Starting today, Roku is rolling out the premium subscriptions to channels like Showtime and Starz that the company promised earlier this month would be coming soon.
The subscriptions will be available through the Roku Channel, which already offers movies, TV shows and live news, and users will pay for everything via one bill. Roku is pushing out an update that makes this possible to all Roku-supported devices in the coming weeks, and it’s also not leaving out users who don’t own one of the company’s devices. If you have the Roku mobile app for iOS, for example, viewing of The Roku Channel from within the app is available starting today, while an update for Android devices is expected to start rolling out in mid-February.
So what does all this entail? For starters, you’ll be able to browse, trial and subscribe to premium channels directly from The Roku Channel, and if you sign up for Epix, Showtime or Starz before March 31 you can enjoy a 30-day free trial. The value proposition here is simplicity, but worth noting are a couple of big exceptions. HBO and Netflix, two subscriptions that many if not most streaming consumers will regard as must-haves, aren’t available through this offering. That’s one reason Amazon Prime customers probably don’t need to take advantage of this, since Amazon likewise lets you add on premium channels including HBO.
According to Roku’s announcement today, customers can check if their device has received the necessary update and can access premium subscriptions by launching The Roku Channel from their Roku device and then looking for a new row called “Premium Subscriptions” that’s visible below the “Featured” row.
“Now there is one place on the Roku platform where users can seamlessly access both free and premium entertainment, with one click sign-up, easy subscription management and a single monthly bill,” said Roku vice president Rob Holmes. “The Roku Channel already delivers a great ad-supported experience for our users and a valuable distribution opportunity for our content partners. With the addition of Premium Subscriptions, The Roku Channel will be a better experience for our users and even more valuable for our partners.”
Also part of this announcement is the availability of signing up and streaming via the web, which are both available via supported web browsers starting today. To view premium subscriptions on The Roku Channel via the web, visit www.therokuchannel.com, but note that as a result of the phased rollout, customers should check if their Roku player or Roku TV can currently access premium subscriptions before signing up on the web. Also, premium subscriptions via The Roku Channel are not currently available for Samsung TVs.