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Level 7

Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

We are 60 yrs old, and more techy than most our age, but we have some questions as we get organized to "cut the cord" with cable.  We'll use our cable company for internet-only, and are trying to understand the other parts of the equation.  We have an older TV (not a smart TV, it is Dynex model DX-26LD150A11) but we have a Roku stick on HDMI port 3)... and now I'm trying to understand if we need to buy a new smart TV, and if so does the Roku stick become trash, and do I need to buy an additional digital antenna to get local stations or is that built into a smart TV?   For our DVR, we have to return the DVR that the cable company rents to us, but we have an old TIVO (with a lifetime plan, believe it or not, so there is no cost to use it) that we could dust off and try to use.   If you have a "Roku TV" does it come with the Roku service or is that an extra charge?  We already pay, by the way, for Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Prime & Prime video, and Hulu.  My husband would love to keep access to the Golf channel, other than that we don't care about sport channels.   Please help, I feel like the components of this are not clear to me yet.

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Level 16

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

Well if youre only using the cable for internet you might want to investigate getting a connection that solely offers internet. Its usually much faster and reliable.You didnt mention where you live. If youre happy with your TV keep it. There is debate about having a "dumb" Tv with a roku on the side vs. a smart one . I subscribe to the former argument.

Cutting the cord plunges you into a learning experience. There are subscription Channels like HuluTV and Prime and Youtubetv and more which can offer you a spectrum of streaming opportunitys with the latest

Shows available. Also cheaper Paid Channels like Philo and Sling. There are also free Channels that offer much.

Jump in the waters fine. But may require getting used to a bit.

Roku Ultra ---Ethernet rules---

From now on if people dont upvote me and do as I say I will consider holding my breath and selling my Roku's.
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Level 7

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

One of the most important items you mention is your internet - you would best be served if you have at least a download speed of 25 Mbs and a good wi-fi signal at your TV.  If you need the internet wired connection, you must get the Ultra model.   Secondly, you mentioned Roku cost.  The Roku service (which includes the Roku Channel) is free.  Please be sure when registering it that your browser points to Roku - check the spelling.  There are scams that will impersonate Roku and charge you.  There are lots of apps to choose from, some of which are free and I would recommend Pluto (which has news, sports, comedy, older movies with too many commercials for me, and music channels).  If you would like your local channels, check YouTube TV or Hulu Live - their websites will show you all the channels you will get at your zip code.  YouTube TV is about $50/mo and Hulu Live is $5 more.  The great thing is that there are no contracts on either service - easy to switch but I believe they will charge for the entire month if you switch mid-month.  I have YouTube TV which has a menu that is easy to navigate, customizable guide, automatically places your favorites on top, a 'live' guide and includes a DVR that will hold unlimited programs for 9 months with 3 simultaneous TVs streaming.  Hulu Live has a more limited DVR and allows 2 TVs to stream simultaneously, but they have surround sound as opposed to YouTube TV.  I am retired came from DirecTV and I don't miss it a single bit (and the monthly savings is $70/mo with the same channels that I watch).

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Level 21

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

Don't let your age concern you. I'm 65 and can handle it all quite well, but I am more tech savvy than most people my age. Smiley Tongue

There's no need to replace your TV if there's nothing wrong. The Roku turns your TV into a "smart" TV, and most likely better than any of the features that come built into the TV itself. Of course, it's difficult to buy a plain TV anymore. But even though virtually every TV in my home is considered "smart", I still have either a Roku or an Nvidia Shield on every one. So buying a smart TV doesn't make your Roku obsolete at all. 

Don't get fooled by these advertisements for "digital" TV antennas. There's no such thing. Over the Air TV is broadcast over VHF and UHF frequencies, and it doesn't matter at all if the signal is digital or analog. An antenna designed for TV station frequencies will work with any TV. The old fashioned rabbit ears work just fine if the TV signal is strong enough.

Which brings the second point. Digital TV (all OTA TV in the US is digital now) in general requires a stronger signal than what would work in the analog days. That's because with analog, if the signal was weak you might still get a picture that was watchable (barely). You might remember the snow or static you'd see on the screen. With digital, as long as the signal of above the minimum threshold, you get a perfect picture. If you're right at the threshold, you might get some blocking or stuttering of the image, and audio dropouts. Below the threshold, you get nothing at all. 

You asked about a Roku TV. A Roku TV is just a smart TV that runs on the Roku operating system. I have a 43" Sharp 4K Roku TV next to me right now I use as a computer monitor when I telework. There's no charge of any kind to use a Roku device and register it on a Roku user account. And there's no limit to the number of devices you can have on your account. There are scam sites on the Internet that claim to be Roku customer support that tell you a fee is required to register or to get a "premium" account. There is no such thing, and if you get someone like that on the phone hang up! 

As to the channels you subscribe to (Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) You can have them installed on as many Roku devices as you want. However, some of them may have a limit on the number of simultaneous uses. For example, Netflix has three plans: one is standard def with only one stream at a time, the next offer HD and two streams, while the 4K plan allows four streams. Others may have similar restrictions. None of that is controlled by Roku, and it doesn't matter what device you're using to watch. Those limits would still apply. 

After all my meandering, the bottom line is using a Roku will likely provide all the entertainment you desire in your home, and upgrading your TV won't change anything. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 7

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

So we are trying to do the same on cutting the cord. Just hooked up the roku. Experimenting with channels. Went to discovery channel. The was asked who our tv supplier was - currently direct tv - then was required to enter a code which then appeared to connect via the direct tv that I’m trying to get rid of. I also worked at att for 40 yrs but don’t get the discounted rate you do. Help site leaves a lot to be desired. Thank you

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Level 21

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...


@DM48 wrote:

So we are trying to do the same on cutting the cord. Just hooked up the roku. Experimenting with channels. Went to discovery channel. The was asked who our tv supplier was - currently direct tv - then was required to enter a code which then appeared to connect via the direct tv that I’m trying to get rid of. I also worked at att for 40 yrs but don’t get the discounted rate you do. Help site leaves a lot to be desired. Thank you


For pay channels, some have a direct subscription plan, so you don't need a provider. But some are only available if you have a TV provider (cable or satellite). But there are also a handful of other streaming providers that might offer the channels you are looking for. Hulu is one that has a number of "cable" channels, and Sling TV is another. I suggest checking both of those. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 17

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...


@DM48 wrote:

So we are trying to do the same on cutting the cord. Just hooked up the roku. Experimenting with channels. Went to discovery channel. The was asked who our tv supplier was - currently direct tv - then was required to enter a code which then appeared to connect via the direct tv that I’m trying to get rid of. I also worked at att for 40 yrs but don’t get the discounted rate you do. Help site leaves a lot to be desired. Thank you


Cable-type channel originators are paid by the providers that carry them (cable/satellite/Sling/Hulu/Youtube TV/etc) out of the subscription fees collected from their subscribers.

Those cable-type channels that also make their content available via streaming mostly limit their use to those who are paying via a subscription to a provider carrying their channel. Typically you must authenticate this subscription by providing login credentials for your provider account. Without an authenticated account most will not work at all, others may work but have very limited content.

Some premium cable channels (HBO, Showtime, CBS All Access, Disney+, etc.) also may be subscribed to directly without a separate service provider.

  • Roku Streaming Stick +, 3810X, Ser YH0059427035, wifi LivRm - Samsung UN55ES6100
  • Roku Streaming Stick, 3600X, Ser 5S56D8240827, wifi BedRm - JVC EM37T
  • Roku 3, 4200X, Ser 4124C7087583, wifi GstRm - Sanyo DP26640
  • Roku 2 XD, 3050X (collecting dust in a drawer)
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Level 7

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

Keep the "dumb" TV.  If you are in a suburban or urban area you can spend $35 for a digital tv antenna.  Find out if your TV has the digital tuner or you may have to buy that (another $35).  I have the Roku Stick and it does fantastic on my wifi signal.  I actually have 3 items, I have the older Roku Streaming Stick on my little smart tv in the office, I have a Roku Streaming Stick+ on the bedroom "dumb" tv and I have a 65" Roku TV.  I have one small indoor antenna hooked into my house that now supplies antenna tv to all three tv's and, after a brief period of frustration all three remotes for the Roku devices each now control only their paired device (had to hook everything up, turn it all off and re-pair the remotes to each device).

If you're not high into sports I briefly looked at YouTube TV and really liked the setup and channel offerings but I have a sports fanatic in the house so needed NFL network, ESPN, etc., so went back to SlingTV.  I have a subscription to Prime Video, honestly don't use it a lot, and also have a, currently free, subscription to Disney+.

I have an old Tivo also and mine requires a cable subscription.  Sling TV gives you the ability to record shows for an extra $5 a month.

I did have to bump up my internet connection because if I tried to stream a 4K UHD movie I was getting a lot of buffering.  If you have an older TV you may not have this problem.  Roku does provide a nice amount of free offerings, be aware not all "smart" tv's offer the Roku app and many are very slow, if not downright bad, at updating for new apps as they are released.

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Level 21

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

There's no such thing as a "digital" TV antenna. The antenna doesn't care if the signal is digital or analog. That's one of the stupid marketing gimmicks they're using nowadays. Depending on the local OTA signal strength, he might be able to use a simple set of $5 rabbit ears, or might require a larger yagi or amplified antenna. 

Any TV purchased in the last 10 years will have a digital tuner, so unless it's an old analog TV that shouldn't be an issue. And if it is an analog set, the current Roku players won't work on it, as no current model has analog outputs. 

There is no "app" for a Smart TV that offers Roku access. There is a Roku app for iOS and Android devices for controlling a Roku device, as long as they are both on the same network. 

Internet speed for online streaming sources needs to be at least 15 Mbps for HD material and 25 Mbps for UHD/4K material. While the streams themselves are less than these numbers, this gives a little overhead to still be able to use the Internet for other purposes. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 7

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

I was looking into the Golf channel for my brother and couldn't find one available without Cable Provider login. 

OTA (over the air) channels can be great depending on the area you're in. When living near Portland, OR; I had a rotating digital antenna near the roof peak and had about 44 channels available. The rotation was fed through coaxial cable via handheld remote, so no separate power was needed. 

Smart TV vs TV with Roku Device via HDMI. I personally prefer non-Smart TV with device via HDMI. Here's my reason. After owning my 1st Roku, approx 2 yrs, I started getting errors on certain channels because they wouldn't support that device anymore. It's more inexpensive to buy a new Roku than a TV. You can still run an HDMI Roku on a Smart TV, you just have to select that input. It is getting almost impossible to find a non-Smart TV anymore. 

I have all of my devices set so that when I hit my home button, it turns on TV and switches to Roku input. You can activate the input at Settings/ System/ Control other devices and check " 1-touch play".

Then to turn on TV, go to Settings/ Remotes & devices/ Remote (In use) and scroll to "Set up remote for TV control". Follow on screen directions. 

Hope this helps you some.