Skip to main content

Roku OS 11 allows your photos to be screensavers

Roku today announced that Roku OS 11 will be headed to devices in the coming weeks, with the semiannual update cycle bringing new features and modes — and a pretty big improvement to screensavers.

Roku Photo Streams will allow you to use your own photos (or someone else’s photos, presumably) to replace the somewhat cartoonish themes the Roku screensavers have had over the years. It’s not that they were bad, but they definitely lacked the sophistication and photorealism that Apple, Google and Amazon have brought to the game, which very much turned your idle TV into a digital art piece.

With Roku Photo Streams, you’ll upload images to your Roku device either via your computer or phone. And you can share Streams with other Roku users, making it easy to make screensaver albums for friends and family. And once you share a Stream, the other person can add photos to it, too.

More on Roku

Press rendering of Roku Photo Streams.

“At Roku, we are laser-focused on tailoring the streaming and visual experience to fit our customers’ personal preferences,” Gidon Katz, senior vice president of product and experience at Roku, said in a press release. “We recognize not everyone interacts with their TV in the same way, so we are proud to offer a platform full of choice, while simultaneously providing our users an easy-to-use experience. With Roku OS 11, we’re offering a platform with new personalized updates across search, audio, and content discovery, along with a new feature that allows our customers to display and even share photo albums through Roku devices.”

Roku Photo Streams is the big addition. But it’s far from the only one.

On the audio side of things, there will be new modes for sound and speech clarity, which “dynamically identify and amplify dialogue so you don’t miss a word.” There also will be new modes for Roku Streamers and Roku Speakers, including Standard, Dialogue, Movie, Music, and Night. And a new A/V Sync function helps make sure what you see matches up with what you hear.

Content discovery is getting a boost, too. “What To Watch” gets its own spot on the Roku home menu, helping you find something to watch even quicker.

Device setup will now get even easier, thanks to a voice-enabled keyboard. You’ll be able to enter email addresses, passwords, and PIN information by speaking — now in Spanish, German and Portuguese.

The Roku mobile app also will get a bit of a bump with this OS update, with better details about available content, making it even easier to figure out where to watch things.

Roku OS 11 will start to push in the coming weeks. It generally will hit Roku players first, followed by Roku TVs.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
Apple Music Sing brings karaoke singalongs to iPhones, Apple TV
Apple Music Sing.

Apple wants you to sing like everyone's listening with its new Apple Music Sing feature, a karaoke mode that works with the music streaming service's popular lyrics experience.

Available later this month on iPhone (11 and later), iPads (third-gen and later), and the 2022 model of Apple TV 4K (not earlier models, for some reason) to really max out the karaoke experience in living rooms, Apple Music Sing will be incorporated right into the Apple Music app, giving you the option to use a slider to control the volume of the vocals in Apple Music's song library so you can sing along. With the slider, you can tweak the volume to either blend your voice with the singer's or drop them out completely to go solo. Background vocals are also viewable independently from the main vocals for budding backup singers to follow more easily, and a Duet view separates multiple singers' lyrics on opposite sides of the screen.

Read more
Philo: Everything to know about the live TV streaming service
Philo TV screenshot

Cutting the cable cord isn't necessarily cheaper than paying for cable anymore. Many top streaming services offer massive channel lineups compared to cable, but after paying for them (and your internet connection), you may just be breaking even.

But do cord cutters really need extensive channel offerings? Philo, a live TV streaming service that's a competitor to Sling TV and other live TV streamers, believes the answer is no.

Read more
Roku looks to make live sports easier to find
Live sports on Roku.

One of the biggest pain points when it comes to watching live sports these days is just figuring out where to watch things. And it doesn't matter if you've got cable or satellite, or if you're streaming everything. Some events are on linear networks like ESPN, or the broadcast affiliates. Others are spread across the multiple streaming services, like ESPN+ (tons of sports), Paramount+ (soccer, mostly), Peacock (the British Premier League), and more. Thursday night NFL games are on Amazon Prime Video. Even Apple is getting into the game, with the MLS switching to Apple TV+ in 2023.

Roku users are about to get a little help from their platform of choice, with a new top-level menu item that shares a name with the brilliant 1983 Huey Lewis and the News album.

Read more