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Finally! Roku gets a 2D facelift (video)

Mar 28, 2013 — by Rick Lehrbaum 7,108 views

I’ve griped for years about Roku’s retro one-dimensional menu. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the Roku 3 model, the company is giving the Linux-based media streaming player a 2D facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones.

In addition to the new two-dimensional menu system, the Roku 3 also introduces a more powerful CPU, an enhanced remote control, and a headphone jack for private listening. Its other key features include 1080p HD output, dual-band wireless, Ethernet and USB ports, and a microSD slot.

Roku 3 media player, with remote control and headphones
(click image to enlarge)


Roku founder Anthony Wood says the “intuitive new interface makes it easy to find movies and shows quickly while the private listening mode is perfect for late-night streamers who don’t want to wake up the family.”


The screenshots below compare the old and new menu systems.

Comparison of Roku’s old (left) and new (right) menus
(click images to enlarge)


Frankly, it’s hard to understand how Roku took so long to upgrade its menu system from 1D to 2D, in light of the device’s hundreds of available channels. Perhaps the company was yielding to pressure from the likes of Google TV, Apple TV, and NeoTV, which have had 2D menu systems for years.

The company says all “current generation” Roku boxes will automatically begin receiving the new user interface via a free software update in April. Specifically, the following devices will be updated: Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, Roku Streaming Stick.

The YouTube video below demonstrates Roku’s new two-dimensional menu system.


For a detailed review of the Roku 2 series devices, read DeviceGuru’s in-depth review. For information on the new Roku 3 player, visit Roku’s website.

Roku, what took you so long!

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9 responses to “Finally! Roku gets a 2D facelift (video)”

  1. Roger Penwell says:

    My RokuHD 2500R has not received the new interface yet. will it be coming soon?

  2. David roldan says:

    Roku 2 xs has not received the new interface yet when is it coming ?

  3. LinuxGizmos says:

    Here’s the latest official word from Roku: “The new UI is being pushed out in phases throughout this month as a free software update to all current-generation Roku devices.” (See the list in this post for what they mean by “current-generation.”)

    • Peg says:

      Ok , It is April 26th ,and STILL NO Update/Facelift . I have 1 XS & 2 XD boxes . I’m going to call Roku and Ask them what’s the Deal !!
      It’s Almost May !!

  4. salvador villa says:

    It is april 29 and, STILL NO update the face/lift yet ??????

  5. John Hirschler says:

    Waiting for my Roku 2 XS player to update to the new facelift!

  6. John Hirschler says:

    I like Roku very much, Thank you

  7. Chris says:

    A few days ago my Roku updated to the latest update. I have to say that I hate the new interface. I have three Roku’s but I’ll get something else if I have to see your stupid ads on a product I already paid for years ago (I have three Roku’s). I didn’t mind the ads so much before when they were 1/4 the size they are now.

    The screen should just be channel tiles. Show the ‘My channels’ column is ridiculous on the left hand side as its not needed 99.9% of the time after the Roku is set up. Not sure how this passed your UI designer’s grasp. You don’t see new TV’s showcasing the tv settings in front of the content do you? Ridiculous.

    I had been happy with it for years till this point. Really terrible decision Roku. Next I’ll be looking at Apple TV.

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