Roku Review: House of Cards

Hi, I’m Eric Lachter, Roku Marketing Director and Lover of Great Shows and Movies.

This week I watched ‘House of Cards,’ a brand new Netflix original series, on my Roku. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but David Fincher (Fight Club) delivers a thrillingly wicked political drama – the language and landscapes are dark, and the characters’ motives are darker.

Kevin Spacey is at his best since ‘American Beauty’ as the manipulative, Machiavellian House Majority Whip, and Constance Zimmer (Entourage) Kate Mara (127 hours) and Robin Wright (Forrest Gump) make up an impressive supporting cast. It appears that Mr. Fincher was given carte blanche to tell the story as he likes, and this is no after school special. It’s gritty. Good gritty. The narrative and pacing are feature-film quality.

I also like that Netflix made the entire first season available immediately. Time is precious, and it’s a real pleasure to stream good TV on my own schedule, without commercials. I can’t wait to watch the next episode (whenever I want).

You’ll find ‘House of Cards’ in the Netflix channel on your Roku.

Keep Streaming, America!


Posted in New to Watch, Special features, US | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

New releases and recommendations for February 4

Friday may seem far away, but we’ve got a piping hot batch of new releases to take your mind off the week ahead. Whether you’re in the mood for epic rock ‘n’ roll, thrilling political drama, or comic relief, you’ll find your perfect streaming pick in the lineup below.

Amazon Instant Video New Releases:

  • Seven Psychopaths- A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu. (2012)
  • Sound City- Directed by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, this star-studded documentary tells the story of rock’s greatest recording studio, and the musical magic it continues to inspire. (2013)
  • The Sessions- Academy Award Winner Helen Hunt joins John Hawkes and William H. Macy in a triumphant true story about love, desire, and living life to the fullest. (2012)

Hulu Plus New Releases:

  • The Mindy Project: Harry & Sally- Mindy’s romantic comedy fantasy has some complications. (2013)
  • Scandal: Truth or Consequences- Olivia’s colleagues learn the truth about the rigged election. (2013)
  • The Following: Chapter Two- Joe Carroll’s plan enters phase two. (2013)

Netflix New Releases:

  • House of Cards- Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara star in a brand new, wickedly addictive political drama about power, sex, love and greed. (2013)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off- Matthew Broderick shows us how to play hooky in style.  (1986)
  • Liar Liar- Jim Carrey is hilarious as a fast-track lawyer who suddenly finds himself unable to tell a lie for 24 straight hours. (1997)

Crackle New Releases:

  • The DaVinci Code- Tom Hanks unravels a serpentine conspiracy brimming with riddles, puzzles and misdirection. (2006)
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico- Director Robert Rodriguez brings an all-star cast to the stylized chaos of his final “Mariachi” film. (2003)
  • Glass House- Claustrophobic suspense and unexpected plot twists drive this clever, character-driven script to a chilling climax. (2001)
Fandor New Releases:
  • 5 Broken Cameras- A nominee for Best Documentary Feature at the 2013 Academy Awards®, 5 Broken Cameras captures the affect of Israeli settlements in the West Bank through the eyes of a Palestinian farmer. (2011)
  • From Straight to Bizarre- This rockumentary tells the outrageous story of Frank Zappa’s record labels, founded in 1968, and the amazing music they released. (2011)
  • The Beloved RogueFamed poet Francois Villon (John Barrymore) goest toe to toe with King Louis XI (Conrad Veidt) to win the heart of his betrothed paramour in this swashbuckling adventure. (1927)


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New releases and recommendations for January 28

There’s no cure for Monday, but Roku can help. Put your feet up and ease into the week with our lineup of new releases – we’ve got everything you need to stream your cares away.

Amazon Instant Video New Releases:

  • The Paperboy- A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate. (2013)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower- In this adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s best-selling novel, a lonely freshman falls under the spell of a free-spirited girl and her fearless stepbrother. Available for purchase. (2012)
  • The Imposter- The gripping true story of a Texan boy who went missing in 1994 and was miraculously found three and a half years later, thousands of miles away in southern Spain. (2012)

Amazon Prime Instant Video New Releases:

  • In the Electric Mist- While investigating a series of grisly murders, veteran detective Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) navigates his way through the Louisiana bayou and the dark, sultry world of New Orleans mobsters. (2007)
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days- Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey square off in a hilarious, light-hearted romantic comedy. (2003)
  • Sliding Doors- Gwyneth Paltrow shines in a British romantic comedy-drama that contemplates the road not taken. (1998)

Hulu Plus New Releases:

  • Nikita: Aftermath- Nikita and Owen face off against a rogue “cleaner” named Liam, while Michael takes a new position at Division. (2013)
  • Bob’s Burgers: Broadcast Wagstaff School News- Tina is on a mission to unmask the middle school “mad pooper.” (2013)
  • New Girl: Pepperwood- Nick is suspicious of one of Jess’s night school students (2013)

Netflix New Releases:

  • The Giant Mechanical Man- Out of work and living with her sister, a young woman finds a kindred spirit in a similarly aimless street performer. (2012)
  • For Greater Glory- Andy Garcia stars in an old-fashioned epic about the Cristero War, a bitter 20th-century conflict between Roman Catholics and the anticlerical Mexican government. (2012)
  • Kahaani (subtitled)- Pregnant and alone in the city of Kolkata, a woman begins a relentless search for her missing husband, only to find that nothing is what it seems. (2012)

Crackle New Releases:

  • Chloe- Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, and Amanda Seyfried turn the heat up with lustful, mistrustful alchemy. (2010)
  • The Deal- Penelope Ann Miller goes dark and seeks revenge on her family’s killers in this European thriller. (2006)
  • The Blackout- Thespian debauchery takes center stage in a pitch-black drama featuring the ever-intense Dennis Hopper. (1997)


Posted in New to Watch, US | Tagged | 1 Comment

Roku mobile app tops one million downloads

Today, we are excited to share that the Roku mobile app, available on both Android and iOS, has surpassed one million downloads!

Our users have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on the app. It currently maintains a 4.6 star rating (out of 5.0) on Google Play and a 4.5 star rating on Apple’s App Store.

What has made the app so popular with Roku users?

  • It functions as a full remote control, including an instant replay button and a keyboard for use in search.
  • You can browse the Roku Channel Store and add and remove channels from your Roku account.
  • You can instantly launch your favorite installed channels with handy quick launch buttons.
  • You can play your mobile music and photos right on your TV with the tap of a finger (on Roku 2, Roku LT and new Roku HD players).
  • It’s free!

We plan to make the Roku mobile app a more integral part of the Roku platform experience in 2013. If you haven’t tried it, download the app free from Google Play, Apple’s App Store or the Amazon Appstore and let us know what you think!

Posted in Android, iOS, Mobile Apps, Product features | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

New releases and recommendations for Jan 18

This year, we resolve to make relaxation a priority. Even when our days are packed with meetings, errands, and dirty dishes. Even when to-do lists are calling and we don’t have a moment to spare. Join us and make some time just for yourself this weekend. Happy Friday!

Amazon Instant Video New Releases:

  • Downton Abbey Season 3- The adventures at Downton continue with weddings, surprises, and ample witty one-liners from the Dowager Countess. (2013)
  • Taken 2- Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, a deadly ex-CIA operative who will stop at nothing to protect his family. (2012)
  • Men in Black 3- Agent Jay travels back in time to 1969, where he teams up with a younger version of Agent Kay to stop an evil alien from destroying the future. (2012)

Amazon Prime Instant Video New Releases:

  • Footloose- City kid Ren McCormack moves to a small town where rock ‘n’ roll and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace. (2011)
  • Crash- Lives combust when a Brentwood couple, a Persian shopkeeper, two cops, a pair of carjackers and a Korean couple all converge. (2005)
  • Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls- ”If you were me, then I’d be you, and I’d use YOUR body to get to the top.” Jim Carrey, at his best. (1995)

Hulu Plus New Releases:

  • The Mindy Project: Bunk Bed- Mindy bunks and bonds with her goddaughter. (2013)
  • New Girl: A Father’s Love- Jess tries to heal Nick’s relationship with his dad. (2013)
  • Bones: The Archaeologist in the Cocoon- The team investigates the murder of a well-known archaeologist with a questionable reputation. (2013)

Netflix New Releases:

  • Maximum ConvictionTasked with decommissioning an old penitentiary, a former black ops operative suddenly has his hands full when an elite force of mercenaries raids the prison. (2012)
  • Screwed- A former soldier is hired as a prison guard and drawn into a brutal underworld in this crime drama based on a true story. (2011)
  • The Switch- Jennifer Aniston stars as a single woman who decides to pursue motherhood – and realizes that her anonymous sperm donor isn’t quite as anonymous as she thinks. (2010)

Crackle New Releases:

  • Chosen- An unsuspecting father is thrust into a deadly game when a mysterious wooden box appears on his doorstep. (2013)
  • Hostel: Part IIIA soon-to-be groom celebrating his bachelor party in Las Vegas learns his longtime best friend has targeted him for ritual murder. (2011)
  • Underworld- Kate Beckinsale stars as a beautiful vampire warrior in an action-packed thriller that comes at you with guns blazing. (2003)

Fandor New Releases:

  • Dark Horse- Jordan Gelber, Christopher Walken, Mia Farrow and Selma Blair star in this dark comedy from the twisted mind of Todd Solondz. (2011)
  • Red Shoe Diaries- Before he was Fox Mulder, David Duchovny played grieving widower Jake Winters in the naughty erotic melodrama Red Shoe Diaries, which later launched a cult cable series of the same name. (1992)
  • It- The quintessential flapper, Clara Bow, is captured at the height of her charm in this bubbly fable of a New York shopgirl who hunts the heart of a young millionaire. (1927)
Posted in New to Watch, US | Tagged | 2 Comments

New releases and recommendations for January 11

A brand new year calls for brand new streaming picks. Whether you feel like laughing, crying, enjoying a flick with the family or (let’s be honest) watching lots of stuff blow up, we’ve got you covered. Kick 2013 off right with this all-new lineup!

Amazon Instant Video New Releases:

  • Looper- In the year 2042, a mob hitman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) assassinates targets sent back from the future – until he’s ordered to “close the loop” and eliminate his future self. (2012)
  • Frankenweenie- Tim Burton’s heart-warming black and white film brings Frankenweenie back to life with stop-motion animation. (2012)
  • End of Watch- Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as young LA police officers who become the target of the country’s most dangerous drug cartel. Now available for purchase. (2012)

Amazon Prime Instant Video New Releases:

  • Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol- While trying to clear their name, agent Ethan Hunt’s elite team uncovers a plot to start a nuclear war. (2011)
  • Young Adult- Academy Award winner Charlize Theron stars as a former prom queen turned young adult novelist who returns home to win back her high school sweetheart.  (2011)
  • No Strings Attached- Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher star as best friends who attempt an unconventional relationship. (2011)

Hulu Plus New Releases:

  • The Office: Lice- When Pam brings a lice infestation into the workplace, Dwight puts the office on lock down. (2012)
  • Downton Abbey Seasons 1 & 2- Catch up on (or relive) all of the Downton drama before you start on Season 3. (2012)
  • New Girl: Cabin- A weekend getaway may not be the vacation Jess envisioned. (2012)

Netflix New Releases:

  • Fire With Fire- After he is forced to testify against a powerful crime lord, a firefighter must take an unexpected course of action to get his life back. (2012)
  • Dr Seuss’ The Lorax- This animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic features the voice of Danny DeVito as the Lorax. (2012)
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol- Super-agent Ethan Hunt takes daring to new heights on another operation from the Impossible Missions Force. (2011)

Crackle New Releases:

  • S.W.A.T.: Firefight- Realistic action, intense fight scenes, and explosive editing make this a worthy sequel to the original S.W.A.T. (2011)
  • Quarantine 2: Terminal- A terrifying, disease-ridden zombie flick that sidesteps the rehashed clichés of the usual horror sequel. (2011)
  • The Informers- Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger star in a riveting exploration of the collapse of Western civilization, or as we like to call it, life in Hollywood. (2009)

Fandor New Releases:

  • About Jenny Holzer- A close look at conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, who works primarily through the visual depiction of language and text. (2011)
  • Princess Iron Fan- The first feature length animated film produce in China, Princess Iron Fan follows the Monkey King and his friends on their journey to the west (1941)
  • Our Town- This adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning play was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture (1940)
Posted in New to Watch, US | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Elvis streaming picks fit for The King

On this great day in 1935, Elvis was born. Grab a peanut butter and banana sandwich and slip into your blue suede shoes – we’re celebrating The King’s birthday with an epic rock ‘n’ roll lineup.

  • Blue Hawaii - Cheesy? Yes. Does it matter? No. We can’t help falling in love with this movie over and over again. 
  • Jailhouse Rock – While behind bars for manslaughter, bad boy Elvis masters guitar slingin’ and (surprise!) becomes a teenage rock star. 
  • King Creole – Elvis delivers one of his best early performances (and gets into a brief rumble with Walter Mathau) in this classic New Orleans drama.
  • Viva Las Vegas – Elvis stars as a race-car driver who falls for a hot swimming instructor (stunning Ann-Margret) in this hip-shakin’ musical. 
  • True Romance – Val Kilmer appears as the Ghost of Elvis in this irreverent, profane Quentin Tarantino story starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette and Christopher Walken. 
  • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - Jack White of White Stripes fame plays Elvis in this hilarious faux music biopic starring John C. Reilly.
  • Walk the Line - Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon deliver strong performances as country superstars Johnny Cash and June Carter; musician Tyler Hilton makes a cameo as Elvis. 
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CES 2013: Roku Adds Device Partners Plus New Channels Including TWC TV, FOX NOW and PBS

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) marked another new year of exciting consumer tech developments. Not one to miss out on the action, Roku had two important announcements of our own to share.

First, we announced that we have now surpassed 700 channels on the Roku platform in our quest to bring customers the best range and quality in streaming entertainment. In fact, we ended 2012 having streamed one billion hours! We’ve just announced a partnership with Time Warner Cable, which will bring TWC TV™ (featuring up to 300 live television channels) to Roku streaming devices in the U.S. We’ve also inked deals with more than a dozen new partners including Blockbuster On Demand, FOX NOWPBS, PBS KIDS, iHeartRadio and Big Fish Unlimited to name a few. These new video, music and casual games channels are launching in the Roku Channel Store this quarter.

We also announced six new Roku Ready partners who are using the Roku Streaming Stick to add an integrated streaming experience to their new Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, digital antennas, and audio receivers. As demand for streaming entertainment continues to grow, there is more interest from consumer electronics manufacturers, particularly TV makers, who are looking to introduce streaming features to their devices. Rather than invest in building and maintaining their own platforms, many are turning to Roku.

Coby Electronics Corp.; Harman Kardon; Hisense Electric Co. Ltd.; TCL Corp.; Voxx Accessories Corp. and Westinghouse Digital join existing Roku Ready partners 3M; Element Electronics; Haier America; Hitachi America, Ltd.; Insignia, a Best Buy brand; OPPO; Sumar Intl., Inc. and TMAX Digital, Inc. (Apex Digital®TVs), bringing us to a total of 14 Roku Ready partners.

We’re thrilled about these milestones so early in the New Year and look forward to sharing more exciting news with you in 2013!

Happy Streaming!

Posted in Roku Channels, Roku Streaming Stick (Roku Ready Version), US Channels | Tagged , , , , , , , | 86 Comments

2012 was a great year!

Roku® streaming is growing by leaps and bounds, and this past holiday season was the best quarter in our company history. Here are some of my favorite stats:

  • On Black Friday alone, we sold one Roku player every second!
  • Roku’s “same store sales” were up 40% year over year in Q4, despite the fact that many of our largest retailers sold out.
  • We’re closing in on 5 million Roku players sold in the U.S. – we expect to pass that milestone in the coming weeks.
  • Last year we streamed one billion hours. That’s a lot of TV, music, and games.

As we expand the reach of Roku, we are also working with many consumer electronics manufacturers who are making Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, audio receivers and digital antennas that can take advantage of the Roku Streaming Stick™. Today we announced even more partners, bringing us to 14 Roku Ready partners.

With demand from the CE market as well as consumers, it’s clear that Roku is the #1 streaming platform.

Of course we are very focused on bringing you more entertaining content. We launched with only one channel in 2008, as the first device to ever stream Netflix, and now we have more than 700 channels. We’ve just announced a partnership with Time Warner Cable, which will bring TWC TV™ (featuring up to 300 live television channels) to Roku streaming devices in the U.S. Our Channel Store features the best range and quality in streaming entertainment. And because we ask our partners to work with us to develop the channels from the ground up for a TV experience, they are fast and easy to navigate. This is one of the reasons why Roku players streamed more than one billion hours of entertainment in 2012.

We’re just getting 2013 started – there’s A LOT more to come.

Happy New Year and Keep Streaming, America!

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Top 12 holiday streaming picks

The weather outside is frightful, but we’ve put together a great list of holiday favorites to make you feel merry and bright this Christmas. Happy holidays from all of us at Roku!

  • Arrested Development: “Afternoon Delight”- Awkward holiday parties, $2600 pants, Tobias blueing himself, Yam, and the banana suit – this might be the best holiday TV episode of all time.
  • Die Hard- Yippee-ki-yay! If you’re in the mood for explosions and clever one-liners, nothing can top this witty, action-packed holiday flick starring a brawny, barefoot Bruce Willis.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation- From Aunt Bethany’s cat in a box to Clark’s exterior illumination shenanigans, the Griswold’s Christmas adventures will make your family seem normal.
  • The Polar Express- Directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on the classic children’s book, this magical Christmas journey is perfect for the whole family.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas- Tim Burton’s macabre stop motion musical is twisted, cute and wacky all at the same time.
  • Elf- Will Farrell will delight all ages as Buddy, the large, syrup-loving human elf.
  • A Christmas Story- No Christmas is complete without the hilarious story of Ralphie and his quest for an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.
  • Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas- Oscar winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer bring the world’s best-loved grump to life in this hilarious celebration of the true holiday spirit, starring Jim Carrey.
  • Scrooged- Bill Murray plays a modern-day Scrooge in an ’80s adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
  • Miracle on 34th Street- This heartwarming 1947 classic will always be on our holiday short list.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas- Charles Schultz’s timeless special is a true holiday masterpiece.
  • Roku Holiday Fun Channel- A crackling HD Yule Log and holiday content from Disney, Chow, AOL, TuneIn Radio and Flixster will fill any room with cozy holiday cheer. (available in the U.S.)
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