Saturday, June 17, 2017

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #223

Hi, everyone !!

As anyone who follows my companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels can attest, there has been very little by way of Roku-specific and/or Roku-related news during the past seven days. While it's not (immediately) of importance to UK Roku users, however, there was one BIG NEWS story to emerge from Mexico early yesterday (Friday) which could (possibly) impact on Roku users in any (and all) Roku regions / countries at some time in the future...

A translation of the original (Spanish language) headline, from a news story which was published by Álvaro Cueva of 'Milenio', reads: "The War Against Roku Has Begun!" and the article which bore it began rather ominously with the following statement:-

Bad news for Roku users: Cablevisión, SA de CV got sales of Roku devices suspended.

Cueva then went on to say: "I have, in my hands, a copy of the file '436/2017' from the Superior Court of Justice in the City of Mexico - 38th Civil Court" which, according to the journalist, asked companies like 'Liverpool', 'The Iron Palace', and 'Sears' (to name but a few) plus online retailers, including 'Amazon', to stop importing and selling Internet TV STB Decoders made by Roku. It is not (yet?) clear if this will apply to the City of Mexico alone, or to the entire country of Mexico... but, either way, it seems like a harsh move and one which I hope will (at least) prove only temporary in the scheme of things - or, else, completely false (at best). So far, there has been no official word from either Roku (themselves) or from any of the retailers which were cited in the court documentation. Much of the comment and opinion which has been shared (to date) appears to have been posted via social media, with Roku users in Mexico being (unsurprisingly) the most vocal over the subject.

There is, however, another (much darker) side to the story which pertains to third-party IPTV apps that Roku users have installed as private channels. According to the article by Álvaro Cueva, further action appears to have been taken against some of the financial operations through which people had been making their monthly payments for these IPTV services. As such... banks like 'Banorte' as well as 'BBVA Bancomer', and even chains such as 'Oxxo' and '7-Eleven', have all been ordered to refrain from receiving payments against "a very long list of accounts" which were linked to one particular IPTV service in Mexico that was being offered via private channel(s) for Roku users to stream. The article also raised the question as to what might have led to such action(s) being taken... was it merely the possibility of being able to stream content in Mexico which originated from other countries? Or, was it another case of a cable / satellite distributor being panicked over falling subscriber numbers and, instead of embracing new technologies like Roku (as Sky have done with 'NowTV' in the UK), are they seeking to block and/or wipe-out the competition by any means at their disposal?

Much like Álvaro Cueva, I am keen to hear the thoughts of not only Roku, plus the various stores and banks involved, but also any Roku users from Mexico who read this blog (and I know there are quite a few of you out there!) when it comes to this issue. So, if you happen to live in the City of Mexico (or even the country of Mexico) and have any updates to share on this news story, I'd appreciate it if you could leave a comment at the bottom of this post so that I can share the information with other Roku users. Meanwhile, let's hope Roku are able to maintain an open platform and keep the ability to add (sideload) channels from third-party developers via their website (with an access code) because, as we've seen in the UK from when 'NowTV' disabled that feature on their own-branded devices, it didn't go down well with NowTV Box users... many of whom looked elsewhere to replace the lost functionality and "elsewhere" did not mean flocking to cable and/or satellite companies who still charge far too much for their services. Don't they realise people took to streaming to save money? Or else to watch what they want, when they want, without interruptions for commercials? Let's hope the people of Mexico can keep buying and enjoying their Roku devices, just as we do in other Roku regions and countries, and not suffer at the hands of monopoly-seeking cable providers. If they can't buy the devices locally, they'll only import them anyway... right?! So, why not leave things be!?!!

Anyway, that's the only Roku-specific and/or Roku-related news which I've managed to find for you this week. All that remains now is for me to bring you my summary of all the latest additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, so that you can see if there's anything worth adding to your own (custom) selection of streaming channels. As has often been the case of late, the list (once again) begins with a 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. 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 be sure to read this blog each and every week! ;-) :-)

However, before I run through the new channels, 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 11th June 2017 and 17th June 2017:-

BROADWAY HD..............................COST: FREE + $14.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]


PLEASE NOTE:- That, since this 'BroadwayHD' channel was originally added to the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store over a year ago now, you will not find it listed within the "New" category (genre) of the built-in channel store found on Roku devices in the UK. Instead, those wishing to install this channel from the UK will either need to use the Roku 'Search' feature, or look under "Film & TV" in the channel store, to locate and then add 'BroadwayHD' to the channel selection on their devices. While the channel itself is FREE-TO-ADD to Roku device(s), theatre fans hoping to enjoy this collection of performances from the stages of Broadway, Off-Broadway, London's West End, and beyond (incl. professional touring productions), should be aware that A SUBSCRIPTION IS REQUIRED at a cost of either $14.99 PER MONTH or the (slightly) reduced annual payment of $169.00 PER YEAR to be able to watch popular titles, such as: "Kiss Me, Kate"; "A Christmas Carol"; "Jesus Christ Superstar"; "Phantom of the Opera"; "Cats"; "Les Miserables", and more... via the 'BroadwayHD' Roku channel on their devices. If you have an existing account with the 'BroadwayHD' service, you can link it to your Roku. If not... you can create an account from the channel's splash screen or, if you'd rather not do that, you can also register & choose your subscription level through the 'BroadwayHD' website. Sadly, unlike many other subscription channels, there is no option to view / browse the range of titles from within the Roku channel without first taking-out a subscription to the service. Luckily, however, there is a complete list of all available content on the 'BroadwayHD' website! ;-) :-)

SO, WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? Well, if you really love the theatre but often wish that you could capture the magic of those stage performances and transport them to your television screen at home, then this is the channel for you! With something for every theatre lover, 'BroadwayHD' is an online streaming service (founded by Broadway producers Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley) whose mission is to both promote and preserve live theatre while, in so-doing, also further extending the reach of Broadway and Broadway-caliber shows to anyone, anywhere. As an added bonus, the subscription library of 'BroadwayHD' includes both classics and newly produced, exclusive theatre content that you won't see anywhere else. You'll find content across multiple genres within the video library of 'BroadwayHD', including: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Education, Musicals and Romance, plus (of course) works by Shakespeare. Should you require any extra information, then I suggest you visit the official website of the 'BroadwayHD' channel where additional details about the service can be found. Alternatively, you may choose to connect with them via social media... where you will find they have both a FB Page:- BroadwayHD (Facebook) and Twitter Feed: @BroadwayHD through which to get in touch with any questions, or share any thoughts, you might have about the service.

FULLSCREEN............COST: FREE (1-Week Trial) + $5.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]


PLEASE NOTE:- That, while this 'Fullscreen' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku device(s) and does offer a FREE ONE-WEEK TRIAL during which you can sample what is on offer, if you wish to maintain access to the content library once the free promotional period has ended there will be a cost of $5.99 PER MONTH to do so. It's also worth noting that, like most Roku channels which operate on this basis, you'll be subject to RECURRING MONTHLY PAYMENTS and continue to be charged for the service UNTIL SUCH TIME AS YOU CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION with the content provider. Luckily, before you decide to commit, there is the option to browse the entire video library within the channel free-of-charge... but, having said that, you'll need a subscription in order to view any of the content you may find therein.

SO, WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? Well, if you'd like to know what your money is going to buy you in respect of a subscription to the 'Fullscreen' channel, you can expect commercial-free access to a wide variety of programming (from original series to movies) across multiple genres. You will have instant access to thousands of hours of content, with movies covering most of the more traditional / popular genres of film (e.g. drama, comedy, horror, etc.) and TV series that include original programming as well as old favourites which may no longer be available elsewhere. If the choice seems like too much, as it often does with subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services such as this, then you can always pick something based on your mood... thanks to the built-in 'Mood Filter' option, that has everything divided-up into categories such as "Laughing Till It Hurts", or "IDK, Surprise Me", plus special selections dedicated to "Cheering Up", or "Getting Weird" if that's more your thing! There is even an entire category given-over to "Learning New Things" for those of you who wish to broaden your horizons and try something different. Should you require any extra information, then I suggest you visit the official website of the 'Fullscreen' channel where additional details about the service can be found. Alternatively, you may choose to connect with them via social media... where you will find they have both a FB Page:- Fullscreen Inc. (Facebook) and Twitter Feed: @Fullscreen through which to get in touch with any questions, or share any thoughts, you might have about the service.

LUXURY TRINE TV................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


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

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

NOW4..............................................COST: FREE + £2.99 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

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

PLEASE NOTE:- That while this 'Now4' channel is FREE-TO-ADD to your Roku device(s) and, as per the image above, does offer "all concerts, all the time" for Roku users to stream... those wishing to enjoy their collection of on-demand concerts should note that a MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION will be required, at a cost of £2.99 PER MONTH for full access, in order to view concert footage from the likes of Frank Sinatra to Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse to Metallica. Their collection of concerts includes many more popular artists like U2, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Robert Cray, as well as Rihanna & Eminem… featuring many hours of live footage all for one low monthly fee! :-)

One of the great features built-in to the 'Now4' channel, by developer 'Quotronics', is the ability to view the setlist(s) of your chosen concert(s) complete with the timings at which individual songs are featured throughout the length of each video concert performance, as shown in the images below:-

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

This means you can easily see (at-a-glance) every song performed by Robert Cray at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 2008 (as per the sample screenshot above) before enjoying it in it's entirety. Or, if (like me) you have sometimes wished old 'Slowhand' would get his mojo workin' a bit quicker and get through the set list so that you can hear "Layla" (or whatever) you can make a note of the time your favourite song is being played and skip straight to it, instead of wondering "How Long" it will be until he plays it. There's also no need to worry about missing the last train home after the concert, or stand there thinking it's "High Time We Went" as the last bus is due while he's still playing! ;-) :-)

Moreover, with the subscription price being set at an affordable level of just £2.99 per month, I can see this 'Now4' channel proving equally popular with long-term subscribers as for those who would rather dip in & out from time-to-time just as the mood suits. One thing is for sure... and that's, with ticket prices for live concerts getting more and more expensive these days, you won't have to worry about the cost of watching your favourite artist(s) using the 'Now4' channel on your Roku device and you're (almost) certain to get a better view than those who paid for the privilege of being there! ;-) :-)

FRODO AND CHICHI [by HappyKids.TV].............................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

USB PLAYLIST PLAYER........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


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

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

SABBATH SCHOOL TV.........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


THE LIVING WORD MINISTRIES.......................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


GRACE SUMMIT CHURCH GEORGIA...............................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


YESTERDAY TOMORROW..................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


THE WINNING WALK...........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


STORYFUL ANIMALS...........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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

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


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


FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH...........................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


SEC MEDIA.............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]



Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot this week and, while it's barely more than sixty per cent of the twenty-nine channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store in the same time-frame, it's still better to get these 18 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 eighteen "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 forty-nine 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 !!

1 comment:

  1. Don't be surprised if Roku itself bans the usage of their device outside US/CA/MX or any other country Roku has legal presence due to this, even VPN access. So, personally, I highly discourage people who is not in the list of countries Roku is operating to buy a Roku at this time.

    Personally, I decided not to buy anything from Roku (I know a distributor who is importing the devices to Ecuador) until the company itself starts selling their products officially in my country. It's nothing personal, but I want to avoid any surprises if Roku decides to blackout any devices that aren't registered outside United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Mexico due to those pirate apps.