Saturday, July 15, 2017

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #227





Hi, everyone !!



If you're a fan of "Game of Thrones" then you will know that 'Season 7' begins in the early hours of Monday 17th July 2017 in the UK and can be streamed with a 'NowTV Entertainment Month Pass' both live & on-demand (for 30 days) afterwards. To mark this special occasion, Roku came-up with another of their featured themes, as evidenced by the screenshots below:-







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



Before you go rushing to your television(s) to see whether this latest 'Game of Thrones' theme has been applied to the background of your Roku device(s), however, I'm both saddened & disappointed to report that Roku have YET AGAIN decided not to extend their theme to Roku users in the UK... meaning there is NO 'GAME OF THRONES' THEME FOR UK ROKU DEVICES despite us being able to watch the show at the exact same time it is aired by 'HBO' in the United States. Quite why Roku appears to treat the UK with such disdain is beyond me... after all, this latest snub follows-on from similar incidents (earlier in the year) whereby there was no "Happy Valentine's Day" theme in UK, no "Happy Mother's Day" theme in UK and, more recently, no "Happy Father's Day" theme for owners of UK Roku devices. So, "THANKS AGAIN, ROKU!"... FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING !! :-/ :-(


In other 'NowTV' / 'Sky UK' related news, this week, I thought it best to remind you all that there will be changes to the line-up of sports channels for all 'NowTV Sport' passes (Day, Week & Month) from Tuesday 18th July 2017 onwards. Here's a screenshot showing what channels you can expect:-






Most interestingly, "Sky Sports Mix" has been thrown into the, err... mix and marks a welcome new addition that many UK Roku owners and NowTV Box users have been calling for since it was first added to the 'Sky UK' channel line-up. What I find hard to swallow, though, is how "Sky Sports Mix" was offered FREE-OF-CHARGE TO ALL 'SKY UK' SUBSCRIBERS and yet requires both Roku and NowTV Box users in the UK to have an active sports pass of some description. In other words, if you want permanent access to "Sky Sports Mix" (as enjoyed by all 'Sky UK' subscribers, even with the basic package) all month long on Roku or NowTV Box then you're going to have to fork-out the (already) over-inflated price of £33.99 PER MONTH for the privilege! Why they couldn't just make it free with any active 'NowTV' pass, as they did with "Sky Sports News HQ" on NowTV Boxes is beyond me!?!! To my mind, it would have been an ideal opportunity to offer a free taste of what you can expect from 'Sky Sports' and use it to promote sales of 'NowTV Sport' passes to both UK Roku users and those with NowTV Box... but, no - they had to get greedy and charge more for it !! :-/ :-(


Aside from the addition of "Sky Sports Mix", whether paid or not, there is nothing new to be found among the other channels other than a change of name. It's basically the same old content that was on the seven channels we were all used to up until now (i.e. Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports F1 & Sky Sports News HQ) just spread thinner across nine channels (with "Sky Sports Mix" making-up the tenth) and with most of the new channels now sticking to one theme (football, golf, cricket, F1, etc.) instead of a broad mix across all channels. What really smarts, however, is that while 'Sky UK' subscribers are now able to pick either one sports channel for £18.00 (e.g. "Sky Sports F1", or "Sky Sports Golf", or "Sky Sports Cricket, etc.); two sports channels for £22.00 (e.g. "Sky Sports Football" together with "Sky Sports Premier League", or some other combination); three sports channels for £26.00, or; get all ten channels for £27.50 per month... with 'NowTV' subscribers it's a case of "all or nothing" and there's no reduction in price for any of their current passes - just to add insult to injury! :-/ :-(


In terms of more Roku-specific news, the new Roku OS 7.7 has finally begun rolling-out to those of us with Roku-branded streaming media players in the UK, as evidenced by the screenshot below:-






The other main Roku-specific news story to surface during the last seven days concerned the latest plan from Roku to go "Public" by launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) later this year. The news came my way, via a recent article published by the 'Wall St Journal' online, which revealed how Roku hopes to secure a valuation of roughly $1 billion dollars (USD) as they prepare to launch an IPO by the end of this year, and could even file confidentially within the next few weeks! Anyway, I don't intend to bore you with financial matters... suffice to say that it's a big step for Roku and a major milestone for the company which makes the streaming media devices and software loved by millions the world over. My only hope is that it leads to more funding for overseas markets like UK & Ireland who, together with France, are among the pre-existing markets that have been largely over-looked or ignored completely in terms of new Roku models being made available. For now, though, I'd much rather focus on more important matters, such as bringing you the details for all of the latest new Roku channels that have been made available for you to add to your device(s) in the past week! ;-) :-)


Speaking of which, while it's not an epic list of fifty-plus channels like we got two weeks ago, you'll find some more options for "Film & TV" fanatics, an assortment of "International" channels for those fluent in languages other than English, and a couple of free music channels, as well as a free gaming channel, plus free wrestling & martial arts channels to keep you entertained over the coming weeks and months. In fact, there should be something to please most streamers in this list but, if not, I shared details of some private channels through social media this week which may be of interest to some of you. Take a look at the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels if you'd like to know more about those and, while you're there, keep an eye out for some 'NowTV' pass giveaways which may be still up for grabs, if you act fast! ;-) :-) Anyway, back to the list...


You will notice, as you near the end, that the last channel mentioned currently has no active link to any 'Roku Guide' review. Despite the lack of any review, I made sure to include a relevant link to the channel description from the Roku (USA) Web Channel Store... so that any readers from the United States can access the information on it. Readers from other Roku "regions" (including the UK) will have to rely on the description from the built-in channel store on their Roku devices, which is the best I can offer, pending the addition of any review to this post! ;-)


Meanwhile... the list itself begins with another channel that, despite being new to UK Roku devices, is not listed in the "New" category (i.e. genre) of the Roku UK Channel Store. The reason for this is that it was previously added to the selection of channels in the Roku USA Channel Store more than one month ago and is, therefore, too "old" to be classed as an entirely "new" channel here. Blogging specifically about Roku streaming devices & other Roku-related matters, I love discovering apps like this... because they illustrate precisely why it's worth reading my 'Weekly RoundUp' posts. Any Roku users who simply rely on whatever they see listed under the "New" category in the built-in channel store of their streaming media players (to identify the latest apps for UK Roku devices) risk missing-out on channels like this altogether. Other websites offering Roku channel listings will base their contents on the Roku USA Channel Store, which means they also include apps that are unavailable to Roku UK users. As always... my advice, if you really want to know what's available channel-wise, for owners of Roku devices in the UK is to be sure and read this blog every week! :-)


Before I run through the new channels, however, a reminder that UK Roku users are still subject to restrictions (imposed by Roku) and (bizarrely) remain unable to access the channel descriptions from the web store on the Roku (USA) website. That said, the majority of text in those web listings can also be found within the individual 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 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 here and (instead) rely on the link to the right (below each channel icon) which (where available) will redirect you to an 'Roku Guide' review for additional details on that channel. As it stands, the links below (and to the left of) each icon are (currently) only of use to readers of this blog from the USA. This means that 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 that 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 released between 9th July 2017 and 15th July 2017:-






FIT FUSION [by Jillian Michaels]..........COST: FREE (7-Day Trial) + $9.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this 'FitFusion [by Jillian Michaels]' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku device(s) and does offer a FREE 7-DAY TRIAL with which to evaluate the content on offer from their library of fitness videos, A SUBSCRIPTION WILL BE REQUIRED for anyone wishing to maintain access to the content once the trial period is over. There are a couple of options, subscription-wise, to consider... the first being a MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION as outlined above at a cost of USD $9.99 PER MONTH and, in addition to that, there is an ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION for those looking to maintain access in the long-term priced at USD $89.99 PER YEAR which means a saving of 25% (bringing the cost down to USD $7.50 per month) for those willing & able to pay for a whole year in advance. Hopefully the 7-day trial will be enough for you to ascertain whether (or not) this particular fitness package is right for you. Whichever subscription option you choose, you will be free to cancel at any time... but be sure to check the small print, especially when subscribing yearly, as there are no refunds for partially used subscription periods.

ALSO:- While I have provided an active link to a 'Roku Guide' review (see above) it pertains to an earlier incarnation of 'FitFusion' which was developed by Pivotshare. Unfortunately, there is no new review for the latest version... meaning that not all of the information contained within the original review is applicable. There's enough similarity to warrant inclusion here, at least until a revision gets published via the 'Roku Guide' website, but be aware that certain differences will exist. My advice, if you're interested, is to visit the official website for 'FitFusion' to get the most up-to-date information. You can also connect with 'FitFusion' via social media, if you have any further questions. They have both a Twitter Feed: @FitFusionTV and an official FB page: FitFusion TV (Facebook) through which to get in-touch, should the need arise, so feel free to do so (either way) as per your preference!

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST:- Since this 'FitFusion [by Jillian Michaels]' channel was originally added to the Roku USA Channel Store back in early May 2017, you will not find it listed within the "New" category (genre) of the built-in channel store on UK Roku devices. Instead those wishing to install it in the UK will need to use the Roku 'Search' feature, or look under "Fitness" in the channel store, to locate and then add 'FitFusion [by Jillian Michaels]' to the channel selection on their devices. ;-) :-)







LITTLE THINGS.....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






ALL MARTIAL ARTS.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






MODE DE VIE [by Fawesome.TV]........................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






MEEKO's WORLD [by HappyKids.TV]..................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






iFREEDOM TV2.....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






HUFF POST..............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "NEWS & WEATHER" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






THE REFUGE..........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






VYOU..........................COST: FREE (1-Month Trial) + $1.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this 'Vyou' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku device(s) and does offer a 1-MONTH FREE TRIAL with which to evaluate the pros & cons of having permanent access to the content library, there will be a MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED by anyone wishing to maintain full access to everything the channel has to offer once the free promotional period is over. That said, the 'Vyou' channel does allow you to browse the full video library (currently 33 film titles, across a variety of genres, all released between 2013 and 2017) before you subscribe... and there are several films from the "Featured" collection (see screenshot below) that can be viewed by subscribers and non-subscribers alike. However, aside from those few exceptions, streaming of all other videos will require a subscription. Since the content is largely made-up of short films which were shot with casual, lo-fi video capture devices (i.e. cell phones, point & shoot cameras, webcams, or handy-cams) this 'Vyou' channel will most likely appeal to fans of low-budget independent film-making.





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


As can also be determined from the above screenshot, there are films on the 'Vyou' channel that have been sourced from numerous international submissions to San Francisco's "Disposable Film Festival" in recent years and, if you'd like to discover more about this annual juried film festival, I recommend you visit their official website online... where further information can be freely obtained! ;-) :-)






KORTV BEST KOREAN & CHINESE TV.....COST: FREE + FEES (OPTIONAL) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this 'KORTV Best Korean & Chinese TV' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to Roku devices and does allow you to watch (most of) the content free on an ad-supported basis, for anyone wishing to view the "Premium Content" (or remove the adverts associated with ad-supported content) VARIOUS PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE in accordance with the individual channel package chosen, ranging FROM $6.99 PER MONTH TO $19.99 PER MONTH that include total access to the available content on a commercial-free basis. For more in-depth analysis of exactly what you will be getting, I recommend you read the 'Roku Guide' review (see link above) which has a full breakdown of the content on offer. Further information can be obtained from the official website of 'KORTV' if there is any aspect of this channel about which you would like to know more! ;-) :-)







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

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






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

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






FIDGET SPINNER FREE........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






ALL KEYBOARD MUSIC HISTORY....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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






BRIDGE OF HOPE CHURCH................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






NWA BLUE COLLAR WRESTLING....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






ALT BALAJI...................................COST: FREE + $4.99 (QUARTERLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while the description for this 'ALTBalaji' channel encourages Roku users to "Watch episodes for FREE and get hooked to our exciting shows", in so far as I could tell you will need to CREATE AN ACCOUNT and CHOOSE A PAID SUBSCRIPTION if you wish to stream any of the available content on offer. In addition to the quarterly (3-month) option that I outlined above, there is also a further 6-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION option which can be yours for the (slightly reduced) fee of $7.99 (BI-ANNUALLY) plus a 12-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION option for even greater savings at $12.99 PER YEAR which is great for long-term subscribers.

BEFORE YOU SIGN-UP:- It is also worth noting that this new 'ALTBalaji' channel for Roku devices offers absolutely NO ENGLISH-LANGUAGE PROGRAMMING and is geared towards the diaspora from India, with content "tailored especially for Indians across the globe" which includes movies and television shows across multiple genres, as well as some programming for children, and a selection devoted entirely to comedy. For those fluent in any of the languages from the Indian continent which are catered to by this 'ALTBalaji' channel, there is a good mix of drama, comedy and thrillers among the original content on offer which should be enough to keep most entertained for a low monthly fee.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION... on this 'ALTBalaji' channel, I would suggest that anyone with an interest in creating an account and subscribing to the service should first visit the official website for the 'ALTBalaji' channel to get more details as to the specifics. Then, if you have additional questions, I'd advise reaching-out to 'ALTBalaji' through social media. They have a Twitter Feed: @altbalaji as well as an official FB page:- ALTBalaji (Facebook) where I'm sure they would be only too pleased to hear from anyone with an interest in their streaming service! ;-) :-)







CARNAVAL BRASIL..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






TAXVANTAGE CONSULTING..............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






HSBN - HOLY SPIRIT BROADCASTING NETWORK.......COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






WHAT'S UP MOMS................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






ACTV - ANDERSON COUNTY, SC.......................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






THE REAL 92 HIPHOP ON DEMAND.................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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




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



Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot this week and, while it barely amounts to fifty per cent of the forty-eight channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store in the same time-frame, it's still better to get these 25 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 twenty-five "public" channels outlined above... or else from the "private" channels, whose access codes were "gifted" to you via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels to this blog, at various points throughout the past week. However, 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 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 previously, you can expect my usual summary of all the goings-on (or not) in the (severely restricted) Roku Channel Store (aka "App 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 fifty-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 !!