Last Thursday, Netflix netted 14 nominations for the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, most of them for the standout original series House of Cards. This marks the first time streaming content has been nominated in top categories, and it’s a well-deserved milestone. Great TV is great TV, regardless of the way it’s delivered to our screens.

The Primetime Emmy Awards air on September 22nd, which leaves plenty of time to catch up on the nominees in our favorite category, Outstanding Drama. Warning: it’s nearly impossible to stop watching these once you’ve started.

  • House of Cards – Based on the novel by Michael Dobbs, this wicked, gritty political drama stars Kevin Spacey as a Machiavellian House Majority Whip on a quest for revenge. Available on the Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU channels on Roku.
  • Game of Thrones – An adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s novels, HBO’s stunning fantasy series chronicles the bloody battle for the Iron Throne, which involves seven noble families, armies of ice zombies and, of course, dragons. Available on the HBO GO, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU channels on Roku.
  • Homeland – This suspenseful, thrilling series is centered around a potentially traitorous American POW and the bipolar CIA officer who is both his friend and foe.  Available on the Amazon Instant Video and VUDU channels on Roku.
  • Mad Men – Created by Matthew Weiner, this slick period drama explores the glamorous and crooked world of a 1960s Madison Avenue advertising agency. Available on the Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and VUDU channels on Roku.
  • Downton Abbey – This PBS Masterpiece Classic follows the juicy, eventful lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in post-Edwardian Yorkshire country. Available on the Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and VUDU channels on Roku.
  • Breaking Bad – AMC’s action-packed, highly addictive series stars Bryan Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin. Available on the Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and VUDU channels.
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We’re excited to announce the launch of Sky News on the Roku streaming platform! As of today, all Roku users in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Ireland can enjoy instant access to award-winning live broadcast news from Sky.

The free service delivers live 24/7 news coverage, including breaking news and headlines from business, politics, entertainment, technology and more.

In addition to the live feed, Sky News offers an extensive on-demand news library – so you can catch up on the royal baby on your own time.

Happy streaming!

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English speakers call it Bastille Day; the French call it Fête Nationale; we call it an excuse to get our subtitles on while enjoying both sweet and savory crêpes—why have just one?—wearing bérets and sipping bubbly. Okay, maybe not the bérets. In honor of France’s Independence Day this Sunday, June 14, here are some French movies that are not to be missed.

Our favorite French flick by one point six kilometers, aka a mile, is Amélie: It’s a must-watch for anyone who needs a little joie in their lives. The main character, Amélie—played by the gorgeous and talented Audrey Tautou—is a naïve young girl in Paris on a mission to help those around her, and ends up falling in love in the process. It’s a charming film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet that’s nearly as beautiful as the city of Paris itself. Careful or you’ll let your crêpe go cold as you find yourself mesmerized by the inner workings of Amélie’s imagination caught on film. Available on the Amazon Instant Video and VUDU channels on Roku.

 

Delicatessen, also by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, this time with Marc Caro, is another brilliant fantasy fête. Ex-clown in love with the butcher’s daughter? Oui, s’ilvousplaît! Available on the Amazon Instant Video channel on Roku.

A feast for the eyes, cult-followed The City of Lost Children is a sci fi/fantasy tale about a monster who can’t dream, so he steals dreams from children. (Naturally.) Watch if you’re in the mood for a talking brain in a fish tank, clones who can’t decide who is the original, Siamese twins, an octopus tour guide, and a monster-sized helping of wow. Or, as the French say, wow. Available on the Amazon Instant Video channel on Roku.

A few more fantastic French flicks include:

  • La Femme Nikita (1990) and Léon: The Professional (1994), both about likable assassins – availble on the Crackle and Amazon Instant Video channels, respectively
  • Les visiteurs (1993), the tale of a nobleman and his sidekick who are accidentally transported to modern times – available on the Netflix channel

Vive la France!

 

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Is your summer sadly lacking in valor and majesty so far? Fear not! Our friends at Crackle are kick-starting the season with SUMMER OF HEROES, four whole weeks of heroic action movies. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Every hero needs a theme song, so Crackle collaborated with popular Chicago rock band I Fight Dragons to create an appropriately heroic original anthem. Today, the “Summer of Heroes” music video debuts exclusively on Roku – add SUMMER OF HEROES to your Crackle Watchlist and check it out!

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with I Fight Dragons lead singer Brian Mazzaferri about binge streaming, killer space robots, and the band’s upcoming album. Check out our convo below.

You’ve weathered some epic adventures as a band, building an impressive fan base and crowd-funding an album along the way. Tell us about the journey leading up to the “Summer of Heroes” song and video.

Brian: It has indeed been an epic journey. Whether fighting killer space robots, battling ancient dragonlords, or playing rock shows from Bellingham, WA to Orlando, FL, we’ve had a blast every step of the way. When we first thought to combine chiptune and “rock and roll” music back in 2009, we never could have anticipated what we were in for. We’ve also had an adventure-fueled run through the major label system and miraculously come out the other end in pretty good shape, and with our Project Atma kickstarter having gone so well last month, we’re pretty psyched about what the future holds.

When the Crackle team approached us about writing a song for a ridiculously awesome slate of movies on Crackle we moved heaven and earth (mostly earth) to make it happen, and we love how it all came out.

Your Facebook page describes you as “a band made up of robots disguised as people,” and you battle hipster zombies in the music video for “cRaZie$.” Do you have any secret superhuman powers?

Brian: Yes. But if we told you what they were, then we’d have to use our super secret death ray vision to kill you. Wait… Dangit.

What are your favorite superhuman/superhero TV shows and movies? Have any of them inspired your music?

Brian: Yes. Growing up I was addicted to X-Men cartoons, as well as basically any superhero cartoon or movie that came on. I was a huge fan of the original Superman movie, as well as Superman III (the best Superman movie largely due to it’s realistic portrayal of the power of computer hackers and specifically naive ones like Richard Pryor). We actually had a song on our first EP called “No One Likes Superman Anymore” which in case you couldn’t tell was inspired by one of the things I just mentioned (hint: it’s not X-Men). I’m also a voracious consumer of the current glut of superhero movies that have come out in the past decade. I love them all, even (especially?) the bad ones.

Roku is all about streaming what you want, when you want. In fact, we’re seeing now that the majority of streamers are watching marathon-style or “binge” viewing multiple episodes. Have you ever watched an entire series all in one sitting? What’s on your Crackle Watchlist right now?

Brian: I would say that I almost exclusively watch things binge style…the vast majority of my TV/movie consumption has the vibe of GIMME ALL OF IT NAO. My biggest binge ever was probably when I watched the entire Battlestar Galactica series in a few weeks. I had a similar binge for Avatar: The Last Airbender. As far as my Crackle Watchlist goes, I’ve got the Marvel Anime movies and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children in there as well as Resident Evil and Underworld – classics that I still remember seeing in theaters.

All-time favorite TV/movie quotes? And if you could be known for a one-liner, what would that be?

Brian: Any quote of Arnold’s beats any other quote in my book. I have been known to quote Total Recall completely out of context – things like “See you at the party, Richter” or “Consider that a divorce.” If I had a one liner it would probably be something pretty gnarly involving robots and magic – maybe “Die, RoboWizard Scum!” …I’ll keep working on it.

That’s pretty good – it’s all in the delivery. What are the top 5 songs on your summer playlist right now? Do you use music services like Pandora, Spotify or iHeartRadio?

Brian: I’m a Spotify listener myself, but I’ve been known to dabble in Pandora. I tend to do more albums than songs, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Muse, Amanda Palmer, Regina Spektor, Jellyfish, and Jukebox The Ghost lately. Pretty random stuff.

Speaking of random stuff, if you had to pick an actor to play each of you in the big screen story of I Fight Dragons, who would you choose?

Brian: I’m just going to choose for everyone, so ha ha:

  • Brian – Hugh Jackman
  • Bill – Michael Fassbender
  • Packy – James Marsden
  • Chad – Vin Diesel
  • Hari – Neil Patrick Harris

Well chosen. What’s next for I Fight Dragons? Do you have a tour planned to promote the upcoming album?

Brian: Well we’re writing more songs for the album now, then we’ll record in August and September, then we’ll probably do a little bit of touring around the album release in December! It’s going to be a fun year!

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This Fourth of July holiday, nothing could be more patriotic than kickin’ the tires and lighting the fires with Maverick, Goose and Iceman as they defend America by bathing in hair gel and flying F-16s upside down over hostile territory.

Top Gun is arguably the most macho American movie of all time, with motorcycles, jets soaring at sub-sonic speeds, and lines like, “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

If you and your family haven’t seen this movie since ’86, give it a spin (er… inverted barrel roll) on Netflix.

A few more fourth-worthy flicks:

Keep Streaming, America.  And happy Fourth!

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Oh the joys of binge-watching! Entire weekends spent in pursuit of a finale, hours spent in pure entertainment bliss – thank goodness the fridge is stocked and the couch is comfy!

Gone are the days of waiting for episodes, but it’s become near impossible to avoid hearing, seeing or saying anything that might land you in hot water.

After last night’s Game of Thrones season finale, it’s important to mind your streaming manners. We’ve compiled this handy-dandy etiquette guide to help you to stay in the clear!

Roku’s Guidelines for Socially Responsible Streaming

Nobody likes a spoiler – If you’re going to discuss a recent episode, you must use some variation of the phrase “spoiler alert” followed by a minimum 30-second pause before continuing the conversation. Preface spoiler-riddled tweets with #SpoilerAlert to warn those who may not want to read on. Your friends will thank you and better yet, they’ll stay your friends.

Gone streaming – We all know that social media is a spoiler minefield. So, if you were out with friends last night and plan to catch-up on the Game of Thrones finale today, it’s wise to stay away from Twitter and Facebook until you’re all caught up. Update your status with an explanation if you’re afraid someone might file a missing person report.

Use your Monday manners – Remember last Sunday when you were too exhausted from Game of Thrones to watch Mad Men too? Someone in the office made that same decision this week, so tread lightly at the water cooler. Monday tends to be the biggest spoiler day of the week thanks to the number of series that air Sunday evenings. See spoiler rule above.

Sleep is overrated – If you missed the boat on a long-running series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad or Dexter, don’t be overwhelmed at the prospect of catching up. Thanks to commercial-free viewing on Roku, you can stream an entire 13-episode season of 47-minute shows in just over 10 hours – slightly longer than the average work day but so much more productive!

Marathons are not just for runners  Streaming several consecutive episodes of a drama like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead is great way to get immersed in the story arc, but has been known to cause nightmares or involuntary eye-twitching at the very least. To prevent this, stay hydrated and take frequent blink breaks. In the event that fear or stress renders you immobile, placing a hand over your eyes and viewing through a small space between your fingers is advisable.

No cheating – So you and a partner have decided to watch the entire Friday Night Lights series together.  A pact is a pact, but inevitably one of you will start watching ahead, gloat over knowing an upcoming plot point and come dangerously close to jeopardizing your 20-year relationship. There are two ways to deal with streaming infidelity: view in private with Roku 3’s headphones until you are all caught up, or remove the cheater from your life until you’ve completed the entire series. We recommend both, just to be safe.

“Something suddenly came up” – If Sunday morning arrives and you have yet to stream last week’s True Blood before this evening’s episode, it is entirely permissible to skip a morning run, family dinner, volleyball tournaments, baby showers or any other Sunday commitments you’ve made – provided you have developed an airtight excuse.  Family and friends forgive. Vampires do not.

Avoid withdrawal – After finishing an entire series, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal, including denial, anger, the inability to stop quoting your favorite characters, and a general sense of overwhelming loss. In these uncomfortable instances, remember that you are not alone and use Roku’s search tool to fill the void with a new series as soon as possible.

Have you ever fallen victim to a spoiler? Are you a seasoned marathon streamer with several series under your belt? Help your fellow streamers by sharing your tips below.

Happy (socially responsible) streaming!

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We’re always working to bring Roku customers the best range and quality in streaming entertainment, and today we’re excited to announce that Redbox Instant by Verizon will arrive on the Roku platform this summer!

Redbox Instant subscribers will be able to enjoy thousands of popular movies on Roku as well as buy and rent the newest releases on-demand.

The Redbox Instant channel will be available at launch on Roku 3, Roku 2, Roku LT (models 2400 & 2450), and Roku HD (model 2500) players as well as the Roku Streaming Stick.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to know when the channel launches.

Posted in Roku Channels, US Channels | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

Today, Hulu released a significant update to the Hulu Plus channel on Roku.

The redesigned Hulu Plus interface makes it even easier to find your favorite TV shows and movies quickly. You’ll notice the new tray-style format, streamlined grid screens and big, beautiful artwork for the thousands of available series, movies, clips and trailers.

Here are some other cool improvements:

  • Watch popular Nickelodeon and PBS children’s shows like SpongeBob SquarePantsWordWorldSuper WHY! and Caillou commercial-free in the “Hulu Kids” section.
  • Find shows, movies, clips, genres and networks faster with a brand new search interface.
  • Jump straight to the latest episodes of your favorite shows via the “Shows You Watch” row on the home screen.
  • Find trailers quickly in a new section organized by categories like “Opening This Week,” “In Theaters Now,” “Coming Soon” and “Popular Trailers.”
  • Get personalized recommendations based on past viewing activity in the “Recommended for You” row on the home screen.
  • Explore theme-based streaming suggestions such as “Movies for Memorial Day” and “Time-Traveling Heros.”

The new Hulu Plus channel is available now in the United States on Roku 3, Roku 2 XS (model 3100), Roku 2 XD (model 3050), Roku 2 HD (model 3000), Roku LT (models 2400 & 2450), Roku HD (model 2500) and the Roku Streaming Stick (models 3400 & 3420). Earlier Roku models will continue to access Hulu Plus shows and movies via the existing Hulu Plus channel.

If you already have Hulu Plus installed, the channel will update automatically within the next 48 hours. To update right now, just select Settings > System update > Check now.

Happy streaming!

Posted in Roku Channels, US Channels | Tagged , | 95 Comments

When we launched the Roku 3 in March, we also announced an entirely new Roku interface. The new experience has gotten rave reviews for its intuitive layout, quick reflexes, built-in search tool, redesigned Channel Store and home screen themes. We think you’ll love it.

We’ve begun rolling out the new interface to supported Roku players as a free upgrade, and we know many of you have been waiting impatiently! Today, we’re thrilled to announce that you can update manually right this minute by selecting Settings > Software update > Check now on your Roku player.


If you’re not the manual type, all you need to do is kick back and keep your Roku player connected to the Internet. Over the next two weeks, the automatic software update—version 5.0, build 804X—will roll out to the following supported players in all regions: Roku 2 XS (model 3100), Roku 2 XD (model 3050), Roku 2 HD (model 3000), Roku LT (models 2400 & 2450), Roku HD (model 2500) and the Roku Streaming Stick (models 3400 & 3420). (Note: Roku Search is currently available only in the U.S.) Unfortunately, new features and functionality sometimes require new hardware, and earlier Roku models cannot support the update.

We hope you enjoy the new face of streaming!

Posted in Product News, Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3, Roku LT, Roku Players, Roku Ready Program, Software Features | Tagged , , , , , | 174 Comments

We are excited to announce that the much-anticipated PBS and PBS KIDS channels are now available on Roku!

The PBS channel features videos from popular PBS programs such as NOVA, American Experience, MasterpieceNature, Frontline and Antiques Roadshow. Roku users can also stream content from their local PBS station and short, web-original videos from Webby Award-winning PBS Digital Studios. The Blank on Blank series, which sets rare audio interviews with celebrities to new animation, is one of our favorites.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG19JDgqo6A&version=3&hl=en_US]
With the arrival of PBS KIDS, junior streamers can enjoy full-length episodes and clips from great shows including Curious George, Daniel Tiger’s NeighborhoodDinosaur Train, Super WHY! and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

Both PBS and PBS KIDS are available immediately for all Roku 3, Roku 2, Roku LT, new Roku HD players and the Roku Streaming Stick in the U.S. You can find them in the Movies & TV section of the Roku Channel Store.

Happy streaming!

Posted in Roku Channels, US Channels | Tagged , | 107 Comments