TV is better than ever

Adapted from Doug Craig’s talk at TEDxHollywood – watch the full presentation here.

“If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.” -Johnny Carson

I love this quote from Johnny Carson. It reminds me how advances in technology have changed our lives – we jumped from radio to TV. TV became so integral to our lives and it began to be acceptable to watch while we ate dinner as a family. How many of you had a TV like this in your house?

If you’re like me, you love TV. Right now I can’t stop thinking of that Sons of Anarchy episode I watched last night, but I digress…

As a kid, I had about four channels. I watched what was on or nothing at all. And I had to work for it – remember fiddling with the rabbit ears to get the signal just right? Just imagine me trying to tell my kids that we had to WALK up to the TV to change the channel.

Let’s fast forward to today…

This is my kid’s TV experience. I’m sure it looks familiar. Today kids have no concept of TV networks, schedules or the “TV Guide.” They start, binge-watch and stop at will. Watching TV is complimented with a mobile device. They have complete control of what, when and where they watch TV.

But kids aren’t the only ones who watch TV this way – we all do now.

The Internet has transformed TV and it has made a profound impact on our lives. Today we have access to an unlimited amount of content – content we choose and connect with. There are channels on TV that would have otherwise never had a path to the TV without the power of the Internet and the advent of streaming. The Autism Channel, Diabetic Living and Homeschooling Network have more deeply connected communities with these advances. This year, because of streaming more people than ever united to watch the World Cup all over the world (broke a streaming record too!) and this is just the beginning.

The future is bright for us TV lovers. All TV will be streamed and the experience will only get better and better. If you told seven-year-old me this is how I’d watch TV, I would have been way more excited to grow up.

Stream on.

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Top 10 new releases and recommendations

Is it really September already?! On the upside, football season’s underway and fall TV premieres are just around the corner. Football fans, Draft Day and The League are recommendations just for you. :)

  • Draft Day (Movie, 2014)  On the day of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Costner) has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand, M-GO, Redbox Instant and VUDU.
  • Blended (Movie, 2014) – Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star as single parents whose families get swept away for a blended family honeymoon in the African Savanna. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand, M-GO, Redbox Instant and VUDU.
  • The League Season 5 (TV Show, 2013) – Men juggle their personal lives with their love of fantasy football. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Criminal Minds Season 9 (TV Show, 2013) – An elite squad of FBI profilers analyzes the country’s most-twisted criminals. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Californication Seasons 1-7 (TV Show, 2007) – A self-destructive novelist tries to raise his daughter. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Cool Runnings (Movie, 1993) – Two Jamaicans make their way to Calgary as long-shot bobsledders in the 1988 Olympics. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Girl Rising (Movie, 2013) – Stories of nine girls from developing countries show them overcoming great obstacles to obtain an education and change their fates.  Available on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Lords of Dogtown (Movie, 2005) – In the 1970s, a group of California surfers pioneers a revolutionary new style of skateboarding.  Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • School of Rock (Movie, 2003) – Fired from his group and desperate for money, a guitarist poses as a teacher for students who play in a school band. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Swiss Family Robinson (Movie, 1960) – The shipwrecked Robinsons and their three sons build a house in a huge tropical tree and fight pirates invading the island.  Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
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Roku UK: New Releases and Recommendations for 5th September 2014

A new month, a new school year, and some great new additions that you can watch on your Roku player.

What are you watching this month? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Harry at 30 (documentary) – Prince Harry turns 30 later this month, and this documentary explores his life so far, with contributions from friends, army comrades, journalists and royal correspondents. Available on ITV Player.
  • In the Club (series)Kay Mellor’s latest gritty British drama follows the progress of six very different pregnant women and their partners who meet at a local antenatal group. The first five episodes are all available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.
  • The X Factor (series) – The annual search for the country’s next singing sensation is back, and the new series sees the return of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formerly Cheryl Cole) to the judging panel, alongside new judge Mel B and old faces Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh. You can catch up on the first rounds of auditions on ITV Player.
  • Masters of Sex (series) – Stylish, smart and provocative drama series set in the 1950s, chronicling the relationship of Dr William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), the couple who gave birth to the sexual revolution.  You can catch up on the second series of the America drama on 4oD.
  • DIY SOS (series) – You might want to have some tissues handy for the latest episode of the home renovation series, as Nick Knowles and his team help a couple who had to stop working on their house when their son Noah was born with spina bifida and only two per cent of his brain. Episode 2 of series 25 is on BBC iPlayer now.
  • TV’s Nastiest Villains with Joan Collins (documentary) – A host of television and showbiz personalities offer their insight into what keeps us rooting for the bad guys. From Walter White of Breaking Bad to Tanya Turner from Footballers’ Wives, Joan Collins counts down some of the nastiest men and women to have appeared on our screens. You can watch it now on Demand 5.
  • The Thick of It (series) – Peter Capaldi may now be the new Doctor Who, but it was as foul-mouthed and aggressive Director of Government Communications Malcolm Tucker that he made his name. You can watch all four series of Armando Iannucci’s satirical comedy on Netflix.
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (movie) – Seven years after the hilarious and hugely popular first film, Ron Burgundy and Veronica Cornerstone are now married and co-anchors for New York’s first 24-hour news channel. See how they get on in the sequel which has just been added to NOW TV.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (movie) – Two years after the events of Avengers Assemble, Steve Rogers – aka Captain America – continues to undertake heroic missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. under the directorship of Nick Fury and the assistance of Black Widow. The latest superhero instalment from Marvel is now available on Sky Store.

Golden Oldie:

  • Cleopatra (Movie) – The historical drama that brought Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton together stars her as the queen of all Egypt and him as her Roman lover. All 3 hours and 53 minutes of this 60’s classic are available on Sky Store.
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Roku tips and tricks from our customers

Every day our awesome Roku customers share their best Roku tips, favorite channels and much more. We’ve included 10 of our favorite Roku tips below but we’d love to hear yours too – post ‘em below!

See all the tips from your fellow Roku customers on Facebook and Twitter.

Roku app for smartphone is a must. Much easier to search and type than regular remote. – Eric

Use the * (options) key and organize the channels in the order you watch them – Jay

Put your top 3 channels in slots 1-3 and your next 3 channels in the last 3 slots – and simply cursor up. – @tubaman_z

Pairing your phone’s YouTube app with your Roku is easy and awesome. Love watching YouTube vids in 1080p on my 50” TV! #RokuTip – @ballyhewe

Stream your own movie collection with Plex. – Tom

Tip: use Roku app on smartphone to show pictures from your phone or stream music from your phone to Roku. – Phillip

Get some Velcro to mount the Roku to the back of your TV and then use the WiFi remote. That way everything is tucked away and you don’t have to worry about the infrared line of sight with the remote. – Kyle

When you buy a DVD or Blu-ray make sure you get the one with the digital copy. We started doing this and then putting the dvds up where kids can’t get them. Now my kids have access to all their new movies via digital download on Vudu but can’t break or scratch them like they used to. – Wendy

Take it on vacation, plug in, attach to wifi and stream – Rob

Research & explore ALL channels available. Not just the well advertised major ones. There are other channels available. – @SallyJoany

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Top 10 new releases and recommendations

With an extra day off for Labor Day, there’s no reason you can’t get through most of our top 10 list. We did the math, there are about 50 hours you can stream this weekend…that is if you decide to sleep the full 8 hours each night. ;)

We want to hear from you though. Let us know what you’re streaming this weekend.

  • Godzilla (Movie, 2014) This spectacular adventure pits Godzilla, the world’s most famous monster, against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. Available to buy on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO and VUDU.
  • Muppets Most Wanted (Movie, 2014) – The Muppets find themselves entangled in an international crime caper. Available on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO and VUDU.
  • Parenthood Season 5 (TV Show, 2010) – Four adult siblings share the joys and heartaches of parenthood. Recently released on Netflix and also available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Revenge Season 3 (TV Show, 2011) – A young woman returns to the Hamptons to take vengeance on the neighbors that set her father up. Available on Netflix.
  • Once Upon a Time Season 3 (TV Show, 2011) – A bail bond collector must fight for the present day world, in which fairy tales are to be believed. Recently released on Netflix and also available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and Vudu.
  • Barbershop 2: Back in Business (Movie, 2004) – The owner of a barbershop faces pressure from a corporation that is opening establishments in his neighborhood. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Great Expectations (Movie, 2013) – A humble orphan becomes a gentleman with help from a mysterious benefactor.  Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn Season 1 (TV Show, 2014) – A bank robber and his violent brother run from the law but meet vampires. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Thanks for Sharing (Movie, 2012) – An unconventional romantic comedy that follows the topsy-turvy lives and loves of three obsessive characters: an overachieving environmental consultant, a stubborn small-business owner and a wisecracking ER doctor. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Rounders (Movie, 1998) – The release of his debt-ridden pal from jail spurs a law student to resume high-stakes gambling.  Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
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Roku UK: New Releases and Recommendations for 29th August 2014

The summer may be fizzling out but there are still loads of great shows and films to catch up on with your Roku streaming player. Here are just some of the highlights.

Let us know what you’re watching at the moment in the comments section.

  • Doctor Who (Series)Doctor Who returned to our screens last weekend with Peter Capaldi starring as the new doctor. He arrives in Victoria London to find a dinosaur rampant in the Thames and a spate of deadly spontaneous combustions. Watch his debut on BBC iPlayer.
  • Reading and Leeds Festival – Reading and Leeds 2014 took place over the Bank Holiday Weekend with Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys among the headline acts. You can catch up on the highlights, including full sets from all the headliners, on BBC iPlayer now.
  • The Great War – The People’s Story (Series) – One hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War, this dramatised documentary starring Daniel Mays and Alison Steadman uses the diaries, letters and memoirs of the men and women who were caught up in the conflict. The first three episodes are available to watch on ITV Player.
  • Dogs: Their Secret Lives (Series) – Using surveillance filming, working closely with the UK’s leading behaviourists and exploring the latest science, Mark Evans examines what our dogs get up to while we’re out, and how to keep them happy in the modern British home. The first two episodes look at the issues of obesity and aggressive behaviour among dogs, and are available to view on 4oD.
  • Match of the Day at 50 (documentary) – With the new football season now in full swing, Match of the Day celebrates 50 years since it was first aired. This documentary charts the history of this iconic programme, with classic clips and interviews with some of football’s biggest names on what makes the show so special. Available on BBC iPlayer.   
  • Educating Yorkshire: One Year On (documentary) – This special one-off programme revisits the Thornhill teachers and students one year after they made such an impact on the nation, and follows a selection of the students on results day as they find out how they did in their GCSEs. Watch it now on 4oD.
  • On the Yorkshire Buses (series) – Continuing with the Yorkshire theme, this documentary series follows East Yorkshire Motor Services, Britain’s biggest family-run bus company. The first seven episodes of the series are all available to watch on Demand 5.
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (movie) – The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf, continue their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug. The second instalment of Peter Jackson’s trilogy has just been added to Netflix.
  • Gravity (movie) – With seven Oscars to its name, this nail-biting space thriller has an irresistible pull. When debris hits their shuttle, astronauts Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are helplessly catapulted into space, with little chance of survival. You can see it now on NOW TV.

Golden Oldie:

  • The Great Escape (Movie) – Following the death of Richard Attenborough, this week’s ‘golden oldie’ is one of his most famous films. Attenborough stars alongside Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen in John Sturges’s classic about a group of Allied prisoners who plan a mass breakout from a Nazi PoW camp. You can watch the 1963 film on Sky Store.  
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Stream your way back to school with a Roku player!

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school. -Billy Madison

Who said going back to school is boring? Roku is chock full of entertaining and educational channels like PBS and PBS Kids, TEDTalks, Smithsonian and more. Hey, you can probably sneak in a movie marathon here or there too. Study hard, stream harder. ;)

Wouldn’t a brand new Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) make a fantastic addition to your back to school list? We’re giving you a chance to win through Twitter*. Plus, VUDU is throwing in $50 in movie credits! Hurry, this sweepstakes ends September 9, 2014.

We hope you win!

U.S. only, excluding U.S. territories

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Catch up on all the Emmy-nominated TV shows

The 66th Annual Emmy Awards are Monday and there’s no better place to catch-up on all the nominated shows than on Roku. Here are the comedy and drama series nominees. They’re all binge-worthy!

We’re calling it – Orange is the New Black for comedy and Breaking Bad for drama series. Who do you think will win?

Outstanding Comedy Series Nominees

  • Orange is the New Black (TV Show, 2013) – Piper Chapman spends a year in a women’s prison as a result of her dealings with a drug problem.  The series is exclusively available on Netflix.
  • Louie (TV Show, 2010) – Life can be hectic for single father and successful stand-up comedian Louie.  The series is available to watch on Amazon Instant Video and Vudu.
  • Modern Family (TV Show, 2009) – A diverse clan bridges cultural and generational gaps. The entire series is available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Silicon Valley (TV Show, 2014) – In the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, follow the lives of a programmer and his roommates. Available on Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and Vudu.
  • The Big Bang Theory (TV Show, 2007) – A free-spirited beauty moves in next door to two physicists. The entire series is available to watch Amazon Instant Video, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Veep (TV Show, 2012) – A senator tries to make her mark as Vice President of the United States. Watch the whole series on Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and Vudu.

Outstanding Drama Series Nominees

  • Breaking Bad (TV Show, 2008) – A high school chemistry teacher has a midlife crisis. Watch the entire series on Amazon Instant VideoM-GONetflix and Vudu.
  • True Detective (TV Show, 2014) – Louisiana detectives endure a cycle of violence and obsession within a 17-year hunt for a serial killer. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and Vudu.
  • Mad Men (TV Show, 2007) – A drama about a prestigious team of account executives in a 1960’s New York City ad agency. Watch the series on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • House of Cards (TV Show, 2013) – A ruthless politician plots revenge on those who have thwarted him. Both seasons available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Game of Thrones (TV Show, 2011) – Noble families in the seven kingdoms of Westeros vie for control of the Iron Throne. Season 4 is available to watch on HBO GO. The rest of the series is available on Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and Vudu.
  • Downton Abbey (TV Show, 2010) – Follow the life of the Crawley family and their servant in the beginning years leading up to the World War I. All four seasons available to watch on Amazon Instant Video and Vudu.
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Roku UK: New Releases and Recommendations for 22nd August 2014

This bank holiday we suggest you mix it up a bit. So here are our recommendations that we know you’ll love this family filled weekend.

Let us know what you plan to watch in the comments section below.

  • Cooks Questions (Series)Sue Perkins hosts a series in which three brilliant chefs demonstrate their skills and answer questions from a studio audience. In this week’s episode Michelin-starred chefs Michael Caines, Frances Atkins and Glynn Purnell discuss the secret to cooking fish. Chef Tom Aikens puts together a delicate smoked eel and cucumber dish. Gennaro Contaldo drops in on a mum at home to show that everyone can rustle up restaurant quality pizza. Vanilla is the ingredient of the day, with dishes including pineapple kebabs. The first two episodes are available to watch on 4oD.
  • The Love Punch (Movie) – Divorced couple Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and Kate (Emma Thompson) are forced back together when a corrupt French businessman makes off with their pension plan money. Determined to recover their cash they plan a daring revenge heist with the help of married duo Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie. Visit Sky Store to watch it.
  • First Time Farmers (Documentary) – A new generation of farmers is breathing life into the agricultural world, balancing hard work with finding time for love, laughter and partying. Catch up with series 1 and 2 by visiting 4oD.
  • Notting Hill Carnival (Documentary) – Wyn Baptist grew up in Notting Hill believing his dad Selwyn, a Trinidadian steel pan player who arrived in Britain in 1960 and was the first Chair of Notting Hill Carnival Committee, was the man who started Carnival. But the truth isn’t quite that simple. Wyn discovers that the origins of Carnival are as tangled as the history of London itself as he meets key players who were actually there with his dad, and goes on a journey that takes in mass immigration, the 1958 race riots, pioneering social workers, Trinidadian steel pan players and adventure playgrounds. Watch it on BBC iPlayer.
  • Played (Series) –Meet the undercover cops who pose as anything from hit men to drug dealers to infiltrate criminal worlds and collect evidence.  Get up to date with the series on Demand 5.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks (Movie) – In the third big screen outing for the high-pitched furry warblers, Alvin and his chipmunk pals find themselves stranded on a desert island along with the Chipettes. As their surrogate dad Dave searches in vain, they’ve got to deal with a duplicitous castaway and an erupting volcano. This family favourite can be viewed on Sky Store.
  • Match of the day (Series) – Gary Lineker is joined by Alan Shearer and Ruud Gullit for highlights of the opening fixtures of the 2014-2015 Premier League season, as Match of the Day returns for its 50th year.  Catch up at BBC iPlayer.
  • Lawless (Movie) – This true-to-life action saga profiles Virginia’s bootlegging Bondurant brothers, whose exploits during the Prohibition era made them outlaw heroes. Starring Tom Hardy and Shia Labeouf. Watch it on Netflix.
  • Four in a bed (Series) – B&B owners throw open their doors and take turns to stay with one another – and pay what they consider fair for their stay. Watch it  on 4oD.

Golden Oldie:

  • The Railway Children (Movie) –. Dramatisation of E Nesbit’s classic novel about three children whose lives change dramatically after they move to a Yorkshire cottage near a railway line.  A 1970 British family favourite available on ITV player.
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Introducing Roku TV – a simplified Smart TV for everyone

In January, back at CES, we announced that we are working with TV manufacturers to build Roku TV models – a new, simplified Smart TV based on the Roku platform. Today I’m delighted to celebrate with Hisense and TCL on the launch of their Roku TV models!

Just like our Roku players, Roku TV offers an exceptional streaming experience filled with endless entertainment choices. But we didn’t just stick a Roku player inside the TV. We enhanced the Roku operating system to power the entire TV experience. That means we’ve applied our philosophy of simple and powerful across the entire TV – from the home screen to the remote control to picture settings. Combining the Roku OS with our partners expertise in TV hardware design, manufacturing and scale, we’re thrilled to deliver  the best Smart TV in the market.

Consumers will love the personalized home screen which places their favorite entertainment options like the cable TV box, game console and streaming channels front and center. There’s no more flipping through inputs or wading through complicated menus to select entertainment.

Content providers benefit from developing their streaming channel once for the Roku platform and having it instantly available across all Roku devices – so that’s Roku players, The Roku Streaming Stick and Roku TV models.

We believe a simple, content-rich experience should be in all Smart TVs. Different from the complex, yet content limited Smart TVs that have been on the market so far, Roku TVs give consumers:

  • A personalized home screen with quick access to entertainment favorites
  • Simple remote control – we removed half the buttons of a traditional TV remote, including the input button
  • Endless entertainment with more than 1,700 streaming channels – that’s 200,000 movies and TV episodes plus hundreds of choices for fitness, sports, news, kids, music and much more
  • Roku Search for finding more entertainment across the top 13 streaming channels
  • Integration with mobile devices through the free Roku mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows
  • Frequent software updates from Roku so the TV is always fresh with new streaming channels and features
  • An amazing overall value – starting as low as $229 for the 32 inch

TCL and Hisense continue to climb in popularity among consumers, as the world’s third and fourth best selling TV brands, respectively. They are quickly establishing themselves as leaders in the U.S.

Hisense Roku TVs will be available in 40-inch, 48-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch models from major national retailers beginning in late September.

TCL Roku TVs are available for pre-order now from Amazon.com in 40-inch, 48-inch and 55-inch models. TCL Roku TVs will be available through major national retailers in the coming weeks.

We can’t wait to hear what you think about the new Roku TVs! This is just the beginning.

Happy Streaming,

Posted in Product News, Roku News, Roku TV | Tagged , , | 8 Comments