Roku has upped its game in the media streaming market with new features for its Roku player and a new version of the mid-range Roku 2. New features include search and My Feed to better compete with the liked of the Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. See: 10 best media streamers UK: What's the best media steamer 2015?
Roku already makes some of the best media streamers on the market but things are about to get a whole lot better for new and existing customers. The firm is bringing search functionality to its range of Roku players as well as an interesting new feature called My Feed.
"With the biggest lineup of streaming channels available, and easy and unbiased ways to find and discover movies and TV episodes, Roku players make it simple for consumers to stream the entertainment they want to watch on their terms," said Roku Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood.
Search is a pretty self-explanatory feature but it's particularly handy in this case as not only can you search for channels (apps) – useful since there are more than 1400 – but you can search for content across apps. You can search for a film, actor, director or TV show and the results will tell you where you can stream that content from. See also: Amazon Prime Instant Video vs Netflix.
Not only will it search across channels, it will also rank the results via price and also show you channels which has the content which you haven't installed. It's a big step and Roku has told PC Advisor that it's working on voice search too so watch out for that in the coming months.
My Feed is a great feature if there are particular films you want to watch but they haven't arrived on streaming services such as Netflix. You can browse a list of movies which are currently being shown in the cinema and add the ones you like the look of to your feed by following them – similar to following someone on Twitter – you'll then be notified when that title is available on your Roku.
These new features are available for US Roku owners from today while those in the UK and Ireland will receive it early in May. There's more good news as the iOS and Android versions of the Roku app will be updated with the search and My Feed features – also in early in May.
New Roku 2
Roku hasn't announced a completely new set-top box but an updated and upgraded version of the Roku 2. It now looks identical to the top-of-the-range Roku 3 and for good reason – it has the same powerful specifications now.
It costs £69 and the reason it's more affordable than its bigger brother is that it's supplied with a basic remote control rather than one with a gyro and a headphone socket for private listening.