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streaming_fan
Level 10

Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

One year in, here are a few highlights of my streaming experiences so far.

1.  I love cord cutting and streaming on Roku and I'm never going back to cable.  

2.  My top apps: The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Peacock, Tubi, Hulu, Plex, Youtube, IMDB TV and Movieland TV.  (All the free stuff.  Just pay 7 USD/mo. for mini plan on Hulu.)  

3.  "Volume leveling" helps to solve the commercials-are-too-loud problem.  Don't buy Roku Express, it doesn't have volume leveling.  Roku Premiere and Roku Ultra have volume leveling.  Either of those is recommended.  

4.  Roku Premiere is just as good as Roku Ultra for watching shows.  The only real difference I could see was that with Ultra, the apps launch a little faster.  

5.  Log in to every app.  That way, they will remember which show(s) you were watching last time, and the next time you launch your apps, you can just jump right back in and continue watching where you left off.  Plus, logging in lets you keep a list of your personal favorites in each app.   

6.  On the home screen, select an app and hit * and select "move app" and move your favorite apps to the top so they're all together and easy to find on the home screen.

7.  Occasionally, streaming may be slow.  In that case, I just reboot my Roku Ultra and that usually restores normal streaming.  

8.  Movies on the Movieland TV app are free and they don't have any commercials.  Note that the year of release for each film is usually incorrect.  

9.  Add a soundbar to your TV.  We added a mini soundbar to our 32" TV.  The soundbar is louder and clearer than our TV speakers.  We love it.  

10.  Streaming is more fun with an AI assistant such as Amazon's Echo Dot and Alexa.  It's fun during a show to ask Alexa questions such as is an actor alive, how old are they, are they married, how many children do they have, how much are they worth, etc.  

11.  The Pet Collective, Cats 24/7 and Dogs 24/7 live channels on Pluto TV are good 5 minute time fillers to put on the TV while you go to the kitchen and gather snacks during a movie break.  

12.  Youtube has full episodes of some TV shows for free.  Also, between TV shows and movies, it's fun to go to Youtube and search for talk show interviews of your favorite actors and so forth.  

13.  TV shows can move around from one app to another over time.  For example, Fantasy Island used to be on Crackle but then it moved to Tubi.  And Flipper used to be on The Roku Channel but then it moved to Pluto TV.  Expect this, be flexible and make notes.  

14.  I get emails from Roku, Pluto, Peacock, Tubi, Plex, Hulu and IMDB to keep up on all the latest streaming news on their services.  And they send me personalized suggestions based on my viewing history.  I like that.  

15.  All in all, I estimate that I saved about 750 USD in 2021 by cutting the cord.  

 

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How about you?  How long have you been streaming?  Do you like/dislike it?  What have been your experiences so far?  

Tags (1)
27 REPLIES 27\
AvsGunnar
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

I still miss arguing with the Customer Loyalty Department of the satellite companies (a.k.a Disguntled Customer Department) why I was paying 3x more than new customers, only to be rewarded for my "loyalty" with a pittance discount that would again mysteriously disappear from the bill. 

I also didn't realize how much content was out there until I came to the streaming world.  Have watched many movies and shows didn't even know existed or had ever heard of, especially independent films and films from other countries.

Always moving others and introducing them to streaming whenever I can.  Have bought and given more Rokus to people than I own.

 

Roku Community Streaming Expert
Just another Roku user... I am not a Roku employee.
Insignia RokuTV, Ultra 4660x, Premiere+ 3921, Express 4k+ 3941
MilesT
Level 14

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

Good cheap way to make a "dumb" TV into a smart TV, and restore full function to an older smart TV no longer supported by some broadcasters (e.g. BBCiplayer)

If you can afford it, buy the streambar or streambar pro (combined Roku and soundbar), especially if using it with a cheaper dumb TV. And use wired network connection if possible (Ultra, some TV, Streambar).

Avoid the streaming sticks unless you absolutely can't abide with a separate box and wires (the streambars are neat looking)

Not a Roku employee
streaming_fan
Level 10

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?


@MilesT wrote:

...

If you can afford it, buy the streambar or streambar pro (combined Roku and soundbar), especially if using it with a cheaper dumb TV. And use wired network connection if possible (Ultra, some TV, Streambar).

...


Why do you recommend the streambar or streambar pro?  What are the advantages?  

MilesT
Level 14

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

Why streambar?

Also a sound bar.

Can use wired Ethernet.

Has 5ghz wifi (cheapest models don't) and room for better wifi antennae.

Supports all the video standards.

Dedicated power supply and better heat dissipation. 

Looks pretty good, feels like it is built to last.

Can use IR (including some with volume/power) and wireless remotes.

Do a side by side comparison with other models and you will see the benefits.

I think that should be convincing enough.

Not a Roku employee
JCGoodwin
Level 9

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

You don't have a cable-replacement app to get the channels you used to watch on cable?

0 Kudos
streaming_fan
Level 10

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?


@JCGoodwin wrote:

You don't have a cable-replacement app to get the channels you used to watch on cable?


You asking me?  Well, no, I don't.  I just watch the free stuff, such as it is, which is available on Roku using the various free apps.   

streaming_fan
Level 10

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

@MilesT I see.  The Streambar does sound pretty nice.  Thanks for the tip.  

MilesT
Level 14

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

15.  All in all, I estimate that I saved about 750 USD in 2021 by cutting the cord.  

Unlikely to save that much in the UK, unless you are abandoning cable or sattelite.  Both cable and satellite in the UK do have some unique content, and no comprehensive cable/Sat replacement apps.

NowTV/Sky Store channels don't quite replace Sky Sat (yet..long term Sky strategy is to replace Sat with streaming), and some cable unique channels (UK doesn't have Hulu, Sling, YouTubeTV, etc.)

Roku can allow you to legally avoid paying annual TV licence fee (£159 pa regardless if using antenna/OTA, Sat, or cable). Just avoid watching live TV (via ITVhub, All4, My5, Stv, UKTVplay and probably Pluto, or OTA free view/freesat), and avoid using BBCiplayer (live or catchup).  Not sure if BBCSounds needs license fee, but shares login with BBCiplayer so it could trigger license enforcement, needs a legal case I think).

NB: if you have previously used BBCiplayer/BBCsounds and therefore have a BBC account, probably best to do a GDPR "right to be forgotten request" to the BBC for any email you may have used, which will close the account.  This will demonstrate non-use for TVLicensing agency. Lots of other advice online to prove non use for TVL (who will write letters in threatening language) and what to do if a TVL inspector visits you.

Not a Roku employee
0 Kudos
streaming_fan
Level 10

Re: Been streaming with Roku for one year. What did I learn so far?

@MilesT Not sure about the TV license aspect but I'm pretty sure there are British TV series and movies available for free on Roku apps.  

Walks with My Dog and Wild at Heart are free on Pluto TV.  

Where the Heart Is is free on The Roku Channel.  

Also Antiques Roadshow UK on Roku live channel 463.  

The Filmrise British TV app has lots more British TV series and movies.  

Look around, other apps on Roku should have British programs, too.