Roku Stick 4K

Roku OS 8: Single Sign-On, Grid Guide, Fast Start, New Voice Controls, & More


Not only did Roku announce a brand-new line of Roku players today, but it also announced a new Roku OS 8.

The new Roku OS 8 will start rolling out this month and should be on most Roku players and TVs by the end of 2017.

So let’s take a look at what is new.

New Updates for Roku TVs

New Over-the-Air Grid Guide

Ever wish you had a traditional grid guide on your Roku TV for over-the-air TV? Now you have that option with your Roku TV including a free 14-day look into the future of what is coming up. You will also get a 7-day look back.

Why is the 7-day look back important? If you miss a show you can go back to it in the guide and your Roku TV will show you other ways to watch it so you never miss an episode again. For example, if you miss an episode of “The Simpsons,” Roku will show you how to find it on Hulu, FOX Now, and more.

Roku Over-the-Air Search

In the past Roku’s over-the-air TV did not show up in its search if you are looking for a movie or TV show. Now if you are looking for a show or movie that will be available over the air it will include the over-the-air option in your search results.

Voice Controls

You can now ask your Roku to switch inputs, load a streaming channel, and more from your Roku app or your voice-enabled remote voice controls on the Roku TV, which are better than ever.

Private Listening OTA

In the past private listening only worked with streaming apps. Now on Roku TVs you can use private listening for over-the-air TV too.

Roku Player Updates

Enhanced Voice Features

Not only can you launch apps with your voice but you also have a more natural voice search now. Want comedies with Will Ferrell? Just ask “show me comedies with Will Ferrell.” Not only will it look for Will Ferrell, but it will also show just comedies he is in.

Single Sign-On

Hate having to sign in every time you open a new TV anywhere app? With Roku you can now sign in once and get access to over 30 TV everywhere apps from providers such as Disney and FOX.

Currently there are no cord cutting services that support this feature yet, but both Dish and AT&T offer it for cable subscribers. Hopefully Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW —among others—will be added soon. As with all new services, look for more companies to sign up soon. (It may be a good idea to email both your streaming service and Roku with a polite request that they add live TV streaming services.)

4K Spotlight Channel

The newly redesigned Roku 4K Spotlight Channel will make it easier for Roku owners who have a 4K and 4K HDR TV to find 4K HDR content on their Roku. All of it will be in one easy-to-find spot.

The Roku OS 8 also comes with many back-end improvements and bug fixes. Roku also has a habit recently of not announcing all of the minor changes it made. Back when 7.0 and 7.5 came out both updates had many improvements hidden inside the update for us to find for weeks to come.

Rollout Details

Roku TVs should have the update in early November and all Roku devices by the end of the year.

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  • mr Dave

    I’ll say it again. I could care less about voice control but I wish the remote had either lighted buttons or glow in the dark buttons!! My Tv does, my blu-ray does, my universal remote does why not Roku?? Simple add-on that would make movie viewing so much better!

    • Interesting suggestion. I don’t recall seeing this one before.

      For me, I’ve pretty well memorized the button layout of a Roku 3 remote (one without voice search), so can use it without looking at the buttons.

    • DannyMac

      Left, right, up, down, okay, home, back, and play/pause are the only ones I use and they are laid out pretty well to memorize, but that’s not a bad idea to have lighted buttons!

    • FranchisePlayer

      The Roku remote is by far the easiest to use among streaming players but I agree, having lighted buttons would be helpful. You could try glow in the dark paint and put a thin line next to the directional buttons and maybe some under the rewind/pause/forward buttons. The Back and Home buttons are very easy to locate without looking at them. Not knowing what version you have, you could put glow in the dark paint under the Netflix button too.

      Lighted buttons is a good idea.

      • TaiPeng

        It’s called a lamp dude.

  • Jeck

    Is the channel guide only coming on to the Roku TV’s or will it be added to the boxes as well? That seems like a nice way for new cord cutters to make the transition. They would be presented with their traditional grid layout but when they click on a title they’d be told how to watch it on one of the Roku “channels” instead.

    • The official blog says that feature is only for the Roku TVs, which makes sense because the other devices lack a tuner.
      https://blog.roku.com/introducing-the-roku-streaming-stick-and-the-new-roku-streaming-player-lineup-plus-roku-os-8

      • Jeck

        Completely agree that it makes sense that it’s only the TV just wish that it could be another way to search for content on the boxes as well. Thanks for pointing me to the answer.

    • Vegas Steve

      Without a tuner having it for the search function is about the only thing that makes sense on a Roku box. It would be nice, but doubtful as many people would probably think they should have OTA on their Roku box because they can see a TV grid, which would equal a lot of headaches for Roku.

  • cpkidwell

    I’d love to see Roku tv allow you to connect a hard drive and enable their own ota dvr along with this guide

    • Are you aware of the Tablo OTA DVRs and the Channel Master DVR+?

      Adding additional (major) features directly to a Roku TV would necessitate a significant price bump anyway.

      • NashGuy

        Roku boxes should support optional external OTA tuners (USB or network) and USB storage (flash and hard drives), like Android TV boxes do.

        • David Batten

          Based on the past CPU speeds. A Roku would not nearly be fast enough to handle MPEG 2 that would be required to process a streaming OTA signal.

      • cpkidwell

        I have Plex along with an HD homerun but I get bugs in playback and some shows fail to record. I’m still on Dish Network but I plan to cancel it in the near future.

        • “Bugs in playback” may well be due to signal interruptions, which are likely to happen with any of these OTA DVR options. I’d look at getting a better antenna, preferably outdoors.

          As to failing to record, have you asked Plex support about it? That may be because of a weak signal. That’s usually what causes recordings to fail on my Tablo. (I’m upgrading my antenna but haven’t gotten around to installing it yet.) I use Plex a lot but haven’t used Plex DVR, so don’t know how good its error messaging is.

          • cpkidwell

            When I playback certain recordings the video will stutter but audio plays normal causing it to go out of sync. Pausing the video and playing again will usually correct it.

            My recordings that fail are for one series, Dennis The Menace. I already have Dennis The Menace cartoon series ripped to my library so I don’t know if that’s the issue.

          • Do you record anything else from the channel Dennis The Menace is airing on?

    • Greg

      here’s hoping a Roku branded dvr tuner comes in the future or at least compatibility with current dvrs to use with the guide.

      • Curtice Morris

        Roku TV’s have a very simple DVR feature for OTA. but you can record like an hour worth of video, with a inserted flash drive or hard drive. No matter the size of the drive. It’s more for pausing for a short amount of time. They could expand and improve that.

  • Billy Jingles

    SSO works well on Apple TV with PSVue. Hopefully that will work on Roku OS 8.

  • DrDenim

    Does this OS fix the roku 3 hard locking if I use the search button? having to unplug the power is a pain as it’s behind my other boxes. Making a already worthless feature actively harmful > great!

  • Jimmy Sterling

    This is why roku is simply the best streaming player on the market keep it up roku

  • TaiPeng

    Single sign on? How? Roku is not an OTT competitor. What are some original Roku shows? Roku would not require single sign on as it is not a service provider.

    • Todd

      Details are pretty thin, but my guess is we’ll be able to use login credentials for PSVue or similar provider, and Roku will use those credentials for any app that supports SSO. This is just a guess though.