Roku gets 4K content from Smithsonian; Encore, CW also sign up

It’s been a little more than a month since Roku debuted its 4K-capable Roku 4 set-top box, and now those early adopters have an all-4K-UHD channel to enjoy.

Smithsonian Earth launched Tuesday for both the Roku and Apple TV; only the Roku box, however, is able to support 4K video. Users can try the network out for free, after which service is billed at $4 per month.

Along with the new Smithsonian content, Roku users will also gain access to CW’s Seed comedy network and Encore Play, a new premium channel.

Encore joins Starz Play on Roku, which launched back in September. Like Starz before it, Encore Play requires you to be subscribed to the cable channel in order to access content. There is no way for Roku customers to get either channel on an a la carte basis.

Tuesday’s announcements covered a wide variety of programming which expands the breadth of content already available on Roku. Smithsonian’s educational content joins other solid providers like History and the A&E Network, while Encore Play further rounds out Roku’s premium movie content, which also includes HBO Go and Showtime.

CW Seed includes full runs of Who’s Line is it Anyway, The Ben Stiller Show, The OC, and Almost Human, as well as several original programs. That service, unlike the other two announced today will be free, Roku says.

The impact on you: If you’re a Roku subscriber, it means quite a bit more content is coming your way. Roku’s been around for a while, but with increasing competition coming from all sides—Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, and even non-traditional competitors like TiVo’s new Bolt set-top box—every manufacturer is looking for something to set its product apart from the pack.


Ed Oswald

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