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Roku launches its ad-supported The Roku Channel in the UK

by Mark Tyson on 7 April 2020, 13:11

Tags: Roku

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The Roku Channel has arrived in the UK. This is a free streaming channel that is ad supported, much like ITV Hub or All 4, and has no subscriptions, fees, or even logins required to enjoy the content on offer. In its press release Roku says that all UK dwellers need to enjoy its 10,000+ strong selection of movies, TV episodes, and documentaries is a Roku streaming player, Roku TV, NOW TV device or Sky Q box. Picture quality will be up to 1080p.

The Roku Channel launched in the US back in 2017 and has since expanded to offer an online web player, live news and a dedicated kids and family section. That latter category is available in the UK from the outset and perhaps the others will roll out in the UK too, in due course. Furthermore, in the US Roku enables in-app subscriptions and playing of the likes of Showtime, Starz, and HBO.

I haven't plugged in my NOW TV box since seeing this news but the Roku press release names a some of the content it has lined up for its ad-supported The Roku Channel in the UK. "Titles such as Homes Under the Hammer, The Commander, Ultimate Force, Fifth Gear, Skins and Britain's Best Bakery, alongside Hollywood hits such as Get Carter, The Wicker Man and Les Miserables," will be available from the outset, it says. Meanwhile the Kids and Family section mentioned earlier will include the following at launch: Bob the Builder, Teletubbies, Oddbods, Bernard, Ryan's World Specials, Fireman Sam and Baby Einstein Classics. In all there are over 40 content partners allowing The Roku Channel to stream their content. More publishers are expected to be added over time. Users will get personalised recommendations and in channel search capabilities on Roku and NOW TV devices.

On the topic of advertising breaks, Roku told The Verge that users will see a similar quantity of ads as per rival UK services. However, it is good to know that there won't be pre-show ads (great if you don't remember where you are up to in a series for example), and an ad won't be repeated within a half hour period.



HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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I guess when the whole point of buying a smart TV is to lose these add-on boxes we shouldn't be surprised when the add-on box makers try and make themselves more relevant.

I have a few NowTV boxs, so will take a look.
DanceswithUnix
I guess when the whole point of buying a smart TV is to lose these add-on boxes we shouldn't be surprised when the add-on box makers try and make themselves more relevant.

I have a few NowTV boxs, so will take a look.

To be fair, my experience with ‘built in’ smart tv's has literally made me want TV's WITHOUT smart features so I can just replace the smart box when the smart features stop working or are no longer updated etc even though the rest of the TV works just fine.

I've got multiple smart tv's that I've had to buy a smart box for anyway because the software isn't updated/working anymore…

Whether the roku channel takes off is another thing because lets be honest, most people HATE ads…
Agreed. I had to buy a Roku to use amazon prime app when my Sony tv stopped supporting it :(
I'd much rather have a provider agnostic set top box that I can replace for under £50 than rely on my TVs smart features.

I've had several generations of Roku for a few good reasons:

1. They're genuinely provider agnostic so have all the streaming* platforms in one place.
2. They're very simple to navigate even for the kids.
3. Very good Emby app support for my home media server.
4. They phone home and show adds, but it's far simpler to block via pi hole than my smart TV ever was.

*Britbox being the sole exception. Tried to set it up for my mother in law but despite the US version of Britbox being offered on Roku for some reason they're not supporting the platform in the UK. Why I have no idea.
LSG501
To be fair, my experience with ‘built in’ smart tv's has literally made me want TV's WITHOUT smart features so I can just replace the smart box when the smart features stop working or are no longer updated etc even though the rest of the TV works just fine.

I've got multiple smart tv's that I've had to buy a smart box for anyway because the software isn't updated/working anymore…

Whether the roku channel takes off is another thing because lets be honest, most people HATE ads…

Exactly this. I've got a five year old Samsung smart TV, and few of the apps are now working because Samsung decided to end support. There's no way I'd ditch a perfectly good TV just because Samsung decide it's not worth keeping the software updated.