Do you own a roku
Here's how to search every streaming site at the same time using Roku Search
It's one of the biggest annoyances in the streaming media age: figuring out which shows and movies are on which services. Browsing Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other websites takes way too much of your time, especially if you just want to relax and watch something.
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However, if you have a Roku, you can search all of these and other websites at once. Roku save the Express will come with a Voice Search remote control that includes the Streaming Stick, Streaming Stick + and Ultra in late 2017. Before 2017, the Roku 3, Roku 4 and Roku Ultra offered voice search on the remote control.
Users of other Roku devices can use an Android or iOS device for voice search thanks to the practical app. Either way, you can search for a show or movie and then quickly find out which streaming services have what you're looking for. As of Roku OS 8, you can also use this function to search for specific genres and actors or start channels directly.
Voice search with your Roku remote control
If you have a compatible remote control, there is a magnifying glass button below the down arrow. While holding this button, hold the remote control to your mouth like a microphone and say what you want to see. Your Roku will start a search as follows:
If you don't have a microphone on your remote, there is a search option on your Roku's main menu, but an awkward on-screen keyboard is required to enter it. It's honestly a lot easier to use your phone. Skip to the section below to learn how to do this.
Scroll through the results to find the show or movie you want. When looking for a show, you can browse individual seasons and see what services they offer.
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I was looking for Doctor Who. Amazon Prime users can stream the show for free. However, if you don't subscribe to Amazon Prime or Amazon Video, you can also buy them on Vudu. If you tap on the Amazon Prime result, the video will start immediately if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber and the app is installed on your Roku. You can also follow shows on Roku for updates on new episodes if you wish.
Apparently Doctor who's no longer on Netflix, that's disappointing. How do I know? Because if the show was on Netflix, Roku would tell us. Here's what this menu looks like for a more complete show: "Parks and Recreation":
In this case, we don't have any end-of-streaming options. As I scroll through the list, I see that this show is available to stream on Netflix, Seeso, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and episodes are available for sale individually on a few other services. Spoiled for choice!
Your idea is: press a button, say what you want to see, and then find it. It's easy and lets you compare when a particular show or movie isn't offered for free or streamed on subscription.
Starting with Roku OS 8, which should be available on most Roku devices from fall 2017, you can also search for specific actors and genres. Just say an actor's name and you'll see works work with them.
According to Roku, you can even call naturallanguage, but that's limited. Combinations like "Comedies with Jim Carrey" and "Movies with Tom Hanks" worked and limited the search somewhat. Other search queries such as "Christmas films" or "Horror films with Robin Williams" did not return any results. Your mileage may vary.
You can also start channels directly via voice search. Say "Netflix" and Netflix will open. Say "NHL" and the NHL.tv channel will open. It's a bit neat so give it a try.
Search for movies or shows on your phone
If your Roku device doesn't offer voice search, don't worry, you can still search using your phone. First, you'll need to install the Roku mobile app if you haven't already. Launch the app and you will see a search icon in the top right corner of the main screen.
Click this icon and you can start searching. You can tap with your phone or click the microphone icon in the top right corner to search with your voice.
Once you are done, the results will appear exactly as you did before on your Roku.
Browse through which services are showing a particular film or television, then launch them right on your Roku, all from your mobile phone. You will find that this is much faster than Googling once you know which services are offering which programs. An exercise that rarely pays off in any case.
All functions described above are also supported: with this tool you can search for an actor or genre and even start Roku Channels directly. Enjoy!
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