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Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Interface Update for Roku 2 Devices

Over the past 2 weeks Roku has been silently and randomly rolling out a new firmware release to Roku 2 series players. As of the 14th of May, you can force this update by going to:
  • Settings
  • Software update
  • Check now

This new update gives older "2" series Roku players the same interface as the new Roku 3.
 From the Official Roku Blog:

When we launched the Roku 3 in March, we also announced an entirely new Roku interface. The new experience has gotten rave reviews for its intuitive layout, quick reflexes, built-in search tool, redesigned Channel Store and home screen themes. We think you’ll love it.
We’ve begun rolling out the new interface to supported Roku players as a free upgrade, and we know many of you have been waiting
impatiently! Today, we’re thrilled to announce that you can update manually right this minute by selecting Settings > Software update > Check now on your Roku player.

If you’re not the manual type, all you need to do is kick back and keep your Roku player connected to the Internet. Over the next two weeks, the automatic software update —version 5.0, build 804X— will roll out to the following supported players in all regions: Roku 2 XS (model 3100), Roku 2 XD (model 3050), Roku 2 HD (model 3000), Roku LT (models 2400 & 2450), Roku HD (model 2500) and the Roku Streaming Stick (models 3400 & 3420). (Note: Roku Search is currently available only in the U.S.) Unfortunately, new features and functionality sometimes require new hardware, and earlier Roku models cannot support the update.

I like the new look. It fits more channels on one page, it's easier to organize and faster to navigate, and it's more attractive than the old single-line interface. I really like the themes and hope they add more - being an "astro-nut" myself, I am using the "Nebula" theme.

Now, the bad news:
You won't see this in the photos posted on Roku's website or ads, but the new interface has large ads for Roku content providers on the right side of the screen. The new interface gives only 3 columns of channels. 5 columns would easily fit on the page without these ads. Another minor annoyance is that I have been using the "My Channels" app, that allows me to sort channels into "categories", like Movies, TV, Apps, Games, etc, but the new Roku interface does not have categories. I thought the "My Channels" app would be pointless once we got the update, but it turns out that I will be keeping it.

Overall, my Roku XS seems a bit faster to navigate and load channels now, and is more attractive than the slow single line interface that we've been used to and complained about since the very first Roku. So yes, I prefer the new interface.

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