Roku OS 11.5 update to add new content discovery features

Mike Wheatley

Roku has provided an update on the new features we can expect to see when the Roku OS 11.5 update arrives in the coming months.


The company first revealed the update was on its way in September when it introduced the new Roku Express and Wireless Bass hardware offerings. This week, in a blog post, Roku offered more details of what users can expect, following the Roku OS 11 update earlier in the year, which introduced features such as Automatic Speech Clarity, Photo Stream and a What to Watch menu on the home screen.

With Roku OS 11.5, users will gain a Save List on the home screen menu which serves as a place for them to create their own list of must-watch shows and movies. To find content to add to that list, users will also be able to take advantage of the new Visual Search Results feature, which adds relevant artwork to each piece of content when browsing for stuff to watch. In addition to splitting the results into TV Shows and Movies, users will be able to sort things according to categories such as Channels, Cast and Crew, Roku Zone and more.

When users spot something they want to watch, the update will change the way the movie or show details are displayed on screen, for example by showing what service the show is available on. Users can then filter those results according to whether it’s free to watch, available through a service they’re already subscribed to, or any other viewing options available. There will also be a Save button that lets users add the show or movie to their Save List.

There are some new features on the audio side too. For instance, Visual Search Results is being applied to Roku Voice. With this, users can call out a specific title and see the results showing the best matches pop up in a display at the bottom. Lastly, the update also adds support for Bluetooth Private Listening, which makes it possible to enjoy shows and movies using a pair of wireless headphones.

Last September, Roku also teased a few new features that were not mentioned in this week’s announcement, including a new Continue Watching list and the addition of short-form promotional community content within The Buzz. Because they’re not mentioned in the announcement, we can’t be sure if these features have found their way into Roku OS 11.5 or not.

Roku hasn’t announced a specific timeline for the update to arrive either, other than to say it will be made available in the “coming months”. Roku actually said the same thing in September, so we can only hope that the new features will come sooner rather than later.

The new features in Roku OS 11.5 aren’t exactly groundbreaking stuff, but they should make the interface a little easier to navigate, and the visual improvements and Bluetooth headphone support will certainly be welcomed.