Computers & Electronics

Roku discussion thread. Players, TVs, soundbars, etc

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Roku discussion thread. Players, TVs, soundbars, etc

I've taken a deep dive into Roku as of late so I figured it'd be helpful to have a main thread to discuss Roku products and issues.

I learned that Roku TVs all get updated directly from Roku regardless of who makes the equipment. Good news for people that have been stuck with outdated interfaces on other smart TV platforms.

So far I've setup multiple Roku devices. A 3100C, 4630X, Insignia TV w/built-in Roku 5302X, TCL w/built-in Roku 7120X, TCL w/built-in Roku C107X

Wherever possible I prefer to hard wire the Rokus vs relying on wifi. In two instances I'm successfully using TPLink Powerline adapters to hardwire the Roku devices.

This is the kit I bought from cheap on Kijiji. Make sure to update firmware, if applicable, once kit is installed

https://www.tp-link.com/ca/home-network ... pa4220kit/

I find myself using the Roku app a lot especially for the private listening feature. This way I can watch stuff and get audio through my bluetooth headphones and not disturb my partner.

https://www.roku.com/en-ca/mobile-app

Here is how I solved the 14.50 error on used Insignia Roku TV that I purchased recently from Kijiji

how-i-fixed-14-50-error-insignia-roku-tv-2373046/

You can sign up to be a Roku tester at link below. You'll need pictures of your gear's 'About' screen so they can confirm model and serial # information when you add your platforms.

https://rokutestingportal.centercode.com/welcome/

Roku 9.3 is rolling out to Canada and it brings some nice enhancements like voice search right through the Roku app and Google Home/Amazon Alexa integration . None of my devices have received it yet so I can't speak to the changes.

https://blog.roku.com/en-ca/roku-os-9-3 ... assistants

"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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Mar 23, 2004
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It's quite interesting that Roku TVs will get updated to this as well, esp. when it sounds like all TVs will get updated? That seems like a lot of work for Roku though perhaps they've made the implementation very rudimentary in terms of how it is integrated on the "TV" side of things (like accessing inputs, picture processing, etc.). Meaning that it's not much work for them to make an update that serves all TVs.

One thing we do know is most Roku TVs aren't even that expensive so whatever agreement they have going on with the TV makers that use Roku, along with whatever they are making in the "spying revenue" must be significant enough to offset any such costs of adding cost to the TV. In fact I guess it actually reduces the cost of a TV to have Roku on it? Seems like that may be the case according to videos such as that one on why TVs are so cheap these days.

But I wonder how long that will go on for? How long will it be until Roku starts saying TVs from this year or generation or make/model are no longer going to be updated? 'Cause it surely will not last forever. Hopefully though, it will last longer than all the proprietary OS/apps on earlier and other Smart TVs. Two out of three first-tier manufacturers are still using proprietary OS, but I wonder if they may change their tunes at some point?

Android OTOH is open but is entirely dependent on the manufacturers to provide model-specific updates which is quite clear given older phones and tablets never get updated more than once or twice. So seems like Roku's model is not too bad, possibly better than Android in terms of longevity but I don't think there are too many problems with earlier Android TVs and having app support ended/deprecated...at least not yet.

In terms of signing up as a Roku beta tester or whatever, I'd just note that by having a thread here and discussing anything about the beta testing may be against the terms of the NDA you have to sign when you sign up for that. So just be careful about that part.
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"But I wonder how long that will go on for? How long will it be until Roku starts saying TVs from this year or generation or make/model are no longer going to be updated? 'Cause it surely will not last forever. Hopefully though, it will last longer than all the proprietary OS/apps on earlier and other Smart TVs. Two out of three first-tier manufacturers are still using proprietary OS, but I wonder if they may change their tunes at some point?"

They have definitely ended support for older , external Roku players in the past. Boxes keep working but no new features added.

https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/roku-is ... u-players/

Here is what they sent owners of registered legacy devices:

Dear Roku customer,

Thanks for being a longtime Roku streamer. We see that you own a classic Roku player that’s many generations behind our newest devices. We’re reaching out to let you know that, as of November 15th, this Roku player will no longer receive new software updates, and to extend a special offer to keep you streaming well into the future.

What does this mean?

You can continue to enjoy this classic Roku player and stream your currently available channels. However, this Roku player will no longer get new features or streaming channels, updates to existing channels, or other software-related updates. You may also potentially lose existing channels if our partners decide to update their channel in the future.

Your exclusive offer for a new Roku player

We want you to enjoy streaming to the fullest with the latest features and channels, so today we’re providing this special replacement upgrade offer: a Roku Express+ for just $15, a discount of 50% off the regular retail price. Click here.

High definition streaming made easy

Roku Express+ delivers a faster HD streaming experience and includes optional composite cables if you’re connecting to an older TV. Best of all, your Roku Express+ will receive support for the newest software updates and channel releases, like the newly launched Apple TV channel and the Apple TV+* premium streaming service.

We hope you take advantage of this exclusive offer to enjoy all the benefits of the Roku streaming experience.
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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Here are a few channels I am using on my TCL 55" S423. Some you may or may not not aware. My Ruko account is a Canadian one.

M= paid membership
F = free
  • Netflix (M)
  • PrimeVideo (M) - can now watch Canada Global News for free.
  • YouTube (F)
  • FilmonTV (F) - watch British TV channels
  • Hoopla (F) - need my Markham Library Card # to borrow movies and TV shows
  • Tubi (F) - free movies and TV shows
  • Roku (F) - free but limited movies
  • Sky News (F) - British news network
  • DW (F) - Germany news network; need subscription for live news, otherwise news clips are free
  • CNN-go (F) - US news network; free clips but subscription for live news
  • Bloomberg (F) - Business news network; free clips but subscription for live news
  • EuroNews (F) - European news network; no live news but free news clips
  • Aljazeera (F) - Middle East news network in English
  • Hong Kong TV (F) - only one Cantonese news channel of Radio Television Hong Kong (a public boardcaster)
  • NDT Television (F) - Chinese Mandarin news channel in North America independent of PRC influence
  • MLB (M) - needs subscription to watch most MLB games but occasionally some games are free.
  • fuboTV (M) - subscription only to watch world soccer matches from various Europen leagues and MLS in America
Please share what channels worth watching !
[OP]
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River TV is free beta now and works great with Roku. Thanks to @trucanuck for posting

rivertv-beta-live-2373744/

Kanopy is an excellent free movie service. Just use your library card to sign up.

https://channelstore.roku.com/en-ca/det ... 409/kanopy
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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I've had Roku boxes at home for several years. After exploring a lot of the channels available at first, they have basically become just for Netlfix and Plex.

My observations:
- Streaming quality is good, even over WiFi - I have mine on 5GHz WiFi even though there's another ethernet-connected box right next to it, and I never really feel the need to switch.
- It does work well for Netflix and Plex.
- The box is really locked down, with channel apps available only through the Roku store (even if they are unlisted). A few hacks of loopholes appeared over the years, and Roku had them patched and a forced update pushed to their gear within 24 hours.
- There are frequent forced changes to the existing channel apps - you never know day-to-day when you are going to find stuff gone from the lineup forever or substantially degraded when you turn it on.
- It appears that Roku's business model is not to make a profit on selling the players, it's to get a cut of subscription services. For that reason they are slanted very strongly toward paid subscription services. They have thousands of free apps - but most of them are junk, like hundreds of religious channels, and hundreds offering old out-of-copyright movies.
- They do offer access to TV networks and cable channels online - but only partial access, and only if you already have a cable subscriptions - in which case, what's the point?
- Their support for Canada was never great, and it has deteriorated over time (e.g., originally I could manage my channel line-up from a desktop web browser - then Roku removed that capability for Canadian accounts)

Personally I would not buy another Roku box/stick at this point, and Roku in a TV would not be a selling point for me.
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Scote64 wrote: Personally I would not buy another Roku box/stick at this point, and Roku in a TV would not be a selling point for me.
I love their mobile app though and the fact that I can plug headphones into my phone and listen to my HDTV's audio instead of running a long cable or having to buy some bluetooth headphones (which would require a dongle on the TV).

I also love the fact that the app has a virtual remote control, in case I misplace the actual remote.

Considering the alternatives are Apple TV, Firestick and Chromecast, it isn't so bad. Most people only need Netflix, Prime and YouTube.
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sprung wrote: River TV is free beta now and works great with Roku. Thanks to @trucanuck for posting

rivertv-beta-live-2373744/

Kanopy is an excellent free movie service. Just use your library card to sign up.

https://channelstore.roku.com/en-ca/det ... 409/kanopy
Kanopy is indeed excellent. Seems to be better than Hoopla with great variety of movies.
RiverTV is not impressive at all. Not worth $19.99 a month after the one month free trial. Already cancelled my subscription after registered an account with it. Can still watch it free till end of trial period.

P.S. My local Markham Public Library is not in the Kanopy list of libraries to gain access. Fortunately Vaughan Public Library is on that list. As a resident of Markham which is part of the York Region allows me to get a free Library card from VPL as Vaughan is also part of the York Region.
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Here's how to force an update on a Roku TV. Worked for me but still not on 9.3

"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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Dec 16, 2004
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Roku 9.3 is rolling out to Canada and it brings some nice enhancements like voice search right through the Roku app and Google Home/Amazon Alexa integration . None of my devices have received it yet so I can't speak to the changes
I was excited to hear about the Alexa integration on 9.3 but was surprised to find you can already integrate to a certain extent! I can turn my 2 Roku TVs on and off and even my Roku 3 connected to my old Panny plasma via CEC.
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dishguy1977 wrote: I was excited to hear about the Alexa integration on 9.3 but was surprised to find you can already integrate to a certain extent! I can turn my 2 Roku TVs on and off and even my Roku 3 connected to my old Panny plasma via CEC.
Mine can only update from 9.2.0.4502 to 9.2.6.5205.
No 9.3 yet.
I am looking forward to pairing a Google Home Mini with my TCL Ruko TV.
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some of my Rokus got updated to 9.3.0.4170 today
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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Got the Vudu app onto my Streaming Stick + but I can't sign in with my VPN or smartDNS service.

Anyone have any luck running Vudu?

Vudu works on my LG tv and Apple Tv via VPN.
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sprung wrote: some of my Rokus got updated to 9.3.0.4170 today
My Roku TV can be forced to update too.
But it can only pair with Roku speakers and not my Google mini ! :(
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drdtyc wrote: My Roku TV can be forced to update too.
But it can only pair with Roku speakers and not my Google mini ! :(
One of our TCL Roku TVs just got 9.3 update today

Also discovered Movieland channel. Lots of great movies with no commercials.

Watching 1987's RoboCop now

https://channelstore.roku.com/en-ca/det ... vieland-tv
Images
  • 20200611_223444.jpg
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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9.4 on the way, adds Apple AirPlay support amongst other enhancements

https://blog.roku.com/en-ca/roku-os-94? ... nic_social

Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit – Later this year, we’re expecting to deliver Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on select 4K Roku devices. With AirPlay 2, you can stream, control, and share your favorite content directly from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your Roku device and bring the experience to the big screen. HomeKit allows you to easily and securely control your Roku device using the Home app and Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or HomePod.
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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My TCL Roku TV got the 9.4 update today

Images
  • 20201110_004052.jpg
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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CBC TV Launches on Roku streaming devices

https://blog.roku.com/en-ca/cbc-tv-laun ... ku-devices

Great for stuff like Trickster, Freaks and Geeks, plus much more
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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Got HBOMax on my Roku Streaming Stick+.

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