Update your Roku to unlock improved picture quality, IMDb ratings, and a clever feature from Samsung TVs

a woman sits on the sofa watching a roku tv on the watch to watch menu, which has gained some new features in the roku os 13 software update

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Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 11/04/2024

- 11:45

Updated: 11/04/2024

- 13:02

High-end QLED TVs from Roku will launch in the coming weeks, starting in the United States

  • Roku has announced its premium Pro Series TVs
  • Equipped with 4K QLED panel, mini-LED local dimming, and cinematic sound
  • Roku has only confirmed plans for a US release this spring
  • Prices start from $1,500 for a 55-inch screen, with 65- and 75-in also available

Roku has taken the wraps off its feverishly-anticipated Roku OS 13 update, which will land on all supported streaming devices and Smart TVs across the United States soon, with more countries due to follow.

And this is one upgrade that you really don't want to miss as it brings a slew of exciting new features.

First up, Roku OS 13 enables Smart Picture, which is designed to perfect the picture quality as you stream. Instead of forcing you to dive into the bowels of the settings menu to adjust picture mode, backlight levels, and colours as you jump between live sports coverage, blockbuster movies, and daytime television — Roku will handle the hard work for you.

a roku smart tv mounted on the wall with artwork on-screen to blend into the other paintings and art

Backdrops — inspired by the success of The Frame range from Samsung — lets anyone running Roku OS 13 set artwork on-screen when you're not watching television so that it blends into the décor


Smart Picture will dynamically tweak picture quality based on what's on-screen, so you're always watching in the optimised mode.

Roku uses a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data from its content partners to determine what you're watching and figure out the best picture settings to complement it.

For example, when you switch from a movie to live sports coverage, settings will be tweaked to enable motion smoothing and increase brightness and contrast. If you start playing video games, you might need to enable a higher refresh-rate or enable surround sound.

If you own a Roku-branded TV purchased in the last few months, the new functionality will be enabled by default. Supported devices bought before that date will need the feature enabled in settings.

To do that, press the * button on your remote control while streaming on Roku, click Picture Setting > Picture Mode. Roku will not override Dolby Vision or HDR10+ formats if they're detected on compatible services. Amazon recently stripped Dolby Vision from Prime Video viewers, unless they agree to pay an extra fee.

Next, Roku OS 13 bundles a feature that will be immediately familiar to Samsung TV fans.

Known as Backdrop, Roku has included a range of artwork that can be used as a screensaver on your telly when it's not in use.

samsung the frame pictured mounted on the wall with artwork a photograph shown on-screen

Samsung's The Frame range offers wooden frames to fit around the flatscreen television and a rotating catalogue of some of the most recognisable works of art from around the world ...provided you're willing to spend £3.99 on a subscription service


This is one of the major selling points of The Frame, a range of 4K televisions from Samsung with a custom matte coating across the screen and a choice of wooden frames to cover the bezels. When the screen is switched off, The Frame can show a family photo or piece of artwork and promises to be indistinguishable from the other framed photos or paintings around your home.

The Frame starts from £489 and rises to £2,198 for the 65-inch telly. Samsung charges £3.99 per month for a subscription to its Art Store service, which includes world-famous paintings, drawings, and photographs.

In comparison, all of the artwork offered in Roku's Backdrop collection will be free. If there's nothing in the collection that takes your fancy, the streaming company will let you upload your own photos or artwork, so that your telly feels personalised.

Rounding out the Roku OS 13 update, the streamer has added a handful of smaller tweaks designed to make picking your new favourite TV show, documentary or film a little easier. Summarising the aim of these improvements, Vice President of Product at Roku, Preston Smalley wrote in a blog post: "We think you should spend less time browsing and more time watching the shows you love."

To ensure that happens, Roku is bringing IMDb ratings into the listings for every show or film. Not only that, but shows and films with the highest ratings on IMDb will be included as a separate row in What To Watch — the carousel of recommendations launched at the end of last year that showcased new content based on a few factors, including general trends across all UK-based Roku viewers, popularity globally, as well as your viewing habits across different streaming services.

Amazon, which owns IMDb, also includes star ratings from this online database in listings on its Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, and Fire TV-powered Smart TVs.

Trailers will also be available in entertainment details for each show and film, eliminating the need to switch to another app, like YouTube, to whet your appetite before deciding on what to stream next.

And lastly, Roku has updated its long-standing Save List feature, which lets you bookmark shows, docu-series, and films on your radar to watch at a later date, so that price drops will bring titles that may have been at the end of your Save List right to the front. This should guarantee you never miss a limited-time sale.

Summarising the changes, Roku's Preston Smalley said: "We want our platform to be relevant to how you watch TV, whether you purchased a device today or years ago. With personalised Backdrops to suit your mood, Smart Picture for crystal-clear visuals, and better ways to help decide what to watch, we’re setting a new standard for streaming excellence. This is the future of TV, tailored just for you by Roku.”

Roku OS 13 is gradually rolling out to users now. It could take a few months before the update is available to you as the company staggers its major upgrades. Roku Smart Picture will work with all Roku TV models.

The announcement of the all-new software update coincides with the arrival of Roku's range of high-end Smart TVs, known as Roku Pro Series. These models, which boast a thinner design, 4K resolution panel with 120Hz refresh rate, and Mini LED panels with support for local dimming, were unveiled at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, but are now available in stores across the USA for customers to purchase.


Roku Pro Series TV and the new Roku Voice Remote Pro pictured on colourful background

Roku Pro Series TV and the new Roku Voice Remote Pro are now available to buy in North America, following an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January


Roku Pro Series will support AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, auto low latency mode (ALLM), and VRR support. Streaming is handled by Wi-Fi 6, which should ensure reliable performance provided your Wi-Fi supports this industry standard. Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ will be offered with the Pro series too.

Roku has confirmed three sizes will be available at launch: 55-, 65- and 75-inches.

Prices for the Pro Series start from roughly $1,500, which is £1,180 converted. For comparison, Samsung charges between £649 and £1,699 for its QLED 4K TVs, depending on the exact features. We’ll need to see the Roku Pro Series for ourselves to see whether the custom-designed telly is competitive with the top-end of Samsung’s QLED range ...or the entry-level TVs.

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