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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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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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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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,

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This week our recommendations include some popular series that have recently returned to our screens. What classic shows would you love to see the return of?

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

  • The Great British Bake Off (Series) – The much-loved baking competition is back for another year, as another dozen bakers battle it out to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. This year’s series sees the youngest and the oldest ever contestants. Catch up on the first two episodes of series 5 on BBC iPlayer.
  • The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire (Documentary) – Last week saw the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, and this two-part series from historian David Olusoga challenges our perceptions of the war with stories of the millions of Asian and African troops who were involved in the fighting. Both episodes of the documentary are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
  • Through the Keyhole (Series) – ITV’s remake of the classic game show is back for a second series. Hosted by Keith Lemon, the series so far has seen guests such as Cilla Black, Holly Willoughby and Terry Wogan attempting to guess the identity of celebrity homes. The first three episodes of the current series are on ITV Player.
  • Child Genius  (Series) – Hundreds of thousands of 18 year-olds received their A-Level results this week, but what about those extraordinary children who are simply too intelligent for their age? Run in association with British Mensa, this competition aims to find the UK’s number one child genius through various challenging rounds. The series includes a nine year-old who has already completed the first year of a university course. All four stages of the competition are available on 4oD.
  • Dallas Buyers Club (Movie) – See Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar-winning performance in this real-life tale of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, a bigoted Texas electrician who is forced to overcome his prejudices when he’s infected with HIV and realises that he and other sufferers are being denied effective treatment. One of the biggest films of 2013 is now available on Sky Store.
  • Big Brother (Series) – It’s the final of Big Brother on Channel 5 this week, but don’t worry if you’ve missed any of it because every episode of the 15th series of the reality show is available to watch on Demand 5.  
  • Couples Come Dine With Me (Series) – Couples from all over the country come together to host dinner parties in an exciting new twist on the popular and long-running dining show. Double the fun, and double the competitiveness! You can enjoy a whole month’s worth of the daily programme on 4oD.
  • Calvary (Movie) – Brendan Gleeson plays an Irish Catholic priest who is told during a confession that he is going to be killed in precisely one week by a man who was abused by a different priest as a child. Available now on Sky Store.
  • Football Fight Club (Documentary) – With the football season kicking off last weekend, this one-off documentary film speaks to some young football fans who like to kick off in a different way. Three young men from three different youth hooligan firms allow us into their lives, explaining why they do what they do and the effect it has on their relationships. Available until next week on BBC iPlayer.

Golden Oldie:

  • Good Will Hunting (Movie) – In memory of Robin Williams this week, our golden oldie had to be one of his many great films. Also starring a young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, this beautiful classic tells the story of a professor who discovers that an aimless janitor happens to be a math genius. Watch it on Netflix.
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Whether he played a housekeeper, doctor, magical genie or even a version of Peter Pan, Robin Williams truly captured the hearts of us all.

To honor him, we’ve pulled together our 10 favorite Robin Williams movies.

  • Mrs. Doubtfire (Movie, 1993) – Estranged from his wife, an out of work actor masquerades as a nanny to be with his children. Available on Amazon Instant VideoM-GO and Vudu.
  • Good Will Hunting (Movie, 1997) – Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. Available on Blockbuster On Demand.
  • The Birdcage (Movie, 1996) – In Miami Beach a gay couple pretend to be man and wife when a son’s future father-in-law and family visit. Newly released on Netflix, also available on Amazon Instant Video, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • The Fisher King (Movie, 1991) – An unhinged Manhattan talk-radio host meets a mad knight of the streets seeking his own Holy Grail.  Available on Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Dead Poets Society (Movie, 1989) – A teacher at New England prep school uses unconventional methods to instill spirit into the lives of his students. Available on Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand and Vudu.
  • Aladdin (Movie, 1992) – Aladdin, a street urchin, accidentally meets Princess Jasmine, who is in the city undercover. They love each other, but she can only marry a prince. Not available to stream.
  • What Dreams May Come (Movie, 1998) – A man explores a lush, vivid afterlife and tries to reunite with his beloved wife.  Available on Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand, M-GO, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Patch Adams (Movie, 1998) – A doctor, once a psychiatric patient, uses his humor and unconventional methods in his practice. Available on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Good Morning Vietnam (Movie, 1987) – In 1965, disc jockey Adrian Cronauer turns Armed Forces Radio on its ear with his irreverent brand of humor. Available on Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand and Vudu.
  • Hook (Movie, 1991) – Aided by Tinker Bell, a corporate lawyer turns into Peter Pan to rescue his children from Captain Hook. Available on Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Even though it’s not a movie, we had to include Mork & Mindy – available on Hulu Plus.

 

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It’s time to saddle up for some epic westerns (a special request from our reader Rick!) and hero flicks this weekend. Isn’t it amazing that some of these films are more than 50 years old, yet they still manage to awe and inspire? Perhaps that is one reason that John Wayne continues to be one of our most searched for actors on Roku.

  • The Searchers (Movie, 1956) – A Confederate veteran and his part- Cherokee partner search five years for a kidnapped girl. Available on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • El Dorado (Movie, 1966) – An old gunfighter, a drifter and a deputy sober up a sheriff to track down killers. Available on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Netflix, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • 3:10 to Yuma (Movie, 2007) – A rancher and the captive outlaw in his charge learn to respect each other on a dangerous journey to catch a train.  Available on Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand, M-GO, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Django Unchained (Movie, 2012) – A former slave joins forces with the German bounty hunter who freed him and helps hunt down the South’s most-wanted criminals, all in the hope of finding his long-lost love. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Redbox Instant, and Vudu.
  • Hatfields & McCoys (TV Miniseries, 2012) – A true American story of a legendary family feud that spanned decades and nearly launched a war between Kentucky and West Virginia. Available on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
  • The Killing Season 4 (TV Show, 2011) – There’s no sunshine for a detective when a girl’s killer is free.  And the case is getting colder by the second.  Season finale now available on Netflix.
  • Mad Max (Movie, 1979) – In an Australia of the not-too-distant future, a police officer strikes back against motorized menaces to what is left of society after a nuclear holocaust. Recently released on Netflix, also available on Amazon Instant Video, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Spice World (Movie, 1998) – An all-girl musical group, The Spice Girls, prepares for a live performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Newly released on Netflix, also available on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Shooter (Movie, 2007) – Reluctantly pressed into service again, a former military sniper plots revenge against his powerful foes after being betrayed and wounded. Newly released on Netflix, also available on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO, Redbox Instant and Vudu.
  • Rocky (Movie, 1976) – Heavyweight champ Apollo Creed gives Philadelphia club fighter Rocky Balboa a title shot. Newly released on Netflix and also available on Amazon Instant Video, Redbox Instant and Vudu.

 

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The school holidays are in full swing and many parents will be wondering how to keep the kids entertained, particularly on rainy days. This is why we have dedicated this week’s blog to the best children’s content you can stream this summer on Roku!

Let us know what your kids like to watch on Roku in the comments box below.

  • Rio 2 (Movie) – It’s fiesta time again as we rejoin city parrot Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) and his free-spirited other half Jewel (Anne Hathaway) for their second South American escapade. In this fine-feathered adventure, Blu takes his fledgling family to the Amazon for a taste of the great outdoors. From the familiar quirky characters and toe-tapping score to the fast-moving visuals and plot, it’s a rip-snorting odyssey that even brings them beak-to-beak with Blu’s old nemesis, cocky cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement). Stream in now on Sky Store.
  • Harriet’s Army (Series) – Harriet’s Army – drama series set during World War I in which 14-year-old Harriet forms her own army of misfit children to search for spies. Available on CBBC iPlayer.
  • Officially Amazing (Series) – Ben Shires, Al Jackson and Haruka Kuroda once again travel the world to find the greatest official world record attempts, and world record holders out there. Catch series one on CBBC iPlayer.
  • Kate and Mim-Mim (Series) – Animated series about feisty five-year-old Kate and her huggable toy bunny Mim-Mim. Kate and Mim-Mim help their friends catch a surprise sapling seed. Watch it now on CBeebies iPlayer.
  • Mr. Men (Series) – Meet Mr. Bump, the most accident-prone man in Dillydale; Little Miss Whoops, who despite her propensity for disaster would feel no unease transporting fragile items while driving a bus; Mr. Small, who is often over-looked or not seen at all and Little Miss Naughty, who “just can’t help herself”. Catch this updated classic on Demand 5.
  • Swashbuckle (Series) – In this latest pirate-themed game show, it’s Captain Sinker’s birthday and Cook and Line are throwing her a surprise party! Available now on CBeebies iPlayer.
  • Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom (Series) – Meet fairy princess Holly and her elf best friend Ben. Holly is still learning how to do magic, Ben can’t do magic, but is very brave! Watch on demand on Nick Jr. using Now TV.
  • The Haunted Hathaways – A family move into a house that’s already occupied by another family, and a whole bunch of ghosts! Available now on Nickelodeon using Now TV.
  • Sanjay and Craig (Series) – Watch the whole first series now on Nickelodeon using Now TV and watch as Sanjay gets up to all sorts of mischief with his best friend Craig.
  • A Tiger’s Tail (Movie) – When baby tiger cub Luna escapes from an animal sanctuary and hides in his school rucksack, it’s up to young Billy (Will Spencer) to get the escape critter back to home. However, it’s not that easy as Luna proves to be a handful and proceeds to run riot through Billy’s house. Catch it now on Sky Store.

 

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Football lovers have even more to look forward to this season. NFL Now is available on Roku today!

NFL Now on Roku brings the best of the NFL personalized for you. Follow up to three teams and get access to the largest digital library of NFL content anywhere. Love the 49ers like me? Watch a customized video stream full of Niners’ news, analysis and highlights all day, every day.

In addition, NFL Now features a mix of original content, shows like Hard Knocks, A Football Life and much more.

Install the NFL Now channel today on any current-generation Roku player (those introduced after June 2011) in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and the Republic of Ireland.

Enjoy all the NFL Now features above for $1.99/month in the U.S., $4.99/month for rest of world. The Most Popular feed is available for free.

Are you ready for some football?

 

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This week was reportedly the busiest week of the year for travel. Whether jetting off abroad or going on a family road trip, travel is stressful, particularly during peak periods. That’s why we like staycationing. It’s cheaper, stress-free and fun! To get your staycation off to the best start check out our streaming recommendations for this week.

Let us know what you watch in the comments box below.

  • The Cruise Ship – ITV’s latest reality TV series is a four-part documentary about life on-board Britain’s most famous cruise liner, the Royal Princess. Exploding with warmth, humour and charm, this observational documentary gives a fascinating insight into life at sea. First three episodes are available to view on ITV Player.
  • Pop Slam! – This CBBC series is sure to get some debates going among the kids in your house. Amberley Lobo takes 18 massive pop acts, including Ellie Goulding and One Direction, and pits them against each other in nine head-to-head rounds. Talking to the people who know them best, she looks at how they made it big, how hard they have been working and how glamorous their lifestyles have become. The winner of each round walks away with an Ambo, before the final show in which the Ultimate Pop Slam Champion will win the Mega Ambo. All nine rounds plus the final are now available to watch on BBC iPlayer
  • Dragons’ Den – The BBC’s hit series is back for its 12th series, with another batch of budding entrepreneurs pitching business ideas to the multimillionaire Dragons. The first two episodes of the new series are now available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
  • Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher (movie) – This animated adventure sees Marvel’s Black Widow tracking down an arms dealer. Her vigilante ally Punisher (Brian Bloom) wants to kill him off but she suspects that – alive – he may lead them to global terrorist group Leviathan. Nick Fury (John Eric Bentley) decides to let them both go as reluctant allies on a mission that will see Black Widow’s past coming back to haunt her. Available on Sky Store.
  • Katy Perry: Part of Me (Movie) – If your daughter is a Katy Perry fan, she’ll love this movie. The American pop star is captured on and offstage in this revealing diary of her California Dreams Tour, featuring her Los Angeles performances. Available on Netflix.
  • The Inbetweeners (Series) – The Inbetweeners 2 movie is released in cinemas next week, so why not familiarise yourself with the award-winning comedy series again? If you’ve never seen it before, it’s not too late to get to know Will, Jay, Neil and Simon as they try – and fail spectacularly – to navigate the wretched no-man’s land of adolescence. All three series can be watched on Netflix.
  • Online and Lying – This ground-breaking documentary is relevant to both parents and children. Emily Hartridge investigates why our online lives are so different from our real ones, and what effect this has on us and our friends and family. Over the four episodes, she meets with victims and perpetrators of identity fraud and catfishing, goes online dating, gets a criminal to apologise, visits a psychotherapist and explores how her own experience of being an online celebrity has affected how she sees herself and is seen by others. Available now on 4oD.
  • Superstar DJs: with Annie Mac… – Radio 1’s dance music queen Annie Mac travels the globe to explore the modern cultural phenomenon of the Superstar DJ, looking at the evolution of the DJ from small clubs to stadiums. In the six-part series she meets some of the most influential names in dance music, including Fatboy Slim and Disclosure. You can catch up on the last few episodes on 4oD now.
  • Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Movie) – The son of Poseidon returns for this second instalment in the fantasy franchise, this time using his demigod skills to find the mythical Golden Fleece. With their sanctuary Camp Half-Blood under threat from evil forces, Percy and his fantastical friends must overcome zombie cab drivers, vengeful former allies and toothsome ocean dwellers. Watch it now on Now TV.

A Golden Oldie:

  • Jane Eyre (1997) – Charlotte Bronte’s classic story, adapted by Kay Mellor. Jane Eyre takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, but finds herself falling in love with the mysterious Mr Rochester. Starring Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds. Catch this classic on ITV Player.
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