A new “What to Watch” feature will bring tailored recommendations and more to Roku streamers and Roku OS-powered TVs soon
Roku has announced that it’s updating its popular operating system with functionality designed to help you find content you’re more likely to want to watch.
The American brand makes some of the best streaming sticks around, including the Roku Express and Roku Streaming Stick 4K, an all-in-one soundbar and streamer – the Roku Streambar – and has partnered with numerous leading manufacturers to incorporate its streaming platform in TVs around the world. In fact, one of our favourite cheap TVs, the TCL RC630K, runs Roku OS.
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The operating system’s greatest strength is the breadth of apps and services it provides access to but it’s been lagging behind other platforms where content recommendations are concerned.
That’s set to change, with Roku revealing that a new “What to Watch” feature will be added to its streamers and players in the next few weeks, with the feature making its way to Roku OS TVs at some point in the coming months.
This feature is hardly revolutionary but will see content displayed in three distinct rows that you scroll across to view your options: Recommended, Continue Watching and Save List.
The Recommended row will only pull from content available on free services or those that you’re already subscribed to and uses information about your previous searches, the type of content you’ve watched before and, interestingly, the time of day at which you’re searching for content. There should be plenty of choices available, with the row displaying up to 40 different viewing options.
Continue Watching is self-explanatory and functions in the same way as it would on a TV running an operating system like Android TV or Google TV. While you’ll be able to resume watching shows on key streaming services, including Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video, certain local broadcasters will be excluded. However, Roku says it hopes to integrate as many of these as possible going forward.
The Save List is similarly intuitive, allowing you to earmark shows and films that you like the look of but don’t have the time or inclination to watch right away.
All three rows are accessed via a new “What to Watch” heading on the homepage of the Roku OS and, based on the demo we were shown, couldn’t be simpler to navigate.
As previously mentioned, you’ll find a couple of Roku devices on our roundup of the best streaming sticks, while Roku-powered options can be found on a number of our television roundups, including best TV, best smart TV and best cheap TV.