Roku has just detailed its first major platform update since it came out with OS 10.5 late last year, and it’s a big one. To start, Roku OS 11 adds an automatic speech clarity setting that Roku promises will make it easier to understand dialogue. At the same time, the update introduces new sound modes – dubbed “Standard,” “Dialogue,” “Movie,” “Music” and “Night” – that you can access by pressing the Star button found on both Roku remotes and the company’s mobile app. As you might have already guessed, these modes allow you to tweak the sound profile of Roku-branded soundbars and speakers to better suit a specific situation.
And speaking of the Roku app, you’ll also find a new calibration tool within the settings menu to help you sort out audio sync issues that may come up with a Streambar device. Roku has also tweaked the app to make it more visual. For instance, you’ll find new interface elements that will provide you with more information about where you can stream movies and TV shows. The idea here is to help you get the most out of any channels you may pay for.
Outside of audio improvements, OS 11 introduces a feature called Roku Photo Streams. If you want, you can now use your Roku device to turn your TV into a digital picture frame by using the feature to upload your favorite photos and turn them into a screensaver. You can share Photo Streams with friends and family members. And in turn, they can add their own photos, creating a shared album.
With OS 11, Roku also hopes to make it easier for you to find new content to watch. On the Home Screen Menu, you’ll find a new “What to Watch” section that will point you to movies and TV shows from a variety of sources, including the company’s ad-supported Roku Channel, with personalization based on your watch history and what’s popular among other users. Additionally, the update tweaks the recently introduced Live TV Zone to show content you’ve watched in the past and further aid with the discoverability. Lastly, you’ll find new voice-enabled keyboards to help you with device setup and channel logins. With OS 11, these will be available in Spanish, German and Portuguese in the US and other supported countries.
Roku will begin rolling out OS 11 in the coming weeks.