As an early adopter of Roku in the UK, and someone who watches a lot of streaming video, I thought this little box would be an ideal solution. However, since launch there has only been one app/channel launch which specifically targets UK customers with high end content - Sky's NOW TV.
That's it, one channel...!
Sometimes a provider with an international presence will also make their channel available to UK consumers, has happened recently with Spotify. Other times though, they will remain US exclusives, such as with Amazon Cloud Player. How much work would it have required to make the Cloud Player US app work with Cloud Player UK accounts? Half an hour perhaps?
The list of missing UK services is still large, and I think at this point it can be safely said that they will never appear on UK Rokus. Amazon's LoveFilm, Channel 4's 4OD, ITV's Net Player, and Channel 5's Demand 5 are all essential services in the UK, and yet none are on Roku, despite the head Roku UK guy promising that UK Roku customers would get all the major catch-up services. Lies, lies, lies.
Compare the Roku (£99) with the Xbox 360 (4gb £140) and the differences are stark. Putting aside the fact that one plays great games and the other doesn't, comparing the streaming services available makes for interesting reading.
Xbox - LoveFilm, Netflix, NOW TV, Xbox Video, Blinkbox, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, CrunchyRoll, Demand 5, 4OD, YouTube, Napster, Xbox Music, Last FM, VEVO, and Crackle.
Roku - Netflix, NOW TV, BBC iPlayer, CrunchyRoll, Spotify, VEVO.
The only service Roku has which Xbox doesn't (of any note), is Spotify.
So given the near total lack of new channels for UK customers (I'm obviously excluding the tide of ultra low end dreck which floods the UK channel store from America, of which 99% is offensive supernatural/religious nonsense), I'm going to say it - Roku is a dead platform in the UK. They came, they didn't really try, they died.
And rumour has it, the next Xbox, due at the end of 2013, will come in two flavours, one of which will a cut down streaming box.
+1 Its been argued here before, which only resulted in people being receiving bans and warnings because the Roku People of Good Streaming Taste complained about the Roku being criticized.
Had the Roku since UK launch, and apart from Plex and the BBC iPlayer channels, there's no point owning it in the UK.
And if you make any sort of noise about the lack of content the Roku People of Good Streaming Taste just tell you to buy something else or create the channel yourself.
The UK Roku had promise when it launched, sadly it looks like all the promises were just marketing smoke and mirrors, with no substance.
Only reason I still have the Roku is because I've had three of the main alternatives, Xbox/WD TV Live/Boxee Box, and the one thing Roku has over them is stability. The boxee and Wd tv Live were buggy and had deal-breaking issues. The Xbox was good but had a loud fan and was a pain when streaming local content. Luckily the Plex App on the Roku works well. No thanks to Roku though, seeing as its a third party channel.