Saturday, April 9, 2016

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #161

Hi, everyone !!

For the first time in six weeks, and only the second time since the start of the year, we've fallen short of the weekly average for new additions set during 2015 - which, by the way, equated to no less than sixteen new channels per week across the entire twelve month period - but it seemed somehow fitting given that Roku (themselves) also fell short of the mark this week, in terms of my expectations as a UK Roku user by releasing their new "Power-Packed" Streaming Stick complete with quad-core processor and "private listening" (via Roku mobile app) in the USA as well as in Canada and even to prospective purchasers in Mexico while completely ignoring those in the "other" Roku "regions" of Ireland, France and (perhaps) most surprisingly... the UK!

HINT: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!

Let's not forget that UK Roku purchasers have previously been denied access to the "improved" version of the 'Roku 3' [Model: #4230] with 'Voice Remote' as well as the current flagship 'Roku 4' [Model: #4400] (launched last year to Roku USA buyers) and not forgetting the various incarnations of 'Roku TV' that have been made available in North America over the past couple of years. I mean, U.S. Roku users are now fortunate enough to have '4K' models on the shelves for purchase while those of us in Europe are still waiting on the original 'HD' versions to be released. As of now, it seems the only way UK purchasers will get their hands on anything resembling a 'Roku 4' - other than importing one from the USA - is to wait for the new 'NowTV' box to hit UK shops later this year. Even then, it will (most likely) be subject to the ridiculous restrictions imposed on the Roku channel store which has seen previous devices from 'NowTV' still languishing around the fifty channel mark while the fully-fledged "Official" Roku UK Channel Store has climbed to the lofty heights of having more than 2,500+ channels available to users of every 'Roku' branded streaming media player.

Even when I thought Roku had "tossed us a crumb" upon discovering that, following the above press release from Roku for the new Streaming Stick, there was a subsequent software update rolled-out to all UK Roku devices (see image below) it turned out to be a short-lived moment of joy as Roku were quick to reverse the roll-out once they (presumably) got wind of it's presence on their streaming media players in the UK. Anyway, here's a screenshot I took (at the time the update was applied) to document the change for the benefit of other Roku UK users:-

For those of you who may be interested, Chris Traganos [Twitter Feed: @ctraganos] (Director of Developer Community for Roku) documented the "developer highlights" to be found among the changes implemented for Software Version 7.1.0. - IN THIS POST - from the Roku developer Blog. As an end-user, the most noticeable change(s) were to the "My Feed" section of the Roku main menu and Roku mentioned this (briefly) in their own news article - published in conjunction with the aforementioned press release for the new Streaming Stick - as evidenced by the following (partial) screenshot of the relevant post from the Roku Stream Blog:-

AS BEFORE: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!

Some photos were added (after the fact) to the original news story from the Roku Stream Blog but, since I took my own (at the time of the update) I thought I'd share them with you here:-

I also shared an annotated version of the above image, when I first shared the photo via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels for this blog. Here it is again, in case you missed it:-

The more observant among you may also have spotted that some subtle changes have been made to the Roku menu highlight box which indicates the currently selected menu item. For what it's worth, I do think this makes for a much "cleaner" look than the former "shaded" highlight box although your own opinions on this may vary! ;-) Anyway, once you navigate (click) through the "My Feed" menu, you will see that both the "Movies" and "TV Shows" sections (currently) offer a selection of 80 items "You might like..." from which you can browse, find, watch and/or follow the recommended content that already is or (hopefully) soon will be available on your Roku streaming media player:- 

When you click on an item, you are presented with various options for watching the content (where available) and, if it's not yet on any channel, you can choose to "follow" that item (as with the original "Movies Coming Soon" section) and receive notifications as to availability & pricing, etc.


Somewhat less "obvious" changes to the Roku end-user menu were applied to the 'Settings' menu with the update to Roku OS 7.1.0 and, in my opinion, the most significant (read "useful") of these was the addition of some basic HDMI-CEC functionality, through what Roku refers to as a feature called "1-touch play" that can be found in a new 'Settings' category to "Control other devices" and, once again, I shared my own photos via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels for this blog. As with the photo(s) above, I'll also share them here, for those of you who may have missed them:-

If you navigate the 'Settings' menu to get to the "System" options, you will see the new category from where you can "Control other devices" and (again) it's a simple case of navigating through using the directional "Arrowhead" buttons on your Roku remote to highlight and select that item:-

Doing so will reveal the "1-touch play" option which is DISABLED BY DEFAULT but, to enable it, you simply highlight and select it, as shown in the photograph below:-

PLEASE NOTE:- That this setting will only be of use to those with HDMI-connected devices so, if you have an older model (e.g. 'Roku 2 XS', 'Roku 1', etc.) you will need to use the 'HDMI' output and NOT the 'AV Out' option on your Roku device to take advantage of this feature. The "sink device" means the AV equipment that your Roku is connected to. In most cases, this will mean a television that has HDMI capabilities... however, for some, it could be a home theatre amplifier / receiver or even a projector. In any event, that "sink device" must also support HDMI-CEC to use this function.

In any event, now that Roku has reversed the roll-out of this software update (at least in the UK) the details above can (for the time being) only be used for informational purposes by UK Roku users. If, however, you are in North America (i.e. the USA, Canada or Mexico) - and are therefore more likely to have access to this new Roku Software Version before we do - then it may come in handy! ;-)

Before you get too excited though, it only allows you to switch the "Source" or "Input" on your TV via any button press of the Roku remote. This is for situations where, for example, you were previously watching content from another source connected to your TV and have decided you now want to watch something else on TV, via your Roku device. With "1-touch play" enabled, you can just press a button on your Roku remote and it will automatically switch your TV (or other "sink device" to which your Roku is connected) to the correct input for viewing content through your Roku streaming media player. For the record... I did, in the 24 hours that I had access to Roku OS 7.1.0, manage to enable and test this function on my UK Roku devices and in all cases it worked perfectly. So, assuming Roku does extend Roku OS 7.1.0 to users in the UK on a more permanent basis, you can look forward to no longer needing your TV remote on hand for switching source inputs! :-)

One or two other "enhancements" to the 'Settings' menu in Roku OS 7.1.0 that I noticed were firstly how the system information for "Uptime", i.e. the period of time your Roku device has been powered "ON", has been moved from the "Secret Screen" to the "About" section. Secondly, an option for you to perform a "Network connection reset" - applicable to both 'Wired' and 'Wireless' connections - was added to the "Advanced system settings" category. Of course there may have been other tweaks made for this software update but, given the limited time for which I had access to it, that's about all I could find which stood out to me as being different from previous versions. That said, if you happened to spot anything else that I may have missed, please feel free to leave a comment below and share your findings with other readers of this blog! ;-)

Meanwhile, back to the main purpose of this 'Weekly RoundUp' post... which is to reveal to you all of the LATEST ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. So, here they are:-

OTTAWA SDA CHURCH......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


THE BODY BUILDERS TV NETWORK.............................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


TAT2 TV............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


A TASTE OF THEATER........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


KICK IN GO.......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


NHRA ALL ACCESS..................COST: FREE + $99.95 (PER SEASON) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SPORTS" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***

FAVOR CENTER CHURCH..................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


LIMITLESS LOVE CENTER................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


FAMILY DEN......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "KIDS & FAMILY" in the Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***

ICFM CONVENTION VIDEOS............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


SHALOM ASSEMBLY OF YAHWEH..................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


B I Z T A L E . X Y Z..........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]



Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, whilst it's barely more than two thirds of the seventeen channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store during the same time-frame, it's better to get 12 NEW CHANNELS than none at all... as I'm sure you'll agree?!

Either way, hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the twelve "public" channels outlined above... or else from 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. That said, if you didn't find anything to add to your Roku channel selection from the assortment of channels on offer this week, you can always 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've said before... when it comes to adding new channels to your Roku, IT'S YOUR CHOICE  as with all things Roku... THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS!


As mentioned previously, 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 earlier posts (as mentioned before) for all the new additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store in each of the eighty-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 !!

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