Top 10 Things To Know About Roku Before You Buy One

Top 10 Things To Know About Roku Before You Buy One

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Roku has a number of free Spanish language channels.

1. Roku is not a cable box
Customers looking to save money on their cable subscriptions sometimes look to Roku as a replacement for a cable box. Roku This is not what the Roku isdesigned to do. There is one caveat. Time Warner Cable has a Roku channel that works in tandem with the companies cable boxes. Customers who have at least one cable receiver can add the TWC channel to their Roku and access their cable channels via the Roku. This can be a fee free option for customers looking to add HBO go access to a guest room or another television in the home. As of now there are no other companies with such an arrangement.

2. You cannot watch HBO-Go without a subscription or password
The packaging for Roku features the HBO logo prominently indicating that the cable channel is included with the device. The reason for this is because Roku features a channel called HBO-Go which is an on demand offering from the maker of Game of Thrones and many popular shows. In order to access HBO content, users one must be able to verify a subscription to HBO through a process called authentication. Unlike the TWC app, customers are not required to have a cable box in the home. This has led many to use cable passwords provided by friends and family to access the service giving the impression that HBO-Go is in fact free.

Theater in a Box – Banner

3. There is not a monthly fee For Roku
One question I have been asked about Roku a number of times is how much it costs per month. This might be because people misunderstand the nature of the device’s relationship with services like Netflix or Hulu Plus which do require monthly fees. Users can access over a thousand channels without subscription fees including free movies and TV shows from Crackle, Docudrama, and many others. Many people who own a Roku do subscribe to a premium service but it is hardly a requirement.

YouTube is one of many Free channels on current Roku models.
YouTube is one of the  many free channels   available on the current Roku models.

4. There are Roku channels available that are not in the channel store
Roku boasts over 1000 channels in its channel store, but there are a number of options available outside of this selection including access to iTunes video and audio podcasts, 24 hour news services and more. For a list of great Roku private channels check out our top ten list here.

5. The most dependable way to stream is via an Ethernet hardwired connection
While all Roku models offer Internet connections via a wireless Internet connection the Roku 3 and the older Roku XS also offer the option of using a hardwired network connection. Using an Ethernet connection instead of a wireless internet connection gives users the most robust connection speed for streaming and also will not tax a home’s Wifi bandwidth leaving more data access for tablets and other devices.

6. You can only have one Roku Profile per email address
In order to register a Roku and set it up for use one must establish a profile with an email address and credit card. Once this is done the company establishes a profile associated with that email address. Any channel added or deleted from one Roku device associated with an account will be added or deleted with every device associated with the account.

7. There are multiple products called the Roku 2
In 2013 Roku launched a major re-branding effort that simplified the names of the products in its lineup. Currently the company features 4 models on its website including the Roku HDMI Streaming Stick, the Roku 1, Roku 2 and Roku 3. Before the re-branding the company had released a number of models with the Roku 2 classification see here such as the Roku 2 XS, Roku 2 XD. While the older models are no longer featured on the official Roku website retailers like Amazon, New Egg and others still sell the older models. The old models vary wildly in their features from the current “Roku 2”.

8. There are no Child Settings
Roku does not have parental settings to prevent children from viewing content.What the company does have is an optional pin number for purchases on the device. This will prevent unwanted purchases like on-demand movies or apps. It will not prevent children from accessing movies or television shows associated with installed channels.Roku control app

9. HDMI Is required for HD Video
In order to receive full HD signals on the Roku, users must purchase an HDMI cable separately. AV Cables ( the old red, white and yellow ones)will not provide HD audio and video. For more on HDMI cables see our story here.

10. Wireless device app adds more features
Roku has perhaps the best wireless device app on the market. The official Roku app for both IOS and Android allows users to add and delete channels, Search from programming, provides a QWERTY keyboard and the ability to share media stored on smart phones and tablets.



  1. One “feature” that I think should be in your top 11? is the Search function on the home screen does NOT search all channels avail on the Roku. The search only searches a few of the more popular channels such as Netflix, Amazon prime,VuDu, etc. Very deceiving. Also some of the channels have 100s of movies but NO search function. I still love my Roku but the deception still stings. A search should, well, be a search. Not a partial search. Maybe they should rename the Search button to Partial Search….

    • It was way more limited when it first launched. These days it features 3 times as many. But despite that most bloggers and tech reporters would say that Roku listed results from every service etc. I hate poor reporting like that. I would almost bet my own money that Roku charges a premium from those who get listed. As a feature though it is leaps and bounds ahead of what Google , Apple and Amazon offer with their streamers.

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