Roku Live TV image

The Roku operating system receives occasional updates, usually at least once every few months, bringing new features and improvements to Roku-based smart TVs and streaming players. Now there’s another major update rolling out.

Roku OS 12 is now starting to roll out to compatible TVs and streaming devices, and it’s expected to reach everyone “in the coming weeks.” It’s happening right as Roku releases its lineups of Roku Select and Roku Plus TVs, which are the company’s first attempt at fully-integrated smart TVs, and a few months after the last Roku OS update.

First, there are some improvements to live TV. There’s a renewed focus on local news, with personalization features based on your location, or the ability to stream channels from major cities across the US. It should be similar in functionality to the local news channels already available through the Roku Channel and Peacock, but with better organization and integration with the general TV interface. You’ll be able to access the channels by asking for “local news” in Roku Search or Roku Voice, or from the Live TV Zone on the home screen. A TV antenna is still the best way to watch local channels for free in the US, but that option is more dependent on your location.

Roku mobile app images

Roku is also tweaking content discovery, adding onto the (optional) content recommendation home page introduced in Roku OS 12 last year. The “Continue Watching” section is now updated “nearly instantly” after you finish watching a TV show or movie, and Discovery+ and Prime Video now support the feature. Roku says more sources will support it in the future, such as BET+, Freevee, Frndly TV, and Starz.

The Roku mobile app is being revamped as well, with a “more refined, elevated, and visually immersive interface.” There’s a new hub for creating and managing Roku accounts, a simpler Home page, and easier uploading for Roku Photo Streams. Roku “in the coming months” will also add a guide button for live TV content to the remote screen.

Roku OS 12 isn’t the significant overhaul that the version bump might suggest, but there are definitely a few changes to get excited about. If you have a Roku TV or streaming device, you should get it soon.

Source: Roku Blog

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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