Quick Look: Pandora, for uninitiated, is a streaming music service that plays music based on the user's selection of a genre, song, or artist. Giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down refines the music selection based on the users likes and dislikes. Pandora offers three levels of service, two of which are available through the Roku app:
- Pandora (Free) is a free ad-supported service. Users at this level have no ability to select specific tracks - like a streaming radio station, the service auto-programs the songs that you hear. You can skip a limited number of track, but have no ability to rewind.
- Pandora Plus is an ad-free subscription service that costs $4.99 per month. New users can sign up for a 7-day free trial through the Roku app. Pandora Plus lets you replay tracks, d skip an unlimited number of songs, and gives you a longer "timeout period," which is the amount of time the app will stream with no user interaction. Other benefits on non-Roku devices can be found here.
- Pandora Premium includes the ability to search and play songs on-demand and offers a number of other benefits. However, as of June 2018 Pandora Premium is available only on iOS, Android, Sonos and Kindle devices; Android TV; XFINITY X1; Amazon Fire TV; Xbox One; Chromecast; and Apple AirPlay. (For a current list of devices, visit this Pandora help article.
After linking Pandora's Roku app to your Pandora account, the app will launch playing a track from the last station you listened to (see screenshots below). The screen will show cover art, the track name, and the artist and album. This screen allows you to pause or skip the song, and you give the track a thumbs-up (which will help in refining the auto-programming) or thumbs-down (which will result in the song never being played for you again). Scroll up to reveal an autohide menu with the options My Stations (also accessible with the "back" button), Browse, Search, and Settings.
The My Stations screen shows all of your stations in grid fashion, along with the number of days since last listened to each. If you don't want to be confined to a single selection, the Shuffle option will play tracks from all of your stations. TIP: To delete a station, highlight it, press the * button on your remote, then select the Delete option.
If you're looking for something new, the Browse menu option will show you stations based on genre. There are currently 26 genres, such as New Music, Country, Pop, Family, Soul/Funk/Disco, and Folk/Singer-Songwriters. You can also browse Recommended Artists (based on your Pandora stations and thumbs-up refinements), Today's Music, Decades (50s through 2010s, which are then broken down into genres for each decade), and Moods and Activities (Summer, Workout, Studying, Party, etc.)
You can also create new stations through the Roku app. Just go to the Search option and enter an artist, song, or genre, then select from the results. The new station will play immediately and will then be listed on the My Stations screen.
The final menu item, Settings, lets you turn an explicit content filter on or off, set your station sort preference (sort by recent, or sort A-Z). You can also add additional accounts if others in your household have their own accounts. You can easily switch between accounts here. If you want to upgrade to Pandora Plus, you can do so here and activate a 7-day free account (new users only). Note, however, that you can save a few dollars by paying for a full year through the Pandora website.
-- Information is current as of June 20, 2017
Developer's Channel Description: Find the music you love and let the music you love find you. Pandora gives you a personalized music experience that continually evolves with your tastes. Create stations from songs, artists or genres. Want more? Pandora Plus lets you listen ad-free, skip, and replay songs for $4.99/month.
CHANNEL STORE CATEGORY: Music
FEES: None for basic Pandora; $4.99/month subscription for Pandora Plus; Pandora Premium available only on iOS and Android smart phones