Hulu App Change Sends Roku Users Scrambling to Update

Owners of older Roku devices face a June deadline to upgrade or lose their ability to watch TV and videos on Hulu's new app.
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A big upgrade by Hulu  (DIS) - Get Report of its streaming app could mean an uptick in new orders for Roku  (ROKU) - Get Report, which has seen a massive increase in use by customers amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Hulu, which has been rolling out a new app to replace its classic version, on Tuesday notified customers who use Roku streaming devices that some older models will no longer be supported come late June.

In particular, older versions of the Roku streaming player - models 2400 to 3100 - will no longer be able to support Hulu's apps starting on June 24. The same goes for older versions of the Roku streaming stick, models 3420 or earlier.

Until then, owners of these older Roku devices can still watch videos from Hulu's streaming library on its classic app, but they won't have access to live TV and other features.

In addition, owners of newer Roku devices will have to upgrade to firmware version 8.1 or higher in order to access Hulu's new app, the streaming content company noted. These include Roku Ultra, Roku Premiere and Premiere+, and Roku Express and Express+.

The shift by Hulu, and the potential to spur new sales and upgrades by Roku customers, comes as the streaming-device company sees a surge in both the number of users on its platform and the amount of time they are streaming.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people across the U.S. to stick close to home, Roku gained nearly 3 million new active accounts on its platform during the first quarter. The gain was offset, though, by a 10% drop in ad revenue,

At last check Roku shares eased 0.4% to $107.14, while Disney shares rose 2.4% to $123.90.