Roku last week released a major new update bringing a major new feature and addressing several bugs in the Roku OS 7.2 update. (If you do not have 7.2 yet just wait it will show up soon.)
Updates for the end user:
- Audio improvements ID3 timed meta data support, buffering Status field for the recently release Audio node
- text-to-speech component has been added to support audible spoken versions of the user interface
The Text to Speech is a major addition to Roku players as an estimated 285 million people suffer some form of visual impairment. Now that Roku offers text-to-speech for visually impaired owners, it opens a new world of content to people who would otherwise be cut off from great channels others take for granted.
Updates for developers:
- Playlist support weve added content playlists to both the video and audio SceneGraph components. This allows for a list of children items to play sequentially.
- Samples for server-side ad insertion and custom buffering screens in the Roku Ad Framework
- Fast Video Start (aka Pre-buffering) video can be pre-loaded for reducing rendering time and improving the playback experience. This feature works with both SceneGraph and BrightScript-only (aka SDK1) applications.
- ifHttpAgent allows passing of certificates in SceneGraph nodes using cookies and HTTP headers when fetching URLs SceneGraph screensaver support Build screen savers using Roku SceneGraph
- ChannelStore / Roku Billing A native SceneGraph component to integrate in-channel product purchases
- Video Max decode resolution Set the resolution and frame rate minimum and maximum settings for video playback in channels
- Customization playback controls Adjust the height and width for video playback controls
- ProgressBar node
- TrickPlayBar node
Although these updates are for developers, end users will also benefit in two major ways. First, channels should start loading content faster similar to how Netflix and Amazon Video preloads content for faster play back.
Secondly, the new playlist feature should allow auto play on more channels similar to how Netflix and Amazon keep playing the next video when one ends.
Roku has long been a leader in streaming media players and now seems more dedicated than ever to continuing to develop new and more powerful features.
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