Roku dominates the smart TV landscape in the United States, but the platform’s latest updates remind us a bit of some of Google TV’s best features. With Roku OS 11, the platform is finally adding a photo screensaver, and several other tweaks.
Rolling out “over the coming weeks,” Roku OS 11 has a few key features, starting with its new photo screensaver. “Roku Photo Streams” allow users to upload their favorite pictures to be used as the idle screensaver on their Roku TV, with photos uploaded through a PC or their mobile phone.
While a personalized screensaver alone would be a welcome addition to Roku OS, The feature offers some additional functionality. You can share a Roku Photo Stream with another Roku user, if you choose, and that person can even contribute their own photos to act as a shared album.
Of course, Android TV and Google TV have offered support for personalized photo screensavers for years, even integrating with Google Photos for easy access to up-to-date photos essentially with no user interaction. Regardless of that, this is a great change to see on Roku’s platform, as it finally offers an alternative to the brand’s default screensavers.
Next up, some homescreen tweaks. Roku OS 11 adds a “What to Watch” section to the homescreen which can suggest content from a “variety of streaming channels” with personalized recommendations. The homescreen in Roku OS 11 will also be able to show recently-watched content from live TV apps including YouTube TV, Hulu, and Sling.
Rounding out Roku OS 11, the platform is adding a voice-enabled keyboard that works even on passwords, a new “Automatic Speech Clarity” mode, and new Standard, Dialogue, Movie, Music, and Night sound modes for Roku Streambar and other sound products. A/V Sync is being expanded to support more devices, and the Roku mobile app is also getting a visual revamp.
As mentioned, Roku will start rolling out these updates in the “coming weeks.”
More on Roku:
- Roku reportedly looking to make its own TVs, putting extra pressure on Google TV’s growth
- 2022 marks a ‘decisive’ year for smart TV market as Android TV OS and Roku compete for growth
- Roku adds ‘Live TV Zone’ on homescreen w/ YouTube TV integration
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