Saturday, November 26, 2016

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #194





Hi, everyone !!



If you have your Roku device(s) set-up with "Custom Themes" enabled, then (hopefully) you spotted the (brief) switch to a "Fall Leaves" theme for Fall 2016... better known to those of us in the UK as "Autumn" and, if you did,  you'll know this rare (in the UK) theme change was very "autumnal" as well as a welcome rest from the "other" regular Roku themes we see for the rest of the year. For those who missed it, the "Fall Leaves" theme came and went in a matter of days just before (and ending on) Thursday 24th November - aka "Thanksgiving" to readers from the USA - but by the next day - aka "Black Friday" to, well... pretty much everyone in the english speaking world, these days! - normal service had been resumed and we're unlikely to see further "Custom Themes" from Roku until just before "the holidays" at the end of December. Speaking of which... if your thoughts are now turning towards the forthcoming festivities, there was a special feature published by 'Roku Guide' this week in which they assembled a handy list of Roku Christmas Channels to inform Roku users as to where they can find seasonal-themed movies and TV shows which can be streamed on Roku devices, plus some additional sources for holiday music and festive screensavers to get you in the Xmas spirit!



Meanwhile, further to my recent comments about Roku OS 7.5 - from my 'Weekly RoundUp #191' - and the subsequent (minor) build update, within that update, which saw the software on my 'Roku 3' devices change from "Build 4092" to "Build 4096" - as reported in my 'Weekly RoundUp #192' - the rollout has since seen another minor software update to "Build 4099", as per the screenshot below:-





ROKU 3 SOFTWARE UPDATE - FROM 7.5.0.4096 TO 7.5.0.4099



Shortly after this latest (minor) build update was applied to 'Roku 3' devices in the UK, the rollout was expanded to include older devices, such as my original 'Roku 2 XS' model, which was updated from Roku Software "Version 7.2.0 - Build 4100" to Roku Software "Version 7.5.0 - Build 4099" to bring it inline with my 'Roku 3' devices, as evidenced by this additional screenshot:-





ROKU 2XS SOFTWARE UPDATE - FROM 7.2.0.4100 TO 7.5.0.4099



In so far as I can tell, there were (once again) no major changes with this build... and, as with the last update to the software build, it's likely this was simply to address a few minor bugs with the software. That said, there's still no sign of my being able to control the volume of my TV using the buttons on my enhanced Roku remote (supplied with 'Roku 3' models) as was promised in the release notes for Roku OS 7.5 - and, worse still, my (previously) functioning basic HDMI-CEC ability to power-up my TV and switch to the source input for my Roku with any button press on my remote is still AWOL! There's been some minor progress in so much as it will now "wake" my TV and receiver from "sleep" but, since it is still incapable of switching to the correct source input, there's little advantage to using this feature at the moment. Like I said before, the old adage of, "...if it ain't broke, don't fix it", clearly passed the Roku software engineers by when it came to putting this new OS together! :-/ Meanwhile, I'd love to hear from anyone else who has experienced this (or any other) issue further to this latest software update, so do leave a comment below if this affected you in any way. As mentioned as part of a previous post, I do still intend to look into the specifics of this update in far more detail (before I comment any further) so please feel free to have a poke around in the 'Settings' menu of your own device(s) - or read the release notes published by Roku - to see what (if any) "improvements" were made to your Roku player(s) and let me know if you find anything of interest other than new icons.


Software issues aside, we have (again) been blessed with an above-average crop of new channel additions to occupy our time. It's a long way short of the sixty-one channels which were added to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store last week but still a significant increase on the average of sixteen new channels which was the average amount for any given seven-day period throughout 2015.


Meanwhile, Roku UK users are still subject to restrictions (imposed by Roku) and (bizarrely) remain unable to access the channel descriptions in the web channel store on the Roku (USA) website. That said, the majority of the text from those web store descriptions can also be found within the individual channel descriptions from the built-in "Channel Store" (accessed via "Streaming Channels" from the main menu) on all Roku devices and, together with the associated screenshots (where available), should give you a pretty good indication of what those channels are about.


My advice to any UK-based readers of this blog is to ignore the links below (and to the left of) each channel icon shown below and (instead) rely on the link to the right (below each channel icon) which will redirect you to an 'Roku Guide' review for additional details on each channel. As it stands, the links below (and to the left of) each channel icon are (currently) only of use to readers of this blog from the USA. This means Roku users from the other "supported" regions of the world (i.e. Ireland, Canada, France and Mexico) are, like those of us in the UK, unable to browse the Roku Web Channel Store - which for now (at least) remains an exclusive privilege of Roku users in the USA. :-(


Hopefully Roku will (one day) wake-up to the fact that improving the experience for users in "other" Roku "regions" is just as important as it is for those who buy & use their products in the U.S. and denying access to the Roku website does not help the end-user experience for those of us (outside the USA) who wish to browse the web channel store. Meanwhile, that which Roku (apparently) doesn't want UK Roku users to see on their website (i.e. the list of new channels) is regularly summarised on this blog in my 'Weekly RoundUp' posts. So, without further ado, here's my 'Weekly RoundUp' of all the new Roku channels which were released between 20th and 26th November 2016:-







FIGHT NETWORK......COST: FREE (30-day Trial) + $2.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, since this "Fight Network" channel first appeared in the Roku USA Channel Store back in August 2014, you won't find it listed in the 'New' genre (i.e. category) of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store - despite only being made available to UK Roku users, within the last seven days, since my previous 'Weekly RoundUp' post was published. Instead, anyone that wishes to install this channel will need to look for "Fight Network" within the 'Sports' category... and, even then, it will require you to scroll to the very end of the list of channels to find it. PRO TIP:- Use the built-in Roku "Search" function, found within the channel store, to locate and install it... avoiding the need to scour through the one hundred and fifty channel icons which make up the 'Sports' genre! ;-)


ALSO:- In addition to the 30-DAY FREE TRIAL and monthly subscription of $2.99 PER MONTH, there is the option to purchase an ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION at a cost of $29.99 PER YEAR which will (effectively) give you another TWO MONTHS FREE on top of your initial free trial offer. Those who really enjoy watching combat sports may find this annual subscription is the best way to access all the MMA, Judo, Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing and Professional Wrestling action, plus fight-themed drama series, documentaries & feature films on offer from this Canadian 24/7 combat sports channel. Those who do subscribe will find both live-streaming and on-demand content is available, with a full programming schedule for the live stream available via the Fight Network website online. Should you wish to "get social" with the folks at 'Fight Network', their Twitter Feed: @FightNet is one option you can choose... while another way to connect with them is through FB at: Fight Network (Facebook)







WAR MOVIES........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






ENTER SHAOLIN........COST: FREE (14-day Trial) + $9.97 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while the "Enter Shaolin" channel is FREE-TO-ADD and does include some video content which is FREE-TO-STREAM, you will need to get a MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION at a cost of $9.97 PER MONTH for full access to their entire catalogue. Further details of what you can expect from this channel can be found in the 'Roku Guide' review, which I recommend that you read prior to subscribing... because you may find that the content of their YouTube channel will suffice! ;-)







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

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






WILLOW CREEK TV............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






TASTE THIS TV - NO RULES COOKING..........................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






Q106.8 COUNTRY CLASSICS.............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






G4R SUDOKU.................COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this 'G4R Sudoku' game is FREE-TO-ADD to Roku devices and does offer a certain amount of FREE-TO-PLAY content, the description from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store states that it "May require additional fees"... however, it is unclear (at this time) what these fees are for - or what kind of "in-app purchases" (IAP's) they may pertain to. The 'Roku Guide' review speculates that registration (which is also free) might "unlock" more puzzles which could need you to pay a fee, in order to play them, but nothing has been confirmed thus far. That said, as always, I do recommend that you read the 'Roku Guide' review for additional information on how to play this 'G4R Sudoku' game on Roku devices and, for now at least, enjoy the few levels that are free to play!







MEMORY MATCH CHRISTMAS...............COST: £0.69 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, since this paid (monthly subscription) version of "Memory Match Christmas" is not (currently) available on Roku devices in the USA... the channel description, for which I have provided a link above, pertains to the free (ad-supported) version that was published via the online Roku (USA) Web Channel Store - called "Memory Match Free Christmas" - as played by Roku users in the United States. The reason we, in the UK, must purchase a monthly subscription to play this game is that the ads used to support the free version in the U.S. are considered (by the developer) to be of little or no relevance for the UK market. As such, if it helps, you can consider the UK channel to be an ad-free (premium) version which can be played without any interruptions due to adverts! ;-)


ALSO:- For similar reasons, there is no 'Roku Guide' review of the paid version and (therefore) the link provided (above) is for the 'Roku Guide' review of "Memory Match Free Christmas" and not for "Memory Match Christmas" (the paid version) which is found on Roku devices in the UK. The reason I have included this link is the game (itself) remains the same, whether free (ad-supported) or paid (ad-free) and so the information provided, within the 'Roku Guide' review, about how to play the game (as well as any screenshots provided therein) are equally of relevance to Roku UK as for USA. Just be aware that any mention of the game being "free" and/or "ad-sponsored" are in reference to the version found on Roku devices in the USA and, aside from that, it's the same for the paid (UK) app.




N.B. CHANNEL ICON STILL TO FOLLOW - 
NOT AVAILABLE AT TIME OF PUBLISHING




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

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, since this UK-based "Property TV" channel is not (currently) available via the Roku USA Channel Store, the link provided (above) will redirect you to the official website for "Property TV" instead of the channel description from the Roku (USA) Web Channel Store, as would be the norm. Property TV is the UK's only television channel dedicated to the world of property and, if it sounds familiar to you, you may well know it because it has been airing on Sky channel 238 since June 2015. Launched with the aim of becoming the number one source of property information in the UK, it has now found it's way onto UK Roku devices and, best-of-all, is FREE-TO-STREAM! :-)


ALSO:- Despite my having reached-out to the developer of this channel (Airbeem) to request a copy of the 'HD Poster' [aka "Channel Icon", for the purposes of this blog] they were unable to provide me with the necessary image prior to my publishing this post. In fairness, they did get back to me saying that I should have it sometime next week - as they were still busy adding content to the channel - so (hopefully) I'll be able to add the channel icon to this post sometime soon. One thing I don't expect to be forthcoming anytime soon, however, is a 'Roku Guide' review for the channel... since, as explained above, it is not (currently) available via the Roku USA Channel Store. Needless to say, should that situation ever change, I will add the review to this post as soon as I am made aware of it! ;-)








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

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






ZOOMIN.TV FÚTBOL..........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






UNO IPTV v2.........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






NEW TV...........................COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this 'NewTV' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to Roku devices and does offer a certain amount of FREE-TO-STREAM content, the description from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store states that it "May require additional fees"... however, it is unclear (at this time) as to what these additional fees might apply. The 'Roku Guide' review (see link above) states that they were able to watch only one video, despite others being listed in the channel menu, and that there were no fees associated with doing so... but nothing else has been confirmed. While it will (probably) only appeal to a minority of viewers, if Chinese-language documentaries and TV shows are among your viewing choices, I recommend reading the 'Roku Guide' review for extra info as to what this channel claims to offer Roku users and, for now at least, enjoy the one video that is free-to-stream!








BRASIL PLAY TV...........COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "INTERNATIONAL" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this 'Brasil Play TV' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to Roku devices and does offer a certain amount of FREE-TO-STREAM content, the description from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store states that it "May require additional fees"... however, you first need to subscribe before any content becomes available on the 'Brasil Play TV' channel. Some of you may remember this as a Roku private channel and, if so, you'll know what it offers. Basically, as you might expect, the content is geared towards those who are fluent in Portuguese (especially those from Brasil) while including drama series, news and sports - streaming 24 hours per day - bringing all of "your favourite Brazilian TV channels" to your living room via Roku devices worldwide. So, if that's something you might be interested in, I recommend you read the 'Roku Guide' review to learn more about the service before you sign-up... but do bear in mind that the cost of your subscription could vary from those shown, depending on your package and in accordance with the currency for your particular location.







HAVOC TV........................COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "WEB VIDEO" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this "Havoc TV" channel is FREE-TO-ADD and does include some video content that is FREE-TO-STREAM, if you wish to stream any of the movies on offer or enjoy the live-stream aspect of this channel... you will first need to purchase a subscription and then link your Roku device to your account. There is a 7-DAY FREE TRIAL available, after which you will be required to pay a MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION at a cost of $1.99 PER MONTH although you could save some money by choosing their ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION which costs $17.99 PER YEAR if you feel this independent music and action sports channel is something you'd watch year-round. As of right now, the original "Havoc Television" channel is still available (and working) on UK Roku devices, so you might just want to stick with that. However, if you plan on checking-out this latest incarnation of "Havoc TV" with all the extra content and features it offers then, as always, I suggest you read the 'Roku Guide' review (see link above) for the lowdown on what you're getting! ;-)








FIVE MINUTES OF FAME - SEASON 1......COST: £6.99 (ONE-OFF PAYMENT) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***


A WORD TO THE WISE:- As stated above (and in the channel description) this Roku app requires that you pay a ONE-TIME PURCHASE FEE OF £6.99 (or $9.99 USD) to stream the content. It has come to light, via the 'Roku Guide' review, that you can WATCH THEM FOR FREE ONLINE before going ahead with your Roku purchase by visiting the official website for 'Five Minutes of Fame' and decide for yourself if it's worth paying extra to watch on the big screen via your Roku device! ;-)








HAIVISION - VIDEO AT WORK.........................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SCI & TECH" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






NORTHWOODS COMMUNITY CHURCH.........................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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




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Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, though it's barely more than three quarters of the twenty-five channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store during the same time-frame, it's better to get 19 NEW CHANNELS than none at all... as I'm sure you'll agree?!


In any event, hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the nineteen "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. After all, 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!




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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 one hundred and twenty 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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