Archive for Roku

More Than Half of Canadian TV Streamers Now Stream Ad-Supported TV: Roku Study

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

Today, Roku revealed the results of its third annual Video-on-Demand (VOD) Evolution study, examining Canadian TV streaming behaviours and trends. According to the study, three quarters (76 per cent) of Canadians are TV streamers, and ad-supported TV is on the rise with over half (52 per cent) tuning in.

The current macro-economic situation seems to have had an impact on Canadian TV households, with 18 per cent planning to cancel or downgrade their cable/satellite package in the next 12 months, and 47 per cent of respondents looking to make some changes to the selection of TV streaming services they use.

Streaming shifts and the FlexiVOD emergence in Canada 

Whether they’re downgrading from paid to free, upgrading from free to paid, or even resubscribing to services, TV streamers are on the move. With more services available than ever before, consumers carefully pick and choose what they pay for. This FlexiVOD trend is likely influenced by the fact that 57 per cent of TV streamers feel they have less disposable income than before.

When it comes to content, live TV is winning popularity, with 49 per cent of Canadians watching live TV such as sports and other key events on demand through TV streaming. This is a significant increase from 30 per cent using VOD services to stream live TV in 2020.

The rise of ad-supported TV: A deeper dive 

As ad-supported TV popularity grows, Canadian TV streamers are spending five hours per week with it (an increase of 14 per cent year-over-year, which also includes BVOD). The majority (76 per cent) are also taking measurable actions such as searching for more information, visiting the brand, adding to basket, and more after seeing the ads.

When it comes to consumer preferences for TV advertising, nearly half (48 per cent) of streamers under 35 say they prefer when the tone of a TV ad matches the program in which they see it; and 47 per cent say they’re more likely to pay attention to ads that reflect or are relevant to their mood. Some Canadians are also interested in engaging with ad formats such as QR codes.

Additional insights: 

  • 29 per cent of streamers are “Cord Nevers,” i.e., consumers who have never paid for cable.
  • The average age of monthly TV streamers is 44.
  • More streamers are collectively watching programming with subtitles – 86 per cent of anglophone streamers and 64 per cent of francophone streamers – compared to dubbed content.

To learn more about the study, and to download the full report, please click here.

About Roku’s VOD Evolution Canada Survey

Roku’s 2023 Video on Demand (VOD) Evolution study examined Canadian TV streaming behaviour and trends. This is Roku’s third study of Canadians’ TV streaming habits, and an update to its research in 2020 and 2021. Like those, this study is based on the results of an online survey of Canadian adults aged 18+ who use the internet and watched TV at least once in the last month. Fuse Insights research commissioned by Roku took place between July and August 2022, with a sample size of 2,001 Canadians nationally representative by age, gender, and geography.

Roku Announces That They Will Be Making Their Own TVs…. This Could Be Interesting

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 4, 2023 by itnerd

Roku has announced at CES that they are entering the TV market. Now you’re likely wondering what I am talking about as Roku has partnered for years with companies like TCL, Sharp, and RCA among others to bring Roku powered TVs to market. Valid point. Let me clarify. Roku has announced that they are going to make their own TVs that are independent from their partners:

Building on Roku’s TV streaming leadership and decades of experience, as well as its successful Roku TV program, the new Roku-branded TVs combine the company’s award-winning operating system with its deep expertise in TV hardware, offering more choice and innovation to both consumers and Roku TV partners.  

Available in 11 models ranging from 24” to 75”, the new Roku Select and Plus Series TVs will focus on the features that streamers have come to love. All HD offerings will include Roku Voice Remotes, while all Plus Series TVs will come with Roku Voice Remote Pros. Roku-branded TVs will offer an expanded audio ecosystem, using the all-new Roku TV Wireless Soundbar, to make consumers’ home theater set-up simple and wire-free. Additionally, all Roku-branded TV models will continue to offer fan favorite features including Find My Remote, Private Listening, and access to great content like live TV and sports.

This will be interesting because if I am Sharp, TCL or RCA or any of Roku’s partners, I’d be wondering if Roku is ditching them to make more money. And if they should ditch Roku for Google. I guess that’s why Roku tossed this into the same press release:

In addition, today Roku is announcing a premium OLED TV reference design, now available to Roku TV partners.

Maybe that’s an attempt to keep their partners from rage quitting on Roku. Regardless, like I said earlier, this will be interesting to watch. These new Roku TVs are coming in the springtime in the US at a cost of $119 to $999 for the full lineup of 24” – 75” models. 

TSN Available Today on Roku Streaming Players and Roku TV Models

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Roku, Inc. and Bell Media have announced the launch of TSN on Roku® streaming players and Roku TV models, in a continued partnership with Bell Media. As the #1 TV streaming platform in Canada, Roku continues to expand its content library for Canadians across the country. Canadian Roku users will now have access to live and on demand programming from TSN, Canada’s Sports Leader.

Starting today, Roku users can stream sports content including: the CFL season, culminating with the Grey Cup; IIHF Women’s and Men’s World Championships and the World Juniors; comprehensive coverage of the Toronto Raptors and the NBA; regional NHL broadcasts; FIFA World Cup™; extensive live coverage of the NFL; golf Majors and tennis Grand Slams; plus MLS, F1, NASCAR, UFC, NCAA March Madness, and much more.

To access, users can sign in to TSN on the Roku platform using their existing TSN login credentials, and new users can sign up directly via Roku Pay.


Roku users can add the TSN apps to their home screen directly from the Channel Store on the Roku platform. For more information about Roku, please visit

Roku Users Now Get Apple Fitness+ Metrics On Screen

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 22, 2022 by itnerd

My wife and I are dedicated Fitness+ users as there’s a lot of value there given that we use Apple Watches and iPhones. But what we weren’t able to ever do is to leverage the ability to have our Fitness+ metrics on screen. Instead, we’d have to glance at our Apple Watches to get those sorts of metrics which is distracting, but not the end of the world. The reason being is that we had a Roku TV, specially this one which didn’t support metrics being on screen. If we wanted that, we would need to get an Apple TV. Having two streaming platforms in the house didn’t make sense so we just forgot about that and moved on.

That changed this week when my wife did a dance workout and noticed this:

On the right, my wife could see her rings and on the left she could see the elapsed time of the workout at the top, her Current heart rate, and how many calories she’d burned doing this workout. This was new and kind of unexpected. So I did some hunting around and came across this Apple press release which states this:

With iOS 16.1, Fitness+ will be fully integrated with the Fitness app and located in the middle tab, where users can already stay motivated to close their Move ring through coaching, awards, activity sharing, and more. Users only need an iPhone to sign up, and can then experience Fitness+ on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Fitness+ subscribers without Apple TV can use AirPlay to stream workouts or meditations on compatible third-party devices, and all AirPlay-enabled Roku devices will see onscreen metrics for additional motivation next month.

So Apple and Roku have apparently worked together to bring Fitness+ metrics to the Roku platform. But there wasn’t a whole lot of detail beyond what you see above. So I did some additional digging and figured out what you need to make this work.

  • You need to have Roku OS 11.5 installed on your Roku device. That is presently rolling out to devices now. So if you don’t have it on your device now, it should be hitting it shortly. But if you want to try and accelerate that, here’s what you do:
    • Press the Home button home on your Roku remote.
    • Scroll up or down and select Settings.
    • Select System.
    • Select System update.
    • Select Check Now to manually check for updates.
  • Second, you need to enable the Roku device as an AirPlay target. Now not all Roku devices support AirPlay, but this list should help you to figure out if your device supports AirPlay. And that same list has instructions in terms of how to set up your Roku device for AirPlay.

For those of you who are afraid of updating your Roku device for fear that the update would break something as that has happened before, my update was smooth. In fact, while I knew that 11.5 was coming, I had no clue that my TV had updated until I started to investigate this. So clearly Roku learned from what happened to them in regards to their rollout of Roku OS 10.5. I of course will also say that your mileage may vary on this front. But I am not seeing anywhere close to the level of rage that I did when the rollout of Roku OS 10.5 went off the rails.

Finally the press release implies that iOS 16.1 is needed for this to work, but that doesn’t seem to be the case as my wife and I are running iOS 16.0.3 and it works just fine.

This is a significant development as those who don’t want to buy an Apple TV now have an option to enhance their Fitness+ routine by adding onscreen metics to their workouts. As long as they have a Roku device. And while the cynic in me thinks that part of the reason why Apple did this is that this is a deflection strategy to keep accusations of anti-trust away, I applaud this move and hope that this is also rolled out to other smart TV platforms.

Roku Announces Roku Ultra And Roku OS 11.5

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 27, 2022 by itnerd

Today, Roku, Inc. unveiled that its most powerful streaming player, Roku Ultra, is launching in Canada. Roku Ultra has a lightning-fast interface, Roku’s best Wi-Fi®, Dolby Vision®, Dolby Atmos®, HDR10+ compatibility, and channels that launch in a snap. Roku Ultra also includes the Roku Voice Remote Pro, whichfeatures hands-free voice controls, a rechargeable battery, a lost remote finder feature, and more.

Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra comes fully loaded with fast channel launch, Dolby Vision®, Dolby Atmos®, Bluetooth®, Apple AirPlay, and more.

  • Outrageously powerful: With a lightning-fast interface, smooth UI, and fast channel launch, users can get to streaming in a snap. Roku Ultra is the fastest and most powerful Roku player ever.
  • Best picture quality: Provides a stunningly sharp 4K picture with lifelike clarity supporting Dolby Vision ® and HDR10+.
  • Best audio quality with Dolby Atmos®Provides immersive entertainment with sound that moves all around with realism that provides a deeper connection to shows and movies. Plus, users can enjoy streaming and private listening via Bluetooth® connectivity.
  • Best connectivity: A strong, steady Wi-Fi ® connection is important for streaming the highest picture quality, especially in rooms farther from your router. Users can enjoy fast, seamless streaming anywhere in their home with Roku’s best Wi-Fi ® or choose to wire up over Ethernet.

Roku Voice Remote Pro

The Roku Voice Remote Pro offers a rechargeable battery, hands-free voice for easy actions (such as “Hey Roku, show me action movies”), personal shortcut buttons, and more.

  • Rechargeable battery: Works with any standard USB charger, so users can save money on batteries and keep them out of landfills. The rechargeable battery keeps the remote powered for up to two months on a single charge. 
  • Hands-free: Forget about reaching for the remote. Users can say “Hey Roku” and a command to turn the TV on, adjust the volume, control playback, and more without lifting a finger.
  • Lost remote finder:   Say “Hey Roku, find my remote” and listen for a little chime to locate; or use the button on the Roku Ultra player or by using the free Roku mobile app (available for iOS and Android).
  •  TV controls: Power up the TV, adjust the volume, mute, and control streaming—all with one remote.
  • Personal shortcuts: Users can set personal shortcuts for one-touch control to launch their go-to channel, pull up search results for their favourite movie, actor, and more.
  • Private listening: Allows users to watch and listen without disturbing anyone else around them. They simply plug the included headphones into the remote and turn up the volume to enjoy their favourite show.
  • Push-to-talk: Users who prefer to use Roku voice, can leverage the hardware switch to turn off the hands-free voice feature and use push-to-talk voice controls instead.

Roku OS 11.5 

The software updates include: 

Home Screen

  • Featured Free: Roku’s FREE content offering remains important to device users and now includes Featured Free, an improved experience for discovery and engagement. Featured Free is a content discovery feature on the Home Screen Menu, showcasing free unlocked content from local and global partners, all in one place.
  • Save List: Users can now easily save movies and TV shows from across the Roku platform to create a Save List of entertainment they want to stream later. Search is available as an item within the Home Screen Menu on the TV. Users can create their new Save List with the convenient “Save” option on the title’s details page, as well as manage and add to their list from anywhere with the Roku mobile app.


  • Bluetooth ® Private Listening: Compatible with Roku Ultra users can simply head to the device settings to pair their wireless headphones to their supported Roku device. Once connected, they can enjoy sound from their TV through their wireless Bluetoothheadphones to their supported Roku device.

Voice Search

  • Roku Voice: Roku is adding new visual tools onscreen to help customers get to their desired channel destination while using Roku Voice. This feature makes it easy for users to find exactly what they’re looking for when searching with Roku Voice. In scenarios where there are multiple channel offerings for a voice search, a display will appear at the bottom of the screen with relevant options that make it easy for users to see and select their intended channel.
  • French Voice: In addition, Roku has added support of French-Canadian voice search and control to the platform. Users can set devices to French and use any voice remote to issue commands in French. 


Roku OS 11.5 will begin rolling out to Roku devices in the coming weeks. The Roku Ultra will be available for $129.99 MSRP at major retailers in Canada in October.

Get Ready For Roku Originals WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 27, 2022 by itnerd

Get ready for WEIRD! I wanted to put the premiere of WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story in your calendar. The Roku Channel original will be premiering on the platform on November 4, 2022.

The film stars Daniel Radcliffe in the titular role of “Weird Al” Yankovic, check out the film’s teaser trailer here ahead of its fall release:

Let’s Update To Roku OS 10.5 To See What Happens…. What Could Go Wrong?

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 7, 2022 by itnerd

During the holidays I posted a story about Roku users being irate at upgrading to Roku OS 10.5 and having issues after upgrading to Roku OS 10.5. Specially with HomeKit, AirPlay, among other functionality. Since I am the sort that loves to dive into stuff like this, I decided to dive head first into this by upgrading to Roku OS 10.5, seeing first hand what breaks, and figure out fixes for them. My test subject was this TCL TV which was stuck on Roku OS 9.4. By “stuck” I mean that it didn’t get updates after 9.4. I suspect that’t because I was once on a Roku beta program and was never taken out of it. So I reached out to Roku via their forums and requested that they push the update to me. That finally happened last night and here’s what I found.

After the update was installed, AirPlay and HomeKit functionality broke. In the Home app the TV was listed as “no response” which meant that HomeKit could not talk to it. And attempts to AirPlay from any Mac or iPhone failed. Now there is a reset option that is inside the AirPlay and HomeKit setup screen which should nuke any previous configuration and allow you to set things up again using the Home app. But that didn’t work. Let me explain further. What should happen when you use this reset option is that it erases the previous HomeKit and AirPlay configuration and allow you to re-add the TV using the Home app via a HomeKit barcode. But what actually happens is that the configuration doesn’t appear to reset and the barcode never appears. On top of that, if you exit the HomeKit and AirPlay configuration screen and try to go back into it, that screen will then crash and then dump you back to the Home Screen of the TV.

So in short, updating to 10.5 will break HomeKit and AirPlay.

However I was able to fix this by factory resetting the TV and setting up as it it were a new TV. Which is a pretty invasive method of solving this problem. But while it’s a bit of a pain, it’s really not that bad. Largely because all your Roku channels automatically download to the TV when you do this. From there, I was able to set up HomeKit and AirPlay in a few minutes and everything worked fine. Though one oddity that I noticed was that after setting things up, the TV showed up twice with two different names when I went looking for AirPlay targets. One was the name that I gave it when I set it up. The other was the model number of the TV. I rebooted the TV and this went away.

Now let me get onto my soapbox for a second. Having to do a factory reset to fix AirPlay and HomeKit isn’t cool. This is the sort of thing that should have been caught in testing and either resolved, or a far less invasive solution should to fix this should have been devised so that users don’t have to do a factory reset.

Now that I’m off the soapbox, let me highlight the rest of my testing:

  • I have a PC plugged into the TV via HDMI, and it lost its ability to output audio to the TV. When I investigated, I found that the audio output was switched to the computer and not the HDMI port. That was weird. And multiple reboots of the computer left me unable to replicate the problem.
  • I have a Roku StreamBar that I use as a sound bar for the TV. Prior to this update, when you played a video from one of the Roku channels, volume would start out low and then suddenly increase. Since the update, this does not happen.

My take on this is as follows. Anyone who upgrades (or more accurately is forced to upgrade as Roku controls the upgrade process) to Roku OS 10.5 should be prepared to deal with some issues. Specifically around HomeKit and AirPlay based on my testing. My experience shows that these issues can be overcome with a factory reset. But that may not be everyone’s experience. And to be frank, you shouldn’t have to factory reset hardware after you update the software that runs it. Hopefully future updates don’t have issues like the ones that I described. But in the here and now, Roku users should be prepared for a bit of pain.

Roku Users Livid As Roku OS 10.5 Breaks HomeKit, AirPlay, & More…. And No Fix Is In Sight

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 18, 2021 by itnerd

Hell hath no fury like a scorned Apple user. And a situation where Roku drops Roku OS 10.5 on Roku device owners, which then promptly breaks HomeKit support and AirPlay support illustrates this. Reports of this can be found on Roku’s own forums and Reddit, and what makes matters worse is that Roku’s support people appear to have completely lost the plot by seemingly providing rather useless troubleshooting advice. That has led to lots of people being beyond mad. And take it from me, getting Apple users mad is the last thing that a company should ever do. But the problems extend beyond Apple users. Another thread on Roku’s own forums as well as a story on TechCrunch illustrate that 10.5 breaks other functionality.

To be fair to Roku is allowing users to roll back to Roku OS 10.0 which works fine. But this was being handled on a one to one basis rather than the company simply rolling back all Roku users to a stable version that works. At least until TechCrunch posted their story. All of a sudden these instructions appeared to allow users to roll back to a stable version. What’s interesting about this post is that this problem supposedly affects “A small portion of users”. Many of whom if you browse their forums complain about silence from the company when it comes to these issues. Which when a company does that, is never, ever going to end well for said company.

This is the time of year where people buy a lot of electronics including new TVs. And if someone uses the search engine of their choice to find out what the best brand of TV is for their money, I am pretty sure that they will find lots of complaints about Westinghouse, TCL, Sharp and Hisense TVs that are powered by Roku OS. Which means that sales of Westinghouse, TCL, Sharp and Hisense TVs will likely take a dive. Because people will just avoid Roku powered TVs and make a move towards Android TV products.

The bottom line is that Roku released a version of their OS that is buggy, buggy, buggy. And now their users are paying the price. There’s no end to this in sight, and the lack of real, detailed, and honest communication is hurting Roku’s cause. Frankly, the longer this goes on, the more likely that Roku who sells more streaming devices than anyone else is going to lose that marketshare to others such as Google. And they will only have themselves to blame.

YouTube And Roku Settle Their Differences

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 8, 2021 by itnerd

You might recall that Roku and YouTube have been involved in a pretty bitter fight that if they didn’t sort their differences out, the YouTube app may disappear from the Roku platform. And in fact it did. And things escalated from there.

Well, I have some news for you. They’ve settled their differences via a multi-year deal:

“This agreement represents a positive development for our shared customers, making both YouTube and YouTube TV available for all streamers on the Roku platform,” Dallas Lawrence, a Roku spokesperson, wrote in an email to The Verge. Google confirmed the deal to The Verge and said both apps will be available through the Roku store.

The deal ends a pretty bitter fight that I hope isn’t repeated as when two big companies get into a fight, users lose.

Roku To Close Loophole That Allowed Porn On Its Platform

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 5, 2021 by itnerd

Roku has announced a new ‘Independent Developer Kit’ and a new beta channel feature to replace existing tools like private channels. The former is a way for developers and hobbyists to experiment with apps and services without needing to use Roku’s software development kit (SDK), while the latter will allow developers to test channels with up to 20 users at a time. Private channels had another function. It let companies like PornHub put porn out of the platform.

The rollout of the ‘Independent Developer Kit’ effectively closes this loophole according to Protocol and The Verge. And those who use their Roku’s to watch porn have until March 2022 to get their fix. Thus if that’s you, consider yourself warned.