Saturday, January 25, 2014

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #46

Hi, everyone !!

Having found the completion of my previous 'Weekly RoundUp' delayed somewhat by an unexpected "tech emergency" from a good friend, it seemed somehow fitting that I then spent much of the next seven days helping several Roku owners to solve some minor troubles of their own. Fortunately, there was little else going on (at the start of the week) either in terms of "New" Roku channels or, as it happens, in terms of any major Roku-related news stories. In fact, the first batch of latest additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store brought nothing more than UK versions of some older Roku channels but, it must be said, they were all very welcome additions to the selection of channels available on UK Roku players. Of course there were also some genuinely "New" channels added to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store during the past seven days, as you are soon to discover.

Meanwhile, in addition to new channels, we've also had some more new readers coming to the pages of this blog. Once again there were many repeat visits from the various countries that I've mentioned in previous posts and, as with two weeks ago, there were another two countries that had not yet graced the pages of this blog until now. So, before we go any further with the current 'Weekly RoundUp', I'd first like to extend a warm welcome to those new readers from Armenia and Monaco, who each took the time to pay a maiden visit to these pages during the past seven days.

To those new readers, and to everyone else who continues to read my Roku-related ramblings here on this blog, I'd just like to say... "Thanks for stopping by" & long may you continue to do so.

Moving on, in terms of Roku-related news, one of the most pleasing discoveries came when I took some time to peruse the latest 'CNET 100' list which is designed to track "tech's hottest products", using an exclusive algorhythm developed by 'CNET', and display the results on a month-to-month basis in a "leaderboard" format. The latest results, for the month of January 2014, indicated a climb of eight places for the Roku 3 which 'CNET' describe as, "the best streaming-video box yet". So it's (perhaps) unsurprising that the "Speedy Media Streamer" now finds itself at #5 in the 'CNET 100', now ahead of the Apple TV which (itself) rose five places to #6 on the leaderboard. Those of you who follow the companion Twitter Feed to this blog: @ukrokuchannels will already have seen my tweets on this subject but, in case they missed it themselves, I'd also like to take this opportunity to extend my CONGRATULATIONS to everyone at Roku ON THIS FANTASTIC ACHIEVEMENT and I hope to see the Roku 3 on top of the leaderboard sometime soon - fingers crossed !!

ALSO:- Following on from the news in my "Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #45" that Roku had confirmed it's a priority for them "to make 'YouTube' available on Roku 2, Roku 1 and Roku LT players this year!", we owe a debt of gratitude to '@Ferdeenand' for taking the initiative to find out from Roku whether the Roku 2 XS was also going to be included among the Roku models due to receive this long-awaited update. Fortunately, the response from Roku was (yet again) a positive one... as evidenced in the following screenshot from Twitter:-

HINT: Click on the above image to ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!

PLUS... DON'T FORGET:- there is still a chance for you to WIN ONE OF TEN 'Roku 2' PLAYERS by voting in the Guardian Film Awards 2014 and you can access the voting form VIA THIS LINK but be sure to submit your entry by no later than NOON on 16th FEBRUARY 2014 in order to qualify. You'll find details of all the other prizes available, as well as confirmation of the rules, by following the above link. GOOD LUCK to anyone that enters... let's hope that both the '4oD' and 'YouTube' channels have been added to the 'Roku 2' player by the time you get your prize, if you're a winner !!

Anyway, let's now press on with the details for the current 'Weekly RoundUp' of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. This time, there are EIGHT NEW CHANNELS which have been added during the past seven days. These latest additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store provided FRESH CONTENT to the Film & TV, Music, Photos & Video plus Special Interest genres (i.e. categories).

In keeping with previous installments from the 'Weekly RoundUp' series, details of these new channels have all been listed below, together with links to obtain further information {by clicking on the channel name(s) beneath the respective channel icon(s) as pictured} and to read a 'Roku Guide' review with an independent (slightly more expansive) assessment of each one:-

REALPLAYER CLOUD...........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

COWBOY CLASSICS.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

DRIVE-IN CLASSICS.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

KUNG-FU THEATER..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

360 TUNE BOX......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

GAIAM TV......................COST: FREE (10-DAY TRIAL) + $9.95 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

DIGITALLY REX....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY CHANNEL......................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]


Still, whether it's uploading your videos (in any format) to the 'RealPlayer Cloud' so that you can then share them or else watch them on your TV through Roku (or pretty much any device... including PC, iPad, iPhone & Android mobile devices) via your home network, or getting the popcorn ready and settling down to enjoy some drive-in classics (feat. zombies, space aliens & spooks), sporting some spurs and a 10-gallon hat, while watching some classic westerns, and dreaming of the open range, or putting on your favourite white robe, with a neck-tie wrapped around your head, and then speaking out-of-sync while practicing your best round-house kicks to a collection of classic kung-fu movies, or enjoying an array of inspirational films, uplifting entertainment & original programming designed to nourish your body, mind & soul (including heart-pumping fitness videos, relaxing yoga practices & wellness programmes), listening to digitally imported streams of the world's most addictive electronic music, or watching a variety of music videos by breakthrough & emerging artists instead of the "brand names" from the global music industry, or (perhaps) even exploring the world of the supernatural, with videos of experts investigating paranormal activities, possessions, exorcisms & alien abductions across the globe... we've pretty much got all those bases covered with this latest batch of NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store.

Anyway, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, regardless of whether we allow them to include last week's missing channel 'My Favorite Movies' this time around, we have still managed to exceed the seven new channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store during the same time-frame. Of course if we exclude it, on the grounds that it was (in fact) released last week, then we have had TWO EXTRA NEW ADDITIONS to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store than there were in the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store. Even so... win, lose or draw, it's better to have SOME NEW CHOICES rather than none at all !!

That said, hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the eight channels outlined above. If not, then you'll just have to pay us a visit another time when, with any luck, there will be something more to your liking. Afterall, there's no point installing every channel because, as I've said before, when it comes to adding new channels to Roku player, IT'S YOUR CHOICE and, as with all things Roku... THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS !!


Meanwhile, for my last twenty-four 'Weekly RoundUp' posts, I have been suggesting we spare a thought for all the poor folk who handed over their hard-earned cash for one of those NowTV Boxes [Powered by Sky] which, as you may recall, have (so far) totally failed to live up to their full potential. Likewise, the original promise from NowTV of "more apps being continually added", is yet to be adhered to, since there has been ONLY ONE NEW CHANNEL ADDED to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box SINCE THE PRODUCT LAUNCHED. Moreover, this sustained lack of creativity from the Roku Channel Development team at NowTV HQ has led to a themed workday...

HINT: Click on the above image to ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!



Yes, rumour has it that "Tumbleweed Fridays" have become a "thing" around the offices of NowTV, whenever they fail to come up with any new additions to the (overwhelmingly restricted) version of the Roku Channel Store that features on the NowTV Box. Of course, given that this has been the case for all-but-one 'Friday' in the past six months, it was inevitable that something like this would happen. So, in the above illustration, we see a channel developer for NowTV being asked, "What's on your mind today?", and (of course) much like any other week the answer is, "Zilch!" because (apparently) all of the good ideas for new channels have been snapped up & feature in the far superior Roku Channel Store that is included on all original Roku streaming media players !!

Joking aside, if you'd like to discover more about the cartoonist responsible for the above illustration then be sure to visit her blog, linked to in the 'CARTOON SOURCE' (above), for many other fine examples of her work. Connie Sun is an Asian-American artist, originally from California, who now lives & works in New York City. Her blog, which began as a personal project back in August 2011, features daily illustrated status messages and is well worth a visit on "Tumbleweed Friday" or any other day of the week !! Keep searching for your voice, Connie, your attempts are everything !!

Meanwhile, it's likely to be of no surprise to any of you that (as with EVERY WEEK BAR ONE since it was launched) there has (once more) been literally NO ACTION in terms of NEW ADDITIONS to the Roku Channel Store selection on the NowTV Box. What this means is that, over the course of the past week, NowTV have (again) produced a (NOT SO) GRAND TOTAL of ZERO NEW CHANNELS to add to their (already SEVERELY REDUCED) version of the Roku Channel Store as included on their NowTV Box. Meanwhile, the "Official" Roku Channel Store that features on all UK Roku players has added a further EIGHT EXTRA CHANNELS during that same period of time. To keep things firmly in perspective, in the twenty-six weeks since the launch of the NowTV Box, there has been a total of TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE EXTRA CHANNELS added to the Roku Channel Store on UK Roku players, as compared with ONE EXTRA CHANNEL being added to the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box. That, surely, must tell you something ?!!!

Still, with the sudden reappearance of 'EWTN Europe' in the "Religion & Spirituality" genre, it's now a (slightly improved) case of one step forward and (only) two steps back when it comes to the meagre selection of channels available in the Roku Channel Store which features on the streaming media player from NowTV. To illustrate my point... from the moment that the NowTV Box was launched, they have managed to completely lose 'WatchIndia' and 'USTV Now', with 'HooplaKidz' plus 'VEVO' electing to hide out in the "Most Popular" channels category and 'Havoc Television' going completely AWOL from the channel store all together (although it will still be listed among "My Channels" if you happen to have added it previously)... presumably they all went into hiding from the embarrassment associated with the lack of channels in their original channel store categories on the NowTV Box - and who can blame them for that, poor things ?!!

Sadly, this means that there is a total of just 47 CHANNELS to be found in the NowTV Box version of the Roku Channel Store PLUS the 'NOW TV' and 'Sky Store' channels, but (let's not forget) they are only there by default and not included with the apps (i.e. channels) in the Roku Channel Store on the NowTV Box. So, leaving aside the "Most Popular" channels and any additional channels listed under "My Channels" (as I do with my channel count for the Roku player), when it comes to the actual Roku Channel Store categories on the NowTV Box, there remains no more than a paltry 45 channels in total, compared with 750+ in the channel store on UK Roku players !!!

Bearing this in mind... whilst the NowTV Box won't exactly leave you out-of-pocket, if you are after a streaming media player which can genuinely boast of "more apps being continually added" and is a lot less likely to leave you wanting by the time that the January sales have ended, then I strongly advise you to do yourselves a BIG FAVOUR and spend the extra twenty quid or so to get a genuine original Roku LT streaming media player that will allow you to ACCESS NETFLIX plus many other film & tv channels (incl. NowTV) as well as having the 'Plex' channel readily available via the channel store and will give you more than 700 EXTRA CHANNELS TO CHOOSE FROM compared with the selection (currently) found on a NowTV Box.


Still, whether you happen to own a Roku player, a NowTV Box, OR BOTH, as I do... be sure to come back in seven days' time for my next 'Weekly RoundUp' and, 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 !!