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Roku adds new features to its TV streaming devices

Friday, May 29th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Streaming platform Roku has added new functions to all of its current generation streaming players and streaming sticks.

The company is rolling out a UK software update that introduces Roku Search and Roku Feed, allowing users to search or follow entertainment they want to watch.

The search function will initially feature Netflix, Snagfilms and Popcornflix, with more channels added in time.

Users will see two new items – ‘Search’ and ‘My Feed’ – appear in the left hand menu of the home screen when their Roku player has updated.

The new features are also available on a new version of the Roku mobile app for Android and iOS.

Roku creates players and a streaming USB stick, as well as licensing its designs and operating system to TV manufacturers and Pay TV providers around the world.

Roku players feature channels including Netflix, NOW TV, Sky Sports, ITV Player, BBC iPlayer, Lifetime, YouTube and Vevo.

As well as adding new features to its existing products, the company has launched a new player – the Roku 2.

The device matches the speed and performance of the Roku 3 but comes in £30 cheaper as it does not feature the Roku 3 enhanced remote, which has a headphone jack allowing private listening.

'Replace linear TV'

Cable.co.uk previously reported that the number of subscribers watching streamed TV content will triple over the next four years.

A study by Juniper Research found that around 322.2m users will access video content in this way by 2019.

Juniper said the rise in video subscriptions was partly down to how easy it is to make so-called ‘dumb’ TVs into smart TVs by using devices such as the Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Roku streaming stick.

The boss of Netflix said that streaming and internet-based TV will replace traditional TV broadcasting within 20 years.

CEO Reed Hastings said linear TV has been successful but would be less important to future generations of viewers.

“Linear TV has been [on] an amazing 50 year run. Internet TV is starting to grow. Clearly, over the next 20 years, internet TV's going to replace linear TV,” he said.

He added: “We've continued to focus on the same things over the last couple years. Improving the content, improving the streaming, improving the user interface, and we've seen the rewards of that in continued growth.

“Certainly what you're seeing is all of internet TV growing, the attention of the new launches of the competitors is only creating a bigger ecosystem, drawing more and more people in to thinking, ‘hey I've got to check that out, and try this internet TV thing.’

“Because internet TV is the way that people will consume video in the future.”

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