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"Can someone explain Roku?" Topic

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Black Cavalier10 Jan 2017 7:09 p.m. PST

We're just about ready to cut the TV cable cord, & are looking at options.

For some reason I'm just not grokking what Roku is. & for some reason I've not found a website that explains it well enough for me.

Is it a DVR? Does it provide access to TV shows on it's own, or do you have to pay for shows or channel beyond the Roku itself? Can you watch local network non-cable channels on it?

If we have a TV that already has netflix, amazon video, hulu & vudu (whatever that is) already built in, what will a Roku offer us?


Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian10 Jan 2017 7:49 p.m. PST

Internet device that basically has the above and more apps. Still need an internet connection

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2017 9:12 p.m. PST

"If we have a TV that already has netflix, amazon video, hulu & vudu (whatever that is) already built in, what will a Roku offer us?"

If you have a smart TV that does that you probably don't need Roku unless you like diving into the off the beaten path programs that are out there. Netflix and Hulu will probably fill most of your viewing needs with Amazon picking up the occasional spur of the moment purchase of current programming. But you will have to make sure your are paying for the Netflix, Hulu and amazon accounts.

Black Cavalier11 Jan 2017 8:13 a.m. PST

Thanks. Is it a DVR, does it record shows? Does it have wireless capability?

alex75711 Jan 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

No (DVR) and yes (wireless). The Roku is just a device that connects your TV to the internet.

My home screen that comes up when Roku is connected has a button for YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime, all of which I have a (separate) subscription to. You select the appropriate service and it allow you to watch those shows/movies.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

I think any Roku you buy today will have wifi, so it has that kind of wireless. You still need internet.

Roku is a *player*, not content. It will reach out on the internet and grab shows from a list of sources and put them on your TV.

If your new TV is a "smart" TV and has Netflix, Amazon, et al built in, you only need Roku if Roku will give you something your TV doesn't already get. You could say that Roku is the "smart" part of the "smart TV". If you had Roku plus a non-smart TV you'd have the equivalent of a smart TV.

Roku is not a DVR, it does not record or store anything. It plays stuff over the internet.

You don't have to pay Roku once you've bought it, but if you want your Roku to play Netflix content you need a Netflix account. Ditto Hulu, etc. Amazon has some free content, I think, particularly if you have a Prime account. Rook will display YouTube, which is free, etc.

Hope that helps.

Wikipedia has an article on Roku.

Crow Bait Inactive Member11 Jan 2017 4:49 p.m. PST

If you have a Roku, a computer, and a service like, you can stream and record tv content to your tv from your computer. You can also record that content to your hard drive. There are roku web sites where you can find additional content such as your local tv stations. Take the plunge and cut the cord until cable and satellite allow you to select your programing a la carte.

Black Cavalier11 Jan 2017 5:28 p.m. PST

Thanks all, this helps. Sounds like we don't need Roku. And may not even need andvr since just about everything, other than local channels, will be viewable on demand.

tkdguy12 Jan 2017 12:42 a.m. PST

Here's another questions about Roku. If my internet connection is slow, with streaming from Roku still be choppy?

alex75712 Jan 2017 7:07 a.m. PST

Yes it will be choppy. If you watch something on your laptop or desktop and it is choppy, then it will be choppy on your TV via Roku.

Roku does noting but takes stuff from your internet connection and puts them on your TV.

Sergeant Paper12 Jan 2017 7:34 a.m. PST

You can also use a program like Plex with Roku to stream your video collection from your computer to your TV.

tkdguy12 Jan 2017 11:39 p.m. PST

Thanks for the response. I was wondering if Roku could fix some of the occasional choppiness in streaming.

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