Roku's new TV OS blends broadcast television and streaming content


Roku today announced its new Roku OS 8 smart TV interface and all of the fresh integrations it has baked in for over-the-air broadcast television content.

Among the new features is a smart guide which, via an antenna, integrates local broadcast TV signals with streaming content. The guide can show up to seven days in the past and 14 days in the future for broadcast TV. Roku says that over time the smart guide will begin placing the most-viewed broadcast channels at the top of the program guide.

Roku has also added local antenna broadcast TV options to search results for TV customers using a TV antenna. The platform will sort local broadcast TV along with streaming options by what is free or lowest cost for the viewer, and users can search for antenna TV content through the Roku mobile app.

Roku also turned on private listening through the mobile app or the Roku remote for broadcast TV content. In addition to the new broadcast TV features, Roku has also added functions including voice control, fast TV start and single sign-on for TV Everywhere applications.

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By adding OTA broadcast content to its guide, Roku joins a handful of other companies that are working on integrating broadcast TV and streaming content. Companies like AirTV and Plex have already launched similar integrations, and reports indicate that an upcoming entertainment channel bundle from programmers including AMC, Discovery and Viacom will incorporate OTA signals for the major broadcast networks.

Roku’s UI and lineup refresh—the company also just launched a 4K streaming stick—show up after Roku kicked off a blockbuster initial public offering last week.