Earlier in March, Roku announced a new Roku OS 12 with a ton of new features and improvements to help make Roku players and Roku TVs even better. Last week that rollout started, and today many are waking up to find their Roku player or Roku TV updated overnight.
Roku has a history of not announcing all the changes made with updates and letting Roku users find these new features. It seems Roku OS 12 once again has a few hidden changes. In this update are a few hidden changes many may not have expected, including one missing feature.
Maybe the most significant hidden changes are improvements to Roku’s voice commands. In this update, you may notice when you use your voice commands on Roku, a new bar at the bottom of your screen will show you what your Roku heard and confirm the voice command. Roku players also seem to have slightly improved voice commands, as in our testing, voice commands seemed to happen faster even when using Amazon Alexa connected to our TV with this update.
You will also find new menus on the left side of the home screen for sports, live TV, and more.
Last week a small number of Roku TV owners started to receive the Roku OS 12 update. To see if it is available for you, go to your Roku Settings, and select System and Update to see what version you are on and if the Roku OS 12 update is ready for you.
Roku says this update will take months to reach all eligible Roku devices, so don’t be surprised if it is not there for you. You can turn these off in the settings if you don’t want to see them on your home screen.
So far, we have yet to find the new Local News section with the Roku OS 12 update. It may becoming later as Roku has been seen slowly adding new locals to the Roku Channel recently.
New features coming to Roku devices in the U.S. in the following months include that Roku has officially announced:
- Local News: Roku’s Live TV experience boasts 350+ free linear TV streaming channels across a variety of genres. With the launch of Local News, users can watch live news channels personalized by location, or stream channels from major cities across the U.S. Plus, in an exciting step forward, news recommendations are now powered by AI, making them smarter than ever and ensuring a curated experience within the Live TV Zone. Roku users can search for “local news” using either Roku Search or Roku Voice or visit the Live TV Zone on their Roku Home Screen Menu.
- Premium Subscriptions: Our newest addition to Categories within Roku’s Live TV Channel Guide, Premium Subscriptions allows users to quickly discover and sign up for premium channels they are not currently subscribed to, expanding their Live TV content offering. Premium Subscriptions will join previously launched Categories (Recents, Favorites, and Subscribed) and genres including News, Sports, Entertainment, and more. Categories in Roku’s Live TV Channel Guide was previously last fall.
Content Access and Discovery
- Sports: Last year, we launched the all-new Sports experience, a centralized location where users can browse and stream live and upcoming sports-related events across the Roku platform, making it easier than ever for fans to root for their favorite teams. Coverage will continue to expand with golf and additional soccer programming, including Spanish-language game coverage around select soccer leagues. Also, in the coming months, users will experience a more personalized Sports experience based on their location, favorite team, go-to sport, and viewing habits. Additionally, CBS Sports, MLB.TV, NBA App, and NBC Sports will join the list of supported channels for the Sports experience.
- Continue Watching: Located within What to Watch, Continue Watching gives users a single location to jump back into the content they love. Content from supported channels will now show up nearly instantly in the Continue Watching row after a user has finished streaming their favorite TV show or movie. Additionally, discovery+ and Prime Video will join the list of supported channels of the Continue Watching feature, with BET+, Freevee, Frndly TV, and STARZ launching soon.
- Roku Mobile App: The updated Roku Mobile App will have a more refined, elevated, and visually immersive interface, making it the go-to destination for all your account and streaming needs. In the coming months, users will notice the following upgrades:
- A revamped Account Hub: Roku is introducing an expanded Account Hub where users can create and adjust Roku Account preferences seamlessly. Updates will include a new sign-up and sign-in process; the ability to establish security, privacy, and notification preferences; device management on their account; and more.A more streamlined Home Screen: Within the Mobile App’s Home tab, users will notice a simpler interface with new features tailored to them. These include dedicated Sports and Continue Watching rows, more ways to discover new content, and more.Live TV Channel “Guide” button: Previously, Roku introduced a dedicated Live TV Channel “Guide” button on the mobile app remote when connected to Roku TVs. In the coming months, this feature will expand to connected players, enabling users to instantly launch the Live TV Channel Guide right from their phone.
- Enhanced Roku Photo Streams: Last year, Roku announced Roku Photo Streams, giving users the ability to share photos with friends and family and turn their TVs into the biggest photo album in their home. With today’s updates, managing and uploading images to your photo streams will be faster and easier than before. With a new mobile integration, users will be able to upload images right from their photo album, choose thumbnails for their streams, simply add or delete images, set streams as screensavers, and share streams with family and friends right from their phones. Plus, users can now upload up to 1,000 images per stream.