Three years after its US launch, The Roku Channel is finally available in the UK. With free (ad-based) streaming content such as movies, TV programmes and kids programming, The Roku Channel is available on Roku streaming boxes and TVs, as well as on NOW TV and Sky Q.
Roku is one of the leading manufacturers of stand-alone streaming devices in the US, with three of their popular devices being sold in the UK – the Roku Express, Roku Premiere and Roku Streaming Stick+.
Today, Roku announced the arrival of “The Roku Channel” in the UK, a streaming channel that provides free access to 10,000+ movies, TV
episodes and documentaries.
The Roku Channel in the UK features a selection of popular global and British TV series, including titles such as Homes Under the Hammer, The Commander, Skins, Ultimate Force, and Britain’s Best Bakery, alongside Hollywood hits and TV shows such as Get Carter, The Wicker Man, Hell’s Kitchen and Les Miserables.
The “Kids and Family” section will feature curated family and kid-friendly free content such as slime videos, Minecraft videos and popular TV characters. Kids will be able to directly choose a character they love from a “Character Row”, and be directed to videos featuring that character.
Titles in Kids and Family at launch include Bob the Builder, Teletubbies, Oddbods, Bernard, Ryan’s World Specials, Fireman Sam and Baby Einstein Classics.
The Roku Channel doesn’t require a subscription, and will instead be ad-based. Roku are promising a “better” ad-experience with a reduced advert load, especially in the Kids and Family content area.
As part of that, there will be no pre-roll adverts (so you can jump straight into the content), a total of up to 8 minutes of adverts an hour (and less than that on kids programmes), and a “Frequency Cap” which will prevent the same advert from showing up more than once over half an hour.
The Roku Channel in the UK features over 40 content partners, including All3Media International, EndemolShine Group, FilmRise, pocket.watch and DRG, plus Hollywood studios such as Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Television. More publishers are expected to be added over time.
Movies will be added on a month-to-month basis, with TV programmes staying on for longer periods (but will show a notification when they’re about to be removed from the service).
The Roku Channel’s interface will look familiar to all those who are used to other streaming services, with a Netflix-like grid of icons.
In the US, The Roku Channel also features premium streaming channels that you can subscribe to via The Roku Channel (similar to Amazon Prime Video Channels), such as HBO and Starz. In the UK, premium paid channels will not be part of the service – for now.
Owners of Roku streaming devices or the Roku TV should see The Roku Channel available in the “Add Channels” section, starting today, and you can also find it here. In the US, The Roku Channel can also be watched on the Roku smartphone app – but that’s not the case in the UK, at least for now.
And, thanks to a collaboration with Sky, you can also find The Roku Channel as a new channel on NOW TV and Sky Q devices.
The Roku Channel’s success will depend on the quality of the available content, first and foremost. See our full review of The Roku Channel here.