Saturday, April 8, 2017

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #213





Hi, everyone !!



The week began with the (somewhat alarming) news that Media Streaming Market, part of Exertis UK Limited, who handle all of the sales from the "Official" Roku UK website appear to have zero stocks for any of the current UK Roku models (i.e. Roku Streaming Stick, Roku 2 and Roku 3) if this screenshot of the product page is anything to go by:-




HINT: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!


If you look in the lower left-hand corner (above the footer column with the disclaimer / payment info) you will see that it says: "No products were found matching your selections" and, where you would otherwise see product images plus pricing for the afore-mentioned Roku models, there are no devices shown... meaning that none of the current-generation UK Roku players can be purchased! :-O


The "selections" were made by clicking on the "Buy now" buttons from the product comparison page of the "Official" Roku UK website... any of which will (when clicked) then redirect you to the official website for Media Streaming Market. That is because all product sales from the UK Roku website are handled by Exertis UK Limited who are responsible for the fulfilment of any such online purchases. I have messaged both Roku and Exertis (via Twitter) asking them to comment on this situation but have yet to get a response. However, you would think that Roku would at least acknowledge the issue, and (maybe) disable the "Buy now" buttons, as well as posting an apology to potential buyers of their products here in the UK. As it stands, there is nothing on their website to suggest that anyone clicking on the "Buy now" button for their chosen Roku model will be unable to complete a purchase when re-directed to the website of Media Streaming Market, as evidenced by the screenshot below:-




AS BEFORE: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!


Aside from being extremely frustrating for any UK Roku purchasers who might have opted to buy their streaming media player direct from the manufacturer of the product(s)... this does not look good on Roku for a handful of reasons including, but not limited to, the following:-


  1. Giving would-be customers the run-around before they have even got the product;
  2. Failing to maintain minimum stock levels across the product range;
  3. Failing to acknowledge the problem;
  4. Failing to update their website to address the issue, and;
  5. Ignoring repeated requests for answers as to what is happening and why


Having first drawn attention to this matter on Monday 3rd April 2017 via the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels to this blog (as evidenced by the screenshot below) I am sad to say that, five days later, nothing seems to have been done about it... and, unfortunately, there is still no stock showing when attempting to make a purchase via the Media Streaming Market website. Hopefully, by re-enforcing my concerns in this 'Weekly RoundUp' post, Roku and/or Exertis UK Limited will be prompted to take action over this (inexcusable) situation, but only time will tell...




ONCE AGAIN: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT  for easier viewing !!


Of course none of this really helps any NowTV Box owners who, after all their recent woes, may well be looking to upgrade their NowTV Boxes for genuine Roku UK streaming media players. As if not having sufficient access to Roku apps on NowTV devices wasn't enough of a pain... they are now faced with not having the ability to purchase alternative products (via the Roku website) by way of an attempt to address those shortcomings!


Speaking of which... those "shortcomings" (in respect of the limited Roku app selection) got even shorter (if that's the right word?!) with the removal of the 'Revision3' Roku channel from the built-in 'App Store' that features on all (ahem) "Roku Powered" (more like "Roku Restricted", if you ask me) streaming devices from NowTV. Again, I broke the bad news to NowTV Box users via Twitter:-






As evidenced by the above screenshot... this latest withdrawal of (yet) another Roku channel, from the (already massively restricted) selection by which 'NowTV' have decided to limit users of their own-branded devices, means there is now a choice of only 49 Roku channels... which is laughable, when compared to the selection of 3,700+ apps to which owners of genuine Roku-branded devices in the UK have access via the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store on their streaming media players! :-)


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 'Revision3' app has also been removed from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store found on all genuine Roku-branded streaming media players here in the UK, as well as in other Roku "regions" around the globe. However, unlike the 'App Store' on NowTV devices, there is another Roku channel - going by the name of 'Seeker' in the channel store - which offers content from 'Revision3', as well as 'TestTube', and other sources which came about as the result of a merger between them in the Spring of 2016. Unfortunately, like I said, if you are relying on a NowTV Box for your streaming content... you will not find the 'Seeker' channel for Roku devices in the 'App Store' for streaming media players from NowTV. Luckily, however, owners of all genuine Roku-branded devices can simply add the 'Seeker' app (see channel icon below) to continue streaming content from 'Revision3' on Roku players. Sounds like (yet) another good reason to upgrade from a NowTV Box to one of the (far superior) Roku devices that can offer far more content to UK streamers! ;-) :-)






Also affecting users of both NowTV Boxes and genuine Roku-branded devices (in all regions) is the decision by Spotify to update their Roku channel and, in so doing, remove playlists from the menu. It seems an odd move, given how popular that particular feature / functionality is/was with subscribers to the audio streaming service, but it would appear to have happened as a consequence of re-coding their apps for other platforms... leading to incompatibility with their app Roku devices. Having seen all the fuss made by subscribers, much of it via social media as I (myself) can attest, there was a new discussion thread started on the Spotify Community Messageboard which includes comment(s) from Spotify that may help to clarify the situation for those among you who (like me) are currently unable to get the maximum use from their "Spotify Premium" accounts and may wish to look elsewhere for a paid music subscription service that can better cater to their user interface (UI) requirements!






One such alternative that I might (otherwise) have recommended is 'Deezer' who, like 'Spotify', also have a channel for those wishing to stream audio content through their Roku device(s). However, I'm sad to say that the 'Deezer' channel for Roku streaming media players is (itself) also experiencing issues when launching and (currently) fails to even load-up the main menu... causing Roku devices to crash-out from the 'Deezer' app, and go back to the Roku 'Home Screen', almost immediately after the 'Splash Screen' has appeared (the one with the 'Deezer' logo super-imposed over an audience photo at a live concert venue) without fully loading the main menu for their own channel.






This latest failure of the 'Deezer' channel on Roku follows hot on the heels of a similar recent issue which took developers TWO WHOLE MONTHS to fix. In fact, the 'Deezer' channel had only been fully operational on Roku again for a number of weeks before this happened... so, I'm hoping it will not take as long for them to fix things this time around. With no 'Google Play Music' option for Roku users, after the (previously perfectly functional) private channel by 'Nowhereman', called 'Nowhere Music', which allowed Roku users to stream 'Google Music' through their devices was withdrawn (presumably at the request of 'Google' or, perhaps, as a result of changes to their API) and with no "official" app from 'Google' to replace it... the current choices for paid music subscriptions on Roku are a bit limited! Guess we'll just have to persevere with 'Spotify' for the time being, after all!?!! :-/ :-(






Meanwhile... another Roku channel common to both NowTV Boxes and UK Roku devices that has been causing issues for some (but, by no means all) users is 'BBC iPlayer' which seems to have been throwing-up "Error 404" messages when attempting to stream content. If that sounds familiar to you, then you might want to check-out this official statement from Roku Support who have acknowledged the issue and are "...working with BBC to investigate" and (hopefully) find a resolution to this 'Service Interruption' with 'BBC iPlayer' as soon as possible, as evidenced by the screenshot below:-




ONCE AGAIN: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!


In the meantime, Roku have stressed that: "You do not need to contact Roku Support or take any other action" in relation to this matter, and suggest that you simply keep trying to use the app (every now & again) until the issue has been resolved. They have also apologised for the inconvenience. On the plus side... there's no more bad news for users of NowTV Boxes or UK Roku devices this week! :-)






Sticking with the (far more preferable) positive vibe, I gained further insight into the 'TVPlayer' promotion (on Twitter) for which I published details last week and am hopeful will still be valid when the long-awaited 'TVPlayer' channel for Roku UK devices is launched in the (not too distant) future. Having enquired about the need to "opt out" of their free trial, in order to gain access to the two 'Eurosport' channels, I was given precise details as to how this would effect the pricing for the Twitter promo specific to the part of the offer whereby the second month would be charged at half-price. I was curious to know whether you would lose this benefit altogether, and be charged £5.99 per month from the outset, or if the offer price of £2.99 would (instead) be applied to the first month as a result of opting-out of the free trial. Happily I'm pleased to report that, while you will lose the "free" month of your trial (in order to gain access to the 'Eurosport' channels) you will only be charged £2.99 initially... with the price rising to £5.99 from the next month onwards, unless you choose to cancel your 'TVPlayer Plus' subscription. So, provided this promotion is still valid when 'TVPlayer' launches on UK Roku devices, we can look forward to either free access (minus the 'Eurosport' channels) or reduced-price access (including the 'Eurosport' channels) at only £2.99 with which to test-out the premium service on Roku UK devices, before deciding whether (or not) to continue with a paid subscription to 'TVPlayer Plus' or enjoy the free channels found in the basic 'TVPlayer' package! :-)


Speaking of Roku-related "Special Offers", I have some good news for Roku users in Canada... with the latest promotion from Roku that entitles you to a FREE 60-DAY TRIAL OF beINSPORTS when you purchase any new Roku device (excluding refurbished units) or Roku TV between 3rd April and 9th July 2017. Once you activate your new Roku, those with qualifying purchases will receive emails from Roku containing a unique code for their promo pass to the 'beINSPORTS CONNECT' service. To redeem your code simply sign-in or create an 'beINSPORTS' account, no later than 11:59pm EDT on 9th July 2017, by visiting the official 'beINSPORTS CONNECT' website. Just be sure to cancel your subscription before the end of your 60-day free trial, to avoid the on-going monthly payment of $19.95 CAD that is otherwise associated with the use of this service! ;-) :-)






Of course, lately, it seems that barely a week goes by without another announcement from the leading SVOD streaming service, Netflix... and the past seven days have proven to be no exception. The news published, via the 'Netflix' media centre, this week concerned the announcement that 'Netflix' are to simulcast a new South Korean series - called "Man x Man" - from Korean cable TV and broadcasting company 'JTBC'. An exclusive international licensing agreement will see the original series premiere on 21st April 2017, as part of a global simulcast that brings the show from Korea to over 93 million subscribers across 190 countries in over 20 languages. Aside from South Korea and the United States, "Man x Man" will stream globally on Netflix the same time as it premieres on JTBC. In South Korea, the series will be live on 'Netflix' an hour after airing on 'JTBC', whereas; in the U.S., it will be in two parts, each comprising eight episodes. This latest 'Netflix Original' drama series tells the story of Kim Seol Woo (played by Park Hae Jin), who becomes a ghost bodyguard for a top hallyu star, the secret "men" who surround him, and their mysterious exploits - whatever that means!?!! :-O ;-)


As is often the case, whenever 'Netflix' has some big news to share... there is usually also a significant story emanating from the folks at 'Amazon' a day or two either side of that. Personally... I believe this latest Amazon-related news article, which I came across on the 'Variety' website, somewhat eclipses the announcement from 'Netflix' since it concerns the acquisition (by Amazon) of streaming rights for ten "Thursday Night Football" games from the upcoming 2017 season in the NFL. Those of you who follow the sport will perhaps (as I do) recall how Twitter won streaming rights for the 2016 season, in what was the first time the NFL had cut a rights deal for a games package with an online-only partner. That particular deal is said to have been worth $10 Million (USD) for which Twitter are said to have averaged 2.7 million viewers (defined as those who tuned-in for at least 3 seconds of a given telecast) according to data released by the league. While it may have seemed like a lot at the time, the figure of $50 Million (USD) said to have been paid by Amazon in this latest one-year agreement for what is (essentially) the same package makes it seem like a bargain!






The good news for Roku users who subscribe to 'Amazon Prime' is that the “TNF” games will be made available to 'Prime Video' members in over 200 countries internationally... including the UK! Not such good news, from a UK perspective, is that most "Thursday Night Football" games kick-off at 8:25 p.m. EST which will mean a 1:25 a.m. (Friday) start for anyone watching from the UK. Still, if you've ever had to stay up late for the Superbowl, or other Sunday / Monday night games with an 8:30 p.m. start, then you should be used to it by now and will know what is expected of you! ;-) :-)


The Amazon deal for "Thursday Night Football" comes just as the NFL and its TV partners are looking to overhaul the on-air presentation of games, the placement of commercial breaks, and other aspects of game-play designed to speed up the action on the gridiron. Last year, Twitter picked up the game feeds produced by CBS and NBC. It’s unclear if that will change in the forthcoming season. In the meantime, let's not forget that Amazon are already in business with the NFL on “All or Nothing,” an unscripted series chronicling the return of the Rams NFL franchise to Los Angeles after 20-plus years in St. Louis. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog may recall my mentioning in my previous 'Weekly RoundUp' post that the series was renewed for a second season last week. So, all things considered, things are looking-up for fans of American Football looking to stream NFL action on Roku devices worldwide... even more so, those with an 'Prime Video' subscription from Amazon! :-)


In the meantime, as in other recent 'Weekly RoundUp' posts, I'm (again) going to ask you to refer back to the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels for details of some special offers which may be of interest. Sadly, the deal on 'Roku 2' [Model: 4205EU] which I've been sharing repeatedly for the past month is now over. This may (or may not) have been due to the stock shortages for that model across many of the "Recommended Roku Retailers" here in the UK. Let's hope this is simply a prelude to the launch of new Roku models for Roku UK purchasers... and does not last too long. Meanwhile... you'll find other offers that may be of interest to UK Roku users, including a deal from Wuaki TV UK to purchase the entire (8-film) Harry Potter Collection for only £12.99 (RRP: £39.99)!






In addition to this special promotion from Wuaki TV UK, I also posted details of the access codes to some more private channels (again, available in all regions) among the various bits & pieces shared via my Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels... so, it's worth checking my tweets for some extra treats! ;-)


Anyway, as is often the case... the current list of new additions (once again) starts 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 & Roku-related matters, I love discovering apps like this... because they illustrate precisely why it's worth reading the 'Weekly RoundUp' posts on this blog. 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. So, if you really want to know what's available to UK Roku users channel-wise... be sure to read this blog 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 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 the 2nd and the 8th of April 2017:-







DIAMOND CLEAR MEDIA...................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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






ALIENTO VISION NETWORK..............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






MELISSA BELLYDANCE......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






DRAW! WESTERNS & MORE GOLD.............COST: £1.49 (MONTHLY) [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






ORGAN LIVE..........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

***FILED UNDER: "NEWS & WEATHER" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






BABY GENIUS.......................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






REEL COUNTRY....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






IDNR-TV............................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "SPECIAL INTEREST" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






POWER CHORD RADIO.......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






CAROLINA CONFERENCE OF SDA....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






CASCADE HILLS CHURCH..................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






NERIUM TV U.S.....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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






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

***FILED UNDER: "NEWS & WEATHER" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






SLOW TELEVISION..............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






JAVIER NATHANIEL.............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






HOLLYWOOD INSIDER.......................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***






EYE FOR THE INSANE........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "FILM & TV" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN FIRST RELEASED***




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Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot for this week and, while it only equates to two-thirds of the thirty Roku channels which made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store in the same time-frame, it's better to get a choice of 20 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 twenty "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 last seven days. 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!




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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 thirty-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 !!





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