Heads up, cord cutters: Roku’s free, ad-supported streaming channel is getting a new perk: live news.
Launched in September, The Roku Channel already offers around 1,000 movies and TV episodes you can watch for free, with ads. Beginning in mid-May, you’ll also be able to watch live, streaming news from ABC News, People, Cheddar, and Newsy on the channel, Roku announced today.
The new feature will offer a “lean back, long form linear cable news experience,” Roku’s VP of Programming Rob Holmes told PCMag. When the feature launches, you’ll be able to access these streams via the News tile on The Roku Channel. When you click it, you’ll see the four aforementioned providers at the bottom. Select one and you’ll enter a news stream.
All four news providers already offer Roku apps with video clips, but this new feature is different. Instead of having to manually select which videos you want to watch, you can just sit back and tune in to a live stream, similar to what you’d find on cable.
The only down side, besides having to sit through ads, is that you won’t be able to fast forward or pause these news streams, though Roku may add those capabilities in the future, Holmes said.
The Roku Channel is available on all Roku players and Roku TVs in the US. The channel is also getting a basic but handy “continue watching” feature that will keep track of your progress, so you can quickly jump back to where you left off.
These new features are slated to arrive alongside Roku OS 8.1. That update will, most notably, expand the Roku Private Listening feature, which lets you suppress the audio on your TV and listen with headphones, to offer support for up to four parties. So, if the kids are upstairs sleeping, you and your significant other can quietly watch a movie together without having to share one set of earbuds.