Roku has been giving numerous like to over-the-air antennas these days, however solely on its sensible TVs.

Roku TVs from TCL, Hisense, and others have supported pausing over-the-air channels since final fall, and now the corporate is constructing on these options with Roku OS 8. When the replace lands on Roku TVs in November, cord-cutters will get a 14-day channel information, which additionally lists whether or not every program is accessible from streaming sources. Native TV listings will seem in Roku Search as nicely, and stay broadcasts will help personal listening, both by way of Roku’s cell app or any Roku distant that has a headphone jack.

Sadly, none of this over-the-air innovation is accessible on Roku’s streaming gamers, together with the slew of new Roku boxes and sticks introduced this week. That’s as a result of Roku gives no method to join an antenna on to its gamers. You’ll be able to nonetheless join an antenna on to your TV, after all, however you then get not one of the wealthy information information, search integration, and time-shifting that Roku TVs provide.

Roku isn’t alone on this regard. Amazon additionally gives some slick antenna integration on its Fire TV Edition televisions, together with time-shifting, a grid-based channel information, home-screen integration for stay channels, and the power to tune into channels by voice. None of these options can be found on Amazon’s Hearth TV field or Hearth TV Stick, which lack the requisite enter for an antenna. (Amazon’s product page for the new Fire TV says you may “Use an HD antenna to get free broadcast networks like NBC and PBS,” however this has nothing to do with the Hearth TV itself. It’s only a reference to the coaxial enter on virtually each tv.)


Hearth TV Version televisions embody fast entry to broadcast channels.

There are a number of reputable challenges that Roku and Amazon face in bringing antenna help to their streaming gamers. However as antenna use grows in tandem with the streaming-player enterprise, these challenges appear price fixing for the sake of an easier cord-cutting expertise.

The enter drawback

The largest concern has to do with inputs. If Roku or Amazon needed to incorporate over-the-air integration on their streaming bins, they’d both want a coaxial enter and TV tuner contained in the field itself, or on a separate USB tuner. Each approaches deliver trade-offs.

Direct coaxial enter would enhance the scale and value of the streaming gadget. That’s most likely one thing Roku and Amazon wish to keep away from, on condition that antenna customers are only a subset of the general streaming-player market.

An non-compulsory USB tuner may make extra sense, however units just like the Roku Extremely and Hearth TV field solely have one USB port. To pause or rewind stay TV, the gadget would both want a second USB port for exterior storage, or ample built-in storage for briefly saving the video. Both manner, you’re again to the issue of added gadget prices for a function that just some folks may use. This might be solved with a USB hub gadget, by way of which customers may join each a tuner and a storage drive, nevertheless it’s laborious to think about Roku or Amazon backing such an unwieldy answer.

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