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.