Channel Issues & Questions

Help & troubleshooting for channels on your Roku device, including adding/removing channels, logging in to, authenticating, or activating a channel, channel-specific playback issues, assistance contacting channel publishers to report issues, and adjusting channel-specific settings.
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Bacon
Level 9

Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

So an update is being pushed out for Plex that states:
"Adhere to Roku's global captions mode (Roku channel requirement)"

Basically this means that if you have your captions set to off or instant replay (like most people) and you play a film with a forced SRT sub file for foreign language sequences, you won't get any captions unless you turn them on for EVERYTHING.

How does this make things any easier for users? Most people will likely be watching a movie and be confused as to why they aren't getting subs for foreign language sequences and people that are aware of the change will probably forget and have to rewind after turning their captions on.

Seriously, Roku makes the most baffling decesions and this recent one makes the entire point of SRT files with forced flags moot, so why even support them at all?

Stuff like this just pushes me further away from the Roku platform.
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10 Replies
rcork
Level 7

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

I agree. This makes no sense. Here's the biggest issues I have with global captions

1. My son is hard of hearing. He watches Hulu and he has the captions turned on. Previously he could turn on captions while watching under his account on Hulu and it wouldn't affect any other users in the house. Now, each time he watches and turns on captions, the next time someone else uses Hulu or any other channel, the captions are turned on. They turn them off and the cycle starts over again

2. We use our Rokus to stream all our home media via the Plex app. We have a lot of movies and most of them have the subtitles stored as external files. We used to be able to set a subtitle to be used when playing a specific video file (such as when watching a foreign film, or when there are forced subtitles for another language). Now because of Roku's new global caption policy, turning on the captions for one specific video in Plex turns on captions globally, for any channel, not just Plex! Next time i go into another channel (that is following Roku's new global caption policy), the captions are turned on. Now i need to turn them off again.

I can't understand why Roku would think this was good UX design. It ruins the user experience and makes it harder for me and my family to use the Rokus now.  Please bring back the original functionality or at least all a global setting that allows applications to set their own caption/subtitle policy. If not, i guess it's time to get rid of the Rokus and move to Chromecasts, AndroidTV or AppleTV.
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Elijah_Baley
Level 7

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

Normally when there are multiple companies competing for the same market the trailing companies must improve their products in order to overtake the one in first place. However in this case Roku (the clear leader in streaming boxes) has made several moves that have closed the gap without the other companies needing to move forward at all. It is like Roku is running is a race with a big head start and they are trying to loose by any means necessary.
 
The caption issue does not really have much of an effect on me because I am the only user in my house and the films I have with captions work fine and the change really does not change how I watch those films. BUT it does effect many people I know and I have already fielded a couple of calls from people I helped get Plex going wondering why this was changed and how to "fix" or "work around" what they consider a bug. All I can do is explain how captioning now works and try to help them understand how to effectively use their set up with the new requirements. A few have reverted to using RarFlix as an alternative to the regular Plex client app as it does not have to follow Roku's stupid guidelines. (It is a private channel so does not have to go through Roku's approval process)

This is just one of many stupid choices that Roku has made lately and I wonder how long it will be before Roku drives their most loyal customers to other systems by making stupid decisions like this one.
Two Roku Ultras, three Roku 3s and a Roku 1
"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." Mark Twain
Van Roy's Law: An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
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hackztor
Level 7

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

Roku never cares. This is why people need to switch to other streamers. Even though I used to love roku the most just not worth it anymore. Vote with your money.
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Elijah_Baley
Level 7

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

"hackztor" wrote:
Roku never cares. This is why people need to switch to other streamers. Even though I used to love roku the most just not worth it anymore. Vote with your money.

While this is a truism it is also impractical for me and many people I know. The reason is that Roku does more and supports more apps than any other device. In fact the only thing I think it lacks is Kodi and Kodi cannot exist on the Roku. The Kodi problem is not due to anyone not wanting Roku to support it but it is due to Kodi's operational methodology (using local storage for a LOT of data) being incompatible with Roku's design methodology. ( Roku only store limited data on the device)
 
Now, having said that I continue to search for a platform, that is not Roku, that will do everything I need. So far that search is less than fruitful. The closest I have found so far is two devices working together. (Fire TV and Shield TV)
 
While I do not have any real objection to using two devices the additional fact for me, is that I dislike the interfaces on both the Shield and the Fire.
 
My most used app is Plex, but I use others enough to make me want whatever device I use to support several.
BTW: The Roku is also missing one app I use several times a week, Fox Soccer2go but I have not found any set top box that supports that. While there is an Android app for that it has almost unusable interface on the few Android devices it will install ob and Fox limits the resolution on any Android device that the content becomes unwatchable on even a medium sized TV.
 
I have another test device coming tomorrow and I hope it comes closer to what I want or need for my perfect streamer but, should it disappoint, being realistic it probably will, it will be returned.
 
I cannot speak for others but, regardless of its shortcomings, the Roku device is still, far and away, the best streamer I have found.
It is ironic that we, Roku users, have the best Plex client developer of all the client boxes while Roku has the worst or most limiting developer environment of all the major client devices . So the Roku/Plex developer is limited by the restrictions placed on him by Brightscript, Plex's rules and Roku's rules.
 
The reason I say that Plex limits/restricts development is that Plex want every device to behave exactly the same and therefore even a great developer cannot expand functionality unless all the other platforms can also add the same ability.
 
Again, if there were a viable alternative I would use it but, for now, I will just have to endure the shortcomings of the Roku.
Two Roku Ultras, three Roku 3s and a Roku 1
"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." Mark Twain
Van Roy's Law: An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
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Bacon
Level 9

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

I'm just confused why Roku thinks having users have to manually turn captions on and then off for foreign language sequences in Plex is a better solution than Plex being smart enough to know that they should be played while not turning on captions for EVERYTHING as it was previously.

I'd really like a Roku rep to comment on the rational behind the decision...
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knapsu
Level 7

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

This caption policy is counterintuitive. It is a good idea to have subtitle settings be configurable in one place, but enforcing them betwween apps in such way is simply bad leading to such nasty situations.
In my opinion a better thing would be to have a an option for channel to choose between using (A) application settings or (B) global settings

Allow users to choose, and not force them.
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hackztor
Level 7

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

"Elijah_Baley" wrote:
"hackztor" wrote:
Roku never cares. This is why people need to switch to other streamers. Even though I used to love roku the most just not worth it anymore. Vote with your money.

While this is a truism it is also impractical for me and many people I know. The reason is that Roku does more and supports more apps than any other device. In fact the only thing I think it lacks is Kodi and Kodi cannot exist on the Roku. The Kodi problem is not due to anyone not wanting Roku to support it but it is due to Kodi's operational methodology (using local storage for a LOT of data) being incompatible with Roku's design methodology. ( Roku only store limited data on the device)
 
Now, having said that I continue to search for a platform, that is not Roku, that will do everything I need. So far that search is less than fruitful. The closest I have found so far is two devices working together. (Fire TV and Shield TV)
 
While I do not have any real objection to using two devices the additional fact for me, is that I dislike the interfaces on both the Shield and the Fire.
 
My most used app is Plex, but I use others enough to make me want whatever device I use to support several.
BTW: The Roku is also missing one app I use several times a week, Fox Soccer2go but I have not found any set top box that supports that. While there is an Android app for that it has almost unusable interface on the few Android devices it will install ob and Fox limits the resolution on any Android device that the content becomes unwatchable on even a medium sized TV.
 
I have another test device coming tomorrow and I hope it comes closer to what I want or need for my perfect streamer but, should it disappoint, being realistic it probably will, it will be returned.
 
I cannot speak for others but, regardless of its shortcomings, the Roku device is still, far and away, the best streamer I have found.
It is ironic that we, Roku users, have the best Plex client developer of all the client boxes while Roku has the worst or most limiting developer environment of all the major client devices . So the Roku/Plex developer is limited by the restrictions placed on him by Brightscript, Plex's rules and Roku's rules.
 
The reason I say that Plex limits/restricts development is that Plex want every device to behave exactly the same and therefore even a great developer cannot expand functionality unless all the other platforms can also add the same ability.
 
Again, if there were a viable alternative I would use it but, for now, I will just have to endure the shortcomings of the Roku.

I am in the process of picking between a roku ultra or a shield tv. So far Shield does everything the roku does, gives gaming remote for android games/nvidia games/gamestream, google music (seriously Google is dumb on roku they gave google play movies and tv but not music wtf, chromecast support (roku miracast is just limited to low number of devices why they could not just add casting support is beyond me. The interface is the only thing I miss about Roku. Roku is just a bland plain interface and plex interface is pretty awesome. Shield has way more better apps such as surveillance camera ones, home automation ones. I hate the advertising buttons on the roku remote (people paid money for this why advertise). If you want advertisments you do what amazon does and give you 60 bucks off products. I would even pay more $$ for a remote without any advertisement buttons or blank ones and let you pick.
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Elijah_Baley
Level 7

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

"hackztor" wrote:
I am in the process of picking between a roku ultra or a shield tv. So far Shield does everything the roku does, gives gaming remote for android games/nvidia games/gamestream, google music (seriously Google is dumb on roku they gave google play movies and tv but not music wtf, chromecast support (roku miracast is just limited to low number of devices why they could not just add casting support is beyond me. The interface is the only thing I miss about Roku. Roku is just a bland plain interface and plex interface is pretty awesome. Shield has way more better apps such as surveillance camera ones, home automation ones. I hate the advertising buttons on the roku remote (people paid money for this why advertise). If you want advertisments you do what amazon does and give you 60 bucks off products. I would even pay more $$ for a remote without any advertisement buttons or blank ones and let you pick.

The Shield is a very good device and it might be my go to  device if I played games or if top end audio mattered to me but neither of those is part of what I care about.
 
I detest the Shield's interface and I never play games and my old ears cannot detect any advantage to the advanced audio so many of the Shield's biggest advantages do not have meaning for me.
 
I have physically removed the "special" buttons as well as the useless, for me, audio search button from my Ultra's remote so that is not a problem for me and anyway I msotly use my Harmony remote.
 
The main app I use on all my devices is Plex and Plex has a quite irritating problem, for me, on the Shield both in Plex's native app and in the Plex for Kodi add on. (The problem is the same in all the Plex Kodi add ons across devices) That problem is that the play button (on the remotes that work with the Shield that even have a play button) will not start a video playing when a poster is highlighted. A developer at Plex said that it could not be implemented because the Shield does not support that function but that is a lie because in the Kodi app on the Shield, not in the Plex add on, I can play a video by simply pressing play. But, until that is fixed I just dislike using the Shield. I hate having to make extra button presses, I know it is not a very important problem but it is a problem I can easily avoid by not using the Shield for my local video playback.
 
As I said earlier my search for "The Streamer to Rule Them All" continues but I have pretty much given up on finding one but that does not prevent hoping. To be honest I am starting to believe that streamer does not exist and the only way I could come close to it would be to write the interface myself and my programming skills are out of date by many years and my old brain is not really up to learning a new skill set at this point. Therefore I guess I will just have to endure the lesser creations of others.
Two Roku Ultras, three Roku 3s and a Roku 1
"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." Mark Twain
Van Roy's Law: An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
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Bacon
Level 9

Re: Roku's new Captions policy for channels is dumb

This decision is still stupid.

What's great is, none of the big apps even adhere to this policy correctly.

Does Netflix use the * button for captions?

No.

Does Prime video?

No.

Does Vudu?

No.

Does Youtube or Youtube TV?

No.

Does Hulu?

Yes, but Hulu resets your instant replay setting since it's app setting doesn't contain an instant replay option, so it's kind of broken, but the app still gets passed cert while others remain broken.

Apple TV has an "auto" setting that works great. I forget how backwards the Roku experience is every time I plug it in every few weeks to make sure the updated.
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