Roku has announced that it’s about to roll out a new OS to all its devices in the UK, with the free update offering users quicker access to content and performance improvements
The Roku OS 9.3 will begin its roll out to UK Roku devices today bringing with it new features, improvements and a redesigned mobile app.
Users should notice faster start up times across Roku’s streaming devices, with select channels the recipient of faster launch times. Roku hasn’t stated which specific channels are being updated, but we’d guess they’d be the most popular channels such as Netflix, Prime Video and iPlayer. The Home Page has also been made more responsive.
New features include compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. They’re not built into the Roku OS; instead you can control Roku TV models and devices by talking to Alexa and Google Assistant speakers to control media playback and search for entertainment. Roku TV users will get some additional functionality by tuning into channels/inputs, changing the volume or switching the TV on/off.
There’s more voice recognition coming with the newest OS, though it’s not quite of the Alexa/Assistant variety. Roku Voice understands more natural phrases such as “go back to the beginning” or “turn on closed captions” and the device responds in kind.
The feature can be used to play/pause/rewind/skip through content and offers users the ability to find movies or shows through quotes. Say “You can’t handle the truth”, and A Few Good Men should pop up in search.
Finally, the mobile app is being redesigned with a new navigation bar at the top providing access to Roku Search, the ability to switch between Roku devices and a shortcut to the remote control screen. There are also quick access icons for users to launch features without exiting the remote control screen, allowing the user to browse and launch recently viewed channels.
The Roku OS 9.3 will begin its rollout to select Roku players in April, before heading to all supported streaming devices in the coming weeks. The Roku TV models will receive the update over the coming months.