PBS Online Film Festival

Back for its fourth year, the PBS Online Film Festival showcases some of the most powerful and engaging stories from filmmakers across the country. And I’m happy to share that starting today, Roku customers will have an exclusive one-week preview of the PBS Online Film Festival via the PBS channel on their Roku players and Roku TV models.

The PBS Online Film Festival will feature 25 short-form independent films from a broad spectrum of public media stations and partners. This year’s line up features films from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB)National Black Programming ConsortiumPacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), POV, StoryCorps and Vision Maker Media, as well as PBS local member stations.

The fun doesn’t stop with watching the films. After you view the films, be sure you vote for your favorite to win the “People’s Choice” award!

To see a full list of the short films featured in the PBS Online Film Festival, read PBS’ full press release here and for updates on the festival, follow #PBSolff on Twitter.

You can find the PBS channel under “Movies & TV” in the Roku Channel Store now on Roku players and Roku TV models.

Happy film-festivaling!

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Hello Canadian streamers! In case you haven’t made up your mind what to buy for Father’s Day, we have a gift idea for you. Forget the BBQ accessories, DIY toolkits and other active (!) gifts, with a new Roku player or Roku Streaming Stick not only dad but you too will benefit from endless streaming pleasure. With over 1,400 streaming channels there is always something to watch!

If you purchase a new Roku streaming player (including the new Roku 3 with voice search!) you will receive a free HD rental from CinemaNow worth up to $10.99. You can choose any movie from the CinemaNow catalog, including blockbusters such as:

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

American Sniper CA

American Sniper

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You made it through the week or some of you may be out on summer break. Either way, we’re here to help you to keep you entertained during your cherished couch time. The new season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a great place to start! It’s free to watch on Crackle.

What are you watching this weekend?

Comedians in Cars season 6

  • Comedians in Cars (TV Show, 2015) – Jerry Seinfeld is joined by well-known comedians for a cup of coffee and a ride in a classic car. Available to watch on Crackle.
  • McFarland, USA (Movie, 2015) – A high-school coach takes a job in an economically depressed, predominantly Latino community and cultivates a championship cross-country team. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO and Vudu.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (Movie 2015)  On a mission to save his world, SpongeBob SquarePants is headed to ours for the first time ever! When pirate Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) steals the secret recipe for the beloved Krabby Patties, SpongeBob and friends come ashore to bring back the missing formula. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video,
  • The Aviator (Movie, 2004) – During the 1930s and ‘40s, wealthy industrialist Howard Hughes gains fame as a movie producer, airplane designer and pilot. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Apocalypse Now (Movie, 1979) – An Army agent goes upriver into the heart of Cambodia to kill a renegade colonel called Kurtz. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • The Best of Me (Movie, 2014) – The funeral of a close friend reunites former high-school sweethearts, who find that they are still in love after 20 years apart. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Chappie (Movie, 2015) – A stolen police robot is given new programming which allows him to feel and think for himself. However, his new capabilities pose a threat to certain powerful forces who will stop at nothing to destroy him. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO and VuduCinemaNowM-GO and Vudu.
  • Run All Night (Movie, 2015) – When his estranged son becomes a mob target, an aging hit man must figure out where his loyalties lie and how to save his offspring from a deadly fate. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Unfinished Business (Movie, 2015) – A business trip to Europe goes disastrously awry for a business owner and his associates, who are hoping to close the most deal of their lives. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO and Vudu.
  • No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (Movie, 2010) – High school basketball player Allen Iverson was destined for stardom until a bowling alley brawl nearly derailed his future and impacted his hometown. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.
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Roku players give you access to more channels than any other streaming device and with more than 1,400 options to choose from there’s plenty of hidden gems to be found.


From the Paranormal Activity channel to Firewood Hoarders TV, some of the unique choices in the channel store have great followings and are worth exploring.

This week, we take a look at some of those on offer…

1) Aliens and Cowboys Looking for movies and programmes with a Sci-Fi or Wild West twist? You’re in luck here, with a channel that only offers them in either of the two genres. Catch-up with classic Superman episodes as well as vintage cowboy films such as Abilene Town.

2) BBQ Pit Lords

If you’re a fan of BBQs and haven’t yet discovered this channel you’re really missing out!  BBQ Pit Lords is a mouth-watering experience showcasing outdoor cooking at its finest. The channel has all the grilling, barbecuing and smoking recipes you’ll ever need.

3Paranormal Activity

This supernatural offering takes a spooky trip into the world of possessions, exorcisms and alien abductions. Join experts exploring the paranormal world in a range of documentaries and films if you dare!

4) War Games with Miniatures

Did you spend much of your childhood lining up green plastic soldiers on your living room floor and fighting imaginary battles? Well this captivating channel takes it to a whole new level with recreations of battles with miniatures from ancient times through to the Second World War. The channel also covers tutorials and interviews with gamers about the hobby, as well as discussions on tactics, rules and constructing models and terrains.

5) Pranks

If you’re looking for some light-hearted entertainment Pranks is the channel for you. Offering a handful of videos showing a variety of pranks, the channel is a great way to lighten your day.

6) Blind Cat Rescue

If you’re an animal lover you won’t be able to help being moved by the touching stories featured here. As the name suggests, the channel is dedicated entirely to rescued blind cats and is brought to the Roku platform by The Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary in St Pauls, North Carolina. The channel features live tours of the shelter twice a day as well as live streams.

7) Firewood Hoarders TV

If you’re looking for information on collecting, storing, or using firewood, this channel will give you all you need! Featuring a collection of videos from The Firewood Hoarder’s Club, topics include saws and power equipment, axes and hand tools, wood stoves and fireplaces and even cooking.

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We have great news for you, streamers. The Emmy-nominated AOL Originals’ series Park Bench with Steve Buscemi is back this month for season two. And to make the news even sweeter, we’re giving Roku customers an exclusive preview of the first episode starting today on the AOL On Roku streaming channel – two full weeks before you can watch it anywhere else!

Directed by and starring Steve Buscemi, Park Bench is a local’s take on the special people, places, and spirit of New York City. It’s a funny, first-hand journey/misadventure, told in Steve’s unique voice.

Season one was chock full of A-list guests and season two’s guest line-up is no different. Elvis Costello, John Oliver, Amber Tamblyn, Zosia Mamet, Paul Sparks, Robert Smigel, Gilbert Gottfried, Jim Jarmusch and others are among the many guests joining Steve in the park this season. Oh! And be sure to catch an appearance by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog that is sure to deliver comedic gold.

Starting today you can stream the first episode of season two exclusively through the AOL On Roku streaming channel (find it in the AOL Originals section) on your Roku player or Roku TV model. You won’t want to miss it!

Stream On!

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As our regular readers have probably noticed, we’ve been busy here at Roku since my last blog post on free channels! This past December we surpassed 2,000 available streaming channels in the U.S. Roku Channel Store – hundreds of which are free and feature great entertainment of all kinds. You’re likely already streaming some of the more popular free channels including YouTubePandoraPBSPBS KidsCrackleVEVO and many others, but with channels being added to the Roku platform every week, there’s always a new streaming channel to discover. Read on below to learn about some free channels you may have missed over the last few months.

Top Free Roku Channel Store

I’m a news junkie myself, so these channels are always streaming at my desk in the office. All three of these channels stream live, anchored news, as well as on-demand access to top stories, 24/7.

The ABC News channel provides in-depth reports, ABC Digital New Originals, Good Morning America segments, local news from several major markets and more.

With the Bloomberg TV+ channel, you not only receive live news 24-hours a day, but you can easily switch between the U.S., Europe or Asia live news feed. Select the options button (*) to choose a region.

The CBS News channel gives you access to news on-demand as well as segments from popular CBS news shows including 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, Face the Nation and more.

I can spend hours watching the fascinating footage on these free streaming channels.

The unique, action-packed videos you’ve come to love from the GoPro community are available free on the GoPro channel. From music to motorsports, there’s something to pique anyone’s interest captured in beautiful HD video.

Add the Red Bull TV channel to stream Red Bull’s thrilling live sporting events, lifestyle programming, and on-demand video.

  • For the gamers (and videogame spectators!): MLG.tv and Twitch channels

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Shut up! Wait no, listen up?! The Smosh channel has landed on your Roku player! The crazy YouTube comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla have expanded their live-action sketch comedy and a variety of series such as ShutUp Cartoons and Smosh Games.

Smosh home screen

If you’re like me, a geek, gamer, and overall fanboy of everything epic, Smosh’s sense of humor is right up your alley. Smosh will always have a special place in my heart as they created one of the first viral videos that I saw on YouTube, which was them lip-syncing to the original Pokemon theme song.

Add the Smosh channel from the “Comedy” category in the Roku Channel Store. You can also search for it on your Roku home screen or through our free Roku mobile app. For more suggestions on what to watch check out our Roku Recommends channel.

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With only a few more days in May, take this weekend to catch up on all the titles leaving Netflix in June…in case you need an excuse to stay in and stream! We’ve also included some must-watch new releases and an oldie but a goodie (“Bueller, Bueller?”).

What’s on your stream list this weekend?

The Boxtrolls

  • The Boxtrolls (Movie, 2014) – A boy and his new friend hatch a plan to save a community of mischievous cavern-dwellers from the villainous townsman who plans to exterminate them. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Inglourious Basterds (Movie, 2009) – An Allied officer and his team of Jewish soldiers join forces with a German actress and undercover agent to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Project Almanac (Movie, 2015) – A high-school science nerd and his friends build a time machine, but their joy is short lived when they discover the treacherous ripple effects of its use. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Love and Honor (Movie, 2012) – During the Vietnam War, two soldiers must make some life-changing decisions as they spend a week on a secret trip back to the U.S. learning the truth about love, honor and commitment. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.
  • Before I Go to Sleep (Movie, 2014) – Terrifying new truths cause a woman with a memory disorder to question everything and everyone in her life. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
  • The Flash (TV Show, 2014) – When a freak accident endows CSI Barry Allen with superspeed, he uses the power to solve crimes. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Hulu, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Zombeavers (Movie, 2014) – College friends find their weekend of sex and debauchery ruined when deadly zombie beavers swarm their riverside cabin. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu.
  • Welcome to the Punch (Movie, 2013) – When a notorious criminal is forced to return to London, it gives a veteran detective one final chance to bring the man to justice. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.
  • Good Kill (Movie, 2014) – An Air Force drone pilot begins to question the ethics of dropping bombs on Afghanistan from the safety of his post in Las Vegas. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, M-GO and Vudu.
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Movie, 1986) – A cool teen plays hooky in Chicago with his girlfriend, his buddy and the classic Ferrari of his buddy’s father. Available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, M-GO, Netflix and Vudu.
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If you’re a fan of Roku and value your streaming time you’ll be familiar with the welcoming sight of the purple home screen. You were already able to select a different background colour in the settings menu, but this week we are launching additional themes in the UK and Canada!

Roku users can choose from custom home screens thanks to the addition of the Themes category in the Roku Channel Store. Right now you can choose from ten home screen themes (and there’s more coming!) that are inspired on your favourite TV shows and movies or hobbies.

Roku Themes UK

There’s a number of fan favourite themes, including Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation options, which allow the Enterprise voyage to continue while you’re taking a streaming break! For petrol heads there is a Fast & Furious theme and there’s also a Big Lebowski theme for those who like a chilled pace of life, like The Dude.

You can find the new themes in the “Themes” category in the UK and Canadian Roku Channel Stores on all Roku players, prices range from £0.69 to £1.99 and $0.99 to $1.99 in the UK and Canada, respectively. To manage your downloaded themes, go to Settings > Themes.

Happy theming streamers!

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Who doesn’t love free TV episodes? The Lifetime channel has 50+ TV shows and Lifetime movies, so plenty to binge-watch!  Full-length TV episodes are available with a participating cable, satellite or telco provider but they also unlock a great deal of episodes free without a provider log in.

My girlfriend can never get enough Dance Moms and all of its spinoff shows like Abby’s Studio Rescue and Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition. I dig all the bizarre shows like Hoarders, I Killed My BFF, and I Love You… But I Lied. These shows are both shocking and goofy – that’s my perfect combo for a must-watch TV show!

Lifestyle home screen

Add the Lifetime channel from the “Movies & TV” or “TV Everywhere” categories in the Roku Channel Store. You can also search for it on your Roku home screen or through our free Roku mobile app. For more suggestions on what to watch check out our Roku Recommends channel.

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