Roku revealed Tuesday its new Roku OS 11 smart TV firmware update will start rolling out to Roku devices in the coming weeks.

After Roku OS 11 rolls out to supported Roku streaming players, Roku TV models, and Roku peripherals, the company said the firmware update will bring increased user personalization and new features.

This will include new Roku Photo Streams that will provide an easy method of viewing and sharing favorite photos on the TV screen within the Roku user interface experience.

Roku OS 11 also brings refreshed discovery menu options, automated speech clarity, new sound modes, a super-charged mobile app among other things.

Roku Photo Streams will let users customize their Roku look and feel using personalized screensavers made from personal photos that have been uploaded directly to a Roku device through their desktop or mobile phone.

To share photos with friends and family, OS 11 will allow users to easily upload and share Streams with other Roku users, who can have images appear on their own remote Roku devices. Once a Stream is shared, friends and family can then add the photo to the Stream to create a shared album, Roku said.

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“At Roku, we are laser-focused on tailoring the streaming and visual experience to fit our customers’ personal preferences,” said Gidon Katz, Senior Vice President Product & Experience at Roku. “We recognize not everyone interacts with their TV in the same way, so we are proud to offer a platform full of choice, while simultaneously providing our users an easy-to-use experience. With Roku OS 11, we’re offering a platform with new personalized updates across search, audio, content discovery along with a new feature that allows our customers to display and even share photo albums through Roku devices.”

Among the list of new and improved features on Roku OS 11 are the following:


• An Automatic Speech Clarity setting identifies and amplifies dialog to better hear what characters are saying.

• New Sound Modes for Roku Streambars and Speakers will let users select the most optimal settings for the type of content being streamed. These sound modes include, Standard, Dialogue, Movie, Music, and Night, which can be easily accessed from the settings menu by pressing the star * button on a Roku remote or through the Roku mobile app. Each mode is tailored to different viewing scenario for the optimized audio experience.

• A/V Sync functionality is being expanded to support player and audio devices with a simple calibration tool within the Roku Mobile app, syncing audio with the action on the screen. The feature is available when a player or Streambar is connected to the Roku mobile app and is accessible within the settings menu.

Content Discovery

• What to Watch on the Roku Home Menu is a new destination to lead viewers to movies and TV shows from variety of streaming channels most relevant to the user’s viewing patterns. The feature is said to provide easy access, a personalized selection of new titles that were recently added, recommendations for users based on popular and trending content, and more.

• Live TV Zone, which was added in January, now moves to the Roku Home Menu giving users an easy way to quickly get to free live and linear content from The Roku Channel as well as cable alternatives, including Hulu, fuboTV, Philo, Sling, and YouTube TV. Further the Zone will make it easier to get to local and national news, sports, movies.

Roku Voice

• A Voice Enabled Keyboard simplifies device setup and channel login for supported apps by allowing users to enter email, password, and PIN information with their voice. In addition to English, this will be available for speakers of Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

Mobile App

• Mobile Content Details on the free Roku mobile app will present a more visual experience when searching on the platform. New visual elements brought in through OS 11 provide additional information about where to stream movies and TV shows, highlighting which channels are streaming the content for free or where to stream it within existing subscriptions, to get greater value from their paid channels. New content details on the mobile app also will now show visual images of cast and crew. Roku said the updates will enhance the recently added Save List, which allows saving movies and TV shows while on the go in order to view them at a convenient time.

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By Greg Tarr

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