Quick Look: If there were any truth in advertising, this would be called the Disney Promotional Channel. The Disney Roku channel is primarily a marketing vehicle for Disney movies and videos. It's loaded with trailers and other video content that is guaranteed to have your kids pestering you to buy the latest Disney DVD. Of course, the cynic in me says that everything Disney produces is just a promotional item for something else that Disney produces. But to be fair, the channel does offer enough other goodies, like music videos, film clips, and other short videos, to make this channel a worthwhile addition for Disney fans.
If you want to skip the most-blatantly promotional material, jump straight to these categories on Roku's Disney channel:
- Music Videos "Just music videos from your favorite Disney stars" - There are currently 75 music videos from artists like the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Mitchel Musso, and Selena Gomez. The videos are in random order, not searchable or arranged by artist, so you'll have to do a lot of scrolling right to find a specific artist or song. Videos autoplay in sequence, though, so you can start at the beginning and let the videos roll for several hours.
- Music Stars "Music videos, interviews, behind the scenes, and more" - Here you will find the videos arranged by artist, but there are currently only six artists: Selena Gomez, Allstar Weekend, China Anne McClain, Demi Lovato, Greyson Chance, and Jonas Brothers.
- Behind the Scenes "Get a peak at how Disney magic is made" - Current videos provide behind-the-scenes looks at such things as the Broadway production of The Lion King, the making of the music video Somebody, and how the sea witch Ursula was installed at Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Other videos include an interview with David Ogden Stiers (the voice of Cogsworth), a tour of the Disney Archives with the Disney Archivists, and interviews with the voice actors from Phineas & Ferb.
- Characters "Find your favorite" - Is this promotional material, or is it great material for fans of current Disney releases? I guess it depends on your level of cynicism, or how much of a fan you are of particular characters. There are currently nine categories of current movies and DVDs here: Spooky Buddies, Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition, Phineas and Ferb, Pirates: On Stranger Tides, Winnie the Pooh, Cars 2, African Cats, Prom, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- Funny Stuff "What's so funny?" - Currently, 16 videos with a humorous twist are available. There's a heavy concentration of Muppet music videos, including Stand by Me, Blue Danube, and my favorite, Bohemian Rhapsody. Coincidentally, a Muppets movie will be released in theaters around Thanksgiving, but that doesn't diminish the humor of classic Muppets music videos.
There is also a Coming Soon category that offers trailers from upcoming Disney movies and DVDs. Beyond the categories above, you'll find categories specific to movies and DVDs that are currently being promoted by Disney. At the time of this review, that included Cars 2, Winnie the Pooh, Phineas and Ferb, and Selena Gomez and the Scene. These categories, presumably, will change as new Disney titles are promoted and older ones are shelved or drop from the limelight.
Unfortunately, there are no full-length movies or episodes from any Disney Channel series. The channel is free, but I'm sure many parents would pay a reasonable subscription fee to bring content that offers more substance than the short videos currently available. If the current version of the Disney Roku channel is a success, and if viewers ask for more, perhaps Disney will roll out a beefier channel in the future. My inner cynic was tamed a bit when I discovered the music video of the Muppets performing Bohemian Rhapsody. So, if you or your little ones are Disney fans (or, more specifically, Muppets fans), this channel is a worthwhile addition to your "My Channels" lineup.
Developer's Channel Description: Experience the magic of Disney anytime! Rock out to Music Video and laugh along to Clips from your favorite Disney Stars. See what TV shows and movies are Coming Soon and much more. All from Disney!
Channel Store Category: Movies & TV