Content discovery at fore in Roku OS update

Roku has made a swathe of new hardware and software announcements, including the latest Roku OS update and upgraded streaming devices.

Roku, which has recently garnered mainstream attention for its Daniel Radcliffe-staring Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, is capitalising on this press by bringing a range of new enhancements to the Roku OS with the launch of version 11.5. 

The key new feature here is a content discovery experience dubbed ‘The Buzz’. This will aggregate content from a range of streaming services and entertainment brands ranging from SVODs like Apple TV+ and Showtime to Crackle and IGN. Rather than being purely focused on content aggregation, posts within The Buzz may include video clips, images, trailers, interviews, and other content to help users discover movies and shows that match their interests. Users can subsequently improve the feature by liking posts, saving content to watch later, following profiles to view future posts, or immediately streaming the movie or show featured in the post.

Roku OS 11.5 also brings two oft-requested features to the home screen. The first is a Continue Watching feed which gives users a single location to jump back into the content they are watching, from a selection of streaming channels including HBO Max, Netflix, Paramount+, and The Roku Channel. The second is a centralised Save List, which provides a single destination for users to quickly access and stream content they’ve previously saved.

The update also brings a number of other key quality of life updates such as an improved Roku Store, Bluetooth Private Listening, and the integration of categories in Roku’s Live TV Channel Guide.

Commenting on the latest Roku OS update, Preston Smalley, vice president of consumer product, said:  “We are in the golden age of streaming with more great shows and movies releasing than ever before, which at times we know can be overwhelming. By personalising the way our customers connect with the content they love and offering more ways to discover and access new content to stream or save for later, our users have more tools than ever to watch what they want to with ease.”

Roku is yet to announce a release date for OS 11.5, but said it will arrive in the coming months. 

Two new devices

While Roku is largely keeping its hardware product line the same, the company is introducing two new devices.

The first is a new Roku Express. The device still sits at an entry-level for the Roku brand at US$29.99 and comes with Roku’s basic remote. The key improvement over the previous Roku Express is improved connectivity, with dual-band Wi-Fi. This is a feature previously reserved for the higher-end Roku Express 4K Plus.

The other device launched from Roku is a new budget subwoofer dubbed the Roku Wireless Bass. At US$129.99, the small petite unit is US$50 cheaper than the much bulkier Roku Wireless Subwoofer. It can be paired with a Roku Streambar, Roku Wireless Speakers, or Roku TV Wireless Soundbar to deliver “rich depth” and “rumbling lows”. The company is offering Roku Wireless Bass and Roku Streambar in a US$249.99 combo deal.

Of the new products, Chris Larson, vice president of Retail Strategy, Roku, said: “Today’s launch provides even more choices to fit every budget, allowing customers to get the home entertainment experience they deserve without breaking the bank.”

Tags: Roku

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