The latest software update from Roku will bring faster launch times, Spanish voice commands, 'theme' customization, and other tweaks to the TV platform.
Roku OS 9.3
Roku has been providing continuous software updates to its inexpensive streaming boxes and Roku TVs from partners - although not all devices. That is in stark contrast to other Smart TV makers who refuse to provide software updates to any existing TVs.
The latest update from Roku will first and foremost include performance optimizations for "a reduction in device boot times, faster launch times for a select number of channels (with more supported channels coming soon), a more responsive Home Screen".
The update will also bring with it new features and tweaks as outlined in the table below.
Roku OS 9.3 will start rolling out in phases to select Roku devices and TVs this month. It expects the update to reach everyone over the coming months.
Roku OS 9.3 - new features
SEARCH & DISCOVERY
Spanish Language Roku Voice Support – Speak commands in Spanish to launch channels, search for titles, actors, or genres, as well as control media playback on your Roku device.
Visual Search Results – Roku Voice search results will now be presented in a more visual, easy to browse display with categorized rows including relevant movies, shows, short-form entertainment and more for quick discovery of entertainment. Search results are unbiased and selected content will offer a list of channels featuring that title, sorted by price.
Support for News Related Commands – “Show me the news” will now direct you to a Roku Zone filled with available news channels. “Play the news” will launch a live stream of ABC News on The Roku Channel. “Play the news on …,” will launch the named news channel and remember that preference for future commands.
Playback from Search – 50+ streaming channels now support direct playback from search when using Roku Voice by directly playing the show or movie when possible, rather than displaying search results.
Roku Mobile App – The free app will feature a new navigation bar at the top of the mobile screen when you’re connected to a Roku device providing access to Roku Search, a new icon allows you to easily switch between your Roku devices you want to control with the mobile app, and a shortcut to the remote screen. The redesign includes quick access icons, allowing you to launch useful mobile app features without the need to exit the remote screen including the ability to browse and/or launch your recently viewed channels directly from the remote screen and more.
Additional updates in Roku OS 9.3 include:
Customization – Home Screen wallpapers, as well as screensavers, are now accessible from a single “Theme” menu item located within Settings. Theme packs, which consist of a wallpaper and screensaver, offering a new way to customize your experience for a consistent look and feel when using your Roku devices.
Performance – A reduction in device boot times, faster launch times for a select number of channels (with more supported channels coming soon), a more responsive Home Screen and faster navigation when using features such as Featured Free.
Enhanced Roku Smart Soundbar & Roku TV™ connectivity:
Access more soundbar settings directly from the TV interface, eliminating the need to switch back and forth between menus or use multiple remotes; enabling Roku TV Ready features
In the Roku TV settings menu, pair an external device such as a mobile phone to the Roku Smart Soundbar for audio playback via Bluetooth® or pair other Roku audio products to the soundbar, such as the Roku Wireless Subwoofer and Roku TV Wireless Speakers for full surround sound.