Saturday, December 17, 2016

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #197





Hi, everyone !!



Those of you who've been using UK Roku devices for several years now, will (doubtless) recall that the weeks leading up to the end of each year have often yielded some unexpected surprises among the selection of Roku channels on offer. The last seven days could easily have been one such week... but, sadly, it was not to be! The first "surprise" came on the morning of Tuesday 13th December 2016, when I discovered the user interface (UI) of the 'Amazon Video' channel had been updated to more closely resemble the look and feel of the UI on Amazon's own-branded 'Fire TV' devices. However, closer inspection revealed the categories and content pertained to the U.S. version of 'Amazon Video' (via Amazon.com) and not the UK version of 'Amazon Video' (via Amazon.co.uk) and none of the content (previously) purchased via the UK website was showing up. Once it became clear that this was an error of some sort, I took to social media in the hope of discovering what had happened. The only comments I could find (early on) were from Roku users in the U.S. who (for the most part) were not best pleased with the change(s). This surprised me as, from my own brief experience of it, the new-look UI was a vast improvement over the original 'Amazon Video' UI on Roku devices and the fact it resembled the 'Home Screen' on my Fire TV Stick gave it a more familiar and unifying feel across the two platforms. Here is an image which was shared on social media, later that day, by UK Roku user Ben Davis [Twitter Feed: @BenDavis__] which illustrates what I was saying:-






Anyway, as it later transpired, this turned out to be an error on the part of Roku who had uploaded the new-look 'Amazon Video' UI intended for U.S. users to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, too... Oops! :-/ What it did do was offer me the opportunity to witness first-hand just how much more there is to 'Amazon Video' in the USA, when compared to what we get here in the UK, and I must say this left me feeling like it was another case of "Rip-Off Britain" in terms of what your money buys you as an 'Amazon Prime' member and 'Amazon Video' subscriber in the U.S. versus my own experiences of the equivalent services from Amazon UK. Clearly we have a long way to go... but, at the very least, I hope we get this new 'Amazon Video' UI on Roku devices in the UK sometime soon - because, now that I've had a taste of what it could be like, the current UI for 'Amazon Video' on UK Roku devices just isn't "cutting the mustard" for me! Those of you who experienced the error, earlier in the week, will (no doubt) agree with this - I know that Ben (Davis)  certainly shared my opinion of it - but, if you missed it (due to Roku correcting the error that same day) don't bother looking for it now because UK Roku devices have since been returned to the previous version of 'Amazon Video', unfortunately.


Moving on... the second "surprise" of the week came on the morning of Friday 16th December 2016, when I discovered (via cordcutting.com) that a Roku channel for the "MUBI" streaming service had been added to Roku devices in the USA. Needless to say, I rushed to check my own Roku devices and see if "MUBI" subscribers in the UK were also going to (finally) have access to the service via Roku streaming media players. Sadly, once again, it was not to be... and I spent a great deal of my spare time on Friday attempting to find out WHY the channel was not available and IF it was due to be added to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store anytime soon. The thing which I found most puzzling about the whole "MUBI" situation is WHY a channel developed by 'MUBI UK Ltd.' was not available on Roku devices in the UK and, again, I took to social media to vent my feelings via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels for the benefit of UK Roku users who (like me) have long been asking for "MUBI" to add support for the Roku platform. Here is an annotated screenshot of the webpage (on cordcutting.com) from where I first learned of the existence of 'MUBI' on Roku:-






Having shared the above image on Twitter, as part of my communication with "MUBI" on the matter, I did (eventually) receive a reply which stated, "We promise that we're working on it", and that is as much as I can tell you (at this stage) because, despite my requesting a time-frame for the UK app, I have yet to hear back from "MUBI" with any details on the subject. Even a repeated request, sent later that same day, produced no further comment. However, MUBI UK did (at least) acknowledge that last (followup) message with a "Like"... so I'm hoping that MUBI will stay true to their word and deliver on their promise of a Roku channel for "MUBI" in the UK sooner, rather than later! :-)


Meanwhile... here's some screenshots which I managed to capture, of the channel description from the Roku (USA) Web Channel Store, that will give you some idea of what to expect when it does show-up on Roku devices here in the UK at some time in the (hopefully) not too distant future:-







HINT:- Please CLICK on the above images TO ENLARGE THEM for easier viewing !!



In addition to these images there were also four screenshots, which would have been submitted with the channel package and accessed by Roku users via the built-in channel store on their devices. This is done by selecting the "Screenshots" button (from within the channel description) but, since we do not yet have the 'MUBI' channel for Roku devices in the UK, I'm going to share those here as well... because I feel that they better illustrate the user interface (UI) of the MUBI channel as well as giving a little more insight as to the kind of films you're likely to find on this channel:-














AS BEFORE... Please CLICK on the above images TO ENLARGE THEM for easier viewing !!



As can be seen from the first of these four screenshots (see top image above) there is a special offer for new users... who are entitled to a 30-DAY FREE TRIAL of the streaming service, in which to try out their hand-picked selection of thirty films - with ONE NEW FILM ADDED EVERY DAY to the selection on offer, with the oldest being removed from the rotation to make way for the new - and, as there is NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED FOR THE TRIAL, you'll be able to relax and enjoy some amazing films without the need for endless scrolling just to find something good to watch! Of course, this assumes that 'MUBI' will make the same offer (here in the UK) as they have for Roku users in the U.S. but, based on my experience of the trials offered here, I think that's pretty much a given! ;-)


Personally, I can't wait for 'MUBI' to be added to the channel selection on UK Roku devices... and those of you who have been following me on Twitter over the years will know that I have been trying to get 'MUBI' to support the Roku platform for years. At least now, it would seem, there is some light at the end of the tunnel... and I hope to take advantage of whatever cut-price offer comes along once the 'MUBI' streaming service hits Roku in the UK. Speaking of which... if anyone from 'MUBI' happens to be reading this, I recently declined an offer for half-price annual membership (made as part of a 'Black Friday' weekend deal) purely and simply because 'MUBI' had no presence on Roku. So, if you care to honour that offer (or repeat it) once 'MUBI' for Roku is available to Roku UK users, I will gladly take you up on it - should the opportunity present itself - HINT, HINT! ;-) :-)


Still, temporary disappointments aside, we have (once again) been blessed with an above-average crop of new channel additions to occupy our time. While the number of apps pales in comparison to the total new additions from four weeks ago, when sixty-one channels were added to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, and falls just short of the total number released in the week before last, we have (at least) seen a significant increase on the weekly total of 16 new channels... which was the average for any given seven-day period throughout the year in 2015. You will, however, notice that there are half a dozen new channels (at the very end of this list) for which there are (currently) no active links to any 'Roku Guide' reviews. The reason for this is that, for five of the six channels, their details were not made public via the Roku (USA) Channel Store until the weekly publishing deadline for the current crop of reviews had passed. These "missing" reviews should be published before the next of my 'Weekly RoundUp' posts is made, so look for them to be added here in due course. When it comes to the last of the six channels... I've posted an explanation below the entry (at the bottom of this week's list of new channels) so I won't bother going into it in greater detail just now! ;-)


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 11th December and 17th December 2016:-







COLOR SHIFT'R..............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 "COLOR SHIFT'R" game is FREE-TO-ADD to Roku devices and does allow for FREE-TO-PLAY use when "AD-SUPPORTED" (by commercials between each game) as per the default installation, there is another option whereby Roku users can pay a ONE-TIME FEE of £0.69 ($0.99 USD) after which all ads are removed & the game will play COMMERCIAL-FREE! So, if you were wondering what was meant by "May require additional fees" in the description from the "Official" Roku Channel Store (or, from my "COST" summary, above), any additional "fees" for this game are entirely optional. It is for the individual Roku user to decide whether they'd rather play the game for free (with ads) or pay a small amount to remove all ads & play ad-free from then on! ;-)







G4R-KABOOM!!..............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-KaBoom!!" game is FREE-TO-ADD to Roku your device and does allow for FREE-TO-PLAY use of the app, the description from the built-in channel store on Roku streaming media players states that it, "May require additional fees", so please be aware of this possibility should you choose to install it. The game also asks for your Roku account information to unlock "extra features" (optional) but, currently, it is not obvious whether doing so is tied-in with any additional charges. Even the 'Roku Guide' review (see link above) said they were unable to determine precisely what those extra features were... other than allowing you to use a nickname in the game. As for "FEES", the 'Roku Guide' review shows "None" but if, at any time, it becomes clear what those "additional fees" relate to... I will update this post accordingly. In the meantime... if you do provide your details, and then later decide that you wish to remove them, you can easily "unregister" by clicking the * (asterisk) button on your Roku remote to access the options menu and delete your info! ;-)








DEEP HOUSE DISTRICT......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






HOUSE FLOOR......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






TECHNO WAREHOUSE.......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






TECH HOUSE TERRACE.....................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






ICN TV CHANNEL................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






HOLIDAY FLIX.....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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






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

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






TELEBELLUNO DOLOMITI TV ITALY........COST: £8.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That this 'Telebelluno Dolomiti TV Italy' channel is another of those subscription channels from developer, 'MariaTv sas', which comes at (what I consider to be) a fairly hefty price... based on the content you are getting for your money, versus what is charged by similar subscription video on-demand (SVOD) providers for access to their service(s). Granted, this is fairly specialist... on account of having Italian-language content only and, as such, is only likely to appeal to a minority of UK Roku users. However, if you happen to fall into that category, BEFORE YOU SUBSCRIBE... you should visit 'Streema.com' where you can SAMPLE THE FREE VIDEO-ON-DEMAND (VoD) content - which also comes from 'Telebelluno Dolomiti' - and THEN DECIDE if this channel is going to be right for you, or IF IT'S WORTH PAYING £8.99 PER MONTH to watch it on your Roku! ;-)







UN NUEVO DESPERTAR.....................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






CRIMSON FRIGHT................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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






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

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






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

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






ACTION HOUSE MOVIES...................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






OLD REEL MOVIES.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






ZOMBIE YULE LOG.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






DANCING IN THE DESERT.................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






PSYOP CHANNEL.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






DJ WUN MINISTRY..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






SHIPS AT WAR......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






CHECKERS LIVE!.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






CHESS LIVE!........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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







RADIO PUSHERS TV...........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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






MIRACLE TOUCH NETWORK............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






CHILE TV EN VIVO..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






THE BASKETBALL CHANNEL..........................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






C++ FOR BEGINNERS..........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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



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



UNKNOWN CHANNEL..............................................................COST: tbc [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That the above "UNKNOWN CHANNEL" has yet to be identified... and, until the details become clear to me, I am also unable to say (with any certainty) under which genre it is filed. All that was known (at the time of publishing) is that there are several discrepancies, within the total number of channels for each genre (i.e. category) of the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, which will require further investigation prior to completion of this post. What I can say (for now) is that the possibilities have been narrowed down to the "International", "Special Interest" and "Travel" genres of the channel store. However, since it will be necessary to audit close to five hundred channels from those three categories to obtain the details of this "missing" channel, it may take a few days for me to update the information in this post. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you in the meantime... but I will endeavour not to leave it too long before I look into the matter! ;-) :-)




*********************************************



Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, although it barely amounts to two-thirds of the forty-eight channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store during the same time-frame, it's better to get these 32 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 thirty-two "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!




*********************************************



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-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 !!





5 comments:

  1. yes, I have seen/experienced a new/not-meant-for-the-UK UI Amazon prime update on Roku. Wow, it looked like a proper competition for Netflix. I do not use Amazon prime on Roku too much as it looks ugly and is not very easy to navigate.
    I fell sory for the Roku guy who made (brifly) PROPER Amazon prime video abalable in the UK. He probably has some explanation to make... Anyhow Amazon stole our Top Gear... and they still give us this s**ty Roku app... I am cancelling my subscription untill they give us proper app.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good day can you please advise if there are itv hub and all 4 channel codes I can't find them anywhere

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Mark !!

      Thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment.

      It's much appreciated! :-)

      For Roku UK users, the easiest way to add "ITV Hub" and "All 4" (as well as the other UK CatchUpTV services: BBC iPlayer + Demand 5) is to use the built-in channel store on any UK Roku streaming media player.

      These channels can be found among the 19 "Featured" apps, as well as in a section for the 25 "Most Popular" apps (or, "channels", as Roku call them), plus their regular channel store category (or, "genre", if you like) of "Film & TV"... wherein you should see them listed quite near the top, along with Netflix, NowTV, Amazon Instant Video, plus Google Play Movies & TV, etc.

      Another way to install them is to use the "Search" feature which is also built-in to Roku devices and can be accessed via either the channel store, itself, or the main index page (i.e. the "Home" page) of your streaming media player. Once you have accessed the "Search" function, you will see an on-screen keyboard which can be used to type-in each letter with your Roku remote [TIP: It's a LOT quicker, not to mention easier, if you use the keyboard found in the mobile apps by RokuPlayer to type with] and search for "ITV Hub" and/or "All 4" which should appear pretty swiftly among the "Search" results listed on the right-hand side of your TV screen, once you start typing.

      Of course (like I said) this is all pretty straight forward if you are in the UK and set-up with an UK Roku account... but I noticed, from your profile, that you're living in Johannesburg and both of the channels you are asking about have geo-restrictions implemented requiring Roku users to be (or "appear" to be) in the UK in order to stream any content therein. So, if you ARE (or "appear" to be) in the UK my advice would be to simply use the channel store to add them. If you're NOT in the UK, or your Roku set-up is not such that you "appear" to be in UK, then having the vanity code (or, "channel code"... "access code"... "invitation code"... call them what you will) won't make any difference to you since they will simply result in an error message if you attempt to use them. Just try typing "all4" (without the quote marks), which is the vanity code for the "All 4" channel on UK Roku devices, from a non-UK Roku account / location and you'll see what I mean.

      Hopefully that's answered your question but, if not, feel free to leave another comment and I'll see if I can help you further! ;-)


      Many thanks for reading this blog! :-)

      Delete
  3. Any idea when the new roku boxes are coming out in the U.K.?

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    Replies
    1. Hi

      That's a good question! :-)

      Unfortunately, much like the "name" you used to leave your comment, any details pertaining to a UK release of the 5th generation Roku models, i.e. Roku Express, Roku Premiere and Roku Ultra, which are the current streaming media players being sold to Roku purchasers in North America remain "Unknown" at this time.

      It's pure speculation on my part but, with no 4th generation Roku devices, i.e. the new Roku Stick [Model: 3600] and Roku 4, on this side of the pond either... it's not even clear whether we'll get these newer Roku models in the UK at all. When you consider that the latest Roku device to be released in this country is the updated Roku 2 [Model: 4205EU] which was released back in April 2015 (not far short of two years ago now) and, for a company (like Roku) which (typically) offers new model(s) on a yearly basis, it's been a long time coming - maybe even too long!?!

      My own feeling on the matter is that Roku has "sold out" this region, along with mainland Europe, to Sky's OTT platform (NowTV) and that it is more likely we will see new "Roku Powered" models by Sky (NowTV) or (at the very least) an expansion of the NowTV service in Europe before we get to see any new UK Roku models become available (if at all) since Sky (NowTV) would much rather flood the market with their (severely restricted) "Roku Powered" devices than help with the expansion of Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, etc. by pushing the (virtually unrestricted) genuine Roku streaming media players which, as end-users seeking platform agnostic devices, would be far better for us!

      Anyway, like I say, that's just my own thoughts on the matter... and we may even see an announcement at CES 2017 about what Roku has planned for the UK market (chance would be a fine thing!) in the next few weeks but, to answer your question... "No", I don't have that info to share with you (at this time) but, if & when I do, I will (of course) make those details known via both this blog and, in the first instance, (most likely) via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels ;-)

      Thanks for reading this blog... and for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment. It's much appreciated! :-)

      Delete