Roku has released the Roku 2 in the UK alongside a wave of new search features for its UK players.
The updates, which were announced earlier this year, are now rolling out across its streaming media devices, introducing two new services to make finding movies and TV shows easier across different VOD services.
The biggest new addition is Roku Search, which provides a simple way to find entertainment on streaming channels. Users can now search for content by title, as well as by actors and directors, and all available results will be displayed by price from different streaming channels. At the moment, only Netflix, Snagfilms and Popcornflix are covered by Roku Search, although the company says that “over time more channels are expected”.
The second is Roku Feed, which lets you “follow” entertainment before it’s released on VOD: users will be able to track a movie while it is still in cinemas and be given a heads-up of when it is available for streaming and on which platforms.
The software update applies to all current generation Roku players – including the Roku Streaming Stick – and will add two new items in the left hand menu on your home screen. The update is also available for iOS and Android apps with support for the discovery features.
The smart cross-platform search marks a big step for the set top boxes. They have been facing growing competition from Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, as well as the Google Nexus Player, which offer features such as voice search, although only show results from their own VOD service.
Roku has also upgraded its Roku 2 device with new hardware, which means that it now matches the speed and performance of the Roku 3, albeit without the Roku 3 enhanced remote (which includes motion control for games and a headphone jack). The new Roku 2 box has an RRP of £69.99, cheaper than the Roku 3 (£99.99) and more expensive than the Roku Streaming Stick (£49.99). It is currently available to buy from Argos, Curry’s and Amazon.