Roku Is solving probably the most frustrating factor About Streaming tv containers

Roku’s new hardware allows for 4K streaming, but the biggest innovation is on the software aspect with Roku Feed.

October 6, 2015

inform me if this sounds acquainted: You’re searching around on a Roku or any other media streamer, looking for something to observe, and all of sudden you are feeling overwhelmed.

there are such a lot of apps, and so many options within those apps, that determining what to observe becomes a slog. Now you’re yearning for the previous DVR, which, regardless of its unpleasant interface and clunky hardware, at the least gifts all its content in a simple means.

Roku will have just solved this problem—no longer with its newly announced Roku 4 hardware, however with the accompanying Roku OS 7 instrument. at last, any person has managed to break down the limitations between streaming apps in a technique that is smart.

DVR with out The “R”

the center-piece of Roku’s new tool is Roku Feed, a feature that permits you to bookmark motion pictures and television shows, and get notified when they’re to be had for streaming. whereas looking via those bookmarks, you’ll see a listing of apps the place every video is to be had, drawing on greater than 20 streaming sources, reminiscent of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon high. mainly, it’s a universal watch listing for the stuff you actually care about.

The Roku Feed

Roku Feed—or “My Feed,” as it appears on the participant itself—in fact launched closing April, however at the time you need to simplest follow motion pictures that have been still in theaters. With Roku OS 7, which you can monitor movies from any time, together with tv shows, actors, and administrators. Notifications on the Roku home display point out when new movies from your feed are on hand, or when costs have changed.

In a technique, Roku Feed is resembles the menu you’d to find on a DVR, with a tremendous listing of movies that’s all the time being up to date as new content material becomes to be had. in comparison with universal search—which continues to be the point of interest on different tv packing containers like Apple tv and Android tv—the feed seems like a more useful place to begin. Search only makes extra experience when you in truth comprehend what you’re in search of.

Roku’s smartphone app

“it is a method for us to bring content material to you,” says Sharad Sundaresan, Roku’s senior vice president of product administration. “it can be roughly like the hunt that keeps on looking out.”

this method also extends to a revamped Roku mobile app, which lets customers browse and add to their feeds from anywhere. The app can send notifications to your phone or pill when new content arrives, and you should use the app to launch videos on the Roku itself.

Roku will begin rolling out the new instrument—which additionally adds improve for resort and dorm room Wi-Fi networks—to “present-technology” Roku avid gamers in mid-October.

New Hardware to compare

Alongside Roku OS 7, the corporate can also be announcing a brand new tv box known as the Roku 4. At $130, it’s the costliest streamer Roku sells, nevertheless it’s also the first Roku player to enhance 4K video.

The Roku 4

Roku isn’t the primary media streamer to do that. The Nvidia protect Android tv launched with 4K support in may just, and Amazon simply released a hearth tv box with 4K streaming as well. however once more, Roku targets to simplify discovering 4K content, which is still slightly scarce. a unique “4K spotlight” part of the home monitor will embody a mixture of motion pictures, television displays, and internet video that make the most of the tremendous-high-decision structure.

the brand new participant will even allow for a resolution raise to 1080p for the primary Roku interface (different fashions use 720p for everything however the actual video streams), and Roku guarantees sooner instrument general as a result of the Roku 4’s quad-core processor. It helps the newest 802.11ac Wi-Fi usual, and in addition includes optical audio output.

The remote regulate is essentially unchanged—no Apple television-type contact pads here—but Roku is adding a speaker with one clever goal: If the remote ever gets misplaced in the couch cushions, that you would be able to have it play a tone by means of urgent a button on the set-top box.

“it’s one of the vital options i like, as a result of it solves a real problem,” says Lloyd Klarke, Roku’s director of product administration.

taking part in It Cool

These are challenging times for Roku, which used to be one of the most first entrants within the streaming tv field industry. Google’s Chromecast has bought 20 million devices to date, and its Android tv platform will quickly be integrated into televisions from HiSense and TCL—both of which at the moment integrate Roku’s instrument. Amazon threatens to win on pricing with its $40 fire television Stick and its $one hundred hearth television, the latter of which undercuts Roku’s 4K streamer through $30. in the meantime, the upcoming Apple television may capture the high end of the market, just as Apple has executed with smartphones and tablets.

still, Roku has confronted down existential threats sooner than, and the strategy is usually simply to keep offering a extra sensible product. Roku Feed may play an incredible role, particularly as a result of it has so many streaming services on board.

In that regard, Amazon’s choice final week to ban Apple television and Chromecast from its online retailer seems fortuitous for Roku. Amazon is not likely to free up top Video apps for Apple and Google structures each time quickly, leaving Roku as the only low-cost streaming option not made by Amazon itself.

once I spoke with Roku CEO Anthony timber prior this year about the corporate’s long-time period survival plan, he pointed to Roku’s standing as an “independent, trusted associate” for streaming products and services. “if you happen to think about our rivals, like Apple, Google, and Amazon, they all have content material choices of their very own, and all prioritize and preference their content material. And consumers recognize that,” wood mentioned.

With these corporations now publicly quarreling in a method that punishes their consumers, Roku’s strategy might begin to pay off.

[Photos: courtesy of Roku]

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