Roku's OS11 Upgrade Is Here at Last

After a two-month rollout, the new Roku OS11 operating system upgrade has finally arrived. It brings new customization features, including new content discovery and recommendations on the home screen, a voice keyboard for login, a slideshow screensaver featuring your photos, and new sound modes. The features may seem subtle, but they change and enhance the Roku experience.  

Home Screen Recommendations
The new Roku home screen offers more ways to find what you want to watch next. Now there are three submenus where you can see recommended content. Previously, the home screen included the "Featured Free" menu with its free (ad-supported) movies and TV shows from the Roku Channel, NBC, OWN, Xumo, Pluto TV, Tubi, Plex, and others, as well as free TV show episodes and free trials of various apps.

Roku OS11's "What to Watch" menu displays suggested content from the channels (apps) you interact with most often. If you subscribe to several services, it will likely be a long list starting with a row of shows that are "Free to You," followed by "Trending Now" and recently added shows. It's a helpful list where you can see a variety of new movies and shows from all of the services you watch on one screen. Twenty-one rows show different categories of titles, from Dramas, Documentaries, Fantasy, and History to Heart Pounding and Binge Worthy. It's a great place to start when you know what you want to watch but want to see what's new or available without opening several apps.

Another Roku OS11 addition is the "Live TV Zone" submenu, which makes it easy to continue watching Roku Channel shows while perusing other "live" TV channels, including those from the Live Roku Channel lineup. Rather than scrolling through the TV guide grids of the various Live TV apps, you can see recommended titles on one screen. The listings go beyond Roku Channel live TV, with access to a list of cable alternatives like Philo, fuboTV, Vidgo, Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling.

Another row displays apps you can watch with a cable subscription like A&E, TLC Go, and National Geographic TV. Apps that have a Live TV feature — Paramount Plus, Lifetime, AppleTV (live baseball games), and others — are listed under "Recommended" and offer up suggestions for movies, Classic TV shows, and reality programming. Highlights of genres like Pop Culture and Lifestyle, En Espanol, Asian Movies, and TV are also included along with links to niche channels such as the Antiques Roadshow UK, The Project Runway Channel, or the Jack Hanna Channel. 

The Roku mobile app has also been updated to include details on the cast and crew of shows you want to watch and where you can stream those shows with suggestions for other titles the cast members star in. The mobile app also has a Save List function that makes it easy to keep track of movies and shows you want to watch in the future. 

Voice Enabled Keyboard
Another welcome feature of Roku OS11 is the voice keyboard, which greatly simplifies the log-in process (though not with all apps) and makes it easy to search for and launch apps without having to push buttons. For apps that show a keyboard with a microphone, like the STARZ app, all you have to do is is spell out your email and password. It's worth noting that that voice-enabled keyboards in the U.S. also tend to be available in Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

Roku Photo Streams
Finally, you can enjoy your own (or shared) photos on your TV as a screensaver. The first step is to go to on your computer and sign in to your Roku account so you can upload up to 10 photos at a time into a "photostream." The system takes a variety of file types, including HEIC photos from iPhones (without having to convert them to JPEG).  

Once you've created a photostream, it will automatically appear as a screensaver on all of the Roku devices you use for streaming. You can also invite friends and family to use the screensaver if you have the email associated with their Roku account. Those invited can share photos to the stream, creating a shared album. You can also set up multiple streams and choose which stream you want to appear as your screensaver, creating in effect a giant digital picture frame.

Roku Audio
Improvements in the sound from the Roku Streambar and speakers are also part of the Roku OS11 upgrade. Automatic Speech Clarity amplifies and enhances dialogue with on/off and auto settings. I found that turning speech clarity on was the most useful setting. In addition, Roku now provides Standard, Movie, Music, and Night dialogue sound settings for the Streambar.

Audio devices and some Roku players can now be calibrated using A/V Sync on the Roku mobile app. Once you're connected to a Roku device, click on the settings icon and choose "Adjust audio delay." The process is fully automatic. 

Features that Make a Difference
Roku appears to be listening to user requests and providing more recommendations, improved audio, and the convenience of voice sign-in. Add to that automated calibration and easy setup, and Roku continues to be one of the leading video streaming platforms. 

larrymartin's picture

The new Roku OS11 features especially the enhanced home screen recommendations and Live TV Zone make content discovery seamless. The mobile apps added details on cast and crew is a nice touch for a more immersive viewing experience.
Affordable Drain Cleaning Services