Archives For Roku

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  July 29, 2015

A stitch in time saves nine…

As older TiVo set-tops losing Amazon Instant and YouTube, Roku has drawn a line in the sand with similar partner responses. No Roku players produced prior to May 2011 (a lifetime ago in this space) will receive software updates. And, as app complexity and hardware requirements increase, existing channels will be dropped. Namely HBO GO – which was retired this week:

Beginning July 14th 2015, HBO GO will no longer be available on the Classic Roku devices. HBO strives to offer its customers the best possible experience on the Roku platform. Due to Roku’s discontinued support of the classic Roku players, HBO would be unable to guarantee a great video experience on these Classic Roku devices. Classic Roku players (those made before May 2011) have a more limited experience than current generation Roku players due to ongoing changes in software. Unfortunately, HBO Go will no longer be compatible with these devices

Time marches forward and this really isn’t a case of forced obsolescence. Not to mention, as with Amazon on TiVo, Roku will throw you a bone — offeringing a 20% discount on any new Roku 1, 2, or 3.

We understand this may be an inconvenience and we’re offering a discount if you are eligible so that you can update your player. Please email for instructions.


This weekend, Hulu and Roku are offering two months of free streaming to new customers. Where “new” generally means new email address. Given the imminent arrival of Showtime on Hulu (for an additional fee), I figured I’d strike while the iron is hot. However, the signup process was something of a turn off. Hulu, Roku, or maybe both require a gender and birth year to complete the registration process and surely feed their advertising initiatives. Obviously those can be spoofed if one so chooses, but I played along. However, where they lost me is Roku, versus Hulu, requiring a credit card on file.

Continue Reading…

Update! Roku has asked TechCrunch to remove an inaccurate statement and tells us: “Roku does not collect data from a customer’s WiFi network nor collect data from any other devices on a customer’s WiFi network.” Move along on, folks! Original story follows:


Assuming neither TechCrunch nor Roku misspoke, our streaming boxes (and sticks) will soon begin snooping on us. As Roku looks to generate revenue beyond meager hardware margins, they’re getting serious with measurement and advertising. And I get the need to monetize. However, the incoming ad platform piloted on Crackle is all sorts of creepy:

These interactive ads can also be personalized using data like a user’s location, as well as by tracking information collected on devices running on a household’s Wi-Fi network using traditional means.

Geo-targeting is a generally accepted practice to fine-tune offers, but sniffing my network to see what other devices I might be running is well out of bounds. Further, what other data will be passed along? For example, as Roku ramps up their analytics business, how might folks linking a Plex library or having installed an “adult” channel feel?

If TC’s nugget holds true, Roku will clearly need to update their privacy policy. It was last revised in March, to accomodate Nuance’s voice search, but makes absolutely no mention of identifying my location or scanning my network — something I imagine privacy groups, the EFF, and others would want to be aware of.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 8, 2015


Nielsen to Measure Roku Video Ads

Along with the introduction of the 2015 Roku 2 & 3 comes the new “Roku Feed” feature. At launch, it’s pinned to the Roku home screen as My Feed and provides an interface to “follow” new movies – easily keeping tabs on when a title moves from the big screen to a digital rental or purchase, along with sale updates. The area is a bit spartan at the moment and sadly Roku’s fantabulous universal search doesn’t yet integrate with upcoming releases – so new movies must be manually browsed. But we imagine this functionality will ultimately integrate tighter with Roku Search, including voice, and perhaps content-beyond-movies will be included. Heck, there’s still room for agnostic video playlists. Continue Reading…

Hands On Roku Voice Search

Dave Zatz —  April 5, 2015

The 2015 Roku 3 ships with a new “Enhanced Remote” that includes a new magnifying glass button and microphone to power voice search, à la Amazon Fire TV and even Comcast Xfinity. When the magnifier is pressed, the lower third of the Roku screen indicates the remote is listening for movie, TV show, actor, or director – tying into Roku’s top-notch universal search across disparate video content providers.

In very brief testing, the voice recognition has been accurate – moreso than my Fire TV even. But this may depend on your personal enunciation and search patterns. Speaking of search, the results leave a little to be desired as new release movies featured in Roku Feed are not currently indexed. I’d think these two new services should work together… and perhaps it’s just a matter of time. Regardless, this is a nice-to-have that surely beats “typing” via a virtual keyboard or even iPhone app. And we expect it’ll be a requisite feature given Siri’s presumed inclusion via an Apple TV update. Related, we can imagine Roku making voice search available to more models and customers via update to their iPhone and Android remote control apps. Until then, expect to see this remote also sold as an optional accessory for the 2015 Roku 2 and 2013/2014 Roku 3 models. Continue Reading…