1) Great assortment of material. Really. You guys have LOTS of great stuff.
2) The interface. Really - very responsive and intuitive. The Roku advantage REALLY shows up when you try one of the other sources listed on Roku. Like... okay, I'm not going to name names here, but I've tried a couple and as soon as I'm on a different feed, it's REALLY obvious and not in a good way.
3) The price. I really appreciate "buy once". Sure, you've got ads. And I get that. It is a "price" viewers pay - but for the most part it's not too bad. I mean, you have to pay the bills and the way you do that is by selling advertising.
But it's also what I HATE.
No, not the ads from sponsors who pay you. I find them tiresome - but I understand they're necessary.
The ads I ** HATE ** are the ** ROKU ** ads!
Look, people don't like their content chopped up. That's why when some movie comes along and the sponsor wants to score bonus points, they advertise it as "commercial free". Viewers enjoying the show don't get those irritating interruptions. And that's GREAT.
It's also where Roku screws up.
Let me give you some real world examples:
While watching "Fury", what Roku ad do I see?
An ad for "Fury".
When watching one of the "Die Hard" movies?
An ad for "Die Hard".
When watching "Oh Brother Where Art Thou"?
An ad for "Oh Brother Where Art Thou".
I'm watching, "The Menatalist". So of course, AN AD FOR THE MENTALIST!!??
Now in NOT ONE OF THESE CASES WAS I WATCHING THE CONTENT BECAUSE I SAW A ROKU AD FOR IT. That is, your advertising was a great big ZERO for its intended purpose. And then when I was enjoying the content, your ads became a big fat MINUS that detracted from the experience.
Are you really that stupid, Roku? Do you really think you have to advertise your services to someone who is WATCHING a show using your service? Really?
And then there are the other nuisance ads.
"This Old House" is a pretty good series. I've watched it before. I'll watch it again. I DO NOT NEED ENDLESS REMINDERS TO WATCH "THIS OLD HOUSE". I'll watch when I'm **bleep** good and ready.
Then there are the REALLY Stupid ads: "30 Rock", "Punk'd", "Arrested Development", "Dirty Dancing". These are shows in which I have absolutely ZERO interest. You would have to PAY me (and pretty good money at that) to watch any of them. So why are you cramming those ads down my throat? Every time one of those ads come up, you irritate me, waste my time, impair my enjoyment and do not in any way increase the likelihood I will watch one of the programs. Why are you interrupting a show that I am enjoying to torture me with shows you'd have to torture me to watch? What do YOU get out of that, Roku?
See, I figure if you cut out all your advertising for yourself, it would radically improve the Roku experience - and then people (like me) would tell their friends, "Check out Roku" and more people would watch and you could charge more for the sponsored ads and everything would be better.
Now I know you want people to know about NEW content because you think if they don't know, they can't watch it and you can't charge for ads. I hear you. Here's what you do instead of CRAMMING ADS DOWN OUR THROATS. When new content is added, you put up a page like your search page that lists all the new content. Maybe do it once a week. Have it appear in red until the link is clicked just to remind people that it's a NEW link they haven't seen before. Users can go to that page and see a list of all new content for the week. When they scroll over the titles, you display a brief summary of what that item is about. If they're interested, they push the option button and get a 1-3 minute ad for the show.
You could even have a link that ads a show to a new category of, "I want to watch" that's very much like your "continue watching" queue.
Now viewers can see what's new, get very quick summaries of what the shows are about, and if they want more info, they just click. And if the show is something they find disgusting (like "30 Rock") THEY NEVER HAVE TO SEE IT AGAIN! You can even keep the entries in a chronological series so people can go back a week, or two or however far they want to go. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to just list ALL your content in a similar directory because frankly, you may have stuff people want to watch that they don't know is out there and they haven't found by just stumbling blind through all the category lists.
Guess what? You just made it VERY EASY for viewers to review ALL of your new content, decide what they're interested in, and you've improved the viewer experience by NOT bombarding them with **bleep** ads for stuff they don't EVER want to see, or which they are already watching.
You know it might even be a good idea to have a section for the other stuff you sell. I would like to know more about other Roku equipment options - but I sure as **bleep** do not want you blasting random ads into the content. Just put a pagelet with "More information about Roku" and a list of Roku options. Betcha sales go up!
Roku is a new paradigm for television. You don't have to do ads the same old way. Be brave. Innovate more. Make the change. Your customers will thank you.
Anyway UK has fewer commercials on OTA TV as well (none on BBC, limited to 4 mins per half hour on other channels, US is nearer 8).
No prescription drug ads, although we get gambling ads post 9pm.
Downside: have to pay annual TV license fee (£159 pa, I.e. about $200 US) to watch live OTA channels or BBC channels/use BBCiplayer/BBCsounds on Roku. Can stream without paying license as long as you don't get content that is playing OTA at the same time through OTA channel apps (ITVhub, All4, My5, UKTVplay etc.). Not viable if you like live sports.
I also HATE the fact that if one is not logged in, writes a comment, gets the login screen and backs up to make a change to a post, the Roku web community web site is too stupid to retain the original comment.
That's also 21st century technology - but it's been around for 20 years.
Suffice to say, advertising FOR Roku ON Roku makes as much sense as advertising FOR air travel by interrupting the in-flight movie to remind you that you can buy tickets to ride on an airplane.
It's stupid, stupid, stupid and what happens when people drag 20th Century anachronisms into the 21stCentury. In the 20th Century, television channels competed against each other for TIME-BASED CONTENT. If you were watching program "A" at 8pm Friday, you could not watch program "B" at 8pm Friday. The program you watched was "the winner" because they could count you in the numbers they reported to their advertisers to set advertising rates. BUT in an "on demand" model, you can watch BOTH programs. So the need to disrupt programming to remind you of OTHER programming is of no use. It can be done is a far less intrusive and irritating manner.
Roku's advertising for itself might have made sense 25 years ago. Today, it's just stupid. Maybe all the people at Roky use "dial" telephones, pagers, floppy disks, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, FAX machines, phone books, overhead projectors, typewriters, film cameras, cathode ray televisions and encyclopedias - but most of the rest of the world has moved on.