Archive for Roku

Review: Roku Express (2019)

Posted in Products with tags on November 13, 2019 by itnerd

The Roku Express has been around for a while now. But for 2019, it has become a bit like the Six Million Dollar Man. Better. Stronger. Faster.

 

Roku Express Box With ProductIt’s undergone a major makeover when it comes to looks. Before it was a thin box that resembled a compact pencil case. Now it looks a lot more attractive with a rounded more rectangular shape to it. It comes with an HDMI cable which is on the short side. And it comes with an adhesive strip so that you can semi-permanently mount it somewhere that allow you to use the included remote which is a line of sight one. One nice touch is that it can be fully powered by most TVs to reduce clutter around the TV via a USB cable.

The Roku Express is a device that outputs to 1080P and uses 802.11 b/g/n WiFi to do so. That makes it perfect for someone who is starting out in the streaming game. And I had no issues setting it up and getting it going. Nor did I have any issues when I was testing it by streaming the rather large library of content that the Roku platform has to offer. Any sort of navigation was fast and fluid as well. So I think it would be safe to say that you’ll have no issues as well.

Gripes? Admittedly these are first world problems. But besides the rather short HDMI cable which could make positioning it a challenge, the remote control is one of Roku’s line of sight remote controls without voice control functionality. If you want that functionality, you need to download their app to your smartphone which isn’t the biggest deal in the world. Another gripe is that no Roku device supports AirPlay 2 functionality which is weird given that Apple TV+ is available on the platform. And that casting from Windows 10 devices and the like is supported. But none of those gripes should deter you from buying the Roku Express.

The Roku Express goes for $39.99 CDN which is a very low barrier to get into the streaming game. Given what is on offer here, the Roku Express is very much worth a look if you want to add streaming functionality to your TV.

 

Disney+ Is Now Streaming On The Roku Platform In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 12, 2019 by itnerd

Starting today, Disney+ is on the Roku platform in Canada. Subscribe and stream movies and TV series from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic directly on supported Roku devices. New users get a 7-day promotional offer. After that, it’s just $8.99/month (plus tax, where applicable).

Disney+ allows you to stream ad-free and on-demand on up to four devices simultaneously and add up to seven individual profiles. The curated experience also offers personalized recommendations based on your viewing history.

From the magic and mystery of Maleficent to the wonder and excitement of Star Wars, you can go the streaming distance with Disney+. The Disney+ library features something for everyone. Highly-anticipated Disney+ Originals include The MandalorianHigh School Musical: The Musical: The SeriesThe World According to Jeff GoldblumLady and the Tramp and more.

To start streaming, simply add the Disney+ channel from the Channel Store, or find it in the “Movies & TV” category of the Streaming Channels section on your Roku home screen.

Review: Roku Premiere

Posted in Products with tags on November 12, 2019 by itnerd

Roku has a streaming device that is feature packed and affordable which is perfect for upgrading a non “smart” TV with streaming functionality. It’s the Roku Premiere.

Roku Premiere Box With Product

 

Here’s what you get in the box:

  • The Roku Premiere with 4K HDR streaming & 802.11b/g/n single-band WiFi
  • Roku remote
  • A kind of short HDMI cable

Under the hood, you get a quad-core processor and comes in a low-profile form factor that allows you to stick it under a TV to save space (adhesive included). In short, it’s a powerful package that takes up very little space.

Now you are likely asking how powerful is it? Well despite the fact that didn’t have much of an issue streaming 4K video in a bedroom located a room away from my router. There was no buffering or anything of the sort that I noted during my testing. Thus unless you have a large home where a Roku Streaming Stick + may be a better fit due to the fact that it has 802.11ac WiFi built in, the Roku Premiere will work just fine. In terms of picture quality, that’s going to depend on the TV that you have. Mine supports 4K HDR so video looked stunning. Speaking of video, Roku as usual has a massive catalog of streaming services including Apple TV+ and live TV which will keep you streaming for hours.

Gripes? Admittedly these are first world problems. But besides the rather short HDMI cable which could make positioning it a challenge, the remote control is one of Roku’s line of sight remote controls without voice control functionality. If you want that functionality, you need to download their app to your smartphone which isn’t the biggest deal in the world. Another gripe is that no Roku device supports AirPlay 2 functionality which is weird given that Apple TV+ is available on the platform. And that casting from Windows 10 devices and the like is supported. But none of those gripes should deter you from buying the Roku Premiere if you want to get 4K HDR streaming at a great price.

Speaking of that price, the Roku Premiere goes for $49.99 CDN which is a very low barrier to get into the streaming game. Given what is on offer here, the Roku Premiere is very much worth a look if you want to add streaming functionality to your TV.

Adding The Apple TV To My Roku TV Was “Interesting”

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 16, 2019 by itnerd

Yesterday the Apple TV app for Roku devices was released. Since my wife and I have a fair amount of Apple gear in our home, and we have a TCL TV that is powered by Roku, we decided to add the app to our TV.

Now downloading the Apple TV app was straightforward based on the instructions provided by Roku.:

  • Press the Home button on the Roku remote.
  • Scroll up or down and select Streaming Channels to open the Channel Store.
  • Select Search Channels.
  • Begin entering Apple TV. If you don’t get the result, your device may not support the channel.
  • When you see the channel, use the directional pad on your Roku remote to highlight Apple TV.
  • Press the OK button OK button on Roku remote to view details.
  • Select Add Channel.

The next part was to start the channel up and add our respective Apple IDs to the channel so that we could buy, rent, or use purchases. That’s where things got “interesting.” Here are the instructions provided by Roku. And because I am the tech guy in the relationship, I went first in terms of doing the following:

  1. Launch the Apple TV channel.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Accounts.
  4. Select Sign In.
  5. Two sign-in options appear on your TV.
    1. Choose Sign In On Mobile Device to sign in using your smartphone. You can either navigate to activate.apple.com and enter the code displayed on your TV, or scan the QR code that appears. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the sign in process.
    2. Or, you can choose Sign In On This TV and enter your Apple ID directly on your TV screen using your Roku remote.
  6. If you do not have an Apple ID, select Create an Apple ID. You can either navigate to activate.apple.com and enter the code displayed on your TV, or scan the QR code that appears. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the sign up process. You will be signed in automatically once you are finished.

At step 5 I chose option “a” and scanned the QR Code using the camera app on my iPhone. That opened a browser which required me to enter my Apple ID and password. At that point a notification popped up on both my iPhone and Apple Watch asking me to confirm that I was actually logging in. I did so, then it asked me to enter a six digit number. Now this is Apple’s two factor authentication which is meant to protect your Apple ID from being taken over by someone who wants to buy music or movies, or just make your life miserable. I memorized the six digit code and tried to enter it. Except that it didn’t recognize the code. So I sent myself a new code and tried again. And got the same result. This time I thought about it and the light bulb came on. Because I was signing up on my iPhone, I was clearing the notification which must be clearing the code that it was sending me which in turn made it invalid when I entered it. So I sent a third code to myself and this time I used my Apple Watch. I noted that the notification popped up on both my iPhone and Apple Watch, but disappeared off of my iPhone when I started to interact with it on my Apple Watch. This time I was successfully able to enter the code and my Apple ID popped up on the TV.

I thought at this point I could declare victory and have a beer. But fate had other ideas as the Apple TV app then promptly crashed and I was forced to reboot the TV to get any amount of control on it. When I got back into the Apple TV app after the reboot, my Apple ID was not present and I had to go through the above process again to add it.

#Fail

After doing that I exited the Apple TV app and re-entered the app to confirm that my Apple ID was still there. At this point I could deem this a success. Then I had my wife go through the same exercise. And in the interest of science I didn’t tell her about my experience. Unsurprisingly she ran into exactly the same issues with dealing with Apple’s two factor authentication that I did. After talking her through that, she was successful in terms of adding her Apple ID.

Now what we perhaps should have done to make our lives easier was not to use the QR code method, but instead go to activate.apple.com and enter the code displayed on the TV instead. That may have yielded better results. I will test that shortly and update this post with the results. But as it stands, using a mobile device to connect your Apple ID to the Apple TV app on Roku appears to only work when you have multiple devices handy. In our case the iPhone and Apple Watch. That seems to be a bit of an oversight that really needs to be corrected as it truly makes the on boarding experience frustrating. Which means that people might give up and not want to use the Apple TV app on Roku. My advice to Apple and Roku is to look at this and see if this could be improved.

The Apple TV App & Apple TV+ Is Coming To The Roku Platform Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 15, 2019 by itnerd

Roku, Inc. has announced the Apple TV app is available on the Roku® platform starting today. For the first time ever, Roku users can add the Apple TV app via the Roku Channel Store to discover and watch movies, TV shows and more, including accessing their iTunes video library and subscribing to Apple TV channels directly on Roku devices. Starting November 1, Apple TV+, Apple’s home for all-original shows and movies from the world’s greatest storytellers, will be available on the Apple TV app on the Roku platform.

Apple TV App

Through the Apple TV app on their Roku devices, customers can enjoy personalized recommendations of shows and movies; subscribe directly to Apple TV channels and more using their Apple ID and password; browse, buy or rent more than 100,000 movies and TV shows; and watch all the shows and movies they have previously purchased from iTunes.

Apple TV+

Beginning November 1, Apple TV+ will be available in the Apple TV app on Roku, giving users access to exclusive shows, movies and documentaries from the most celebrated creative artists, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon M. Chu and more. Roku users can subscribe to Apple TV+ right in the Apple TV app on their Roku devices for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. Apple TV+ subscribers can also watch on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including the web (https://tv.apple.com). For more information about Apple TV+, please visit https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-plus/.

Availability

Supported Roku streaming devices can add the Apple TV app for free starting today. Apple TV+ through the Apple TV app will be available in supported regions starting on November 1. In addition to the U.S., the Apple TV app is available to Roku users in the following markets: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Tidal Now Available On Roku

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 1, 2019 by itnerd

Music lovers, you’re in for a treat. Today, TIDAL, global music streaming and entertainment platform bringing artists and fans closer together through unique original content and exclusive experiences, launches on the Roku platform. Members of TIDAL can find videos, albums, playlists, and other exclusive content to stream directly on the TIDAL channel on their Roku devices.

tidal

The new TIDAL channel features a custom interface for Roku devices and offers some awesome features for music fans:

  • Over 60 million songs and over 250,000 high-quality music videos
  • Thousands of playlists curated by TIDAL’s expert editorial team, industry experts, artists and more
  • Live and on-demand streams of concerts from some of the world’s biggest artists
  • Exclusive music documentaries, original shows, and podcasts

There are two monthly subscription options:

  • Premium ($9.99/month), which offers a standard sound quality
  • HiFi ($19.99/month), which offers lossless High-Fidelity sound quality, allowing you to experience music as the artists intended it to be heard

Both options offer a 30-day free trial, and you can sign up directly through the TIDAL channel on your Roku device.

With the debut of new Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Wireless Subwoofer this fall, people will be able to enjoy Roku’s streaming entertainment platform with TIDAL’s high-quality catalog in a tailored music experience.

Add TIDAL directly through the Roku Channel Store, or find it in the ‘Music’ category of the streaming channels section on your Roku device

Roku Announces New Streaming Player Line-up for Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 19, 2019 by itnerd

Roku, Inc. today unveiled its 2019 streaming player lineup for Canada, consisting of three models. Roku® launched a redesigned Roku Express, offering easy HD streaming in a sleek new form factor. Brand new to the Canadian line-up is the Roku Premiere which delivers 4K streaming with HDR, starting from CAD 49.99. The existing Roku Streaming Stick+ will remain in the 2019 line-up, offering powerful portability, exceptional wireless performance and vibrant 4K HDR picture quality. Roku also announced that it is adding free live linear channels to The Roku Channel in Canada, with the first linear channels expected to arrive before the end of the month.

Roku Express - In Hand II.jpg

Roku Express

The Roku Express is 10% smaller than its predecessor, is sleek and designed to blend in and disappear when connected to a TV. It can be fully powered by most TVs to reduce clutter around the TV. With the Roku Express consumers can enjoy easy and smooth HD streaming. In the box a simple remote control is included with popular streaming channel shortcut buttons, a High Speed HDMI® cable and a power cord.

Roku Premiere Box With Product

Roku Premiere

The Roku Premiere is a simple way to start streaming in HD, 4K Ultra HD or 4K HDR. It features a powerful quad-core processor and comes in a low-profile form factor. In the box a Premium High Speed HDMI® cable is included plus remote control with popular streaming channel shortcut buttons and a power cord.

All Roku streaming devices in Canada provide access to thousands of free and paid streaming services, including: Netflix, Prime Video, The Roku Channel, DAZN, Global TV, CBS All Access, Acorn TV, hayu, Britbox, VMedia and many more. Additionally, Roku players and Roku TVs can be used with the free Roku mobile app for iOS and Android, to enjoy private listening, voice search and more.

 

New on The Roku Channel: Live Linear

The Roku Channel launched in Canada in 2018 and has quickly gained popularity. No subscriptions, fees or logins are required to access hundreds of free movies, TV shows and documentaries, with a selection of box office hits and TV shows featured every month.

Next to on-demand entertainment, Roku users in Canada will soon be able to access 14 live linear channel on The Roku Channel, from various publishers:

  • Law & Crime ‒ Watch the courtroom drama unfold live and get in depth legal analysis on the day’s biggest crime and legal stories.
  • Now This Now This is the most watched mobile news brand in the world, providing the latest in video news, investigative reports, interviews and original series.
  • AllTime  AllTime aims to bring you the most informative, fascinating and engaging top 10 videos.
  • TMZ Get your daily dose of pop culture from the TMZ channel featuring programs such as TMZ Sports, The Hollywood Beatdown, TMZ TV, TMZ Chatter and more.
  • AFV America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV) shines the spotlight on hilarious videos to bring you America’s ‘real-life’ funny moments captured on video.
  • Fail Army ‒ FailArmy is the world’s number one source for epic fail videos and hilarious compilations.
  • Pet Collective ‒ The Pet Collective is home to the top trending clips, most entertaining memes, and funniest animal videos.
  • People Are Awesome ‒ People Are Awesome is the number one destination for amazing, original videos and compilations of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
  • Adventure Sports Network  Adventure Sports Network (ASN) is the worldwide leader in adventure sports, outdoor, lifestyle and travel.
  • Food52  Come on by the Food52 test kitchen. Our award-winning editors and kitchen experts—like Genius Recipes‘s Kristen Miglore and Dear Test Kitchen‘s Josh Cohen -are here to help with dinner tonight, weekend meal prep, cookie emergencies, you name it.
  • Tastemade  Planning your next adventure abroad or at home? Tastemade shows you how it’s done. Whether expanding your palate or your itinerary, Tastemade presents even more of the things you love. Hundreds of hours of original shows, streaming straight to you.
  • FilmRise Free Movies  Catch film stars like Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, Morgan Freeman and more in our massive selection of free blockbusters.
  • FilmRise Crime  The best Crime TV to satisfy the sleuths among us.
  • FilmRise Classic TV  Catch primetime smash hits like 21 Jump Street and Hunter all day long.

Availability and Pricing

The 2019 Roku streaming player line-up in Canada will be available beginning early October from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, Staples, The Source, London Drugs and other fine retailers:

  • Roku Express: MSRP CAD 39.99
  • Roku Premiere: MSRP CAD 49.99
  • Roku Streaming Stick+: MSRP CAD 69.99