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Viewing Data Drives New Roku TV Feature

Viewing data is already a staple of the new class of recommendation engines gracing pay TV providers’ latest guides, but a new feature for integrated Roku TVs is using that kind of information to tee up available streaming options.

A “More Ways to Watch” feature, built into Roku’s new operating system—version 7.6—detects which shows are being watched on set-tops or over the air, then suggests related fare. The platform can detect what is being viewed using Audio Content Recognition, which maps spoken dialogue and other audio to a title.

Roku is starting to roll out the feature to HD Roku TVs, with 4K-capable Roku TV models set to get it this summer. Roku’s partners include Element Electronics, Hitachi America, Haier America, Sharp, Insignia (Best Buy’s in-house brand) and Hisense.

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The new OS expands Roku’s number of streaming channels to more than 300, an increase from 150 channels in January. Recent additions include NBC and BritBox, the new SVOD service from BBC and ITV.

The release also allows users to manage over-the-air options when they have a broadcast antenna connected to a Roku TV.