Roku Streaming Player Quick Start Guide
Tips for new Roku users to enjoy streaming media
What is Roku?
Roku is a small hockey puck electronic streaming player that brings the world of internet television to your TV. By using your broadband connection, it will stream movies and TV shows from the internet and let you watch them on your television as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Will Roku Replace Cable TV?
Possibly. Many people who purchase a Roku streaming player actually find so much content to watch, they end up cutting or reducing their Cable TV bill. Roku does not give you a live TV stream like you would typically watch on Cable or Satellite. While, some channels do offer live streaming, these are not the same channels you normally get with Cable TV.
Even though Cable TV and Satellite gives you many channels, how many do you really watch? Chances are the ones you watch most are the major networks. Did you know these channels are still available to watch for free?
If you live close to a major city attaching a small HD antenna like a Mohu Leaf will give you access to major local networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX and PBS plus a handful of other channels. If you live further away you may need to install a larger roof antenna like the excellent Winegard HD8200U
What Makes Roku the Best Selling Streaming Player?
Simple to use Interface
Roku is intuitive and easy to use for all family members. Navigating channels and playing videos is as simple as it gets. Roku channel icons appear on your TV and you simply scroll through them selecting the one you want to open, and once open a listing of more icons each representing a video you can stream and watch.
1800+ Roku Channels
Roku offers developers free access to their software. This is why unlike Apple TV, who greatly restricts access to their device Roku hashad their channel store greatly expand with new channels over the last few years. There are over currently 1000+ Roku channels you can install with new ones being added almost every day.
Many Roku channels are Free to watch with no monthly fees. Roku also offers many Private channels which are not in the Roku channel store. From our free Roku Private Channel List these private channels can also be quickly installed on your Roku by clicking the add channel links.
One free private channel you won’t want to miss is Nowhere TV. This channel has all the major podcasts and you will be able to watch full episodes of many of your favorite Network News programs and TV shows. Click here to check our Top 70 best Roku channels list to get started and to install Nowhere TV.
Our more extensive Roku Private and Public Channels list will help you find and install even more Roku channels when you are ready. Before you start adding channels you will need to create a free account on the Roku website. Be sure to remember your password; you will need this every time you need to add a new Roku channel.
Other Items Needed to Watch Internet TV with Roku
Broadband Connection - The faster it is the better your picture quality will be. Minimum speed is 1.5 Mbps for SD quality. For HD you will need a minimum of 3.0 Mbps. You can check your current internet connection by visiting www.speedtest.net
Wireless Router - Unless the Cable or DSL modem you are using has a built-in wireless router or access point, you will need a wireless 802.11 b/g/n compatible router to get the internet connection to your Roku. If you can run an Ethernet cable directly to your Router and your Roku has an Ethernet port (not all models do) this will give you the best possible connection with fewest glitches for streaming.
HDMI Cable - You will also need to purchase an HDMI cable like this one as they are not included. A Roku 3 or 2 requires a TV with an available HDMI port. Other Roku models can be hooked up to older TV component video ports if you purchase an optional accessory cable through Roku.
Access to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, VUDU and More
All the major streaming content providers are available on Roku. While there is a lot of free content on Roku, if choosing to cut Cable subscribing to an $8 a month service like Netflix or Hulu Plus will give you access to thousands of on demand movies and TV shows. Be sure to take advantage of their free trial. Here is our Streaming Service Comparison Guide to help you compare today’s top streaming services, what they offer and which may best fit your needs.
How do I add Roku Channels?
Adding Roku Channel are easy. Just browse our channel list or select channels from the Roku channel store, then click the add channel links. You will be required to login to your Roku account or create one if you don’t already have one. Once you receive confirmation that the channel has been installed from their website, you need to re-sync your Roku. On your Roku select and enter the Roku channel store. Let it load and then exit back to the main channels list. Scroll all the way to the right and your new channels should be at the end of the list.
How do I Delete Private or Public Roku Channels?
In the main channel list on your Roku highlight the channel you want to remove. Press the Star Button (*) on your Roku Remote. From the Options menu that comes up choose “Remove Channel”. This will remove the channel from your Roku channel list.
How to Move or Reorganize Roku Channels
In the main channel list on your Roku highlight the channel you want to move. Press the Astrick Button (*) on your Roku Remote. From the Options menu that comes up select “Change Channel Position” Move the channel by pressing the left or right button on your remote. Press OK to save your new channel position.
How to Rate Roku Channels
In the main channel list on your Roku highlight the channel you want to move. Press the Astrick Button (*) on your Roku Remote. From the Options menu that comes up select “Five Gold Starts” Using the right or left button add or subtract stars. Press OK when done.
Roku Freezes and Other Channel Issues
There are many reasons why channels don’t always work 100% on Roku. One common misconception is that Roku owns and builds their own channels. So when a channel goes down people often want to blame Roku. Roku does not develop any channels; they simply build and sell the hardware. Channels are all hosted on 3rd party web servers on the internet and are built by many different developers. Channels can have issues completely unrelated to the Roku player. Just as you can’t blame your PC manufacturer when your internet connection goes down, the same is true for Roku when a channel does not work as it should. For additional help with basic troubleshooting tips if your Roku ever does freeze or becomes unresponsive, please click here »
YouTube is Now Available on Roku
For along time there was no official Roku YouTube channel available. Recently Roku released an official YouTube Roku channel for Roku 3 owners. Newer Roku models will soon be supported as well. You can learn more about how to install and use the YouTube channel by clicking Here.
How to Watch YouTube on an Older Roku
Unfortunately there is still no YouTube channel available for older Roku models. If you have one of these, you can still watch YouTube videos on Roku using some alternatives listed below. The easiest method is to install the Facebook Channel and link any video you want to watch on your Facebook wall. You will be able to browse and watch these videos and photos or even ones linked on your friends Facebook wall on your TV. While not as nice as an official Roku channel, it is still a working option to watch videos on YouTube.
For $35 you can get Google’s new Chromecast dongle and plug it into an HDMI port on your TV. This will give you access to YouTube from your Smart Phone or Tablet and let you cast videos to your TV. While it will require changing video inputs on your TV, this is another low cost alternative to watch YouTube and other video content not found on Roku. View the video below to learn more about casting videos with Chromecast.