Roku is recognized as the set-top box with the most online video content (now about 1,500 channels). But until today most of its devices were missing one of the world's biggest video providers, YouTube, which was available only on the Roku 3 and Roku streaming stick. Now the firehose of video — from best to worst — is available as an app on all of what Roku calls its "current generation" boxes —those made after July, 2011 (more details on that in a moment). With the addition of YouTube on all its devices, Roku catches up to the New Amazon Fire TV, which debuted earlier this month with a YouTube app. (Apple TV still lacks such an app.)
Netflix is considered The App for set-top boxes and smart TVs. However, YouTube came in second (albeit a distant second) in a recent survey by market research firm NPD of 3,870 U.S. adults who have, or want to buy, a device to access the Internet and apps from their TV. More than 40 percent of respondents with connected TVs watched Netflix (though nearly 80 percent still watched cable TV). YouTube handily beat out both Amazon and Hulu Plus for second place.
Roku had previously offered a kluge to get YouTube on some of its devices, by allowing Chromecast-style casting from YouTube's mobile app. Press a button in the Roku-enabled app, and your device will start playing a simultaneous video stream. Now Roku owners don't have to pull out their smartphones or deal with the lag of synching streams between devices.
If you have a Roku, you can add the YouTube channel immediately by signing into your Roku account and navigating to the YouTube channel in the app store. The app is supported on the following devices: Roku LT, Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2XS the Roku HD model #2500 and the Roku Ready stick that came with some TVs. It was already available for the Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick.
In news for Comcast customers, Roku has added the ability for them to access Fox TV shows via Fox's its Roku channel. Fox, like some other TV providers, requires that users have a cable or satellite TV account in order to access its Roku channel. Previously AT&T U-Verse, Dish, Verizon FiOS, Optimum TV subscribers could log into to get access to Fox. Now customers of Comcast, the largest pay TV provider in the US, can also get current Fox TV episodes.
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