RokuGuide Review: Flickr users will like the ability to view their own photos on their TV screens using the Flickr Roku channel. They can also browse photos in the groups they belong to. Whether you're a Flickr user or not, you can browse photos posted by other Flickr users, but you need to have a free Flickr account to do so.
For those of you not familiar with Flickr, it's a photo sharing service owned by Yahoo. Here's a quick intro so you understand the terms that follow: "Your Photostream" consists of all of the photos that you have uploaded. You can group your photos into sets (another name for albums). "Contacts" are other Flickr users whose photos you wish to follow. You can join "groups" of other photographers who post photos centered around central themes such as nature, waterfalls, or cityscapes.
The Flickr channel on Roku provides access to photos under five categories:
- Interestingness - These are random photos selected based on Flickr's definition of interestingness: There are lots of elements that make something 'interesting' (or not) on Flickr. Where the click throughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing.
- Hot Tags - People "tag" their photos with descriptors - water, animals, beach, green, etc. The most popular tags from the last 24 hours are listed here. Select a tag, and photos with that tag are shown.
- My Photostream - Shows all of your photos in chronological order.
- My Sets - Your photos are organized according to the sets that you created and placed them in.
- My Groups - View photos posted in the groups that you belong to.
You won't find a lot of options when viewing photos. Photos are automatically shown in slideshow mode, with photos shuffling through at a rapid rate. The pause button on your remote will pause the slideshow and show you the photo title (or a portion of it, and the first few tags. Forward or rewind while paused will skip ahead or back one photo. The down button will show you the photo's owner and allow you to browse the tags that were used on the photo being viewed. For example, if the on-screen photo has the tags water, animals, sunset, and blue, you can select any of those tags and you be presented with a slideshow of other photos with that tag.
The most obvious feature missing from the Flickr Roku channel is My Contacts. This also severely limits the usefulness of this channel for sharing your photos with specific friends and family members. If you really want to share photos with specific people who using Flickr and Roku, you could create a group and then allow only those people into it. Those people can then view your private group, but this is a cumbersome process that could be avoided with a My Contacts feature. Another missing feature is any sort of search function.
If you don't have a Flickr account, you can sign up for free at www.flickr.com. After adding the Flickr channel from the Roku channel store (look under the Photos & Videos category) and going to the channel, you will be given a code that allows you to access your Flickr account through your Roku. Enter that code at roku.chrishoffman.org/flickr after you've logged into your Flickr account at www.flickr.com.
Developer's Channel Description: View public photos on Flickr, as well as your personal account photos.
CHANNEL STORE CATEGORY: Photo Apps
DEVELOPER: CHRIS HOFFMAN