Roku Adds New Features in Latest Update

Roku is rolling out Roku OS 11 on streaming devices in the coming weeks, and users have some new features to look forward to. The company has announced that its new interface will come with "expanded content discovery menu options, automated speech clarity, new sound modes, a super-charged mobile app," among other things. Here's what we know about the new operating system so far.

One long-awaited feature coming to Roku OS 11 is Photo Stream – allowing users to create personal screen savers using their own photos. This catches Roku up with competitors like Amazon Fire TV, but with the added benefit that Roku users can share photo streams with others all over the world. This will be a nice way for family members to stay up to date with each other. Roku's senior vice president of Product & Experience, Gidon Katz, issued a statement on how this and other changes would impact users going forward.

"At Roku, we are laser-focused on tailoring the streaming and visual experience to fit our customers' personal preferences," Katz said. "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."

A major change will be the expanded discovery menu options, which will give users a place to browse titles from all of their streaming subscriptions and Roku channels in one place. Over time, the algorithm will learn users' preferences and curate a personalized recommendation list at any given time. This will also include content from the Live TV Zone, where users can see what linear TV content they have access to for free through The Roku Channel.

Roku is also overhauling its mobile app to work better in conjunction with its TV display. Users who download the app will find many of the same recommendation features listed above, plus search for content on all their existing subscriptions before buying or renting it elsewhere. The app will still work as a remote control and will work seamlessly between multiple rooms with Roku devices in them.

Finally, OS 11 comes with new "Roku Audio" features that will allow users to dial in their audio playback more specifically. The device will now identify dialogue-heavy scenes and amplify the sound and clarity there without overwhelming you when the show cuts abruptly to action. This feature will be particularly useful with the Roku Streambar, which will now offer sound modes including Standard, Dialogue, Movie, Music and Night.

There's no word yet on when exactly Roku OS 11 will go live or on which devices to start. Roku devices are available now wherever electronics are sold.