first launch the 'WXC TV' channel - having added it to the selection on your Roku. Or (if you prefer) you can bookmark the relevant page, USING THIS LINK, from the 'WXC TV' website to make life (a little bit) easier for you! :-)

Your experience of the 'WXC TV' channel for Roku devices could be further enhanced, if you happen to own any supported Android or iOS mobile devices, by the FREE DOWNLOADABLE APPS for those platforms which can be obtained via the following link(s):-

DOWNLOAD FREE 'Android' APP:- WXC Speedway (for Android 4.1, or later)


DOWNLOAD FREE 'iOS' APP:- WXC Speedway (for iOS 7.0, or later)

Regardless of which you happen to use, the 'WXC Speedway' apps for both Android & iOS mobile devices show live race positions, lap times & average lap speeds as well as historic timing information. They have also added an event calendar plus a link to the WXC Speedway news feed. That said, the developers would like to point-out that the timing information shown via these apps is provisional only - as the official results are sometimes not available until after each event. If you have any questions or comments, regarding these 'WXC Speedway' apps, please send an email to:

As with the other initiatives, this first season will be used to fine-tune the streaming feeds and iron out any wrinkles with the Roku channel as well as finalise and fine-tune both versions of the app. The developers intend to continually develop these projects over the season so they can be even better in the season(s) that follow(s). If you have any feedback, please email them at:

ALSO:- Due to the fact that the 'WXC TV' channel is not yet(?) available in the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store, the link above will redirect you to the "Official" website for 'WXC TV' which includes further links for registered users to watch raw footage replays of past events and on-demand videos of "The Dirt" online. For the same reason, there is (currently) no active link to a 'Roku Guide' review of the channel. You might have already guessed that, from the extra information provided here?! Either way, should that situation change, I will (of course) add any relevant "missing" links just as soon as they have been made available to me. Apologies for any inconvenience in the meantime.

FIRST METHODIST SUGAR LAND...................................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 nine channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store during the same time-frame, it's better to have 5 NEW CHANNEL CHOICES as shown above, than none at all, don't you think?!

Meanwhile... hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the five "public" channels, 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 assortment of channels on offer this week, 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, 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 thirty-three 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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