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New Netflix Roku App Runs Lightning Fast

UPDATED 6/21/14

They may call it Netflix Instant, but for owners of Roku set-top boxes, using the streaming video service hasn't felt that way, according to feedback the set-top maker has received from customers. That will change next Tuesday (June 24) — at least for owners of the high-powered Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick. 

MORE: Roku vs. Apple TV vs. Chromecast

Roku and Netflix have just announced a new version of the streaming video app that starts nearly instantaneously — as we saw in a demo last night. It's more like an app launching on a powerful smartphone than the lumbering process familiar to set-top box owners. The updated app will appear on the Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick devices, which have the most powerful processors and are best able to take advantage of the new app, a Roku spokesperson told Tom's Guide.

Roku will begin pushing the updates automatically on Jun 24, but it will be in batches, so that Roku can monitor how the update is performing, another spokesperson told us. If you don't see the update on your Roku 3 or Streaming Stick next Tuesday and just can't wait, you can try forcing a manual update. Roku representatives weren't certain that this would download the update on June 24, as the updates may be parceled out for different batches of device serial numbers on different dates. But it's worth a try. 

Here's how to do a manual update:

1) From the Home screen, use the remote to scroll down to Settings

2) Press the Select button on the remote to advance to the Settings menu

3) Scroll down to System Update and press the Select button again

4) Press Select one more time to activate the Check Now, which will ping Roku's servers to see if there is an update and download it

Fans of Hulu, Amazon or other streaming services on Roku won't see any benefits with those apps, at least for now. But presumably, there is no reason these apps can't also get an upgrade to launch faster, as well. It seems to be a matter of the new processor's speed rather than anything else.

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This article was updated to replace incorrect information a Roku representative provided about the devices that will get the update.

  • agentbb007
    Very nice, I hope they bring this the Xbox One netflix app, I'm sure the CPU is faster than what is in the Roku.
    Reply
  • icemunk
    My S802 opens Netflix instantly as well; though it's a quad-2.0 ghz, 2GB ram, and a mali 450 octocore GPU. Not sure what the Rou 3 runs.
    Reply
  • Zepid
    I hope it comes to the top end Roku 2. But really the current Netflix app seems quick enough for launching videos. It is actually opening the app that is pretty slow. After that though it is as quick as I'd like.
    Reply
  • edwinmeese
    I wish the article had been more specific about what they did. Does anybody know? How did they go from stodgy to lightening? Is there now something missing? Seems strange...
    Reply
  • somebodyspecial
    Pointless if you can't read the screen. Even on a 60in you have to squint to read the print. How about blowing it up about 10points on the fonts? I couldn't care less about the dumb background. Look at all the wasted space in the pic of pretty little liars. They tell you it's pretty little liars TWICE. The smallest print? The actual WORDS you'd want to read describing whatever those pictures are about...ROFL. FAIL. A pic is not worth 1000 words when I'm trying to READ so I know if I want to watch some show or movie or NOT. I've been complaining to both roku and netflix for a while about this. NO response other than "we'll let the management know your complaint" and some even say they hate the fonts themselves (yes, REPS say it directly, "I know I can't read them either"). Screw the pics netflix, RAISE the font size of anything I need to read. As you move over the boxes they do the same. Why not make that blow up HUGE with big fonts too? Instead of a balloon missing much with ... at the end and in a font my parents have to get up to read. Old people can't read this stuff. If I'm mildly tired neither can I and I've had lasik.
    Reply
  • Darkk
    Forcing the update on your Roku 3 is not a good idea. I rather they roll it out in batches like they said so if there is an issue the impact would be limited number of customers. Nobody is gonna stop you from doing it but good idea to make sure the update works before applying it.
    Reply
  • tobalaz
    Hey Netflix!
    How about coding your software in HTML 5 for us please?
    One batch of code could run on PC, Mac, Android and iOS!
    As someone who uses their PC for Netfilix, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ditch Silverlight! Its coded poorly enough even MS won't support it, and they wrote it!
    Reply
  • tobalaz
    Hey Netflix!
    How about coding your software in HTML 5 for us please?
    One batch of code could run on PC, Mac, Android and iOS!
    As someone who uses their PC for Netfilix, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ditch Silverlight! Its coded poorly enough even MS won't support it, and they wrote it!
    Reply