Roku’s free streaming service is now available on the web

Roku announced today that its free, ad-supported streaming service, The Roku Channel, is now available on the web for viewing on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Prior to today, users only had access to the channel if they had a Roku TV or streaming device.

After creating a Roku account on TheRokuChannel.com, you can start streaming the movies, TV shows, and short videos that the service offers. The Roku Channel features free movies from studios including Paramount, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. It’s a lot of older catalog content: think The Matrix, 50 First Dates, Nacho Libre, and Wayne’s World 2. There’s also now live news from ABC News, Newsy, PeopleTV, and Cheddar, among other partners. It’s pretty barebones in terms of features and design, but it’s an easy way of finding something very random to watch — and The Roku Channel certainly helps Roku increase its number of user accounts and grow its ad business.

Roku is also adding a new “Featured Free” section to the top of its main menu, which aggregates shows and movies you can stream for free directly from its partners. It’s similar to Apple’s TV app in that it puts a spotlight on the content itself rather than whatever network it’s coming from. Roku is giving Featured Free some prime positioning; you’ll find it at the very top of the home screen when it rolls out in the US “over the coming weeks.”


Roku

Comcast is adding Amazon Prime Video to its Xfinity X1 boxes

Comcast and Amazon have announced a new partnership to launch Amazon’s Prime Video service on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 set-top box, as reported by TechCrunch. The integration will give Xfinity users access to Amazon original series like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as well as movies, shows, documentaries, and over 160 premium Prime Video channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax.

This is the first time Prime Video has been added to an MVPD platform in the US, but it isn’t the first streaming service Comcast has worked into its X1 interface. The company added Netflix to the Xfinity X1 in 2016, expanded to add 4K streaming in 2017, and earlier this year, it announced it will offer the ability to include a Netflix subscription to new and existing Xfinity cable packages.

“Amazon Prime Video’s growing list of originals, movies, shows, documentaries, and kids’ programming will be an excellent complement to the overall X1 viewing experience,” said Dana Strong, Comcast’s president of consumer services, in a statement. “We want to give customers easy access to all their favorite content in one place. X1 continues to be a platform that can curate live TV, On Demand movies and shows, and streaming internet video and music titles into one, easy-to-use, seamless experience.”

Comcast didn’t say exactly when Prime Video integration would come to the Xfinity X1, only that it is expected to launch “later this year.”