Monthly Archives: December 2013

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Ryan Michael Downey

The Apple TV is a very capable set top streaming device offering a majority of the most popular Apple TV Screenstreaming apps including PBS Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus HBO-GO and Watch ESPN. But owners of compatible IOS products have access to two features that other Apple TV owners do not. Those features are AirPlay and Mirroring. The two features are very similar. In fact AirPlay and Mirroring are constantly mixed up in reviews and product descriptions. This article will hash out the differences between the two features.

What is AirPlay?
AirPlay is a proprietary video and audio protocol that allows users to send audio and video from IOS devices to their apple TV’s. This feature can also be accessed from an iTunes client installed on a windows computer. AirPlay is only compatible with certain apps, though there are many. If an app or web based video is compatible with air play a small symbol will appear on the bottom of the said video content that can be touched or in the case of using an Apple laptop, clicked. Once the AirPlay icon has been clicked or pressed the video will pop on to the TV screen provided that the Apple TV HDMI video is option is selected. AirPlay will transfer any compatible video to the Apple TV with full screen HD quality video and audio. This protocol leads the industry. We know this because as other methods for transferring video from mobile devices have arrived on the seen they are described as “Like Airplay” or Possible ‘AirPlay” killers. Have you heard anybody say that Apple TV is a more app laden and expensive version of the Google Chromecast?

AirPlay also integrates with some of the games available through the IOS mobile app store. Compatible games take advantage of the screen of a mobile device by adding fun controller functions to the screen of the device which add to the experience on the screen. For instance a compatible jet fighter game may turn an iPad into the control panel of a jet cockpit while the TV screen displays the game action itself minus the control panel. Apple is yet to fully realize the potential of this feature.

What Is Mirroring?
Screen mirroring is the full projection of a devices screen on to a TV screen using the Apple TV as a receiver. When mirroring is activated the TV essentially appears to be a monitor for the device it is mirroring but will not disable the display on the IOS device itself. Both The TV Screen and the mobile device or computer will “mirror” the other. One of the best features of mirroring is that it allows users to see full internet pages on their televisions. Unlike mobile browsers embedded in to Blu-ray players and Android based systems using mirroring and a television for browsing means that your browser is just as easy to use on a TV as it is on your device and it comes with a keyboard. This means that compatible Apple laptop users can head to Hulu.com to access the computer only version of the service and watch the latest episodes of their favorite shows without using a monthly subscription. Mirroring will allow users to view any Internet content that can be viewed on their devices on their TV screens, so this means that its capabilities are only limited by the imagination of the users. Mirroring is also helpful for apps that are not AirPlay compatible.

Use Mirroring For Presentations
The App Store is filled with many wonderful presentation software programs that when paired with an Apple TV make it perfect for meetings, teaching aids and any given project that looks better on a big screen. This gives the presenter an easy to manipulate controller for the presentation and a smooth reliable operating system to work with. Just make sure that the Apple TV is on a given network before trying to use it.

Slide Shows
Another helpful function of mirroring is that it is an easy way to display pictures from devices. While certainly not an everyday need it is a good tool to have at the right time, anniversary parties, birthdays. Holidays etc.

Where the Lines Blur
Sometimes during a visit to a website using mirroring a video will have an option to view in full screen. And when the said video selected in full screen mode is compatible with AirPlay the protocol will essentially take over. This is common when YouTube Videos are embedded on a webpage for instance.  The difference between the two experiences is  that when an app is utilizing airplay it is not necessary to keep the said app open in order to view content, while on the other hand closing the webpage or app that is being mirrored will stop the video or other content that is being viewed and display whatever is currently the device.

Either Way the Consumer Wins
The great thing about both AirPlay and Mirroring for Apple product owners is that the capabilities greatly expand the offerings available to Apple TV owners. While Apple TV has been feverishly adding apps over the past year there are many holes in its offerings.  For instance as mentioned earlier Amazon Instant Video is not included as an app on Apple TV, but the IOS app is AirPlay compatible so therefore available on Apple TV. In fact outside parties even bank on users accessing mirroring. Recent commercials for the newest sling box have been advertising “Watch with your Roku and Apple TV”. While there is a Sling box app for Roku none exists for Apple TV.  In short, any IOS mobile device owner as well as those with a shiny new mac laptop are missing out until they learn how to utilize AirPlay and Mirroring with their Apple TV. Happy Streaming!

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Could XBMC be added to Roku’s channel lineup in the near future? Richard Lawler, with the tech site Engadget, is reporting that older versions of the Roku can now be rooted in order to

Could XBMC be next on Roku after YouTube
Could XBMC be next on Roku after YouTube

allow third party programs to be added to the popular streamer. The models compatible with the current hack include the original Roku LT, 2 HD, 2 XD and 2 as well as the Streaming Stick. The hack does not stay in place on the Roku 3. Once rooted the streaming boxes will not affected by any automatic updates going forward.  At this date there is not a version of XBMC for Roku.  The implications for this are massive.

Will Roku Fix The Vulnerability?
Roku will most likely and quickly close the hole in its coding that allows the system to be rooted. Roku was not designed with this sort of functionality in mind. Apple TV swiftly closed off access to its Movie Trailers app when it was being used to access XBMC. While Roku has an open source approach to their products and allows developers to launch private channels it has yet to allow an official or private XBMC channel. In fact no main stream device including Apple TV, The Western Digital line of products or the Netgear line of products allowed XBMC as an official application on their products. If Roku has not allowed XBMC to be included in the past it is unlikely to allow the program to be added going forward even to older models.

What If Roku Does Not Block The Hack?
If Roku does not aggressively close the gap in their security to prevent the root process then then the appeal of the older devices will certainly rise amongst XBMC enthusiasts. The second generation Apple TV sells for as much as three times the price of the current one simply because the older model has proven to be able to be rooted in order to install XBMC. If the $45.00 Roku LT was suddenly able to host an XBMC app its value would skyrocket among XBMC fans causing its resale value to grow exponentially.

Is The Majority Of The Roku Audience Looking for XBMC?
Does the average Roku user care about XBMC at all? Roku has been painstakingly designed to be a simple device to use even going as far as producing models that feature buttons used for launching applications like Netflix and Pandora. Is that audience looking for a set of codes and commands to be used in order to disable the devices ability to be updated and improved? Does Roku want to be embraced by the XBMC community?  How the company reacts to this development will speak volumes on this issue.

XBMC Based Streaming Devices
In the absence of XBMC  availability on products from companies like Roku and Apple, other set

The G-Box is a popular alternative to Roku.
The G-Box is a popular alternative to Roku.

top devices have arrived on the market in order to fill the vacuum. Numerous set top devices like the linux based  Little Black Box and Android based G-Box Midnight MX2 have emerged. Various configurations of the MX2 currently occupy the top 3 spots on Amazon’s HD DVD player category . There are other suitors including a bevy of Android OS based dongles. The market for XBMC compatible devices even extends to the Android based gaming system the OUYA. There will certainly be other XBMC based set top box options going forward. Will the GTV hack make an XBMC channel for Roku be a reality? The Streaming Advisor will continue to monitor this story as it develops.

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Amazon Firetube Streaming Box listed with related Products 
XBMC Box The Little Black Box Reviewed

 

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Netflix
Netflix is the king of video channels. The app is on nearly every video steaming platform and was the first channel available on Roku. The app features thousands of movies, TV shows and documentaries. For less than $8.00 a month Netflix adds a days of entertainment and power/binge watching

Hulu Plus
Hulu Plus has the largest collection of legal first run TV Show content on the net and this app brings the service to Roku. Hulu Plus also offers an extensive collection of movies from multiple studios. Important note, while Hulu has a free Internet based service available via computers Hulu Plus is the only version available for Roku users without using a separate server. For an article on how to add access to the free version of Hulu click here.

Amazon Instant Video
Amazon Instant video is a strong entry for Roku owners especially those who are Amazon Prime members. Prime membership which costs $79.00 offers numerous perks for members including free shipping, use of the Amazon E-Book lending library and in the case of connected device users access to thousands of movies, TV Shows and documentaries. The channel also offers on demand viewing options for access to more first run content.

Plex
Plex is a channel that utilizes a separate server that must be downloaded on to a computer in order to run in concert with the Roku channel. The Plex channel offers a separate menu of audio and visual apps in that some cases mirrors channels from the official Roku channel store. Other stations available for Plex cannot be found anywhere else. Plex is also one of few channels that will allow users to play their own digital content on the streaming box. 

Watch ESPN
Watch ESPN is the official app from the most well-known sports network in the United States. In order to utilize the channel you must have access to an ESPN account through a participating provider. The channel features live feeds from all of ESPN’s channels but in order to view them the user must have access via subscription. Also included is ESPN 3 the Internet based service from ESPN which features major college football and basketball along with a selection of international sports from Olympic style sports to soccer, international basketball, and others.  A great addition that can make any Roku connected TV in to an outright sports hub.

Flixter
Roku users can use Flixter to see movie trailers from upcoming movies as well as movies no longer in the theater. For years people have said that the previews were their favorite part of the movie theater experience along with popcorn of course. Flixter brings that experience to your home theater.

PBS
The official Roku Channel from The Public Broadcasting System features  full length feature programming from TV shows airing on PBS and a large collection of classic PBS shows such as The Woodwright. Current programming is not available long term but the app is a great way to catch up on all of the top shows within a week or two of their air date. Don’t wait too long though to tune in for Downton Abbey or you will be stuck waiting till it is available on Amazon further down the line. The channel can also be linked to the local PBS station for a given area in order to access programming tailored for a given region.

HBO-GO
HBO-Go is a digital offering from the Time Warner owned movie and television network that brings a huge library of its original television from Arliss to Oz as well as its original movies from throughout the years along with a large rotation of feature films from HBO’s studio partners. In order to access HBO-Go, users must have access to a cable subscription password.  

Crackle
Crackle is a free service owned by Sony Pictures that provides access to many well-known feature films, TV shows and original content. The selections are broken down by category and easy to search. Like a number of major free services the features are add supported.

Snag Films
If mainstream films and television shows begin to feel too predictable or stayed Snag Films may be just the solution. This free channel is graced by a large collection of independent and art house movies. It is a great alternative to the many louder Hollywood style movies available on other services.

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A Roku is very simply put a very small computer that connects to a television. It only has one function which is to allow users play audio and visual content from the Internet. It does so by connecting to the Internet via either a wifi network or through a wiredconnection known as an Ethernet connection.

Roku has a huge selection of channels.
Roku has a huge selection of channels.

 there are four current models of the Roku. They are the Roku LT, Roku 1, Roku 2 and Roku 3. Each successive model contains more features.  See the product by product features here. There are also older models on the market the Roku HD, Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS. These products are no longer manufactured by the company due to its lineup refresh.

Is it Affordable?
The Roku’s four models range between 50-100 dollars. The most basic model the LT can utilize any channels that the top model can. The differences between the models are the speed at which they load channels and features such as motion based controllers and connection options.

How Do Users Access Internet content With a Roku?
A Roku allows users to access Internet video and audio services through apps/channels added from its on board channel store which features over 1200 channels. These channels encompass the most popular services offered on the Internet. The boxes utilize a home’s wireless internet service or in the case of the Roku 3 there is the option to use its hardwired Ethernet port.

Is it Easy to Use?
Roku has designed a product that is very easy to understand and use. It comes shipped with a remote that is paired down to the most basic features. A simple directional button, a back button used to navigate in app menus, an “ok” button for selection and a home button used for exiting apps and returning to the main menu. Some models have remotes with quick launch buttons for popular apps like Netflix. This should be a breath of fresh air for anybody who has grown weary of the multiple button remotes that accompany many televisions or cable packages.

Is it Easy To Set Up?
New users must create a profile at the Roku website, provide a password and register a credit card for purchases. This is completed in minutes.  Next, connect the device to a television. The Roku Lt-2 ships with a video cable that can be connected to any TV. All models can be connected to and HDTV with an HDMI cable. The final step is to plug the Roku in. You will need a computer, smart phone or tablet in order to fully set the device up.

HBO Go is one of many channels available for the streaming box.
HBO Go is one of many channels available on Roku

Official Channels
One of the most popular things about the Roku line of products is their ability to run over 1200 apps, which Roku calls channels. The Roku has an on board channel store where users can browse the channels by category. Adding a channel is as easy as point and click. Once the channel has been selected it automatically loads in to the users channel lineup. Roku offers all of the most popular streaming services with the exception of Google Play and iTunes Video and Music. Those services are offered through their own branded devices.

What movie and TV show channels are Available?
As mentioned earlier there are over 1200 channels available, far too many to list. The highlights include Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video (as well as the Amazon on demand service), Hulu Plus, Sony Pictures Crackle, Popcorn Flicks, Flixter, PBS, Vudu, and YouTube (Only offered on the Roku 3) and so many others. For a full idea of all that is offered check out the Roku website .

Open Source Private Channels
Open source means that anybody out there who wants to build a station can do so. This has allowed for hundreds of “private” channels to be developed by companies and computer programmers that offer a multitude of options. This sets Roku apart from other products in the same category. There are online communities dedicated to developing and sharing private Channels. One of the better listings for Roku private channels is at MKV Extreme

Sports Channels on Roku
Roku offers many great options for sports fans looking to expand their offerings. Cable subscribers can utilize Watch ESPN, which is a portal to any of the ESPN channels offered in a package along with on demand viewing of numerous clips and features along with access to ESPN 3, the network’s Internet based TV option that expands the amount of live content tenfold. We are not talking Russian soccer here. The ESPN 3 broadcast includes big time college sports, along with professional sports. Along with ESPN Roku offers 60 other options including the Internet offerings from all of the major pro sports leagues with the exclusion of the NFL which does not have an Internet based broadcast. Included is NBA Game Time, MLB.TV, NHL Game Center which access live games through the internet subscription services. Overall there are 61 sports channels offering live, on demand action, clips news and statistics.


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Check us out tomorrow when we start a series on how to optimize all of the most popular streaming devices. Till then have a merry Christmas.

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Until recently Roku did not offer an official YouTube channel on any of its devices. The best option for many users looking for a simple way to access YouTube via a Roku has been “My Video Buzz”. My Video Buzz is a more than capable

My Video Buzz is still available to those without a Roku 3.
My Video Buzz is still available to those without a Roku 3.

portal to YouTube that provides users access to their playlists, favorites, and subscribed channels along with a selection of prefabricated categories. While other Roku models have been left out of the YouTube party Roku 3 users now have the option to use either one.Which one is the best? Both channels have strengths and weaknesses. We are going to take a look at some of the features of both channels and see how they compare.

Personal Profiles
Both YouTube and My Video Buzz provide access to personal YouTube profiles so that users can access their custom playlists, favorite videos and subscribed channels. Setting up YouTube with playlists and channels greatly enriches the experience with the app whether utilizing My Video Buzz or YouTube. For more on how to organize a YouTube profile see our guide here.

Interface

YouTube
The official YouTube channel populates all of a users subscribed channels, favorites, watch lists, along with prefabricated categories from YouTube designed to assist in video discovery. The selections are organized in a vertical column on the left side of the screen. Once a category is selected three videos

An official Youtube Channel is now available for the Roku 3.
An official Youtube Channel is now available for the Roku 3.

  from the chosen category are displayed.

Where this causes a problem is for users with extensive subscription lists and highly developed play lists. There is currently no quick and easy way to access any playlist or subscribed channel without toggling through every playlist and channel in front of it. This sort of re-creates the experience of flipping through channels on a TV. If a user has 70 subscriptions and the channel they wish to view is the 36th channel then they must toggle one by one until they reach the channel of choice. If they want to reach a play list then they must scroll through 75 channels before they reach their playlists.

My Video Buzz
My Video Buzz has separate menus for playlists, favorites etc set up in a carousel left to right configuration. Its opening menu has preset categories including History, What to watch, Your Playlists, Your Subscriptions, Your Favorites, Nursery Rhymes, Top Channels Top Rated, Most Discussed, Top Favorites, Most Responded. Once selected each playlist tittle is presented along the top of the screen with the videos populating underneath in the old fashioned carousel format. The set up is the same for any category that is separated in to sub categories.  By organizing the interface in to separate menus instead of one long list the developers of My Video Buzz provide a simplified interface and easier experience for the user.

Play Lists and subscriptions

YouTube
YouTube automatically loads all of a user’s playlists and channel subscriptions in to its left side vertical menu.

My Video Buzz
My Video Buzz will allow users to display play lists but it requires extra steps. In order to see a playlist in My Video Buzz a user must first access their YouTube account on a computer or tablet and then access their playlists. From there the user must make their playlist public and not private. The Playlist will only be displayed on My Video Buzz in public mode. A users subscribed channels are automatically loaded in to My Video Buzz with no extra steps.

Viewing Videos

YouTube
When viewing videos in the YouTube channel, the selection must be viewed from start to finish. If you leave a video in the middle of viewing the video cannot be resumed though users can fast forward to where the video was left off. My Video Buzz allows users to resume a video where ever they stopped watching the selection. This is not necessary when say watching a 2 minute cat video, but if you use YouTube to view documentaries and full length programs this feature is a must.

Subscribing to Video Channels
The YouTube Channel allows users to subscribe to video channels while viewing them in the app. My Video Buzz does not offer this feature. Unlike YouTube when accessed via a computer or tablet neither program will allow users to add a video to a playlist while in the app.

Viewing other videos from a user
Videos on my video buzz and YouTube are often parts of large collections of content. My Video Buzz users can access the other videos from a given library by clicking “view other videos from this user” This is not an option on the YouTube channel.

Searching for Videos
My Video Buzz allows users to access the familiar Roku search box used in its universal search as well as a majority of the channels on the set top box. The YouTube Channel utilizes an A-Z  left to right list and actually encourages users to search for videos on a computer or mobile device and then launch them instead of using its native search.

From a branding perspective the addition of YouTube has been big for Roku. Up until now almost every review of the Roku 3  lauded its speed, channels and many other features but pointed out its lack of a YouTube Channel. While the Roku 3 and its other products did not offer YouTube, the private channel my Video Buzz has been available for over a year and still is even with the debut of YouTube .

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Roku has a number of free Spanish language channels.

The headlines about the  RRoku Commercial Picoku 3 finally adding YouTube have been exciting for owners of the device for obvious reasons, but the truth of the matter is that YouTube has been available for a long time through numerous means. While they are workarounds of sorts My Video Buzz, Plex, PlayOn and Twonky  have been giving users the ability to watch videos from YouTube and in the case of every Roku model besides the Roku 3 they are still the methods needed for access. The inclusion of YouTube certainly saves everyone the trouble of setting up alternate means of accessing the service though and will be a great selling point for the product going forward. Nearly every review of the Roku 3 stated that the Roku 3 was a great streaming device with a wonderful interface that offered a huge channel list with almost everything but YouTube. The buried headline in the YouTube story though is that the Roku has started integrating with DIAL.

DIAL, which stands for direct and launch, is a protocol that allows the inexpensive Google Chromecast to not only launch apps directly from a smart phone or tablet and send them to a TV, it also allows the Chromecast to mirror Google Tabs on a television. If Roku is going to be able to add these capabilities the implications are huge. YouTube is the first Internet based service that has integrated DIAL for Roku but there will likely be many more to come. As more web services become compatible with DIAL Roku will be able to further expand the services that it can offer its customers without those services having to design native channels for the device. If Roku adds the ability to mirror the screens from laptops or even tablets, including IOS products, Roku could take over the market for streaming devices going forward. The market for set top devices is small but expanding and as that market grows Roku’s profile will grow with it. Up to this point Apple TV and Chromecast have been the only two mainstream devices to offer any form of screen mirroring. If Roku adds that capability even if only on its highest end model it will become the most dynamic streaming device available.

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Roku has a number of free Spanish language channels.

In a recent article on Streaming media Roku GM Steve Shannon, Shannon said that despite its reputation as a cord cutting tool, Roku reduces subscriber drop off.  This is due to how having a Roku can enhance the cable experience. This should not be a big surprise considering Roku has apps such as the TWC app that essentially turns a Roku in to a cable box for any TV in the home. The Watch ESPN app expands the content subscribers can enjoy from America’s most popular sports network tenfold, and HBO Go makes finding content on HBO easier and provides a portal to HBO’s original content in a Netflix like fashion.

Roku streaming leading to cable retention is a very good development for streaming fans with and without cable. While there have been experiments in some markets with metered Internet usage which could cause Internet access to be prohibitively expensive for cord cutters and those choosing to use pay TV services which represent the majority of American households, if data shows that streaming increases retention the pay TV industry may reconsider such ideas. Otherwise they risk losing a tool for holding on to the customers they desperately want to keep.

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The inclusion of YouTube on the Roku 3 and the exclusion of the service from the rest of the Roku lineup appears to have some of its customers up in arms. The Roku Blog  has 129 comments associated with the

YouTube roll out story and a number of them are by Roku owners who feel jilted. A moderator on the blog said this in reaction.

An official Youtube Channel is now available for the Roku 3.
An official Youtube Channel is now available for the Roku 3.

 “Since the Roku 3 is our fastest and most powerful streaming player and as such, from time to time, it will receive new content and features before other players in our line-up. It’s expected to be available on additional players but that said, as software evolves, hardware needs to evolve to keep up – and sometimes, our older players aren’t capable of running certain channels.”

Is This Strategic
It is certainly not impossible that the app was left off of the older models because they were incapable of utilizing all of the features correctly. Obviously Roku has for a long time offered other video discovery apps such as Vimeo, Daily Motion, College Humor and the side loaded channel My Video Buzz, but because is possible to view video content on the Roku this does not mean that every Roku can utilize YouTube in the way that Google wants its products showcased. It appears from the comments on various blogs that there are many who feel that the release has more to do with promoting the Roku 3 over all other models. This is certainly a possibility but one has to ask the question, if Roku only wants people to purchase the Roku 3 than why bother having at least 4 current models on the market, they could just offer one model in the same fashion as the apple TV. The Roku 3 and Apple TV both cost $99.00 at normal retail price.

Rollout Pattern Nothing New
It should be noted that different Roku products have debuted with temporarily exclusive features in order to showcase them at launch. The Roku 3 was the first torun the current Roku interface. An update was pushed out for all of the other models later. M-Go debuted on the Roku 1, 2 and updated LT and was later available through a software update on the rest of the models.

The current Roku Interface debuted on Roku 3
The current Roku Interface debuted on Roku 3

 The company even said that it expects YouTube to be available on additional player models next year, which officially begins less than 30 days from now. Also keep in mind that there are other exclusive features that are associated with Roku 3 such as Angry Birds space which requires a motion sensitive controller. Its previous flagship product the Roku XS featured the original Angry Birds to the exclusion of the rest of the product line at the time.  Big Fish Games channel was also a feature only available on the Roku 3. It has since been removed as a channel option. The difference between those options and YouTube of course is that YouTube is far more popular than the above mentioned services and is also seemingly available on almost every other format from streaming boxes to mobile devices and Blu-Ray players.

Can the other Roku’s Run the current Channel
The YouTube channel for Roku comes packed with a lot of under the hood features that showcase the versatility of the company’s top model. For one, YouTube is the first service that is using the new “Send To” feature which is built off of the DIAL protocol, which was created by YouTube and Netflix, and made popular by the Google Chromecast. This feature allows users to link their computers, smart phones and tablets to the Roku in order to send YouTube video to the device. A company Like Google wants the experience with their products to be positive and as uniform as possible. It had to approve the YouTube channel before it could debut as an official channel for public consumption. We should not discount that Google simply does not want their product on a model that is not capable of providing the same experience. Can the other models run the software at the same level as the Roku 3 even without its higher end processor? If YouTube were to run badly on say the Roku 1 or LT or the older generation models like the Roku HD then there could be a firestorm of negative headlines for Roku and YouTube “New Roku YouTube Channel Crashes on Majority of Models”. That sort of press and angry public reaction on message boards and through word of mouth is not something that either company wants.

Could This Be A Money Grab?
Yes. It is also possible that YouTube has been released on the most expensive Roku model just before Christmas as a way to push the product as part of its Holliday blitz that has included price cuts on all of its models, commercials on TV, movies screens and the Internet as well as the inclusion of other channels like Watch ESPN. Roku has used its product updates and commercial rollouts to repeatedly gain eyeballs and win the day in the media. We will know whether this is the case as we move forward. If YouTube becomes available on its older models soon after the big ball drops in time square then we can assume that the timing of the release was not a coincidence. As of right now the inclusion of YouTube is highlighted as a feature specific to the Roku 3 on the company’s product profile site . If YouTube never becomes available for other products then it means that Roku either rewarding those who spend for the premium product or that the channel will not run up to the performance standards set by Google and Roku.

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Review of Roku’s PlayCast App (thestreamingadvisor.com)

Not exactly air play like (thestreamingadvisor.com)

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An official Youtube Channel is now available for the Roku 3.
An official Youtube Channel is now available for the Roku 3.

After years of waiting an official YouTube App is now available for Roku owners. At the moment YouTube is only available for owners of the Roku 3, the companies top model, which normally retails for $99.00. At the moment many retailers are selling the model for $89.00. The roll out is perfectly timed for the last frantic holiday push and will likely increase demand for the highest end model over its less expensive brethren until the service is available on those devices. Owner of older models can still add YouTube functionality via the MyVideoBuzz app.

New Channel Debuts New Capability
The Roku YouTube Channel can also be paired with computers and mobile devices so that videos can be played directly from a mobile device, does that sound a bit like the capabilities of another popular streaming device? There were reports earlier in the year that Roku was looking to add DIAL support and it appears that this is the beginning of the roll out for that protocol. Will Roku soon support something akin to Google’s Google Cast which in the case of the Chromecast mirrors Google Chrome browser tabs on a TV screen? It would be shocking if Google allowed their browser to be used by a Roku in the same way it is by a Chromecast but Firefox and Microsoft Explorer on the other hand may be very interested. There has even been reporting that Firefox was working on support for mirroring their browser through the Roku. There will be more to come on this story for sure.

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