Just in time for the holidays, we’re pleased as punch to release a pretty substantial update to the first generation of Roku players. Unless your Roku player is smaller than a hockey puck, this update applies to you. Roku 2 and Roku LT players received an update last week.

There are many improvements and typical bug fixes in this update; below are some of the features in software version 3.1 that we think you’ll appreciate:

  1. Support for new Amazon channel – The Amazon Instant Video channel has been updated with a gorgeous, new design and you’ll need this update to run it. (More details on this channel will be shared on the Roku blog soon.)
  2. Mobile support – Added enhancements to support the official Roku iPhone app, launched in the iTunes App Store last week.
  3. Improved MP4 playback – Improved playback of MP4 files streamed over the Internet and over USB via the USB Media Player channel.
  4. Shop Roku Deals in the Roku Channel Store – Added the ability to purchase Roku players, accessories and toys within the Roku Channel Store.
  5. Improved grid performance – Fixed issues when navigating channels that display content in a grid screen.

This update combined with the launch of dozens of new channels in the past several weeks brings a better experience to our earliest Roku players as promised!

The software update will be pushed automatically to all first-generation Roku players over the next 48 hours. If you can’t wait for it you can download it. Just select Settings > Player info > Check for update from your Roku player.

Details on what we updated in the previous software release for first-generation Roku players can be found here.

Happy streaming holidays!

About Tom Markworth

Director of Product Management, Roku
Posted in Product News | Tagged , , , |
  • Jason

    Will this fix Hulu Plus? It’s the one consistently buggy channel and Roku Support keeps refusing to recognize that this is an ongoing problem. Hulu Plus support tells me that they get many complaints from Roku users but they don’t know how to fix the problem. You are leaving your customers in the middle between two different support organizations, which is one of the worst things you can do to a user.

    • kbuis

      Yes, the Hulu Plus problem is infuriating.

      • We third the Hulu Plus issues. Constant crashing and freezing requiring a full rest of the box as well as skipping whole sections of video and out of synch audio and video.

        • Pcarman

          I get a lot of out of sync audio/video on Hulu Plus too….Will this be fixed?

          • ITgirl

            When my audio and video don’t synch, I press the button that takes you back a couple of seconds (it’s the circle arrow). That fixes it.

        • Blues51

          Dang! I thought it was just me and my router . when watching HuluPlus.At least I feel better knowing this isn’t just me. SO infuriating to be watching…say..Fallon..and it Freezes…then will play for 10 seconds or so..then buffers…then plays 10secs…then buffers…if it goes back to playing at all.

      • I agree. Hulu Plus is the only channel I have problems with. If this were happening on my pc I would think I did not have enough memory to run the application. It lags, and lags, does not respond to selections from the remote, then finally freezes and forces a hard reset of the box. Very annoying. I read the response from Tom below, and as a user I am going to do my best to provide helpful information to Roku when this problem occurs. As a software developer, I know how frustrating it can be when a user tells me they are having a problem and I am not able to recreate the symptoms. This makes it almost impossible to find the solution.

    • We have the same problem with Hulu plus on our Roku, so much so that we gave up on using the channel.

    • We have the same problem with Hulu plus on our Roku, so much so that we gave up on using the channel.

    • We have the same problem with Hulu plus on our Roku, so much so that we gave up on using the channel.

    • Cy

      Constant problems with hulu plus…I am going back to cable.

    • Nas Banov

      Yup, i speak here about remote controlling a channel with smartphone apps – “but there is something rotten in the state of” Hulu Minus: this is the only channel where remote keyboard does not work! And press&hold arrows for continuous skip gets stuck and rolls past all video with no way to stop it. Seems apparent that someone, errrr, “distinctive” wrote that channel

    • GenreFan

      I agree: Hulu Plus crashes more often than any other Roku channel, and often the sound and the video also go out of sync on this channel. I hope this update will fix these issues….

    • Anonymous

      Thanks to those of you who provided feedback on Hulu Plus. We’re sorry you are having a poor experience with that channel.

      Since the Hulu Plus channel on Roku is developed by Hulu, we cannot make updates to it ourselves. We can, however, pass on useful information about issues to the Hulu development team. To do that, we need to either reproduce the issues you are seeing or review data about issues in our logs.

      While the feedback provided in these blog comments is too general to be useful, you can help us by providing detailed information. As you use Hulu Plus, make note of issues that you have. Then write me at feedback@roku.com and provide me with the following information:

      • Symptoms of the issue(s) you experienced (e.g. audio-video out of sync, app froze up, app crashed to home screen, Roku player crashed/rebooted)
      • Date/time you experienced each issue.
      • Name and season/episode of the TV show you were watching when you experienced the issue.
      • Estimated time into the TV show when you experienced the issue.
      • Serial number, model and software build number of the Roku player on which you experienced the issues.

      What our team can do is view the show that was giving you trouble (sometimes, issues are confined to certain titles or shows) and go through logs of your device so we can share any useful findings with Hulu. We’re sorry to put some of the burden on you, but if you want to help, that’s how best to do it.

      Overall, the crash rates on the Hulu Plus channel that we observe are really low. Lower than most video channels. This, despite unique challenges, like the periodic changing of video streams (due to commercials). Of course, if you are being hit by crashes, that piece of information won’t be comforting. And, there are more issues than just crashes mentioned in these comments.

      Thanks in advance for your help.


      • Jmanderman

        This is not an appropriate or particularly constructive response for the following reasons:

        1. Disclaiming Responsibility. You market the fact that you offer Hulu Plus heavily. Hulu Plus, along with NetFlix, and Amazon, are your core channels that offer by far the most valuable content you have on your platform. The fact that you can’t make updates means very little to your customers. That’s like Comcast saying to a customer with problems receiving HBO that Comcast can’t do much about it. Your customers don’t care who is responsible for ensuring that Hulu Plus channel works properly, they just want it to work. Additionally, you certainly have superior knowledge of the Roku platform that can play a huge role in fixing these kinds of problems, much more so than the background of the Hulu Plus developers. As a result, you should care a great deal about showing leadership in trying to address this problem instead of deflecting responsibility as you have above.

        2. Feedback “Too General to Be Useful.” You should never tell a customer that feedback is not useful, you should instead just ask for the more specific information. I, also, am not particularly excited about providing the information requested above, as I have already repeatedly provided it to your customer service, and all I receive in return are suggestions to reset my Roku, download the latest software version, check my Internet connection, and other suggestions that are of little value to a sophisticated user who has already tried all of these solutions and explained that up front in the initial email (which gives one the feeling that your customer service don’t actually pay close attention to the complaint but instead just serve up canned responses).

        One might contend that your solutions are too general to be useful.

        Additionally, I have repeatedly sent the same complaints to feedback@roku.com and received no response whatsoever. Why, then, would I feel particularly motivated to do so now?

        3. “Crash Rates Are Low.” Hulu Plus almost never crashes on me. It freezes, then starts again, stutters, stops, starts, and the soundtrack routinely goes out of sync. Most of the complaints in these comments are not just regarding crashes but these other kinds of issues. You even oddly acknowledge this above, which makes your low crash rates point moot. As a result, this kind of response comes off as tone deaf.

        I purchased Roku early on and expected to hang in there on a new platform while the technology improved. I have had Hulu Plus for a very long time now and it is just as awful as it was when I first ordered it. I cannot get any kind of help from your customer service nor from feedback@roku.com despite repeatedly providing the kind of information you request above.

        I also cannot get any help from Hulu’s customer service either. They did say the following to me:

        “I’m very sorry about the audio and video syncing issues you’ve been having with the Hulu Plus channel on your Roku. We have received similar reports from other Roku users as well and our developers would like to investigate the matter further.”

        As a result, your response is extremely frustrating and demonstrates a lack of ability to understand your customers’ pain nor much of a willingness to try and alleviate it. This makes your customers much more willing to switch to a competitor, of which you have several and the industry is growing. I point these concerns out not for the joy of criticizing Roku (I actually would like to see Roku do well) but to explain why I feel that you are failing your customers tremendously in this regard. At least with Comcast, I can use their helpful Comcast Cares Twitter team, and get direct help from an influential high level customer service expert. With Roku, you often feel as if you are left out on an island, alone. Which is not a good place to be.

        • Mega

          Wow! I just read this comment and I have to say, you did a tremendous job of conveying the frustrations that I’m sure legions of Roku users are feeling (I know I am). For that I thank you…thank you…thank you!!! Truly awesome!

      • Jason

        -Problem: Show froze, then caused Roku to crash and restart, Hulu Plus did not record where the show left off requiring the user to start from the beginning again.
        -Modern Family Season 3 Episode 11
        -Download Speed: 17.41 MbPS
        -Model No. N1101 (it’s strange that you suggested going to Settings > About, as there is no “About” section under Settings)
        -Software Version 3.1
        -Serial Number D0C9CP000970
        -3:41PM Eastern Time

    • Anonymous

      not nure what the issues are with huluplus, never had a issue. but in any case you should take it to the company that “owns” the channel than the platform owner(roku). its like blaming google for a game thats not running fine on your android phone.

  • So, how long until the update that finally allows subtitles on my “first generation” Roku? This is the only thing left to make it a complete device for me.

    • It was already answered earlier that subtitles will not be supported on earlier generation Roku players (http://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=41510).

      • danoshops

        It may have been answered but the answer is lame. there has only been one previous version of the device, something that I have only had for about a year and CC has been on the horizon all the while. If 1st gen were two or three gens back, then I could understand leaving 1st gen out for CC… BUT that’s not the case. R2 still has games and other new features to tout, so it’s a small ‘bit’ to give R1 customers.

        • I agree that this is very lame. I bought my device only six months ago, and I’m already obsolete? No trade-up deal for people who just bought it?


          • Bob0421

            you get updates and the new ones are cheap

          • I *just* spent $100 six months ago. Now I have to spend ANOTHER hundred dollars just to get closed captioning? I should have kept my money, spent it on a PS3 and I would have gotten all the subtitle support on EVERYTHING.

            Dudes, seriously. This ONE FEATURE is what pisses everyone off. I bought it because I was told by the salesperson that it would be coming in a software update by the end of the year.

            Guess they lied to me.

            Do what’s right. Either offer an upgrade credit, or just roll out the damned subtitle update already.

          • Was the salesperson employed by Roku? If not, take up your issue with him. It’s not Roku’s fault that they haven’t added a feature that they never promised to begin with.

          • Anonymous

            a sales guy promised me roku will start talking to me and will cook for me by december this year. why is roku not honoring that anonymous sales guys words? dang!!

          • guest

            The Americans with Disabilities Act that requires accessibility to people with disabilities. This reply must have been made out of Ignorance or poor taste…take your pick!

          • Anonymous

            a sales guy promised me roku will start talking to me and will cook for me by december this year. why is roku not honoring that anonymous sales guys words? dang!!

  • I suggest you offer the payroll tax cut Roku gift for #40dollars!

  • danoshops

    Where’s the support for Closed Captioning? This could have been implemented as well — seems like the “update” was more geared toward telling 1st generation owners that they should buy a new device… clever!… NOT.

    • And when are they gonna put a touchscreen on my bag phone! And update my 1984 Honda Civic with hybrid technology?

      • guest

        Very funny JoSCh, you probably haven’t heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires accessibility to people with disabilities. Such poor taste to make such a reply!!!

        • I’m familiar with it. Under what provision is a Roku device required to comply with it?

        • rko72

          ADA has nothing to do with a Roku. It has very specific guidelines regarding usability and accessibility of buildings. I have a copy of the ADA guidelines sitting on my desk at work and there is no section that covers internet streaming video devices.

  • Paul

    Thanks for continuing to support a product that has been available for several years. Not a lot of electronics companies do that.

    • Anonymous

      Ah yes, like my 1st gen iPod touch that is slowly becoming useless! I am so glad I don’t *have* to buy the new Roku, although I will likely get a second one soon, now that I know I don’t have to worry about it being obsolete in a year.

      • Dnique2009

        Yup my 2nd gen iPod is becoming useless…guess I’ll be forced to buy the newer gen soon 🙁

        • fluffysue

          I was just browsing through my disqus notifications, which I never saw before, and happened to come back to this post. Happy to say I still have my “old” roku working just fine, along with a newer one in the kitchen, now that my cable company requires a box for every TV. On the other hand, I bought a 4th gen ipod a couple of months ago, and then Apple immediately came out with the next generation. So we know my “new” ipod’s days are already numbered. LOL

  • Sueinchino

    So I dont have to do anything to rec this update?

    • When you use the Roku in the next two days you will be asked to update. You can update manually if you want to.

  • Guest

    I love Roku but I can’t stand the amount of religious offerings in the channel store.

    • Tim Tebow

      I find that there aren’t enough religious offerings. I’ll take that stuff over the filth on most channels these days.

      • HPL

        I agree with you Tim Tebow. I’m a Ctuhlu cultist and have yet to find any Roku channels dedicated to Dread Cthulu. My friends who belong to The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have been similarly disappointed.

        • GenreFan

          You tell ’em! There’s a BYU Channel, so why can’t there be a Miskatonic University Channel? Maybe when the Old Ones finally rule the earth…

    • Choice is a wonderful thing. You can always choose not to add them to your channel line-up. I wonder if Roku would approve a “Tongue in cheek” satanic channel? Maybe one that’s a cross between a cooking channel and an animal sacrifice channel. Hmm

    • Guest

      You don’t have to watch them. Leave them for the people that enjoy them and we won’t ask them to take away the stuff you like.

      • alkalitta

        is there any Satan channels out there for people who worship him?

    • alkalitta

      yah there must be lot’s of sinners out there to have all them useless church channels

    • Jsgmd

      so true.

    • Bshpx2

      Must be painfully terrible to go to the store. Sheesh!

  • Anonymous

    Can you list the entire list of fixes. “Added enhancements” is great, but it would be nice to know exactly what those enhancement are.

  • What channels do you use to stream .mp4 over the internet?

  • setriani1

    still no subtitles for netflix users..boo!

    • Kryptonnic

      Netflix fixed the issue, it should be working now.

  • Mike

    Are you going to make an android app ?

  • It would be cool to be able to delete channels you never have any intention of watching.

    • guest

      you can already do that. press the button that looks like a star or asterisk, and it brings up a menu.

  • CedarwoodCotons

    I LOVE my Roku Player!!!

  • Jrhakadad

    What would be really nice is an update to play .avi files over USB and stream

  • frustrated customer

    After spending the day trying to find out what is wrong with my device I have determined that Roku chat and phone cust service are a waste of time and money. The phone support is in India and has your acct info but is not technically trained and will refer you to the chat support….The chat support does not have access to your info unless they log into your acct as you. hmmm I have three Roku devices one Roku xd and two Roku2 and now that the XD is not working right (only 3 months old) there is no customer service to help. I am so frustrated I just want to hammer the thing into powder. ROKU HAS NO SUPPORT FOR ITS DEVICES JUST A PASS THE BUCK METHODOLOGY.

  • Bart

    Thanks for supporting the older hardware. My big feature request is to be able to manually set the quality/stream size. Nothing more annoying than having it decide to go from 4 dots to HD in the middle of a movie and then take ten mins. to re buffer.

    • GenreFan

      I agree with you, Bart: Thank you Roku for still supporting the older hardware. I have used both the Roku phone support and Roku online chat support and have found both to be excellent, also.

  • alkalitta

    took the update a few days ago now it’s messed up

  • Viejo

    I continue to request and lobby ROKU for more closed caption but don’t get a very positive response. Is anything being done? I have purchased 3 for my children but two of them need closed caption and for a lot of programs I do too.
    Thank you for a response. Ken

  • How about a flixter update so roku works with ultraviolet

  • I’ve had the out of sync audio on hulu plus but simply press home then go to hulu and most of the time after starting a show it will go and ask if you want to watch the unfinished show which usually fixes sync issues for the rest of the show and if it freezes i unplug the roku from the back and plug it back in @ this rate roku should simply offer a reset channel to put next to hulu so if we can get out to the home screen we can reset it without even unplugging it but in all these are band aid solutions while a real fix is needed.

    I’m very displeased by roku 2’s removal of 5ghz and will not touch any more roku gear until it is returned.
    All my roku players except 1 are xds and 1 xr which even has 5ghz support-POOR FORM ROKU REMOVING 5ghz and WIDESPREAD hulu plus issues-it’s like sony not wanting to admit their PSN was hacked this past spring so ROKU doesn’t want to admit it has a problem.

    The end result sony and roku have lost customers faith/trust/feel devalued and might look elsewhere for a more reliable product.

  • BTW if you’re wondering why 5GHZ matters well 2.4GHZ is what microwaves,cell phones and some cordless home phones all run on and 5GHZ is much less crowded so streaming,provided you have a 5GHZ router works much better and ALL my roku players are running on 5GHZ.

    So i expect @ least the $99 roku 3 will have the dualband feature otherwise i’ll just keep my roku xds’s and 1 xr because at one time roku did dualband,not currently but they can fix their mistake in roku 3.

  • alkalitta

    don’t know why roku has to re-buffer so often .
    really getting feedup

  • Plamarine

    When is DLNA coming?

  • Since the update there is a lot of artifacting on netflix and plex. Didnt start happening until the update. Sometimes it is unwatchable. I know for a fact it is not my network or connection and that many many others are having the same issues. Can you confirm that this will be fixed in the next update and when that next update will be?

  • Any chance that there will ever be a Tivo Channel? I’d like to watch my Tivo recordings from my Roku. Also, I’d really love for there to be a way to watch Ultraviolet movies on the Roku.

  • Anonymous

    yeah i hope this will fix hulu plus ,its real buggy :/

    How to love

  • Al_caswa

    which roku is best for me, i do not care to play games,all i want is to be able to watch programs i watch on my pc..

  • Why does the “story of liberty” channel start and stop its stream all the time. It will not load!!!

  • roku_love_hate

    OK…so I love my first gen roku and now since the new firmware push it just sits there cycling between the blue launching screen and the black launching screen and never gets launched. Thank you very much for taking a working unit with no issues for me and killing it. so what now?

  • elk

    im gonna have to agree with everyone complaining about the lack of subtitles. im almost completely deaf, and i purchased my xr for the explicit reason that i had put my old tv with no hdmi in my room and the xr was one of the only devices with component (for hd). come to find out, no captions! this is especially irritating, because i was under the impression that netflix was making more of an effort to be more accommodating for the disabled, as well as roku as a whole since my understanding is that roku controls the updates for caption support. come on.