One of those super-annoying headaches that goes hand in hand with cord-cutting and the era of on-demand streaming video entertainment is the maintenance of multiple account sign-ins across services like Netflix, Hulu and the like.
This will no doubt only get even more frustrating as new streaming services from companies like Apple, Disney and WarnerMedia enter the picture, which is something Roku has tried to address as part of a series of tweaks included with the Roku OS 9.1 update that started rolling out to users today.
In a company blog post, Roku executive Ilya Asnis explained that the slew of new features includes voice enhancements, updates to Roku search, an updated guest mode, and a particularly useful automatic account linking feature.
About the latter, he writes, “If you’ve already logged into a subscription service on a Roku player or Roku TV, you won’t be required to enter your credentials again when activating a new Roku device. Automatic Account Link is currently available on nearly 10 subscription streaming services including Pandora and Sling TV with additional services expected to be supported soon.”
In terms of what else the new update brings, the new voice search makes it easier to dive into content faster. Now, when you use your voice to search, movies and TV shows that are available on The Roku Channel — in addition to those available on Roku Premium Subscription services — will in most cases start playing automatically. If automatic playback via voice command isn’t available for whatever reason, Roku says it will then display “unbiased search results” as ranked by price, with more channels expected to support this functionality soon.
Speaking of voice, thanks to the new update, you can also do things like say “replay” to go back a few seconds. You can also now verbally turn closed captions on and off.
Meanwhile, the feature previously known as Auto Sign Out Mode allows guests to sign in to subscription channels with their own credentials. It’s useful if, say, you have a friend staying over. The OS update now makes it possible to enable or disable that feature for specific Roku devices you own, and it can be managed via the “My linked devices” section under the “My Account” page at Roku.com. You can also use that to sign a guest out of a device if perhaps they left early.
Per Ilya, the software update is available on select Roku streaming players today and is expected to roll out to all supported players in the coming weeks. Additionally, Roku TV models are expected to get the update this summer.