The world of streaming video is ever-growing. In fact, within the next five years, more households are projected to be watching TV exclusively via streaming — over the internet — than via traditional options like cable, according to a recent study.
It’s no wonder that the streaming landscape is ever-changing. Services, devices and features come and go. Prices and channel lineups fluctuate.
Trying to keep up can be overwhelming. So, we’re cutting through the noise for you and bringing you a roundup of the latest news from the biggest names in streaming.
Here’s a look at what’s changing in October:
1. Netflix is rolling out new reminder features
The streaming giant recently announced two new features, a “Remind me” button and a “Latest” tab.
The “Remind me” button, which is now available, enables you to receive an alert when a particular TV show or movie becomes available to watch.
“One click and you’re all set,” Netflix says in a blog post.
The “Latest” tab, which Netflix is rolling out over a period of months, is designed to keep you in the know about newly available and upcoming content.
The “Latest” tab will be located on the left side navigation bar and will group TV and movie titles into three new categories:
- “New This Week”
- “Coming This Week”
- “Coming Next Week”
“This will allow members to explore all the latest additions to the service and also get a sneak peek at what they’ll be watching next,” Netflix says.
2. Roku is introducing new devices galore
Roku recently unveiled a new lineup of streaming media players, most of which will become available in October.
The lineup includes two next-generation devices, which you can preorder now:
- The new Roku Express (retail price of $29.99, pictured above): This device is 10% smaller than its predecessor.
- The new Roku Ultra (retail price of $99.99): Roku says the Ultra remains the company’s “ultimate streaming player,” with HD, 4K and HDR picture quality and features like a lost-remote finder. Features that are new to the 2019 Roku Ultra include fast channel launch and personalized shortcut buttons.
The other new streaming media players, which you can also preorder now, include the:
- Roku Express+ (retail price of $39.99, exclusively at Walmart): This device comes with a voice remote, while the Roku Express comes with a simple remote.
- Roku Streaming Stick+ HE (retail price of $59.99, exclusively at Best Buy): This device comes with a voice remote that has a headphone jack as well as headphones, so you can watch TV without bothering others who are within earshot.
- Roku Ultra LT (retail price of $79.99, exclusively at Walmart): This device is cheaper than the new Ultra but lacks some of the features of the Ultra, like fast channel launch and lost-remote finder.
Additionally, Roku unveiled two audio devices that become available in October but can be preordered now. They are the:
- Roku Smart Soundbar (retail price of $179.99, currently only at Roku.com): Roku describes this device as “an incredibly easy way to add premium sound and powerful movie, TV and music streaming to any TV with HDMI.”
- Roku Wireless Subwoofer (retail price of $179.99, currently only at Roku.com): This device is an optional add-on to the soundbar that provides “deeper, richer bass,” Roku says.
3. Roku is releasing a new OS
But wait, there’s more from Roku: an updated operating system, Roku OS 9.2.
This software update became available on certain Roku devices in late September. Roku expects to roll it out to all supported streaming TV players in the coming weeks, and to Roku TVs over the coming months.
Roku OS 9.2 brings various new features, including:
- A “Roku Tips & Tricks” channel: It features videos designed to help users make the most of their Roku. This channel will appear on your Home Screen automatically once your device updates to Roku OS 9.2.
- New Roku Voice features: They include the ability to set sleep timers and search for 4K movies.
- Roku Zones: These are a new way of organizing titles by genre and topic. For example, there’s a Drama Movies & TV Zone and a Superhero Movies Zone.
- A new shortcut section on the Home Screen (pictured above): Shortcuts will reduce the number of steps needed to complete common actions, such as accessing a particular channel.
4. BET+ is available
A new streaming video service from BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios, called BET+, is now available.
“BET+ will stream a lineup of premier African American TV, movie and musical content, including BET’s acclaimed library series, films, documentaries, and specials,” BET Networks said upon launching the service on Sept. 19.
That content is commercial-free and available on demand. A subscription costs $9.99 a month, but if you subscribe through Amazon, you can take advantage of a free seven-day trial (provided that you are an Amazon Prime member or also take advantage of the free 30-day Prime trial).
Currently, BET+ is available on certain mobile devices and certain streaming devices. Or, you can subscribe to BET+ as a channel on Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV.
To learn more about BET+, visit BET.com.
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