The Roku operating system receives occasional updates, usually at least once every few months, that bring new features and improvements to Roku-based smart TVs and streaming players. Now another major update is rolling out.
Roku OS 12 is now beginning to roll out to compatible TVs and streaming devices, and is expected to hit everyone “in the coming weeks.” It’s happening just as Roku launches its Roku Select and Roku Plus lines of TVs, which are the company’s first attempt at fully integrated smart TVs, and a few months after the last update to the Roku operating system.
First, there are some improvements to live TV. There’s a renewed focus on local news, with customization features based on your location or the ability to stream channels from major cities in the US. It should be similar in functionality to the local news channels already available through from Roku Channel and Peacock, but with better organization and integration with the overall TV interface. You’ll be able to access channels by asking for “local news” in Roku Search or Roku Voice, or from the Live TV Zone on the home screen. A TV antenna is still the best way to watch free local channels in the US, but that option depends more on your location.
Roku is also tweaking content discovery, adding to the (optional) content recommendation home page introduced in Roku OS 12 last year. The “Continue Watching” section now updates “almost instantly” after you finish watching a TV show or movie, and Discovery+ and Prime Video now support the feature. Roku says more sources will support it in the future, including BET+, Freevee, Frndly TV, and Starz.
The Roku mobile app is also getting a facelift, with a “more refined, elevated, and visually immersive interface.” There’s a new hub for creating and managing Roku accounts, a simpler home page, and easier uploading for Roku Photo Streams. Roku “in the coming months” will also add a guide button for live TV content to the remote screen.
Roku OS 12 isn’t quite the significant overhaul that the version bump might suggest, but there are definitely some changes to get excited about. If you have a Roku TV or streaming stick, you should get it soon.
Source: Roku Blog