Roku announced a large batch of new features coming with the 9.1 operating system update.
New features include:
Note: Some updates apply to specific Roku devices or regions. In those instances, additional information is included.
Key Roku OS 9.1 features:
Voice enhancements (US only) – To help customers get to entertainment more quickly when using voice search, movies and TV shows in The Roku Channel will now begin playback, rather than display a search results screen – including entertainment available via the 25+ Premium Subscription services available on The Roku Channel. Playback will occur when the movie or show is available only in The Roku Channel, or when a customer specifically indicates the channel name in their voice command. If playback from a voice command is not available for a specific movie or show, customers will continue to see unbiased search results ordered by price, so they can choose the best viewing option for them.
Additional channels are expected to support this functionality in the coming weeks. This feature works best when customers speak the entire title of the movie or show they want to watch along with the channel name.
Roku OS 9.1 also introduces helpful voice commands including the ability to say “replay” to go back a few seconds while watching a movie or show, as well as quickly toggling closed captions on/off by simply saying “turn closed captions on.” If a customer owns a Roku TV and has the Fast TV Start feature enabled, they can use a voice command to turn the TV display on or off while streaming select music channels including Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn by using phrases like “turn display off.”
Additional information about voice search and controls, as well as supported devices, can be found here.
Guest Mode (US, LATAM, UK, CA) – Auto Sign Out Mode, a feature introduced earlier this year, is now called Guest Mode. When enabled on a customer’s device, this mode allows visiting guests to sign in to subscription channels using their own account credentials. Guests can specify a date on which their credentials will be automatically removed from the Roku device. To enable Guest Mode, go to Settings > System > Guest Mode.
Roku OS 9.1 also introduces new capabilities for the Guest Mode feature. Customers can now turn Guest Mode on/off for specific Roku devices by scrolling to the ”My linked devices” section on their My account page on Roku.com. In addition, they can use their account page to remotely sign a guest out of a device if the guest left early or accidentally selected the incorrect sign-out date.
For more information on Guest Mode, please click here.
Updates to Roku Search (US only) – Customers can soon search for a subset of popular genres such as “comedy” or “action” when using text or voice search on select Roku devices. When customers click on a genre-based Roku Search result, they’ll see a browsable collection of movies and TV shows specific to that genre. This collection will be categorized so it’s easy to find free, on-demand, subscription, 4K and other types of content within that genre if applicable.
Roku Search results will also soon indicate when a movie or TV episode is available to stream in 4K. Customers will be able to quickly see if a title is available in 4K and/or HD and choose the streaming option that is best for them.
These new features are expected to be added to Roku Search in early summer and will be available on currently shipping Roku streaming players and 4K Roku TV models. Additional Roku devices are expected to be supported in a future OS release.
My Offers (US only) – Customers will see “My Offers” in the left navigation menu of the Roku home screen if they are eligible for special offers or discounts on Roku devices. If a customer sees My Offers on their home screen, they can select it to view all available offers and can choose to purchase a new Roku product with just a few clicks of their remote. If no offers are available, My Offers will not appear on the home screen.
Click for more information on My Offers.
Automatic Account Link – It’s now easier for customers to set up their subscription channels when activating additional Roku devices on their Roku account. If a customer has already logged in to a supported subscription service on a Roku device, they will not be required to re-enter their username and password when launching the same channel on their newly activated Roku device.
Automatic Account Link is currently supported on nearly 10 subscription streaming services including Pandora and Sling TV, with additional services expected to be supported soon.
This feature is designed to make subscription streaming on multiple Roku devices easier for customers, similar to the existing Single Sign-On feature that reduces the number of times they need to enter a username and password for their cable or satellite provider in order to view “TV Everywhere” streaming channels on a Roku device.
Automatic Volume Leveling for Roku TV models – In order to ensure a reliable customer experience, the Automatic Volume Leveling feature mentioned in the Roku OS 9 release notes will now roll out to Roku TVs as part of Roku OS 9.1. This feature enables a uniform audio level across various types of content, so it will no longer feel jarring when a commercial comes on or when streaming channels are changed. It can be turned on/off within the Volume Mode setting that appears in the options menu after pressing the star button “*” on your Roku TV remote.
Click here for more information on Automatic Volume Leveling and supported devices.
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