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Iona-D
Level 9

The Year Long Experiment With Roku Is Now Over: Results & Personal Observations

Dear Roku Executives, Engineers, Support Staff, Present & Future Users,

I have completed my year long personal experimentation integrating  some of the current (2018-2019) models into my own viewing habits and time.  These included the following: 2 Roku Streaming Sticks (Model 3800R), 1 Roku Streaming Stick Plus (Model 3810R), and 1 Roku Ultra (Model 4660R).  Not only do I feel that the experiment was a success, it even led me down another unexpected path to uncover more ways of using these devices in other less than ideal situations.  Plus the additional bonus of saving money from the get-go.

In April 2018, I wanted to enjoy more programs with a new (at least to me) “dumb” television with a couple of HMDI ports.  I already stream content via my computer or smartphones for a number of years.  I heard about Roku and other streaming devices from around the Web.  I first took a chance with a Chromecast.  While it worked fine with my rather meager set up (DSL with heavily shared-slow- internet access, simple HMDI connections to my television), I found that device rather limiting so I took a chance with Roku and bought a basic Streaming Stick. 

It was a perfect fit for me!   I like the idea of storing my apps in the stick rather than my smartphone or computer.  I liked it so much that I bought one for my 90 year old mother.  That is where things got rather interesting.

Keep in mind everyone warm and with a brain has different approaches to content selection and viewing habits-even within families.  I like to see my selections through various means of devices (Online Apps/Channels, DVD players, and indoor Over The Air Antennas).  My mother likes her television simply just on all the time 24/7 with only an OTA Antenna.  My sister’s own habits  is similar to our mother-with her own now not functioning-TV used the same way.  We chose not to pay even basic cable in the past as our low income does not allow such things.   

I bought a second Streaming Stick for my mother for Mother’s Day 2018,  She simply did not relate to it-and still does not.  She used it one time (with my assistance) and afterwards it just gathered dust behind her set.  She went back to her own no-conscious-thought viewing habits.  I went back to just buying her cake & candy on this year’s Mother’s Day (she relates better to junk food).

The failed experiment with my mother did spur me onto branching outward to a 1 year experiment or exploration on my own viewing habits.  I chose to use my own Roku stick, DVD player, and even my Chromecast dongle (for content not available or easily accessible on Roku) to see if I could live well without being tempted to include traditional Pay Television or cable in my life for 1 year.   I wondered that this sort of alternative to cable really does work for people with financial limitations or simply not wanting to throw away money to large corporations who don’t care about anything or anyone except to fill their coffers monthly by sucking out as much cash from customers as possible.  Or it’s simply  just another hype.

I decided to limit my content selections to “free” (i.e. paid by ads, public libraries, PBS, etc).  Simply put, no out-of-pocket subscriptions paid by my own credit card.  It was better than expected.  Much to most of the content I watch is not an out of pocket expense anyway.  I just have to be a bit more aware of what I’m signing up for when I choose a particular app, then within that particular app, whether I’m on the completely free plan or not-basically not involved with some semi hidden “free” trial.     

For a good part of the year this is how I conducted myself online with my own Roku. After several months passed, I decided to give 1 paid streaming platform a try.  I already was comfortable enough with not being unwittingly sucked into paying for something, so I felt ready to select the one app/channel that would supplement plus really satisfy my own viewing needs that the “free” apps could not.  I chose CBS All Access.

To summarize my Roku experience up to now and in the foreseeable future:


  • The “free” trial did allow me to see if CBS All Access was a good fit for my own viewing habits and my DSL set up.  Many of its content is things I do want to watch.  The price (I pay annually) is quite low and manageable-even for my family’s meager income.   Very rare is the time I have problems streaming on CBS.  I knew exactly what I was paying for before I signed up formally.

  • I decided to experiment with the actual physical Roku device-my mother’s former stick.  I sent it away to a friend’s house to lend it to him via Hotel & Dorm Connect.  It worked well for a short time, then shut down and refused to work no matter what I did.  Them I simply took it off my “My Linked Devices” list on my Roku Account page.  Then I performed a complete Factory Reset to insure a completely wiped device for some other use.

  • I stumbled upon this  review for another brand of streaming stick.  Still it’s very  similar to my problem with my friend’s WiFi situation.                                            “……...Ipurchased this device to facilitate streaming to my elderly plasma TV. While I bought the 4K model, my TV is still only 720p, but sooner or later, I will upgrade……..”-BJinPasshttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MQYPJ2F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1  Together it seem to work well.  Although he does not know, I intended this to be his birthday surprise.  I felt I succeeded on all fronts.

  • In my own (and his) area, we have access to local broadcast channels. Locast came online just yesterday and I had BTV for a while.   I use both these services only when I cannot get some of the channels over-the-air.  I prefer to use antennas for this purpose at least at my house.  The video/audio signal is far superior.
 
So, I am very happy with my own Roku (and other) streaming devices.  I will continue to use them for as long as they are regularly supported and updated.   Most of all, I have found first hand that they are an excellent way of cutting/eliminating expenses with their careful use in any household.

The only con or negative that I experienced using streaming devices is the lack of person-to-person support.  Everything is done online or a talk-through over the phone.  You don’t have a “cable guy” or some other in-house visiting technician anymore to solve technical issues.  It was something I had to learn to live with or adjust to this new 21st century reality.
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4 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: The Year Long Experiment With Roku Is Now Over: Results & Personal Observations

Nice experiment and excellent write up. As you've found, everyone has different needs and wants for the entertainment. It truly is amazing the amount of free, ad supported media available online with a Roku or Fire TV. While one could easily end up paying more than a cable subscription if you get carried away, overall it's far less expensive to stream. I too am able to get a large number of OTA stations, and record some programming with my media PC. But even if I had no OTA at all, my wife and I would be perfectly content with whatever is available online. My media PC also has all of our (legally) purchased DVDs and Blu Rays stored on hard drives and can be watched on our TVs with a Blu Ray player, Roku or Shield. We'll never subscribe to pay TV again.
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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ronfelder
Level 7

Re: The Year Long Experiment With Roku Is Now Over: Results & Personal Observations

Legally purchased dvds?

Roku 2xs (3100x), Roku Express (3900x) ,Roku Ultra (4660RW) .FIOS Quantum modem router, Verizon FIOS 100/100, LG HDTV 42LH90, Pioneer VSX-920 Audio/Video Multi Channel Receiver
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: The Year Long Experiment With Roku Is Now Over: Results & Personal Observations


@ronfelder wrote:

Legally purchased dvds?


Sure. All the media I've ripped to my server are DVDs and Blu Rays that I purchased. They are not from discs that someone else bought and I borrowed to rip. All I've done is to eliminate the need to dig a shiny disc out to watch something. Also, the wife likes to fall asleep with something playing, and by streaming from my server it will just continue to play until it reaches the end of the list. Depending on the playlist she selects, that could be 15 hours worth of content. Smiley Happy Plus, since it's all local to my home network, I'm not racking up huge amounts of data usage (even though our carrier doesn't cap, my daughter was notified once about excessive data usage. I discovered someone had hacked her media server and was using it as a bot). And if my Internet connection goes down, everything inside my network still works. 

Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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boogernose
Level 8

Re: The Year Long Experiment With Roku Is Now Over: Results & Personal Observations

Dont feel bad about the MoM experiment. We've been trying to get our MoM to  use a dam smart phone for years. They just dont get it.

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