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Roku OS 8 update includes fast start, voice control, a smart guide, more

04 Oct 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

Along with new hardware, the company has updated its operating system to version 8.0. The update is coming to both Roku players and Roku TVs in the coming months.

Roku OS 8

One of the highlighted features of Roku OS version 8.0 is voice control on Roku TVs to make it easier to switch inputs and perform other tasks.

In addition, Roku is bringing enhanced voice features to all of its devices. It includes “natural language understanding” and can search for movies, shows, actors, and more. You can say things like, “show me movies with Tom Hanks” “launch Hulu”, and “show me comedies with Will Ferrell”.

The update also includes several enhancements for antenna TV if you have an HDTV antenna connected to your Roku TV, including a ‘Smart Guide’ that integrates broadcast TV and streaming options in a unified guide interface. We have included highlighted features in the table below.

Roku OS 8 will begin rolling out to Roku players in early October and to Roku TVs in November. It should have reached all compatible Roku devices by the end of the year.

The full list of release notes for Roku OS 8 is available here.

Roku OS 8 for Roku TVs

Voice Control: Roku TVs now feature voice controls to make it easy to switch inputs, tune to a local antenna broadcast channel, launch a streaming channel and more.
Fast TV Start: Allows a Roku TV to start quickly and launch a streaming or antenna TV channel in seconds simply using a voice command. For example, you can say “launch Hulu” and the TV will turn on and open the Hulu streaming channel. Or, say, “tune to ABC,” and the TV will turn on and tune to the local ABC station if an HDTV antenna is connected to the Roku TV.
Smart Guide: An electronic program guide for Roku TVs that seamlessly integrates information for local broadcast TV via an HDTV antenna with streaming options allowing customers to search for, find and discover entertainment. The guide provides program information for local antenna broadcast TV channels from seven days in the past to up to 14 days in the future.
Roku Search for Local Antenna TV: Local antenna broadcast TV options are now included in Roku Search results for Roku TV customers who use an HDTV TV antenna to receive free local broadcast TV.
Private Listening for Antenna Content: Roku TV customers with an HDTV antenna connected to their TV can now use private listening to hear audio for local antenna broadcast content (as well as their streaming content) either using their mobile device via the Roku mobile app or through the headphone jack on the remote control on select Roku TV models. This feature is also available for streaming.

Roku OS 8 for all Roku devices

Enhanced Voice Features: Voice search now includes natural language understanding and can search for movies, shows, actors and directors, or even launch streaming channels, in a more conversational tone. For example, you can say things like, “show me movies with Tom Hanks,” “launch Hulu,” or even more detailed searches such as “show me comedies with Will Ferrell.”
TV Everywhere Single Sign-On: TVE single sign-on, available for pay TV customers, eliminates the need to log in to TVE channels, such as Watch ESPN or FOX NOW, repeatedly. Customers who subscribe to Dish, Cox, AT&T and hundreds of other providers will enjoy the convenience of single sign-on when using 30 TVE channels. More providers are expected to be added to the feature over time.
4K Spotlight Channel Update: The redesigned Roku 4K Spotlight Channel makes it easier than ever to find 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision™ content available on the Roku platform for players and TVs that support these standards.

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