Skip to main content

Roku OS 9.3 update aimed at helping viewers find content quicker

Roku is ushering in Roku OS 9.3, a new operating system focused on helping customers find their content faster, to its streaming devices in the coming weeks.

Roku announced the new OS on March 31, and it’s set to roll out “in the coming weeks,” according to a press release. Among the new features, the update includes Roku Voice enhancements, improvements to overall performance, and new customization options.

Roku didn’t give a specific release date, saying OS 9.3 will start rolling out to select Roku Players “next month,” and will be heading to all streaming players in the coming weeks. Roku TV models, according to the press release, will get the update “in phases over the coming months.”

Roku Voice enhancements get the most attention with this update. For instance, Roku is adding Spanish language support for Roku owners in Mexico and the U.S. Essentially, you can speak commands in Spanish in order to launch channels, perform searches, or control media playback.

Results when searching by voice will also be presented from a visual perspective, with categorized rows that include relevant movies, shows, and short-form entertainment to help viewers find what they’re looking for more quickly. You can also say a phrase like “show me the news” and your Roku device will direct you to a “Roku Zone filled with available news channels.”

More than 50 streaming channels will now support direct playback when using Roku Voice. On the international front, Roku Voice is adding the ability to speak more natural phrases to search for content in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Canada, the U.K., and Mexico will also benefit from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support.

While it is very voice-oriented, Roku OS 9.3 does have plenty of other new features. The operating system will allow for better customization, with wallpapers and screensavers being accessible from a single “theme” menu in the settings tab. Performance gets a boost, too, with lower boot times, faster launch times for certain channels, a more responsive home screen, and quicker navigation when using certain features.

Audio, specifically Roku’s Smart Soundbar and Roku TV connectivity, will also get some help. You will also now be able to access more soundbar settings directly from the TV interface, meaning you won’t have to toggle between different menus or use multiple remotes. And, in the Roku TV Settings Menu, you will be able to pair an external device like a mobile phone to a Roku Smart Soundbar for audio playback. Or, you’ll be able to pair Roku’s wireless subwoofer or wireless rear speakers via the settings menu to enjoy full surround sound.

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Woodard
Former Digital Trends Contributor
  As an A/V Staff Writer at Digital Trends, Nick Woodard covers topics that include 4K HDR TVs, headphones…
Best refurbished AirPods deals: Save on Pro and Max
AirPods Pro resting on an iPhone with open charging case nearby.

If you're an Apple fanatic on a budget, refurbished AirPods are a great way to save money. Yes, they're technically used, but we're not talking about thrift store headphone deals here. These AirPods have all been professionally refurbished and tested to make sure they work just like they would straight out of the box. All of the AirPods deals below are from a site called Back Market, which has 30-day free returns on all of their AirPods offers. Plus, if your refurbished AirPods end up having any mechanical faults that affect their ability to function, you have a one-year warranty you can invoke. Every model of AirPod still being developed currently has a refurbished model on sale. Check them out below.
Apple AirPods 2 -- $89, were $130

The good old AirPods 2 won't let you down. They are the cheapest AirPods still being manufactured, and buying them refurbished brings the price well below $100. They don't have noise cancelling or some of the other models, but they still pair well with your iPhone, iPad or MacBook and have good sound. A pair in fair condition with a charging cable is pretty cheap. If the superficial scratches turn out to be too much for you, you can return them within 30 days. If the damage turns out to be technical rather than cosmetic, they have a one-year warranty so you can send them back or get a replacement for free.

Read more
Best soundbar deals: Save on Bose, LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio
Bose Smart Soundbar 900.

If you're just purchased a new TV but you're not impressed by its sound, the quick solution is to buy from soundbar deals. The slim design of new TVs leave little space for powerful speakers, so you'll need to augment the audio with a soundbar. The boost that they provide can create an immersive cinematic experience, so if you're interested, you should check out the offers that we've rounded up here. You have to make a decision soon though, as we're not sure when these discounts will get taken down. For additional help, check out our guide on how to buy a soundbar.
Insignia 2.0-channel Mini Soundbar -- $45, was $80

For a cheap soundbar that still gets the job done, go for the Insignia 2.0-channel Mini Soundbar. You'll have your choice between three different sound modes -- theater, news, and standard -- and you can also stream music to it from a mobile device through a Bluetooth connection. The soundbar's compact design also means that you can make it fit into tight spaces.

Read more
Best Buy expands its affordable Xumo TV lineup with Pioneer-branded models
A Pioneer Xumo TV from Best Buy.

Best Buy already has an exclusive on ultra-affordable smart TVs powered by the Xumo TV streaming platform and manufactured by Hisense, and now it plans to add additional Xumo TV models from Pioneer. The Pioneer Xumo TVs will be available in-store and online in November, in sizes ranging from 43- to 65-inches in size and from $270 to $500 in price.

Like the Hisense Xumo TVs, the Pioneer models will be loaded with the Xumo TV software that acts as both a smart TV platform, with support for a variety of apps, as well as the TV's default streaming service, Xumo Play. The latter is a free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service with hundreds of ad-supported linear channels and on demand options.

Read more