Rokus Live TV Zone is a new home for live and linear TV

An image of the Roku streaming box and its remote control

This little streaming box is all you need to log in to live TV.
Photo: Alex Cranz / Gizmodo

Roku today launched one Live TV Zone as a starting point for all your live and ongoing streaming content. If you use Rokus Live TV Channel Guide or subscribe to streaming apps like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV or Sling TV, you will be able to access live options directly from Live TV Zone.

Turn on your Roku TV or streaming device to get to the Live TV Zone. In the left navigation menu, scroll down to Live TV possibility. You can also search for Live TV Zone. Once you are there, you will see one linear timeline, like yesterday’s TV guide, which then allows you to thoughtlessly scroll through the hundreds of options and still feel a little overwhelmed by it all.

In a post advertises the new feature, Roku says, adding the new live TV guide partly because people still use their TVs this way. Roku quotes one recently streaming study (PDF link), which revealed that 61% of users without traditional cable TV still watch live broadcasts several times a week.

An image of a TV with the new Roku Live TV Zone lists in linear

Roku’s new Live TV Zone lets you scroll through everything that is live and streaming right now.
Picture: Year

This look back to past TV experience – OK, of only a couple of years ago-has seen a resurgence on other streaming platforms. For example, Google TV has a Live tab that consolidates the channel listings from any app that supports it. On my Chromecast with Google TV, I scroll through my YouTube TV lists, and then it dumps me into Pluto TV’s offerings at the end of the carousel. It makes it a lot easier for me to see what’s on, even though I still have no idea what to look for when I reach the end of the list.

Amazon Fire TV also offers linear live TV listings depending on your installed apps. Apple TV users do not yet have this option.

Live TV Zone is accessible via the left side of the Roku main interface.
Gif: Year

Rokus Live TV Zone may seem like a minor update in the big picture, but it’s a move aimed at keeping its platform as hassle-free as possible. For consumers, the interface is similar to the traditional pay-TV experience, which will help ease the transition for new users cutting the cord. It will also help retain the new users as Roku tries to maintain its streaming dominance.

Roku makes its money from its platform, not the device or the TV sales. Its revenue was on the rise at its highest recent applications, but there is still a wealth of competition in this area, from ISPs such as Comcast for smaller, tinker-friendly services like Plex, which like Roku offers a number of free “live” content. We also saw how fast things were going could turn in the industry when a player – let’s say Google – decides to increase the stakes on its service offerings (I’m talking about YouTube TV, of course).

But simply, this new feature makes it easier to use Roku, and it’s at least a good thing for users.


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