Category Archives: Streaming

Roku Boosts UK Presence with New Models



UK-based Roku fans will be pleased to hear that the streaming company is launching two new models into the country; the Roku Express and the Roku Premiere. The Express is a refresh of the entry-level model but the Premiere is a brand-new mid-range device offering 4K streaming with HDR. The existing Roku Streaming Stick+ will remain in the product line-up.

This year’s Roku Express is a much softer version of its predecessor and I’d be tempted to say looks a bit like a fig roll – see right. I’m sure the PR people would prefer something like sleek and curvaceous. It’s perfect for your standard HD TV and comes with a simple remote control with popular streaming channel shortcut buttons, an HDMI cable and a power cord.

The mid-range Roku Premiere is a good way to start streaming in HD, 4K Ultra HD or 4K HDR. It actually looks very like the previous generation Express (see left) but nevertheless features a powerful quad-core processor. As before, in the box, there’s the remote control, HDMI cable and a power cord.

I much prefer the Roku interface over other competitive products and in the UK, all the terrestrial broadcasters offer their catch-up services – BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5 –  and then you’ve also got Netflix, Spotify, Google Play Movies, NowTV and Amazon Prime Video. Roku’s are ideal if you don’t want to get trapped in a particular ecosystem.

We are delivering more value and improved picture quality across the new 2019 streaming player line up for the United Kingdom. The Roku Premiere delivers 4K HDR for a more immersive TV experience,” said Lloyd Klarke, Director Product Management at Roku. “Whether you are new to streaming or demand more advanced features such as better Wi-Fi, 4K HDR and voice search, we have the right streaming player for everyone.

The 2019 Roku streaming players will be available in the UK from early October from all the usual suspects – Argos, Currys, ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Amazon and other fine retailers. Pricing is below.

  • Roku Express GB£29.99
  • Roku Premiere: GB£39.99
  • Roku Streaming Stick+: GB£49.99

Don’t forget the UK will be seeing Roku TVs for the first time from Hisense shortly.


Roku TV Comes To Europe



Good news for Roku lovers in Europe – the hardware streaming company is bringing its Roku TV licensing programme across the pond to the continent.

At IFA in Berlin, Roku CEO, Anthony Wood, announced that Hisense is the first European Roku TV partner. The new Hisense Roku TV models will combine Roku’s easy-to-use operating system and thousands of streaming channels with Hisense’s picture and screen technologies to deliver 4K Ultra HD resolution with the enhanced detail and contrast levels of HDR.

TV manufacturers will license Roku TV reference designs and embed Roku OS in their smart TVs, offering a huge range of streaming channels, including Google Play Movies, Amazon Prime, Netflix and catch-up TV  for terrestrial broadcasters. Roku TV was first introduced at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, and today over 100 models are available from more than 10 brands in North America. Roku estimates that in the first half of 2019 more than a third of smart TVs sold in the U.S. were Roku TVs. That’s pretty impressive.

While consumers love Roku TV’s simplicity and advanced features, TV manufacturers benefit from the low cost of manufacturing, a variety of technology options, and support from Roku. The ability to quickly bring to market a leading smart TV experience that is regularly updated by Roku and is packed with entertainment gives TV manufacturers an edge in the competitive TV business,” said Wood. “We are pleased to bring the Roku TV licensing program to Europe and look forward to the first Hisense Roku TVs in market this year.

The new Hisense Roku TV models are expected to be available for purchase in the UK in late autumn in sizes ranging up to 65″. Pricing and other details will be announced by Hisense later this year.


Disney+ Will Launch in November 2019



Disney announced that Disney+ will launch in the U.S. market on November 12, 2019, at $6.99 a month. The launch date coincides with the holiday season, when many children (and some adults) have days off. Plenty of time to watch Disney content!

Disney+ will launch in November with a robust library of theatrical and television content, and in its first year will release more than 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials by some of the industry’s most prolific and creative storytellers.

New original titles for Disney+ include:

From Marvel Studios:

  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a live-action series with Anthony Mackie returning as Falcon and Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Winter Soldier
  • WandaVision, a live action series with Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision.
  • Marvel’s What If…?, the first animated series from Marvel Studios and takes inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.

From Walt Disney Studios:

  • Toy Story-based projects Forky Asks a Question, an animated short series, and the short film Lamp Life.

From National Geographic:

  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum, a documentary series where Goldblum pulls back the curtain on a seemingly familiar object to reveal a world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and a whole lot of big ideas.
  • Magic of the Animal Kingdom, a documentary series which takes viewers behind the scenes with the highly respected animal-care experts, veterinarians and biologists at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium.

From Disney Television Animation:

  • The Phineas and Ferb Movies (working title), an animated film featuring many of the original voice cast.

This list is in addition to previously announce Disney+ scripted originals that are part of Disney’s Star Wars, Marvel, Walt Disney Studios content. All 30 seasons of The Simpsons will be available on Disney+ on day one. Family friendly Fox titles like The Sound of Music, The Princess Bride, and Malcom in the Middle will also be on Disney+.

To me, it sounds like there will be a ton of interesting things to watch on Disney+. It is astounding how much stuff The Walt Disney Company owns. Disney+ will be competing with Hulu and Netflix.


Disney+ Will Have New Star Wars and Marvel Series



Disney has announced that their new direct-to-consumer streaming service will be called Disney+. It is scheduled to launch in the United States in late 2019. I haven’t seen anything that specifically states what a subscription to Disney+ would cost.

Disney+ will have a Star Wars live action series that will go into production next year. It will follow the adventures of Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion and prior to the events of Rogue One. Diego Luna will reprise the role of Andor.

In addition, Disney+ will also have a Marvel live action series centered around Loki, the god of mischief. Tom Hiddleston will star.

CNBC reported that in August of 2017, Disney said it would pull all of its movies from Netflix in 2019. If you are a Netflix subscriber, I recommend you watch those movies now, before they are removed.

I believe that Disney+ will attract a lot of consumers, especially those who have children. It sounds like Disney+ is going to offer plenty of interesting things for teens and adults, as well. Disney+, in my opinion, could be a fierce rival for Netflix. I think current Netflix subscribers could be tempted to switch to Disney+ if the subscription price is lower than what Netflix charges.

Or, maybe people will subscribe to both. To me, it feels like we are at a place where people can “just pay for the channels they want” instead of paying for cable. If so, that’s something a lot of people have been wanting for a long time.

Image from Pexels


26 Seasons of Doctor Who Coming to Twitch



Twitch announced that they will stream 26 Seasons of Doctor Who starting on May 29, 2018. That’s over 500 episodes for Doctor Who fans to binge watch.

Join us and tons of other fans in Twitch chat for over seven weeks of classic Doctor Who, starting with the 1963 episode “An Unearthly Child.” Together we’ll make our way through the first seven Doctors spanning 26 seasons. Come relive (or experience for the first time ever) the origins of the iconic Daleks, the Cybermen, and the trusty Sonic Screwdriver.

Twitch will stream new episodes every day for eight hours starting at 11AM PDT, followed immediately by two eight-hour repeat blocks. There will be exclusive Doctor Who emotes for everyone who subscribes to /twitchpresents and a shiny new Tardis Cheermote.

Twitch is partnering with Yogscast to bring you seven new episodes featuring a cast of Doctor Who screenwriters, experts, and fans who will introduce each new Doctor and highlight some of the best upcoming story arcs.

There will also be prizes. Twitch will be giving away Doctor Who fan packs (which include a Tardis money box, a themed Monopoly set, and Doctor Who doormat) and a grand prize trip to London Comic Con. For more details about how to enter this sweepstakes, and to read the Official Rules, please visit the Twitch blog.


Two New Rokus for UK



After a very long wait, Roku are bringing two new models to the UK market with the Roku Express and Roku Streaming Stick+.

While North America fans have enjoyed new models for over a year, the UK has lagged behind with long-standing Roku 2 and 3 models: owners of 4K TVs have had to look elsewhere for their ultra high definition fix. Fortunately the new Roku Streaming Stick+ supports both 4K and HDR up to 60 f/s.

Taking a quick look over the two models, the Roku Express is the second generation of the model and is perfect for standard HD TVs with HDMI. Connectivity is provided by b/g/n wifi and there’s an IR remote, so you will need line of sight to control the Express.

The new star of the show is the Roku Streaming Stick+, delivering 4K UHD with HDR via 802.11ac dual-band MIMO wifi. The advanced wireless remote allows the stick to be mounted behind the TV, plus there are now buttons to turn the TV on/off and control the volume.

To showcase 4K content, a 4K Spotlight Channel will offer instant access to 4K movies and TV shows from various streaming channels. Both remotes have channel shortcut buttons too.

The Roku Express is one of our most popular streaming players and we are excited to bring it to the UK. It is a great starting point for first time streamers or for people looking to extend the Roku experience to other TVs,” said Chas Smith, general manager of Roku TVs and players. “Consumers will love our new sleek Roku Streaming Stick+ with an innovative advanced wireless receiver that gives up to four times the wireless range and a remote that controls TV volume and power. At £79.99, it makes HD, 4K and HDR streaming simple.

Of course, the free complementary Roku app for iOS and Android provides all the usual Roku features including streaming media from a mobile device to the TV, remote control, voice search and private listening.

Available from 18th October online with retail availability shortly afterwards, the Roku Express costs GB£29.99 whereas the Streaming Stick+ comes in at £79.99. Put one on your Christmas list.


Disney is Starting its Own Streaming Services



Disney announced that it will launch its own streaming services. This comes as a result of an acquisition and may affect some of the Disney-owned content that is available on Netflix.

The Walt Disney Company announced today that it has agreed to acquire majority ownership of BAMTech, LLC and will launch its ESPN-branded multi-sport streaming service in early 2018, followed by a new Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019.

The ESPN-branded multi-sport service will offer a robust array of sports programming, featuring approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam Tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live.

The new Disney-branded service will become the exclusive home in the United States for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate, which includes Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen and The Lion King from Disney live-action, along with other highly anticipated movies.

Disney will also make a significant investment in an annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives for the service. Additionally, the service will feature a vast collection of library content, including Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD television programming.

These upcoming changes will affect the content that is currently available on Netflix. Disney will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases, beginning with the 2019 calendar year theatrical slate.