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A new Roku update is coming with a big upgrade for watching movies

Published Mar 29th, 2022 2:13PM EDT
Roku logo
Image: Roku

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Roku device owners should be able to get so much more out of their gadgets with a software update that’s coming soon from the company. The Roku OS 11 firmware update will offer everything from a new way to share photos to auto speech clarity, new sound modes, and much more.

As far as the photos-related portion of the OS update, it will let users upload images directly to their devices directly from a phone or computer. Once you’ve uploaded a few photos, you can then turn your TV into a digital photo frame. You can also share streams with other Roku device owners. And once you share the photostream, other users will be able to add their own photos as well. Meantime, movie-lovers will also have some aspects of the OS 11 update that they’ll particularly enjoy.

Roku OS 11 release date

As far as when this update will arrive? Roku announced on March 22 that Roku OS 11 will start rolling out to the company’s devices “over the coming weeks.”

Now, a word about the many features included with this update. Roku is adding a “What to Watch” option to users’ home screen menu, for one thing, in order to enhance content discovery. This will surface new TV shows and movies from the streaming services that people spend the most time interacting with. Meaning, you’ll now be able to find great new shows and movies without opening any of your apps.

“At Roku, we are laser-focused on tailoring the streaming and visual experience to fit our customers’ personal preferences,” Roku Senior Vice President for Product & Experience Gidon Katz said in a news release. “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.”

Automatic Speech Clarity and new Sound Modes

Movie fans might especially appreciate some of the other features coming with Roku OS 11. Such as new sound modes for the company’s Streambar and speakers. Now, for example, users will be able to choose the optimal sound settings for whatever they’re streaming. Depending on whether you want Standard, Dialogue, Movie, Music, or the Night options, you can easily access this feature by pressing the star button on your Roku remote or through the Roku mobile app.

Roku says that each setting is tailored for different viewing scenarios, to ensure the best audio experience.

The OS update also brings an automatic speech clarity feature. It works by dynamically identifying and amplifying dialogue, so that you don’t have to miss a word. Think about all the times you’re watching a movie, and you have to frantically adjust the volume. Which can get super loud during, say, action scenes and then seem to get much quieter during moments of dialogue.

Other new features

Roku's new What to Watch section in OS 11.
Roku’s new What to Watch section in OS 11. Image source: Roku

The Roku OS 11 update is also bringing new mobile content details to users. The free Roku mobile app, for example, will now offer a more visual experience when searching on the platform.

New visual elements with OS 11 will show additional information about where to stream movies and TV shows. Highlighting, Roku says, “which channels are streaming the content for free or where it can be streamed within existing subscriptions, allowing everyone to get more out of the channels they are paying for.” The mobile content update will also show visual images of a title’s cast and crew to help users choose what to watch.

Other features coming with Roku OS 11:

  • Voice-enabled keyboard. With the OS update to Roku Voice that lets users enter things like email and password details with their voice, voice-enabled keyboards will also now be available in Spanish, German, and Portuguese in the US and supported countries.
  • Live TV on the Home Screen Menu. Roku added a Live TV Zone in January to the Home Screen Menu. It gives users easy access to content from The Roku Channel as well as alternatives like Hulu and YouTube TV. With the new OS update, users can see recently watched live TV content and discover more content to watch.
Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.