Roku gets a great free update to make streaming even easier

Exclusive: a refreshed Roku Express arrives this December

What to watch screen on a wall-mounted TV
(Image credit: Roku)

Roku users in the UK will get handy new ways to find things to watch in the coming weeks as the streaming device firm rolls out a fresh set of features to its players and TVs.

There are three new features, with the first titled "what to watch". This will be a new area of the navigation menu, and will provide you (Roku claims) with a highly personalised collection of recommended shows and movies.

The Roku algorithm will look at all the streaming services you're signed up to (you won't be recommended something from a service to which you're not subscribed) and takes into account your previous viewing to draw up customised rows of recommendations.

Roku says it has purposefully limited the number of recommendations shown, and instead focused on finding content you'll actually want to watch. We were shown demos of the system in action, and how vastly different the 'what to watch' sections can be for different types of users.

A JVC TV with Roku's What to Watch screen

(Image credit: Roku)

Another new feature coming to Roku devices soon is "continue watching". This is something you'll already be familiar with seeing in the likes of Netflix, Prime Video and ITVX - but again Roku is pulling your currently watching data from all your services into one tidy section in its interface.

It means you can easily jump back into the latest episode of Eastenders on BBC iPlayer, or pick up where you left off in the latest Marvel movie on Disney+ without having to open the individual apps.

And finally, "save list" allows you to create a list of TV and films you've spotted in your customised "what to watch" view so you can easily go back and find them at a later date - saving you from trawling through the various streaming apps again. The system currently can't interact with your watch lists within specific apps though, but this could be something which is addressed in the future.

The new features will be available on Roku's players first (such as the Express, Express 4K, Streaming Stick 4K and Streambar) in the coming weeks, and will roll out to Roku-enabled TVs in the coming months.

No software update is required, as the new features are enabled in the cloud, so they'll appear on your screen as soon as they're made available.

Exclusive: Roku Express refresh coming in December

It wasn't just the "what to watch" software features we learned about at an intimate briefing in London, as we exclusively gained insight to Roku's next hardware move.

Speaking to a Roku spokesperson on what the firm had in store for new hardware, they confirmed a refresh for the Roku Express player in the UK this December. It'll have a similar design to the current Express, but the internals will be upgraded.

No further information was provided, but the good news is we don't have long to wait to find out what the refresh will offer as December is just mere days away.

John McCann

John has been a technology journalist for more than a decade, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He’s reported on pretty much every area of consumer technology, from laptops, tablets, smartwatches and smartphones to smart speakers, automotive, headphones and more. During his time in journalism, John has written for TechRadar, T3, Shortlist, What Laptop, Windows 8 magazine, Gizmodo UK, Saga Magazine and Saga Exceptional, and he’s appeared in the Evening Standard and Metro newspapers.

Outside of work, John is a passionate Watford FC and Green Bay Packers fan, enjoys a Sunday afternoon watching the F1, and is also a Guinness World Record Holder.