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Haystack News to stop offering Roku screensaver

The streaming news app said Roku's "platform restrictions" were to blame.

The streaming news app said Roku's "platform restrictions" were to blame.

Haystack News says it will soon stop offering its popular news-based screensaver on Roku devices.

The decision to pull the Haystack News screensaver from Roku devices comes after the streaming hardware maker made certain “platform restrictions” that prevent developers from bundling screensavers within their apps.

“Roku requires that a screensaver not be bundled with an app, so we have to remove the screensaver functionality from our app,” a Haystack News official wrote in a support post earlier this month.

The Haystack News screensaver on Roku devices allowed users to see news clips, weather forecast and other information from Haystack News partners. Like most screensavers, the Haystack News feature kicked in when a Roku device was idle after a certain amount of time.

No timetable was offered as to when the Haystack News screensaver would become unavailable to current and future Roku users. Officials say Roku streamers can set a new screensaver by going to their home screen, selecting “Settings” from the sidebar, then choosing “Theme,” and finally “Screensavers.” (For a more detailed explanation, click or tap here.)

Related: Is Haystack News the solution to social media’s “fake news’ problem?

Haystack News was one of the few streaming TV services to offer its own standalone screensaver for Roku devices beyond its own streaming app. Officials say the screensaver feature is the only one impacted by the change; Haystack News will still offer free on-demand news clips and live feeds from partner news channels.

Haystack News is one of the more-popular news aggregation apps on streaming TV platforms, including Roku. The service offers news clips from ABC News, Bloomberg, CBS News, CBC News, Cheddar News, Al Jazeera, Newsmax, The Hill TV, NewsNation, Scripps News and others.

The app consistently ranks among the top free news apps on Roku’s streaming TV platform. On Wednesday, Roku said it had more than 71.6 million global active accounts and claimed a 43 percent share of the domestic streaming marketplace, besting rival platform Amazon Fire TV.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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