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Roku Announces the Roku OS 7.6 Update with New Cord Cutting-Friendly Features


Roku announced the details behind its 7.6 Roku OS update. Along with a host of fixes and improvements under the hood, cord cutters will find several new features they will love.

The Roku OS 7.6 roll out starts as Roku sets new records for both market share and active users. According to Roku, at the end of 2016 Roku made up about half of all streaming media players sold in the United States. To top this off, Roku also has 14 million active accounts as of March 31, 2017. (One account can represent multiple devices.)

To keep building off of its success, Roku has announced several new features coming with the Roku OS 7.6 update.

More Ways to Watch

The big update is the More Ways to Watch feature for Roku TVs. This feature is an opt-in system that will let cord cutters watching TV with their antenna find new ways to watch a show. Now Roku will automatically search over 300 Roku Channels to see if that movie or TV show is available, which will allow you to restart the movie or even find the next episode of a show you are watching.

Roku says this new feature is being rolled out on HD and FHD Roku TVs and new 2017 4K Roku TV models and will move to 2016 4K Roku TV models this summer.

More Ways to Watch will use an automatic content recognition system to determine what you are watching. This means if you decided you want to restart the show, watch it commercial free, or see what is like this show you don’t have to do anything. Roku will do all the work for you and show you the options you have.

More Over-the-Air TV Improvements

Roku TVs are also getting two new features to make over-the-air TV even better. First you can create a favorites list of over-the-air TV stations. You can view all the channels you get with your antenna or browse a list of favorites. All you have to do is press the “*” on your Roku to switch between the two different lists.

You can also now see a thumb nail when fast forwarding live TV you have paused. Allowing you to easily find the end of commercials.

Roku is also bringing the auto closed captioning on rewind to your antenna. Not sure what was just said? Hit the reply button and Roku will turn on the closed captions until you return to the point you just watched. This feature has been available for streaming players but not for antennas until now. You will have to turn it on in the Settings.

Customer Inputs

Own an Xbox One or an Xbox 360? Now you can create custom input names for your Roku TVs. No longer will you be limited to just a list of pre-created options.

Update: Yes all Roku boxes made from 2011 and forward will get the new 7.6 update. So all Roku 1, 2, 3, and 4 models. Along with all Roku Sticks and the new line of Roku Express, Premiere, and Ultra.

So those are the upfront changes you will notice in the Roku OS 7.6 update.  There are many back-end improvements you won’t notice, but the front-end changes seem to be for Roku TVs. With Roku now making up 13% of all Smart TV sales in the United States in 2016 and growing it seems Roku is doubling down on smart TVs.

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  • Keith Foster

    And still no DTVNow! Not a roku issue, but seeing has this is the number one streaming device it’s a big miss on AT&T/DTV part. I was all ready to sign up for DTV now when it lunched at $35, but not roku support killed it for me.

    • George Shiflett

      i have 3 Roku boxes the amazon fire box out classes it by leaps and bounds , u can side load them but u can’t side load a Roku same with other android boxes , Roku is like the sony Beta of streaming boxes that has lost it to VHS ROKU old tech and very limited

      • Joseph ewing

        Your analogy is flawed. Sony’s Betamax was much superior to VHS in terms of picture quality. VHS won because they had enough capacity to record a full 2 hour movie. And since Roku leads the market – and shows no signs of slowing down – I don’t see Fire boxes overtaking them anytime soon. Plus, Amazon can’t seem to keep them in stock, despite Roku selling many more.

        Roku has played to the masses with a simple, uncluttered UI. It was made so both Grandma and little Johnnie could use it. My 4-year old grandson uses it in the morning to run Netflix.

        Grandma doesn’t side load much.

        • Keith Foster

          That’s part of the reason it is so prevalent in my home. My 5 year old can get to Netflix, Disney Jr. etc. with no issue. It’s easy for him to find the kid shows/ movies. Now I with Roku would roll out the ability to customize the home grid so we can hide or remove channels from individual roku players. I also have a TV with integrated roku to the OTA stuff is fantastic! I

          I have a fire stick, granted 1st gen, but I have never enjoined using it. I like a box that is agnostic to it’s streaming services. Can I side load YouTube sure, or I can have a box that has YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Hulu, and other services with little issue. My biggest complainant about the Roku is it’s lack of MPEG 2 decoding. I have an HDHomeRun hooked to my PLEX server to act as a DVR, but I can’t live stream to Roku. Roku could in theory launch a box that has an ATSC tuner if it had MPEG 2 decoding. However the partnerships with TCL etc. kind of do that for them.

          • Richard smith

            When I used Plex there was a channel that you had to manually install called hdhrviever that could stream hdhomerun live through Roku. I think there is a new one called hdgrandslam.

          • Keith Foster

            I tried it and had issue, but I think I used the older HRviewer.

          • Chris K.

            Same situation for me – HDHomeRun in the home, but no direct way to decode it on the Roku 3 on my projector. It took a bit of fiddling, but I finally got the HDHRViewer channel to work. The other option is running NextPVR on your Plex server – a Roku can also stream live TV on its Plex app channel.

            That is one of just a few areas where I prefer Android or Fire TV to Roku – those can stream live OTA TV directly from my HDHomeRun.

          • Joseph ewing

            It’s funny you say that. I purchased my first Roku (A Roku LT) years ago to use with my Plex server, long before Live TV Streaming was available.

      • Chris K.

        1. If sideloading is so important to you, why don’t you just get a regular Andorid box instead of an Amazon box? If you aren’t using it as intended, I’m not sure that qualifies as outclassing “by leaps and bounds.”
        2. Roku has been the best-selling streaming player for several years. How exactly is that comparable to Betamax?

        Don’t mistake your personal tastes for any kind of factual evidence. You use what works best for you, and the rest of us will use what works best for our needs.

    • Joseph ewing

      Sony did the same thing with Playstation Vue, not using Roku during their initial rollout.

      I suspect it is partly because of the difficulty writing to the Roku OS, and mostly due to the popularity of Roku. If they hit all those devices as much during what is likely a “soft” launch, they won’t be able to fix things before they go wide.

      In the long run, it’s smart for them.

      • Keith Foster

        True, but with Sony I kind of got it starting on brand. I may be incorrect but I seem to recall that when they started rolling out to other devices Android and Roku were the first up.

        • Joseph ewing

          You could be correct. I can only speak to Playstation Vue which I waited patiently for when it first rolled and was not on Roku. I don’t have a PS or any other device, and was not willing to change away from Roku (I have 6 streaming sticks).

          The rumors always were that Sony waited on Roku to soft launch the product and work out the bugs before the Roku community – which is the largest at this time – went at it. It also gave them a chance to do initial stress testing on their bandwidth. A good thing, as I had heard numerous reports of buffering in the early days. By the time it hit Roku, that was mostly worked out.

          Slings been around longer and I’m not sure if that debuted on Roku early in it’s launch.

  • Clark Roy

    Is this an update for existing boxes such as Roku3 or a new box entirey?

    • Yes all Roku boxes made from 2011 and forward will get the new 7.6 update. So all Roku 1, 2, 3, and 4 models. Along with all Roku Sticks and the new line of Roku Express, Premiere, and Ultra.

      • Clark Roy

        Thank you much…

      • Richard smith

        But not the OTA integration right? Just built in Roku.

        • Boxes do not have a OTA option.

          • Richard smith

            Looks like all these new features are for Roku tv’s only. What is changing for boxes?

          • CX1

            Apparently nothing is changing to boxes except the version number.

  • Richard smith

    Maybe Samsung and LG can scrap their crappy propriety OS and use this.

  • Karl Childers

    For those who watch a lot of OTA TV The More Ways to Watch feature sounds like it could be useful.

  • mr Dave

    Roku needs to modernize it’s UI.
    It Should work with Sling to make it more modern and seamless. I think it could really give it a bump in sales and edge over Fire. It needs to load Netflix’s faster too. the current experience is good but they could make it so much better!

    • Craig

      I wish they’d hardware video accelerate the UI with sleeker animations and even add multi-tasking.

  • HeyRadar

    Roku needs to focus on speed improvements and focus on allowing more advanced features, so that channels like Tablo, DTN, Vue, Pluto TV, etc. can provide advanced features that can come closer to those of Fire TV and Apple TV.

    And if an older Roku can’t handle these features, then it needs to disable them to improve the experience. I’d rather not be able to run a channel/app than try to run one that is a horrible experience. The Facebook groups are full of users having issues with watching Vue/DTN, etc on Rokus that are 5-7 years old, and giving Roku a bad name.

    • Chris K.

      Really? I have a five-year-old Roku 2, and it handles PSVue as well as my 2016 Roku 3 and my 2015 or 2016 Roku TV. The Fire TV version of PSVue does have more features, but the Roku version gets the job done.

      • HeyRadar

        I said “if” 🙂

        • Chris K.

          In that case, those users MIGHT want to consider coughing up $35 for a newer Roku stick…

      • HeyRadar

        And related to what you said. If I had personally had PSVue, I would probably buy a device that ran it best. Its like comparing older streaming players that only had Netflix queue playback. The very old players you had to browse shows on your PC and queue them up. If another device has the ability to browse without using a PC which would you buy? I wouldn’t say the queuing only device got the job done.

        • mau47

          This has always been my main pain point with Roku (other than the giant ad on the homescreen). I guess a lot of people just want a barebones media player but I want something that is more capable, more interactive, has more features etc.

          It also surprises me that Roku only has 14 million active accounts (I realize multiple boxes in the same household count as 1) but considering they supposedly have a 50% marketshare and there are about 60 million active Netflix accounts in the US, how are all those people watching Netflix? Even if you a little more than double the 14 million 30 million (for a nice round number) including other boxes that still leaves about 30 million Netflix accounts, are blu-ray players and smart tv’s really that popular for Netflix or are marketshare numbers for these boxes way off? I am sure some only watch on web or mobile devices etc. but still that’s not even factoring in account sharing which happens a lot as well.

  • CX1

    You lost me at Roku TV…..

  • Chris K.

    I’d still love to see a standalone Roku player with a built-in TV tuner (like the Roku TVs have). I think that would be a big hit with people who use projectors – especially for live sports and other major events.

    • Keith Foster

      I agree, but the lack of MPEG 2 decoding kills that. I think Roku believes they have a work around as TVs that have built in players TCL etc. As a projector user I would love to have a Roku with an ATSC tuner built in, or maybe like Sling’s Air tv. A dongle wouldn’t kill me, but I thank most players no longer have a USB port.

      • Chris K.

        If Roku thought that their RokuTV partner products were a workaround for all customers, they wouldn’t bother making standalone players. Yet they release new players every year, and I can’t imagine those are being purchased by anybody who already owns a RokuTV.

        I suspect the reality is that they just don’t think they have a financial incentive to add an OTA tuner to their product range.

        • Keith Foster

          Maybe I said that wrong… Not a work around as a much as a way to fill a gap or check a box off. I’m not sure how much the market is clamoring for a streaming box with ATSC. Me I would love it and it would integrate right into my setup. Basiclly I want a Roku version of a Tablo DVR with a little channel master DVR+. One box with ATSC that can record and stream live to my other Rokus along with my streaming channels.

    • beentheredonethat2

      Yea…I think i’d like that also!

    • HeyRadar

      I’m with you on that one.

      Would be especially useful for people that buy the Vizio Home Theater Displays.

  • Marc Shaffer

    DTVNOW?????? When is that coming, if ever?

  • b_e_q

    Speaking of 2017 Roku TV’s, when will TCL’s new C Series and P Series (4K Dolby Vision HDR) models come out?

    The 75″ C Series looks like a good value a la Vizio?

  • Ghostmaker

    I’m waiting for the new 2017 model Roku 4 k tvs. That Dolby vision add on sounds good.

  • Max Chaos

    Got the update on both the Roku Express boxes but the Roku Premiere+ doesn’t have it. It keeps saying it is up to date but it is still on 7.5.1

  • HeyRadar

    I’m not sure what else was in the 7.6 update but Hulu screams now. It’s like I got a new device.

    Previously sometimes the show’s thumbnails would not load. I’d have to exit/start Hulu multiple times before they would. It would occur most often after I watched an episode.

    But now, there is zero lag. Awesome!

    PS This is on the Roku ‘Black’ Stick (2016).