Roku Box Update Now Available (2.8)

Dave Zatz —  November 5, 2010 — 14 Comments

The Roku 2.8 software update, which we recently had a sneak peek at, is now available and includes:

  • Seasonal home screen banner
  • Ability to re-order channels on the home screen• New grid-style Channel Store
  • New icons for Settings and Channel Store
  • Home screen clock
  • Time Settings added to settings

Slowly but surely Roku is polishing their UI. While the simple and quick interface has certainly been a selling point, it could use a bit more flash/sizzle compared to the competition… if the forum chatter is any indication. And portions of this update do give the experience a little more life with refreshed icons and the seasonal home screen banner. More importantly, a second axis of navigation (along with info bubbles) in the Channel Store will allow for more efficient navigation when it comes to content discovery. But this update may also be notable for what it lacks — no DLNA, Hulu Plus, or 1080p on the XR model. Then again, perhaps I’m just impatient.

Lastly, the ability to re-order or delete channels on the home screen requires the new Roku remote. And I think it’s a solid investment for owners of older boxes. Because, in addition to the Info and Back button, you get access to the infinitely valuable Instant Replay function. You can purchase the slim 12 button remote direct from Roku for $15 (plus tax and shipping?) or, alternately, pick up the DVPRemote app for your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The 2.8 Roku update will start hitting boxes automatically over the next few days. Or you can just hit your Settings screen and force an update as I did.

Click to enlarge:

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

14 responses to Roku Box Update Now Available (2.8)

  1. Gunnyman raised a good point on Twitter regarding Harmony control. The IR commands already may be in Logitech’s Harmony remote database. But, if not, once there they should provide another fine option.

  2. Yes Dave, you – and a lot of users in the Roku forums – are being a little impatient. But aren’t we all when it comes to our gadgets. I have to imagine that release of the Hulu Plus channel is literally right around the corner considering how long ago it was announced, Hulu recently bringing Plus out of the preview period and the upcoming holiday shopping season.

    Regarding the UI, I agree that the improvements are welcome, but there is still work to be done, particularly on the home/main screen. Unless they have another blockbuster channel or feature up their sleeves, addressing the main screen specifically and overall UI improvements generally should be priority number one.

  3. The way it’ll probably play out (over time) is that everyone gets the same channels/content. It’s just a matter of when. ESPN3 on this box would be awesome. I was down on Hulu Plus, but they’ve started adding in cable content (like Monk) so I’m keeping my subscription active for now. But I’d much rather watch “it” on TV instead of on my iPhone at the gym.

  4. I am probably in the minority, but I think Hulu Plus is very good. Right now I catch the occasional documentary or movie and subscribe to just four shows – House, The Event, No Ordinary Family and Modern Family. I don’t use a DVR, so for me it is just a way to watch a few shows on my terms and schedule. For me, it is well worth $10/month. Also, I figure they are only going to add more content over time. Another thing Hulu Plus has going for it is a great UI.

    I agree that over time, all of these devices will get access to the same content; it is really only a matter of which devices get which content first, hardware prices, presentation (UI), and features (USB support, local streaming, etc.) that will separate most of these devices.

  5. so hulu plus is astroturfing to keep their $10 price point? classy.

    on topic: i’ve got a non-logitech IR programmable remote that just learns the codes when you point it at the bottom, so i’ll probably have to upgrade to the new Roku remote unless i get find a way to mimic the signal for my universal remote.

  6. Where/how exactly is Hulu astroturfing?

  7. I think this v2.8 is a nibble at what roku has up there sleeves. I think there is a major upgrade coming sometime guessing in febuary 2011. Heres why. Hulu plus will need to work on Roku there are bound to be tweeks. There is the christmas rush so then everyone will have a roku. v2.8 was a christmas tweek to sell more boxes. The netflix current search “the typing search” will have a improved in the way of an app. If netflix included live cnn or fox in there $10 fee that would be great for roku. With more people cuting cable thats bad news for google tv as well. Roku will rule.

  8. I believe he was referring to my last post, Dave. I guess because I happen to believe that $10/month for Hulu Plus is a reasonable bang for my buck, I am somehow a Hulu Plus plant. As I have noted in the Roku forums on any number of occasions, if Hulu Plus – or any other service/channel/app – doesn’t meet a particular user’s need, then they simply should not use or subscribe to the service. At the end of the day, more often than not the market will help determine the correct price point. Would I rather pay less for Hulu Plus? Absolutely. But then again, I would rather pay less for everything.

  9. That’s what I had assumed as well, but I hoped he would clarify before I told him his assertion was off-base.

  10. Odd that Hulu Plus is already on my Samsung TV, which you would think would be moving slower than Roku. Personally I dropped Hulu Plus just because I didn’t use it that much. Course I’ve got an iPad with the free ABC application and a sling box to keep me entertained when mobile. Hulu Plus on the TV *might* get me to subscribe again. We’ll see. If they really did drop the price to $4.95/month as rumored I would subscribe again immediately…

  11. Nice upgrade. Out of all the media streamers I own Roku is the best. Although the Boxxee Box is coming next week, will Roku have a new challanger?

  12. So, Dave … Are you saying the new remote works with the older boxes as well? I guess that’d make sense, as it should just be a matter of whether the code to support the buttons exists on the box.

    Might be tempted to upgrade my remote — also very tempted to upgrade my old Roku (have had it 3 yrs now) to one of the new models. Hmmmm.

    Thanks for the info, keep up the good work.

  13. Yes, the new remote will work with older boxes! VERY nice they didn’t artificially draw that line like so many other companies we know…

    Looks like Gazelle.com is giving about $30 for original Rokus in good shape – maybe trade in and up. Or have a second.

    I’d run two if they supported 1080i. Our bedroom 30″ Panasonic tube HDTV doesn’t natively support or convert 720p. So my only option is Roku outputting 480p. I’ll pass. But it’s a bummer.

  14. With Netflix, Amazon, and (soon) Hulu Plus having overlapping/complementary catalogs, I’m hoping a future Roku software update will have something that resembles “clicker.com” so I can search for titles across all my Roku channels.

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>