Roku offers thousands of streaming options including 500,000 movies and a search feature that includes 300 or more services. But for some of us, too much choice is just as paralyzing as no choice at all. Roku, which has been in the streaming set top box game since (well since they invented the idea of a streaming set-top box in the first place) has sought to address finding content again. The new channel simply called “The Roku Channel” is an ad supported content aggregation tool that pulls together free content from a number of sources so that viewers can just pop in and see something to watch.
While Roku is known as a great device to watch services like Netflix or Amazon Video etc, a number of very good free and ad supported channels have cropped up over time offering a great deal of content. The Roku channel helps users by putting it front and center. Is the content the newest blockbusters? No. That will always be the world of On-Demand or premium services. The Roku channel has content more like you would find on TNT or TBS on a weekly basis. Movies featuring popular actors that have been out in the past 5-10 years. The Roku Channel will feature movies like Ali, The Karate Kid, Legally Blonde, and content from major many studios including Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers.
Roku appears to have put a lot of thought into the new offering which will be rolling out to all Roku platforms over the next few weeks. One of the almost invisible innovations is that viewers will not see the same ads again and again. Believe it or not, if you have been stuck seeing the same weight watchers commercial again and again on a streaming app you come to appreciate the variety of advertisements that you actually see on traditional TV. Just take a look at watch ESPN or The CW app if you don’t believe me.
As of now The Roku Channel will feature content from current Roku partners American Classics, Fandor, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu. Expect more channels to partner up over time.
The Roku channel does not replace anything. If you want something else Roku still has all those other channels, premium services and so on. The Roku channel kind of serves as a starting point though especially for those new to the platform. It should be a popular addition just for its simplicity.