Roku is taking one other step to transcend merely promoting TV dongles. Roku Channel—the corporate’s free streaming service, which is accessible through an web browser—will now embrace the choice to subscribe to premium channels akin to Showtime and Starz.

The concept is to assist folks consolidate their subscription streaming companies, the corporate stated on Wednesday. Roku Channel watchers will get entry to greater than 25 premium channel suppliers, all of which may be managed on a single month-to-month invoice.

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The ad-supported Roku Channel presents a number of TV reveals and films, and was initially solely supplied through Roku-powered TVs and dongles. However since August, it is also been accessible on PCs or smartphones by visiting the location on a browser. (Nonetheless, to observe the content material you have to create a Roku account.)

Premium subscription choices will first be obtainable to pick homeowners of Roku {hardware} forward of a wider rollout in early 2019.

Extra From PCmag

Netflix, Hulu, and HBO are noticeably absent from the launch record. Additionally, in case you select to subscribe to a paid service, you may solely have the ability to entry it through the Roku Channel—and never over the Showtime or Starz standalone app, for example. To handle this shortcoming, the corporate introduced one other huge change on Wednesday: Later this month, you’ll entry the Roku Channel through the corporate’s cell app.

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“For the primary time, customers with iOS and Android units will have the ability to use the Roku cell app with out a Roku system, enabling them to observe The Roku Channel anytime, anyplace in the USA,” it stated.

The objective is to make Roku Channel a “one-stop store” for each free and premium content material, the corporate added. However it is going to face some stiff competitors from the likes of Amazon, Google, and Apple, which additionally promote streaming {hardware} and have been making strikes to supply extra content material. Amazon has supplied premium add-ons for Prime clients since 2015, as has Hulu.

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Along with Showtime and Starz, Roku Channel will allow you to pay subscriptions for Epix, Baeble Music, CollegeHumor’s DROPOUT, CuriosityStream, FitFusion, The Nice Programs Signature Assortment, Hopster, Magnolia Selects introduced by Magnolia Photos, MHz Selection, NOGGIN, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Tastemade, Viewster Anime and different premium streaming channels.

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