When Roku releases The Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist Christmas movie Roku users will have the ability to listen to the musical on up to five speakers at once. Continuing to build on its audio capabilities, Roku’s 10.5 OS update will allow users to add two more speakers to the audio setup turning the Roku Soundbar into a true center channel for the audio setup. Currently, users can set up four different sound components comprised of A Roku Soundbar or Streambar, two rear shelf speakers, and a subwoofer. But the additional capacity will allow users to add two more shelf speakers to the mix. The new speaker will be meant for the front of the room further enhancing the surround sound home theater experience that Roku has been building since it first introduced its wireless speakers. The hook with the speakers is the ease of setup. Users are required to do no more than plug their speakers into an outlet, hold down the home button and tell the Roku to set up the speakers. After that, it is a matter of telling the system which speaker is playing sound. The soundbars, on the other hand, act as a full-fledged Roku system with the interface and OS built-in and connected to a user’s TV. Once installed the sound bars will even enhance the audio the rest of the components used by the TV itself including the audio from the native OS. For users who want to enjoy audio in a strictly private setting Roku will also be expanding private listening capability through its app to include as many as 4 simultaneous listeners.
Roku will also be rolling out a new Roku Streaming stick, The Roku Streaming Stick 4k. The new stick improves on Roku’s popular streaming stick by further enhancing its wifi capability while also adding support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. There will be two versions of the new stick one for $49.99 with the features listed above and another the 4K Streaming Stick+, which is really the same updated streaming stick with the addition of Roku’s new remote upgrade, released earlier this year, which adds the ability to interact with the Roku via voice in order to launch channels, control volume and other features. The + model will sell for $69.99 In other controller news the Roku controller app will soon get the ability to do all of the needed sound adjustments via the app which will allow users to adjust things like speech volume and other sound clarity issues without the need to take up valuable screen space in the process.
To help users figure out all of these new innovations Roku will be including more built-in tips on how to use the voice controls with suggestions of tasks that the controls can do. In fitting with Roku’s simplicity though, the skills utilized by the voice remote are still centered around the TV and the content on it, meaning it is not a voice system that reads the weather, headlines or scores from the game last night. But for those who wish to jump into news and other content for that matter, Roku is breaking its live channel content out into its own channel. Those who are familiar with the Roku Channel are likely aware that Roku built its own FAST (Free Ad-supported Streaming) service. The service has been available as a choice in the Roku channel along with on-demand content from numerous partners. That group of 200 channels will now get its own place in the channel lineup next to all of Rokus other channels/apps.
Roku does not have any other major streaming players announced going into the fall season.
More info on OS updates
EASY ACCESS TO CONTENT
• Live TV Channel Guide for Roku Streaming Players (US) – The Roku Channel’s Live
TV Channel Guide has over 200+ free live TV channels and Roku player owners can
now add the Live TV channel directly onto their home screen for instant access. Simply
search for “Live TV on The Roku Channel” to install the channel onto the Roku Home
Screen and instantly browse a wide variety of content.
• Roku Voice – Roku has been expanding the number of channels that support voice
commands for direct to playback. Now nearly any channel in Roku Search supports the
feature, including Netflix and Spotify.
• Roku Mobile App Home Tab and Save List – The newly added Home tab in the Roku
Mobile app provides easy access to the latest and greatest entertainment, and
features Zones, browsable collections of movies and shows available across a number
of top genres and popular/seasonal topics, for even more convenient content discovery.
Plus, users can save movies and TV shows to the Save List to watch later when they’re
in front of their TV again. The Save List can be accessed via the Home and Remote
tabs, and users can add titles that they find via search to their Save List.
• Roku Search Music and Podcast Row – Roku OS 10.5 provides a more integrated
music experience across the Roku platform with the introduction of voice search and
playback of music, podcasts and video podcasts. Users will see search results within a
more visual “music and podcast” row and will feature Spotify as the launch partner with
millions of podcasts and over 70 million tracks available.
SIMPLIFYING SET UP
• Enhancements to Voice entry for Email, Password, and PIN for on-screen
keyboards – Roku Voice can be used to complete device setup or login to supported
apps by entering email, password, and PIN information by voice. Keyboards that support
Roku Voice will display a microphone icon, so users can quickly identify when voice
entry is an available option.
• Sound Settings via the Roku Mobile App (US) – Customers can now control their
Roku audio device’s sound settings, such as night mode, automatic volume leveling and
speech clarity, directly in the mobile app. This feature is great for users who want to
quickly and conveniently adjust their sound settings without interrupting their
entertainment, music, or game by pulling up the onscreen settings menu.
Additional Roku OS 10.5 features include:
• Wireless Mobile Private Listening for Streaming Players – Advancements to
our Audio/Video (A/V) sync feature enhances the wireless private listening experience
by intelligently adjusting based on the type of headphones connected. The advanced
A/V sync feature enables users to make further refinements via their smartphone
camera if needed by measuring the TV screen and automatically adjusting the audio
delay between the wireless headphones and the TV. This feature will surface when
users have wireless headphones connected to the Roku mobile app and is accessible
within the settings menu in the app.
• New Surround Sound Configurations (US) – Roku Streambar®, Roku Streambar Pro,
and Roku Smart Soundbar owners now have access to additional speaker
configurations with the introduction of 3.1 and 5.1 surround sound compatibility. Roku
Wireless Speakers can now be used as front speakers with the Roku Streambar, Roku
Streambar Pro, and Roku Smart Soundbar creating a 3.1 (Left/Center/Right) or full 5.1
surround sound system when used with rear speakers.
• Introducing Roku Voice Help –Roku Voice Help can be found in the settings menu and
educates users on the kinds of commands Roku Voice supports and provides examples,
like how to search for movies and TV shows, launch channels, play music, control
playback, and more. Roku Voice Remote Pro owners will also get tips on using handsfree voice.