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roquoonewbie
Level 7

Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

I am one of those that just loves the Private Listening Mode on my Roku TV.  But there is one major issue/limitation that hasn't been explained.

Why is the feature limited to only streaming channels, and not also supported for Cable/TV inputs?

This limitation forces the user to have to purchase an external audio component with Bluetooth transceiver, and feeding the TV's "mic out" to the device...just to connect to the Cable TV sound with the same bluetooth headphones that I use for Private Listening Mode when viewing streaming content.

So...why on earth is this limitation present?  And does Roku have plans to add support for Cable/TV input Private Listening Mode on Roku TVs?
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16 Replies
exinton
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

I can use the private listening mode on local ANTENA TV input on my roku tv with help of roku ios or android app.[my remote doesn't have 3.5mm jack so I need mobile app's help]
I didn't try hdmi or composite input private listening function.
So you can scan the local antenna TV channel, 
then connect Roku app (ios or android) to your roku tv  [notice, mobile app should be in the same subnet with roku tv]
then plug 3.5mm jack ear phone in the phone
activate the private listening
then you should see the private icon appears below your tv's volume icon.
enjoy the private listening.
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roquoonewbie
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

My question/concern is about Cable Box input (not antenna input).  The iOS app crosses out the private listening option when tuned into the Cable Box.  It becomes enabled if I switch input to (for example), Netflix (or any other streaming channel).

Why does it do this for Cable Box input?  I really don't want to have to buy an external audio component just to listen to my cable TV with my headphones while my wife is asleep next to me.  It seems like Roku could/should easily support this on their TVs.
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exinton
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

cable box is actually HDMI input ,you can rename the cable box back to HDMI by pressing * button on the remote.
The cable box maybe any streaming box with HDMI output, like BLUERAY PLAYER or set top box.
Since you don't have any stream player connected to the HDMI(cable box) on the roku TV, the system just muted it.
Private listening should work on HDMI port even though I didn't use it.
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roquoonewbie
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

exinton..renaming the input will not address the issue.  The issue is that no HDMI inputs are eligible for private listening mode (try it).

That is "as advertised" in the Roku product description.

The question is WHY Roku makes this seemingly arbitrary distinction between streaming and HDMI inputs for this otherwise amazing feature.
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Username2
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

I'm guessing it had to do with DRM requirements (specifically HDCP). I know my MacBook will sometimes refuse to play some video if I have QuickTime open, and similar happens on Windows PCs.
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roquoonewbie
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

If the issue is DRM, why is the audio accessible through an external device?

ie:  I can plug a blue-tooth transceiver into the mic out port on the TV, and then connect to that with my blue-tooth headphones and listen to the audio that way.

Same result..but requires buying an external component and having it hang off the tv in a messy way...and another thing to plug into the wall (two more wires plus extra expense).

How on earth would DRM allow this way, but not through Roku's native private listening mode (which would seem to me to be significantly more locked down than the workaround method)?
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Username2
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

First I just want to reiterate it is just speculation on my part.

But as for why you can use the workaround, I would guess they're just following specifications to be compliant with any DRM specifications. If this is the reason, content providers have been doing this for years. I remember when MSN Music was shutting down and they said after a certain date you would no longer be able to transfer your songs to a new computer, and their "solution" was to burn the songs to a CD and them rip them to the new computer. This was always possible but to get the deals with the record labels they sure as heII weren't going to advertise it. Same concept when iTunes only allowed you to burn seven CDs from the same playlist - you could get around it by changing just one song in the playlist. You could argue MacroVision was the same way - you could defeat it fairly easily if you wanted to. And the fear of providers implementing audio DRM is what sparked the initial backlash to the removal of the analog headphone jack in iPhone 7s last year. Goes back to the notion that all DRM does is hurt legitimate users.

Again, I am not a very tech savvy person but it wouldn't surprise me if this was the reason. Reasonable assurances of anti-piracy protections to the providers.
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roquoonewbie
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

Can a Roku person comment on the reason for this limitation, especially given that "workarounds" exist which are very awkward?
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moreejt
Level 7

Re: Private Listening Mode on Roku TV

+1 on this. I want to play the PlayStation in private listening. In fact when I first turn on the Roku app I heard the PlayStation in the headphones and after a half second it cut out with the message about being not supported.

Also just found this thread https://www.reddit.com/r/Roku/comments/ ... listening/
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