Editorial: Roku Is Making the Changes They Need to Make

Roku is one of the older streaming boxes on the market right now and for the last few years has dominated the live TV streaming market; however, sometimes being the oldest and most well established can become an issue in itself.

Now in 2017 Roku is making some changes to help ensure it will remain number one in streaming.

A New Look

Roku recently announced that its time for all Roku channels to be updated or get left behind. A few months ago Roku announced that older apps that are still using its older templates to run their channels need to be updated. Roku made it clear Roku channels using the older Roku user interface that do not update will find themselves removed from the Roku Channel store.

Roku didn’t stop at just saying update or be removed. Recently Roku started rolling out new and more powerful tools to make it easy for Roku channels to have a fresh new user interface. Apps such as MLB.TV and HBO GO have already taken advantage of the new system to update their look.

Other apps both new such as Comcast and older ones such as Amazon have been working to update their look and feel.

Better Hardware

Recently Roku rolled out a massive update to its streaming player line. Side by side this new hardware stands up well on specs and price to its competitors.

It seems that Roku has decided to offer the most powerful streaming players possible at the same time as being one of the least expensive options. For all the talk of a 4K Apple TV that is something Roku has been offering for almost two years now.

And Roku is ready to do even more. Reports are floating around that soon Roku will be releasing a 4K streaming stick to replace its current Roku Stick that just saw a price drop to $39.99. A sub $50 Roku Stick with 4K will be a compelling option for cord cutters.

Dominating the Smart TV Market

Smart TVs have historically lacked the features of streaming boxes. TVs are often sold with such a small profit margin that many TV manufacturers decided keeping smart TVs updated was not worth it.

Roku has quickly been changing that by offering its Roku OS to TV manufacturers. Now TV manufacturers can sell their TVs and no longer worry about the software. Roku has done so well with this that its market share went from 0% in 2015 to 13% in 2016.

To help keep that growth strong Roku has been pouring development into its TV OS. Recently Roku has partnered with TiVo to help improve the Roku TV in partnership with TCL.

Final Thoughts

Roku is on the right track right now. With Roku pushing a new look, new hardware, and developing its TV OS with partnership from places such as TCL and TiVo, it is definitely on the right track to continue their dominance.

The only question is what will Apple and Amazon do next. If anyone can knock Roku out of its number one spot these two are the most likely to do so. We should get a good idea what Apple has up its sleeve on September 12, 2017. Until then Roku is well on its way to continue its dominance of the streaming market.

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30 Responses to Editorial: Roku Is Making the Changes They Need to Make

  1. LMan September 1, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    Whoever has single sign on that works is the one I will be going with. It looks like Apple maybe on the right track for getting this done. With so many companies coming out with their own apps cord cutting will be a deal breaker for many if you need to spend ½ hour logging into individual apps every few weeks.

    • analyzethis September 1, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

      I haven’t had to re log into any apps since I bought a Premiere+ in June. Is that common to have to log in every few weeks?

      • Chris September 1, 2017 at 1:01 pm #


      • Gerry Allen September 1, 2017 at 1:08 pm #


      • LMan September 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

        It happens more than it should. Many times after the app is updated. NBC, History, AMC they all do it.

        • analyzethis September 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

          Those are through watchtveverywhere though right?

  2. Sam Iamee September 1, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    Typo in title….

  3. Mike Hendee September 1, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    LOL, how much is Roku paying you? Yeah, they’re “in the process” of updating their interface. Nevermind that right now it looks like it was done in HTML circa 1994. Apple TV and Fire TV are far superior there. A 4k streaming stick? Who is spending all that money on a 4k TV only to throw a cheap stick on the back? Smart TV’s are pretty worthless, too. Most people keep TV’s 10 years or longer. How long until you’re buying an updated streaming box anyway?

    • Evan September 1, 2017 at 10:43 am #

      Smart TVs without wifi connections built in are worthless. Without built in wifi an SUHDTV cannot update the software anyway.

    • Chris September 1, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

      Hopefully the new interface is leaps and bounds better. It does look like its from 1994 lolol

    • HeyRadar September 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

      If you think it’s bad now, you should have looked at it a few years ago ~2013.

  4. TV Barrington September 1, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    Two of the things that I would like to see on a Roku are the ability to either select and use the internal antenna, or use an external antenna(s) towards improving reception whenever you need to use the wifi instead of ethernet, or have sticks that only have wifi. Then the user could possibly choose to switch out and use other antennas that might help improve the reception. The other thing would be to allow the user to more easily see the wifi signal menu that’s currently hidden unless you know the secret code, to possibly aid in finding the best location to place your Roku.

    I know that one is a hardware change and one is a software change, and I realize this article deals with the topic of the recent Roku update towards apps, but I felt that I wanted to mention my major wishlist items towards possibly improving the Roku’s wifi signal reception.

    Of course, the ability to decide on either using the internal antenna or external,and allowing to see the signal strength could be nice for other streaming devices and TVs, but I don’t know if other devices already allow the user to see signal strength.

  5. David Batten September 1, 2017 at 10:02 am #

    I just love the phrase “Roku has decided to offer the most powerful streaming players possible at the same time as being one of the least expensive options”, that I just had to laugh.
    I recently helped a friend setup a Roku. It was the “Roku Ultra”, which is the top of the line Roku. During the setup the one thing that stood out to me was how SLOW this device feels when switching, browsing apps, etc. when compared to any of my Android TV’s.
    Now before anyone chimes in and compares the cost of the Roku to the NVidia Shield TV. Yes, I do have (2) 2015 NVidia Shield TV’s. But I also have one Xiaomi Mi Box as well. It too is way faster than any Roku and it only cost $70.00

    • Iphart September 1, 2017 at 10:50 am #

      I feel as my Ultra Roku is the same or even slower than Roku 3.

    • Gerry Allen September 1, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

      Too bad Xiaomi has such pitiful customer service and Android TV seems poorly supported.

  6. CX1 September 1, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    If only they added the codec so HDHomerun View would work. Then it would be closer to perfect.

  7. Thomas Hessel September 1, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    I have seen this in a lot of discussion, folks feel the Fire TV is faster than Roku (not comparing ATV as I don’t have one) but what am I missing? I have the latest Fire TV and TV stick as well as the latest Roku Stick and Roku Ultra. When I use these apps. Table, Hulu, Netflix, Plex, SlingTV and Directv Now, the Roku (both of them) is faster than the Amazon. So Stick to stick and TV to Ultra, am I missing something? I want to use the Amazon products, but I keep returning to the Roku’s as its more minimalist and just seems faster IMHO. I have tried wireless and wired for both. Any suggestions?

    • Joseph ewing September 1, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

      I have seen the same with the Sticks. I have both latest gen Roku and Fire sticks and the Roku is much faster in PS Vue. That’s sad (but expected), since the Fire UI is much more robust, with even the option of a cable-like Guide.

      I suspect the Roku’s are faster because of the minimalist UI. Rendering all that stuff certainly takes processing power.

    • HeyRadar September 7, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

      I imagine it’s people comparing the latest Fire TV devices to older Roku devices. It would be the equivalent to comparing the Galaxy S8 to an iPhone 5 and talking about how much faster the S8 is.

      It’s amazing how many people are using 5-7 year old Rokus and are complaining about them being slow.

  8. Trey Dio September 1, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    Does Roku own Newsy? If not, why are they trying to ram the damn newsy app down my throat?

  9. MrObvious September 1, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    You needs to use spellcheck

  10. Chris September 1, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    Hopefully plex changes soon. Its the same interface on the firetv and its straight garbage.

  11. Celtics_Junkie September 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    …So did PS Vue ever update their Roku app?

    • Joseph ewing September 1, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

      Minor changes. Nothing earth shattering.

      • Celtics_Junkie September 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

        So then according to this article if they don’t upgrade from the legacy interface their channel will be deleted.

        • Joseph ewing September 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

          What’s interesting is that Roku has given them all to 2019. Plenty of time.

          Roku and it’s channels are going to look as they do for a long time.

  12. risingtide September 1, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Unless ROKU improves their SDK and development tools, people are always going to develop terrible apps.

  13. mau47 September 1, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

    Well, hopefully Roku learns how to make money as part of these changes, I saw an article today that they had about $200 million in revenue for Jan-June with a net loss of just shy of 25 million.

    • Josh September 2, 2017 at 8:27 am #

      What was the operating cost tho?

  14. Chinese Democracy September 2, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    I have all 3 appleTV Roku and FireTV . and Roku is the most clunky .. never use it . I use Fire Tv most of the time