Roku this week announced that it is bringing premium streaming services that users can sign up for with one click from its free ad-supported service — The Roku Channel. Users will be able to subscribe to 25 different premium cable network streaming services like Showtime, Epix, Starz, and others. The premium channels will complement the free movies and TV already offered on Roku devices like Roku Ultra, streaming sticks, and Smart TV models.
The Roku Channel already offers free ad-supported movies, TV shows, and live news and this new feature will basically mimic Amazon’s Prime Video Channels service — which lets you add premium channels via your Amazon account. The idea is that users can manage subscriptions through a single interface and pay for each one on a single bill. Previously, you would need to subscribe to premium channels such as Showtime or Epix individually, and then install the service’s respective app. Now you can sign up for each service from a single interface using just your Roku account.
Roku touts the following benefits in its blog post this week:
- Free for all users: The Roku Channel will continue to include thousands of free, ad-supported titles available without a subscription and is available on a range of devices; users do not need any subscriptions or memberships in order to access quality free, ad-supported content
- Wide variety of subscription partners: Premium Subscription partners at launch include SHOWTIME, Starz, EPIX, Baeble Music, CollegeHumor’s DROPOUT, CuriosityStream, FitFusion, The Great Courses Signature Collection, Hopster, Magnolia Selects presented by Magnolia Pictures, MHz Choice, NOGGIN, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Tastemade, Viewster Anime and more
- One-click subscriptions: Customers will be able to start a free trial or subscribe to new Premium Subscriptions with one click using their existing Roku account information once they visit the subscription page
- Free trials: All premium content can be trialed for at least seven days
- Trial reminders: A reminder will be sent before each free trial expires and billing starts
- Single bill: Subscriptions will be managed directly from my.roku.com. Customers will receive one monthly bill for all premium subscriptions on The Roku Channel
Along with the launch of premium channel subscriptions, the Roku Channel’s mobile app is getting an update to support video playback. You can watch the free Roku content as well as services you are subscribed to on your phone or tablet. The company announced the web-based version of The Roku Channel last year and you will be able to watch all the content together via your browser, too.
The premium subscriptions will begin rolling out to select Roku device later this month and the app update will be a phased rollout to iOS and Android devices around the same time.