Saturday, August 7, 2021

Epix on the Roku Channel

I said recently that I would be checking out The Roku Channel to see why everyone was so high on it. The Roku Channel gets a lot of love from cord cutter Websites and articles, but it's something I've not done much with. So, I'm trying it out.

Shortly after starting that, I found out this was going to take a lot longer than I thought. It turns out there's a lot to The Roku Channel. The free streaming content is what I have always focused on, and that's understandable. After all, that's one of the features that Roku most often emphasizes. But it's not the only thing they have.

Roku is really big on buying stuff. Most companies are. And Roku wants you to buy subscriptions using Roku Pay. I've already said I'm not a fan of Roku Pay, but I do understand it's a revenue stream for Roku, and that there may be valid reasons for it to be the way for you to go.

The Roku Channel offers subscriptions to premium services. I subscribed to Epix in order to try it out. And, quite honestly, it worked pretty good. But not perfect, you might note.

First, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing, is that when you subscribe to a premium service through The Roku Channel, a separate app is actually loaded on to your Roku. An app called "Epix on The Roku Channel" appeared. Again, not a bad thing. If I want to watch Epix content, it's all right there. And, it's also available within The Roku Channel.

The two problem I had with Epic on The Roku Channel were the lack of a search feature and the limited content.

The search is kind of a big deal, but then again, there's a workaround. The Epix app, the real one, with a separate subscription directly to Epix, has search capabilities, unlike Epix on The Roku Channel. The workaround is that you can still search within The Roku Channel, just not the Epix on The Roku Channel app.

The limited content is the big thing with me, and I didn't find a workaround. What I'm talking about is that not everything that's available from Epix is available through Epix on The Roku Channel. Oh, and I'll call it Epix/TRC to differentiate going forward, okay? Anyway, Epix/TRC didn't have everything. If you go to the various categories of content, say, science fiction or comedies, you'll see up to 40 titles in the category on Epix/TRC. You'll see everything on Epix on Epix.

Apart from that, the Epix/TRC app is easy to use. It worked as expected. No crashes. It's fine. Just not all the Epix content. And it's the same price as a stand-alone Epix subscription, so you're paying the same thing for less.

Of course, if the missing content isn't something you want, then they're actually doing you a favor by not cluttering things. But, you don't know if you care about that content unless you know what the content is.

The other issue with Epix/TRC is that you are limited to watching it on a Roku device. You can't watch the content through The Roku Channel on, say, a Fire stick. Yes, The Roku Channel is available for Amazon Fire TV, but Epix content -- like all premium content to which you subscribe via The Roku Channel -- isn't available on the non-Roku platforms.

One thing I really liked, and I wish more would do this, is that when I approached the end of my free trial (it comes with a 7-day free trial) Roku did email me. That allowed me the option to cancel before I was charged. Most services won't do this, and leave it entirely up to you, the consumer, to keep up with all of that, hoping you'll forget and they get to charge you for a month you really don't want. Roku isn't like that. And I found that a welcome change.

So, Epix on The Roku Channel? It works well enough. If you're all in with Roku, it's a good choice. If you want to be able to use it on a non-Roku platform, then don't subscribe to it; rather, subscribe to Epix directly and get the flexibility you want.

Oh, and it did help up my opinion of The Roku Channel a little, which is how this whole thing started. I can see more usage of The Roku Channel happening in my Streaming Life.

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