Roku OS Update Brings Bluetooth Private Listening

Fall is when we typically see product refreshes but most of the big news at Roku is about updates to its operating system. On the hardware front, Roku does have a couple of fun announcements. The Roku Stream Bar will soon be bundled with a new subwoofer designed to take up a smaller profile. The standard Roku Subwoofer is a large speaker at least as wide as a laptop. The new wireless sub will be much slimmer along the lines of Roku’s wireless speakers. Overall the setup with the streambar and sub is pocket-sized compared to the Streambar Pro and sub, which is sold separately.

The new subwoofer AKA Wireless Bass is compact compared to a standard woofer.

Roku also has a new streaming device on the way, an updated Roku Express. The new edition product looks identical to the Express models from the past but comes with the ability to harness dual W-Fi. What does that mean? Many Internet providers, especially cable system-based internet will give users access to two wireless internet sources. They usually show up as your chosen network name, and your chosen network name 5g. Like Ryan’s House, Ryan’s House 5g. By having dual W-Fi households can run multiple devices more efficiently.

But the biggest news this year is that Roku’s software will be taking a big leap.


New features include the ability to build a universal watchlist. Roku teased the feature within the Roku Channel last year, but it was confined to apps within the Roku channel ecosystem. But the new update will allow users to set up watchlists based on whatever they want to keep up with. The feature will also allow users to get jump back into programming wherever they left off.

New Voice Controls

The Roku voice controls are getting a little more advanced. Roku users have probably noticed that some companies have more than one branded channel. Roku pointed out for instance that there are multiple apps from ABC such as ABC News and the ABC TV Everywhere channel. If a user asks for ABC the Roku will now show the multiple options and let users specify. They can say options based on a number assigned to the channel or even say “the second one”, “the third one” etc.

Big Improvements For The Live Channels

Roku has been tweaking the idea of live streaming channels over the past few years starting with their placement in the Roku Channel and then adding a live channels tile option on the homepage as well as integrating live streaming channels with over-the-air content on Roku-powered TVs. The newest update modernizes the interface for live channels by adding categories to zero in on channel genres. Roku users can also access tabs for Recently viewed channels, Favorites, and Subscribed (for premium services). The new look is much more in line with Pluto TV.

Bluetooth-connected private listening

Roku has been a leader when it comes to private listening. Originally it was a feature confined to the remote controller on advanced models. Later Private listening also extended to the Roku mobile app. But now for the first time Roku users will be able to use their own Bluetooth headsets directly connected to the Roku with no need for the app or anything else. The uses will be limited to 2 devices.