Saturday, September 16, 2017

Roku UK Channel Store - Weekly RoundUp #236





Hi, everyone !!



Before I get into the Roku-specific news from the past seven days, I wanted to make you aware of another LIMITED-TIME OFFER that I came across recently - this time from NowTV. The reason for starting my 'Weekly RoundUp' post with this is the DEAL ENDS ON SUNDAY 17th SEPTEMBER at 23:59 so, to take advantage of this offer, you need to ACT FAST to avoid missing out! :-O ;-) :-)






Personally, I still think that £20.00 per month is a lot to ask for a service which offers far less in terms of viewing choice (i.e. no 1, 2, or 3 channel options for less money), picture quality, and functionality (i.e. no red button, etc.) than the equivalent package(s) from 'Sky UK' (via satellite dish) but, even so, it's better to pay just twenty pounds for a month of 'Sky Sports' than the usual £33.99 they charge. So, if you're interested in saving 40% OFF the cost of a 'Sky Sports Month Pass' from 'NowTV', simply sign-in to your NowTV account online and go to: My Account > My Passes, then scroll down to the section for 'NowTV Sports' and click on the link to 'Apply a voucher' (if available) to be able to enter the voucher code: AANOWA7IXJGY which is needed to get the offer shown in the above image.






If you manage to apply the above code in time, you could even take advantage of another offer for 'NowTV Sports' from Roku... which entitles RokuUK users to 50% OFF a 'Sky Sports Month Pass' from 'NowTV', meaning you'll pay only £16.99 for the following month, by following the exact same process and entering the voucher code: AANOWBAVKTZE once you have less than 30 days to run on your current 'Sky Sports Month Pass' from 'NowTV'... assuming you haven't used it already! ;-) :-)






Assuming you get to take advantage of both offers, you will be getting two months' worth of 'Sky Sports' action for a total outlay of only £36.99 (normally £67.98 for that period of time) and will have access to all ten channels of 'Sky Sports' until mid-November, before you need to worry about paying-out again. JUST REMEMBER: these passes will auto-renew at full price (currently £33.99 per month) if you do not cancel them before they reach the renewal date. If you're using both codes, you'll only need to cancel after you have applied the 2nd one... as the reduced price will replace the normal cost of renewing the pass. TIP: When the time to cancel does come around, I advise doing-so as soon as possible (rather than leaving it to the last day). You can still watch all of the channels until the original end date of your pass, even if you cancel just five minutes after you have first applied the code, and this will save any nasty shocks at a later date! ;-) :-)


Moving on to the Roku-specific news from this week... there was an announcement from Roku, to the effect that they have just extended their "Roku Powered" program to the African continent, after they reached an agreement with 'Econet Media' to help launch streaming TV service 'Kwesé Play' in South Africa and then expand to other markets across the continent. Using the new Roku Powered™ license agreement, Econet will leverage Roku’s proven streaming platform to launch services across the continent and tie in FTA service 'Kwesé Free Sports' which is already live in certain African markets. The Roku powered set top box will cost $10 a month and come with shortcut buttons for 'Netflix', plus 'YouTube', and 'Red Bull TV', as well as 'Kwesé Play' on the remote, as in the screenshot below:-






“Roku’s track-record made them the obvious choice for us. The ability to deliver the 'Kwesé Play' service to televisions is an important facet of our multi-platform content delivery service. As a result of this partnership, we are able to offer our customers cutting-edge TV services at a low cost with easy to use Roku players,” said Joseph Hundah, Chief Executive Officer of Econet Media. While Anton Lokotsch, Head of Technical for 'Kwesé Play', added that: “Roku provides operators with an end-to-end solution including powerful low-cost hardware, regular updates to the Roku OS and a wide selection of streaming channels”... and with access to "over 100 streaming channels" it is clear they chose to allow access to more Roku channels than 'NowTV' have done via the "Roku Powered" App Store on their NowTV Boxes here in the UK - where there's still only 50 apps, after 4 years! :-O





Should any of you wish to find out more about the 'Kwesé Play' streaming TV service in Africa, I recommend that you pay a visit to their official website, where further information about the "official" Roku partner in Africa can be obtained. If you cannot find what you are looking for there, I suggest reaching out to 'Kwesé Play' through social media, via their Twitter Feed: @KwesePlayground, with any additional questions you might have regarding their service and/or  Roku Powered™devices. If you'd like to familiarise yourself with the End User Agreement (EUA) for the 'Kwesé Play' device and/or the 'Kwesé Play' channel store, then you can do so on this page of the official Kwesé website.


While this is great news for the people of Africa, it would have been nice if Roku had also made a separate announcement (for UK Roku users) to herald the arrival of some 4K-capable devices by way of refreshing the now long since out-of-date lineup of UK Roku models. Instead, Roku UK users had to make do with announcements from both Amazon and Apple about the "alternatives" for streaming 4K content in this country, should Roku fail to address the whole (lack of) 4K playback possibilities with their own selection of streaming products in the UK!


First up, on Monday, it was revealed by Elias of 'AFTV News' that there are to be two more options for streaming 4K content via Amazon 'Fire TV' devices... thanks to not just one, but two new models from the online retail giant. According to the 'AFTV News' article, which broke the news, Amazon is working on two new Fire TV models, one a mid-range device (similar to the Google Chromecast) and the other a cube shaped set-top box that will be Amazon’s new flagship model... but, perhaps most significantly, both will apparently be capable of streaming 4K HDR video at 60 fps. Here's a photo which Elias shared of the two new 'Fire TV' models, for those of you who may be interested in them:-






Personally, I'm not over-enamored with the look of these new devices... although, from what I've read, the functionality offered by the new cube shaped set-top box (in particular) is something that I do find appealing - more so given the (current) lack of an equivalent offering from Roku in the UK. The idea of far-field microphones, a built-in speaker + LED light bar giving it the same functionality as an Amazon Echo Dot (for hands-free Alexa interaction and control), plus an IR emitter to extend control to your television and other A/V equipment, is a great benefit for media consumers like me. Tasks such as turning your TV on and off, controlling the volume, changing source inputs, and more without needing to pick up a remote will all be possible thanks to Alexa's capabilities. If only they had come up with something other than this Ouya / Echo Dot hybrid, in terms of appearance, I'd be pre-ordering one as soon as I could. As for the new mid-tier 'Fire TV' device, if Roku fails to deliver their new 4K-capable 'Roku Stick' to these shores, I'm more inclined to go with 'Chromecast Ultra' than the diamond (square) shaped offering from Amazon... so, let's just hope Roku can deliver! ;-) :-)


Next up, on Tuesday, it was Apple's turn to introduce a 4K-capable streaming device... thus becoming the next big player in the UK streaming market to leave Roku in the dust when it comes to Ultra HD playback capabilities. This latest Apple Event, which took place on Tuesday 12th September 2017, saw the 'Apple TV 4K' share the stage with the new 'iPhone X' and 'iPhone 8' models, plus the latest incarnation of the 'Apple Watch' series. To my mind, this next generation of the 'Apple TV' does little more than continue to play 'catch-up' on what other manufacturers of streaming media players have already done - at least in the United States. However, as an UK Roku user, it presents yet another new 4K-capable streaming device in a market which Roku has (in recent years) largely ignored. Should it prove to be (yet) another year without any new Roku models for UK purchasers, then I can see this being a far more viable option for UK streamers... even at twice the price of what the 'Roku Ultra' might cost, were it even officially available in UK. So, in the event that Roku choose to disappoint their UK customers once more, here is the product information for the 'Apple TV 4K' from the Apple (UK) website... as well as links to buy either the 32GB or 64GB models from the Apple (UK) Store.






In addition to promoting their new 'Apple TV 4K' devices, there was ample publicity given over to the deals made by 'Apple' with new content partners around the world. While the screenshot image (shared below) features many services which are specific to countries and/or regions other than UK, it is clear that there are forthcoming apps for 'Apple TV' from both 'ITV Hub' and 'My 5', as well as one by 'MUBI', which will further the appeal of these new 4K streamers from 'Apple' to UK buyers. Here is a list showing just some of the new global content partners with which 'Apple' now has onboard:-





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


Anyhow... with little else aside from details of special offers, plus news of the latest expansion to the Roku Powered™program into Africa and the launch of more 4K-capable devices in the UK (none of which were from Roku) to bring you, in terms of newsworthy items from the last seven days, I'd best turn my attention to more important matters, such as getting you up to speed with the latest new Roku channels added to UK Roku devices since my last 'Weekly RoundUp' post was published! ;-) :-)


If you did happen to read my previous 'Weekly RoundUp' post, in which I commented as to how 'Roku Guide' had fallen far short of compiling a complete set of reviews for all of the new channels which were released in the seven days preceding their article, you will doubtless be pleased to hear that I have since posted active links to 'Roku Guide' reviews for many of them. Sadly, as their most recent article (dated 15th September 2017) does little more than to play "catch-up" with reviews that were absent from the previous week, it means there were (once again) absolutely zero reviews for the Roku channels which were actually released between the 9th and 15th September 2017. As a direct result, there are currently "missing" links to 'Roku Guide' reviews for almost ninety-five per cent of the new additions to the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store in this particular 'Weekly RoundUp' post. Unfortunately, this (once more) leaves UK users rather short of additional info... and, much like the last month or so, rather than simply regurgitate what is written in each channel description from the channel store, I'm (yet again) going to have to leave it for each of you (individually) to access those details via the built-in channel store on your Roku device(s). Needless to say, once the "missing" reviews have been published by 'Roku Guide', I will (as I have in previous weeks) ensure that I add the relevant links to this post. Apologies (once more) for any inconvenience that may have been caused by the absence of active links to an independent review(s) for so many of these new channels but, like I say, it was completely out of my hands. Meanwhile, I advise scanning the list below to see which channels (if any) you think are likely to appeal... and then going to the built-in channel store on your Roku device(s), to read the description(s) there, for precise details on your pick of the latest new Roku channels (apps) which have been added to UK Roku devices during this past week! :-)


While it's far from being another epic list of fifty-plus channels as it was eleven weeks ago, you will find there are a fair few new options under "Sports" and "Religion", as well as a couple more options for fans of "Film & TV", "Comedy", or "News & Weather", plus the odd new addition in the "Apps", "Kids & Family", "Personal Media",  and "Special Interest" categories (i.e. genres), to keep you entertained over the coming weeks and months. In fact, while it's only a comparatively short list, there should be something to please most streamers here. If not, I again shared details for some private channels (via social media) and some more special offers related to various Roku channels that are available in the UK. Check out my Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels if you'd like to know more about those and, while you're there, maybe "Like" and/or "Retweet" some of my messages to spread the word about what's happening Roku-wise in the UK and beyond! ;-) :-)


Anyway, back to the list... which, as always, will help you to identify the very latest apps which have been added to Roku devices in the UK. 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 UK Roku users. Like I've said before... if you really want to know what's available channel-wise, for owners of Roku devices in the UK, you need to be reading this blog each and every week! ;-) :-)


Before I run through the new channels, however, 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 that 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 10th September 2017 and 16th September 2017:-







MINNESOTA VIKINGS........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






MOUNTAIN EAST CONFERENCE.....................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






MARÍA VISIÓN JCN............................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






SUMMIT LIFE CHURCH.....................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






RED DE LA TV DE KID PIRE.............................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCROSS......COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

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






HAUNTED HALLOWEEN WINDOW 2017.......................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






LOVE CHANNEL.................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






BUBBLE VISION..................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

***FILED UNDER: "PERSONAL MEDIA" in Roku UK Channel Store WHEN RELEASED***






FINE ART-TIPS.....................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






N30S3R..................................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






PRO WRESTLING NETWORK...............COST: FREE (n.b. may require additional fees) [Roku Guide Review]

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






WATCH ILTV.........................................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






ONISION ARCHIVEN..........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






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

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



N.B. CHANNEL ICON STILL TO FOLLOW - 
NOT AVAILABLE AT TIME OF PUBLISHING



NEW LIGHT MOVIES.........................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






DYNAMO NONSTOP ACTION..........................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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






THE HUMANIST REPORT..................................................COST: FREE [Roku Guide Review]

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




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Anyhow, like it or not, that is your lot this week and, while it falls just short of seventy percent of the twenty-six channels that made it into the "Official" Roku USA Channel Store in the same time-frame, it's still better to get a choice of 18 NEW CHANNELS than none at all... as I'm sure you will agree?!


In any event, hopefully everyone in the UK with a Roku player managed to find something they like within the eighteen "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 past week. 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 sixty-two 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 !!