Roku is bolstering its free online streaming platform to include 30 new channels and a TV guide in a move to mimic the channel-flipping experience of watching cable TV.
The company known for its streaming device will now give customers access to more than 100 live channels including free access to news, sports, movies and other types of entertainment for all ages.
With the launch comes a new "Live TV Channel Guide" interface that lets you browse through channels with content descriptions, similar to how you'd browse through channels on linear cable TV.
Roku said its streaming channel has reached 36 million people and is growing faster than sales of its streaming device that connects to your TV. The Roku Channel, which launched in 2017, offers both free and premium entertainment with access to more than 100,000 titles.
Streaming platforms are getting a big boost during the pandemic with Americans spending more time at home. And cord cutters have more options to choose from than ever with companies like Redbox and Quibi entering the area this year as well as HBO Max.
The amount of time the average person spends streaming content doubled from 4 hours to 8 hours during the pandemic, according to a OnePoll survey via the Los Angeles Times. The study was for the streaming service Tubi.
Nielsen data found that streaming represented 23% of total TV usage in mid-to-late March, up sharply from 14% in 2019. HBO's parent company WarnerMedia said binge-viewing series increased 65% while movie watching was up 70% on HBO Now. And Hulu said dramas, movies and kids programming have been viewed more often during the pandemic.
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