Roku makes streaming sticks and boxes that stream movies and TV shows straight to your TV. Learn more about the different devices and how they work.

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There are many products that you can use to add internet streaming to your TV and music listening experience, and Roku devices are among the most popular. Others include Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.

What is Roku?

A Roku is a Roku company device that streams media (shows, movies, and even music) from the internet to your TV. The devices require minimal setup and connect to the internet just like your PC. Roku Media streaming devices contain an operating system (OS) that allows users to access and manage Internet streaming content.

There are three types of Roku devices:

  • Roku Box – This option is a standalone box that connects to the internet through your broadband router using an Ethernet or WiFi connection. A Roku Box can be connected directly to your TV via HDMI (such as a DVD or Blu-ray player) or through a home theater receiver.
  • Roku Streaming Stick – This option is a compact device that is slightly larger than a USB flash drive. However, instead of connecting to a USB port, plug it into an available HDMI input on your TV or home theater receiver. The streaming stick has an integrated WLAN for connecting to a broadband router.
  • Roku TV – A Roku TV is an all-in-one solution that doesn’t require access to an external box or stick to access internet streaming content as the Roku OS is already built in the TV is built in. The TV connects to your broadband router using either a WiFi or Ethernet connection. TV brands that offer Roku TVs in their product lines include Hisense, Hitachi, Insignia, Sharp, and TCL. Roku TVs come in a variety of screen sizes. 720p, 1080p and 4K Ultra HD versions are available

    Roku Channels and Apps

    All Roku products provide access to up to 4,500 channels (depending on location) of internet streaming content. Channels range from popular services like Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, Pandora, iHeart Radio to niche channels like Twit.tv, Local News Nationwide, Crunchy Roll, Euronews and many more. Even big networks like NBC now have apps. (By the way, NBC’s Roku app allows for live streaming of sporting events like the Olympics.)

    While there are many free internet streaming channels, many also require an additional subscription or pay-per-view fees to access content. To be clear, you’re buying the Roku device and you may still have to pay for things to see.

    In addition to Internet streaming channels, Roku also offers additional apps that allow users to access video, music, and still image content stored on PCs or media servers that may also be connected to your home network.

    For a full list of channels and apps, visit the Roku What’s New? page.

    In addition to streaming, most Roku TVs and select Roku boxes can play video, music, and still image files stored on USB flash drives. Note: This feature is not available on Roku Streaming Sticks.

    How to take your Roku streaming stick or box with you

    You can take your Roku Box or Streaming Stick with you when you travel. If you’re staying in a hotel, another house, or even a dorm room, all you have to do is plug the Roku device into the TV’s HDMI port. You will also need access to WiFi.

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    Just follow the additional instructions after logging into your account and you’re good to go. With Roku boxes, don’t forget to pack an HDMI or Ethernet cable if you need one!

    The Roku Mobile App

    Roku also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, allowing for even more flexibility. The mobile app features voice search as well as duplicating multiple menu categories that are part of the Roku TV’s main menu, allowing you to control Roku devices right from your phone.

    On Roku TVs, the mobile app also controls internet streaming and TV functions, e.g. B. Input selection, OTA channel search and image and audio settings.

    You can also use a smartphone or tablet to send videos and photos from the phone to a Roku box or streaming stick for viewing on your TV, or directly from the phone to a Roku TV.

    Another added bonus is that you can use your smartphone’s headphones to privately listen to the content you’re accessing on your Roku device.

    Setting up a Roku device

    Once you’ve received a Roku device, setup is easy:

    1. Connect the Roku Box or Streaming Stick to your TV or turn on your Roku TV.

    2. Choose your language.

    3. Establish wired or wireless connections network access. When using WiFi, the device searches all available networks. Select your network and enter your WiFi password.

    4. Enter a code numberto activate the Roku product. Use your PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone to go to Roku.com/Link. Enter the code as instructed.

    5. A… create user, password, and address information, as well as a credit card or PayPal account number. Roku devices are free to use, but payment information is required to quickly and easily rent content, make purchases, or pay additional subscription fees if needed.

    6. If you own a Roku TV, additional elements such as checking an antenna or cable TV connection and scanning channels are included in the setup.

    At the end of the setup process, the Roku Home menu will appear, giving you access to device controls and channel/app selection.

    Convenience Features

    Once you’ve got your Roku device up and running, here are some handy convenience features you can take advantage of.

    • Voice Search: Roku’s on-screen menu is easy to navigate using the buttons on the remote. However, if you have a Roku device with a voice-enabled remote or use the Roku mobile app, you can use voice search to search for actors or directors, movie or program titles, or launch streaming channels in natural language.
    • TV Everywhere Single Sign-On: For those who use a Roku device in combination with a cable or satellite service, this feature reduces the constant need to constantly subscribe to TV Everywhere channels . TV Everywhere Single-On (TVE) allows users to save up to 30 channel subscriptions.
    • The Roku Channel: Although Roku serves as a gateway to thousands of internet streaming services and channels, it also offers free movies and TV shows on its own Roku Channel without signing up or having to pay subscription fees. However, there are limited commercials.
    • 4K Spotlight Channel: For users of a Roku 4K-capable streaming stick, box, or TV, there’s a dedicated menu option that makes it easier to find 4K content via categories like genre. The 4K Spotlight channel will only appear when a 4K capable streaming stick or box detects that it is connected to a compatible 4K Ultra HD TV. The 4K Spotlight Channel is built into 4K-capable Roku TVs.

    Additional features for Roku TV owners with antennas

    For those who choose a Roku TV and can access TV programs via a connected antenna in addition to streaming. Also, Roku offers some extra conveniences specific to Roku TVs.

    • Smart Guide: This feature combines both wireless TV channel lists with streaming channel app lists for a more seamless navigation experience. You can also list your favorites and allow streaming content to play from the beginning or resume from a specific point. You can also view TV shows up to 14 days in advance.
    • Roku Search for Over-The-Air Content: Search not only works with streaming content (up to 500 channel apps), you can also search over-the-air content search in combination. If you find a program on both sides, you can simply select it with a program.
    • Voice control for Roku TVs: In addition to the Roku features, e.g. B. finding and launching apps, Roku TV voice control can also be used to switch TV inputs and tune to a local radio channel. Even for users without a voice control remote, you can use a compatible mobile phone to perform these voice control tasks.
    • Quick TV Launch: Voice control allows the user to turn on the TV, switch to a specific over-the-air TV channel, or launch a streaming channel app. In other words, with the TV off, you can type a command like “Start Netflix” or “Tune to CBS” and the TV will turn on and go straight to that channel or the app.
    • Private Listening for Roku TVs: On select Roku TVs, users can receive antenna or listen to streaming programming through headphones connected to either a Roku remote equipped with a headphone jack, or Headphones connected to a compatible smartphone.
    • Optional Roku TV Wireless Speakers: To get better sound for your Roku TV, you can connect it to a soundbar or home theater audio system. However, Roku also offers its own wireless speaker system that is specifically designed to connect to Roku TVs.

    Which Roku option is best for you?

    Roku offers several options for adding immersive Internet streaming to TV and music listening, but which option is right for you?

    Here are some possibilities:

    • If you have a TV with an HDMI port but it doesn’t offer any smart features, consider adding a Roku streaming stick or box.
    • If you have an older TV without an HDMI input, Roku makes a limited number of models, e.g. B. the Roku Express+, which connects to a TV via analog video/audio connections.
    • If you have a smart TV but it doesn’t offer the streaming channels you want, you can add a standard Roku Streaming Stick or Roku Express box to expand your choices.
    • If you have a 4K Ultra HD TV that isn’t a smart TV, or if it’s a smart TV with insufficient streaming channels, consider the Streaming Stick + or Roku Ultra that support 4K streaming from selected apps.
    • If you’re in the market for a new 1080p or 4K Ultra HD Smart TV, consider a Roku TV.

    Roku products offer a convenient and affordable way to add internet streaming or extend internet streaming options to your TV and home theater experience.


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