Monday, May 14, 2012

My Roku Service Headache (Updated)

Roku Logo
Let's start off by saying I generally love Roku! They produce excellent well made streaming devices that have a great interface, simple controller, and plenty of channels to choose from. They have built a perfect ecosystem and is the #1 streaming device in my opinion.

My passion started last year when I picked up the LT as a simple low cost device to stream content to my bedroom TV. In the living room I already had a Sony networked Blu-ray player and Google TV so I didn't need anything else. It was so nice to use that four months later I purchased the Roku 2 XS for the living room and no longer use the other gear for streaming, but still have it for other things.

Today, like many times before, my Roku players updated to software version 4.7 - build 2049 (4.7.2049). This time I wondered what changed so I headed to their support website and blog, but could not find any information about the software update. Next I went for the live chat and after about a five minute wait the below fiasco began:

Begin
8:27 PM EDT: Prem
Hello Dain . How may I help you?

8:27 PM EDT: Dain
Hello, where do I see what a software version update entailed? My Roku 2 XS updated to 4.7.2049 and I was wondering what was changed or enhanced. Thanks!

8:28 PM EDT: Prem
Hi, Dain.
Press home button on Roku>settings>software version.

8:30 PM EDT: Dain
I see that, but, what does version 4.7.2049 do? What was changed from the previous version?

8:32 PM EDT: Prem
Sorry for the delay, Dain.
Your Roku player's software version is the latest version.

8:33 PM EDT: Dain
I know. I updated today. What does that version improve upon or change?

8:33 PM EDT: Prem
Previous version is 4.6 build 240.
It is the software improve. To fix some bugs and to get some extra features.

8:34 PM EDT: Dain
What features? What bugs? Is there a blog post or release note about it?

8:37 PM EDT: Prem
It is just to fix some issue like buffering while playing a movie, or kick back issue with some channels. And features like, screen saver upgrade, display . Software upgrade is user friendly.

8:39 PM EDT: Dain
User friendly? Not sure what you mean by that.

8:41 PM EDT: Prem
yes, by upgrading the software it is easy for you to control Roku player. That is what exactly user friendly mean.

8:41 PM EDT: Dain
For the future; where can I find an overview of what the software update entailed?

8:42 PM EDT: Prem
It is not possible Daine. Whenever Roku releases a new software , it will be updated automatically.

8:44 PM EDT: Dain
I know that. When companies update software they usually provide highlights about what has changed. Google Chrome for example has a blog where they state what changed. Their updates are automatic as well, but they know people like to know what is updating. Updates to Windows are similar. It would be nice for Roku to have a different blog for release notes to let people know what has changed.

8:45 PM EDT: Prem
Please visit this link www.blog.roku.com
Visit the above link, Dain.

8:46 PM EDT: Dain
I did before this chat and you don't have release information. Unless I missed it? Where on that blog does it talk about 4.7.2049?

8:47 PM EDT: Prem
Or else you can also visit this link Dain. www.forums.roku.com

8:48 PM EDT: Dain
I went there also and could not find information on the recent software update. Can you point it out to me?
Found it! Thank you.

8:51 PM EDT: Prem
That's great, Dain!

8:52 PM EDT: Dain
We should have just started with that! That was exactly what I asked to begin with.

8:53 PM EDT: Prem
I am sorry for that, Dain.

8:53 PM EDT: Dain
Off to watch some shows. Have a good night.

8:53 PM EDT: Prem
Is there anything else I can help you wit now?

8:53 PM EDT: Dain
No, thanks

8:53 PM EDT: Prem
Thanks for using chat support! There is a quick survey after I disconnect. You will also receive a broader survey in your email shortly. Please take a moment to complete that to help us gauge and improve our service.
End

In my aggravated state when I search the forum and saw results for 4.7.2049 I thought I was all set. Come to find out the forum did not answer the question either, in fact, it was another person asking the same exact thing.

The most annoying part was the non comprehension and quick to answer based on a keyword attitude. It ended up taking 26 minutes and multiple iterations of the same question to pry a little bit of information out of them and no resolution for the future. The first reply should have been "Dain, the update primarily fixed an issue with buffering and had a screen saver upgrade. We do not publish release notes, but will pass the request on to my manager." That would have resolved everything in about two minutes!

Update, May 15, 2012, On the support forum a few people mentioned about it being a limited early release. I did not know about that, or that I was on that list, but that would have been a perfect explanation as to why they didn't have the information and/or release notes. Although, if it is being tested publicly it would be good to provide release notes to better enable a "tester" to know what they have and provide educated feedback if something is not working. I understand not making the notes public because the release has not been fully deployed and could change, but they should be available internally for situations like mine. It would be easy to maintain one internal webpage of general release notes with the version in testing being a different color.

Update 2, May 15, 2012, Roku has published a blog post about the release. Doug from Roku commented below letting me know that they post all of the update notes on their blog once they are confident with the release. I appreciate his comment and that they are going to work on improving the issue and shared with him my thoughts (above) about how to handle the early release information.

If you are a Roku employee the case number is 1386484.