Like those packed morning tube carriages we all vaguely recall, the world of streaming is officially at the wedged-in-by-the-door phase of overcrowding. Roku, which started out as a manufacturer of set-top boxes, has just ramped up its streaming presence with the launch of The Roku Channel. It comes complete with 10,000 movies, TV episodes and docs – all free of charge. Budge up please, Netflix.
It arrives bearing gifts for football fans – Liverpool fans, in particular – in the form of an exclusive Sadio Mané doc, ‘Made in Senegal’, that launches today.
What’s the catch, then? Well, The Roku Channel runs like traditional commercial TV, so there are two minutes of ads before the film starts and further ads sprinkled throughout. Beyond the enforced mid-movie tea breaks, it’s all upside for anyone with a Roku device, Now TV or a Sky Q set-top box.
With Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Sky, Apple TV+ and myriad other streaming options available, the choice for viewers is eye-popping. So what does The Roku Channel bring to the party? Well, it’s happy days for Nicolas Cage fans – a chunk of the great man’s patchy recent CV is represented (‘Justice’, ‘Dying of the Light’, ‘Bangkok Dangerous’ and the genuinely good ‘Bad Lieutenant’) – and anyone keen to catch bonkers Pierce Brosnan curio ‘Taffin’ to see the movie behind the meme.
At the prestige end of things you’ll find James Gray’s ‘Ad Astra’, 2008 romantic drama ‘Two Lovers’, World War II occupation epic ‘Black Book’, Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’, charming Britflick ‘X+Y’, taut Steven Soderbergh thriller ‘Haywire’, ace Ian Curtis biopic ‘Control’ and ‘Catfish’, the disturbing doc that launched the reality TV show.
Telly-wise, there’s a bunch of kid-friendly content including that essential worker, ‘Bob the Builder’, and ‘Teletubbies’. Head to the official site for the full low-down.
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