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Reel Rookie

I want to get my 80 year old parents a Roku TV so they can stream, but I have questions?

Looking for help. My 80 year old parents have Comcast on 3 HUGE TV's, yet they can never get premium channels and trust me, it's hard for them -- each time they watch something on HBO Max (which they pay $80.00 a year for), a pop up comes up that they have to enter info, etc. It's crazy! I have a Roku TV, no Comcast and a simple antenna and I stream everything. I'm thinking of buying them a Roku TV for a different room in their house and want to make it the "streaming only" room/TV so they can simply stream channels that I'm willing to pay for.

My question: If I buy them a Roku TV, set it up in a different room without cables (ie, no Comcast, simply the antenna for local channels), can I then simply pay for their streaming services (like HBO Max, Hulu, etc) on my account so they can go into the "streaming room" and watch whatever they want on that TV?  Btw, I live in SF and they live in NJ, but I go back each October and they spend all the time on the phone with Comcast asking why HBO trying to figure out why they can't watch channels they subscribe to. It's driving me nuts. I want to make it easier for them this Oct. Can anyone help me?

I could even do a call!

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Retired Moderator

Re: I want to get my 80 year old parents a Roku TV so they can stream, but I have questions?


Thanks for the inquiry.

Your parents will be able to stream content through premium channels (such as a HBO Max, Hulu, etc) on their Roku TV as long as the TV is connected to internet connection and they have authenticated the channel on their TV.


Danny R.
Roku Community Moderator
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Reel Rookie

Re: I want to get my 80 year old parents a Roku TV so they can stream, but I have questions?

Hi Danny!

Thank you so very much for this reply.

They do have email and internet connection and my intention is to purchase year long subscriptions for HBO, Hulu and several other premium channels. But Danny, it makes me nervous because as I said, when I visit them, they already DO have several premium channels on Comcast, but every single time they go to watch a specific movie on those channels, a screen comes up that says they have to enter the code that was just sent to them.

They're 88 and it drives them nuts. I'm hoping the Roku "streaming room" will literally NOT do any of that, but my concern is that once I buy the TV and subscribe them to all the channels, they will continue to get those screen "extra step" messages.

They're so excited about me getting the TV, etc, but I am so scared its going to be the same situation.  Danny, is there a Roku customer service option to actually talk to a person for when I set it up for them, or even, like today?  


Thank you!



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Channel Surfer

Re: I want to get my 80 year old parents a Roku TV so they can stream, but I have questions?


This is what is happening currently, I think. I just went through this with my dad. 

Traditional cable is being mixed with streaming by the cable companies on a single cable box. What that means is the have HBO on cable as a channel with a number (probably more than one IE HBO East, HBO, West) when they go to that channel number they get to watch whatever is on the screen. 

The cable companies in their infinite wisdom also has a channel for streaming which requires authentication just like on a phone or tablet or Roku device or TV. That is in all likelihood the channel they are going to.

If they have HBO, Cinemax, Showtime as part of their cable subscription then they get those streaming services in most cases as well. It does require you to authenticate with your current cable provider by selecting the provider and providing the username and password that was set up with the cable company. 

Problem is most older folks have never gotten or set up that user name and password because they still get a paper bill. 

So in order to use the streaming service be it on the current cable box they have or on a phone, tablet or streaming device like Roku or Fire stick etc they are going to have to get that useanmer and password. 

My dad will not get rid of cable because he likes numbers on his channels. He also can not grasp that a DVR and Streaming accomplish the same thing. 

I got them Roku TV's because the square blocks make things simple. All 4 of their tv's look exactly the same as far a screen layout. All of the streaming services regardless have to be authenticated on each TV.

The one issue that does not have a fix is that for whatever reason all of the streaming services make you re authenticate several times a year. It is very annoying and for someone older very confusing if you dont have a computer ortablet with a keyboard to make it faster. Trying to use the onscreen keyboard is terrible.

I have the same username and password the same on all of their streaming accounts which helps but it is still hard to get them to understand it.

I hope that helps and if I have made it more confusing ask and I will try to clarify.

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Reel Rookie

Re: I want to get my 80 year old parents a Roku TV so they can stream, but I have questions?

I just got out of a 2 hour dentist appt on a Saturday which was such a drag,  but when I saw this thorough reply, I sprung back into action! You articulated so many of the problems/questions I have and it was very validating!

Do you work for Roku or are you a community member?  The reason I ask is because I started to reply to your email point for point and then thought, "It would be so much easier/faster to talk to this person," but I don't know what the rules are, etc. But I'm in SF and will be around till 8pm my time, then tomorrow I'll be home after 4.  I'll also be home m-f after work around 4.  I'd love to do a call about this if possible.

I'm not going back home in NJ until end of October and trust me, I expect this Roku Tv/switching accounts will take up about a week of vacation with my parents.  They're so excited about it and I want to go there prepared, you know?

Let me know how we could do a call if possible!

Jenny Stewart

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Channel Surfer

Re: I want to get my 80 year old parents a Roku TV so they can stream, but I have questions?

No, I don't work for Roku. I am also not part of their online community support Team.

I have been in the computer business since the late 80's and enjoy helping when I can. I have for sets of elderly parents and grandparents who run into these issues all the time.

It's on a case-by-case basis for each of them because they all have similar problems yet specific to each person.

Through trial and error, I picked Roku because the interface is the same. That is half the battle. Every cable company uses their own and none of them name anything the same.

Smart TV's are great until they stop updating them and then it's like a cell phone stuff just stops working until you upgrade. Roku controls the software updates regardless of TV brand so updates come.

If you go in that direction, get a Roku TV for yourself so you can see what they are seeing. 

I am more than happy to help if I can. The single biggest issue is when a streaming app makes you re authenticate. if someone can use a web browser it's not a big deal but if they have to use the roku remote on the tv it is very frustrating.

Keep in mind many of the streaming services like HBO can be paid for through roku and they use the roku sign on to authenticate. And you pay in one place.

Deals are hard to come by in most cases meaning I get HBO, Disney as a perk from My AT&T cell service. I get Netflix and Apple TV as a perk from my TMobile phone.  All of those are a square icon on my Roku Home screen. 

You can also setup a single account under your name then add their televisions using your sign on info. In most cases if you add HBO for instance it will then be available on all of the TV's. Most services limit the number of active streams meaning HBO may have 2 active streams so if you had 4 TV's and both your parents were watching HBO and you wanted to you would be locked out until they stop watching.  

I use the same username and password for all of the services so you do not have to keep up with 10 of them. 

As for locals its a bit more complicated based on where you live. Metro area are usually no problem with an antenna connected to the old cables that the cable used in the house. Rural is a bit tougher because of distance to signals. As you know at 80 years old news no matter how bad it is has to be there.

I would say in SF you will be good to go with locals. I would think NJ would would be the same should be pretty go signal for all.

I have no idea what the rules are for helping but I will if I can.  


By the way I spent 3 years at Cal Davis before I tranfered to Arkansas. Graduated HS in Manteca and spent a few years in Los Gatos, Know the area well.


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Channel Surfer

Re: I want to get my 80 year old parents a Roku TV so they can stream, but I have questions?

Check your PM box when you get this.

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