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Cancel Cable and also can I set "favorite" channels?

Hi all, please talk "not technical" with me :  )     I have heard about a "Firestick" and also some type of "Roku" something that a person can use instead of having a contract with a cable company.  I am trying to SAVE MONEY as all of us are these days.   I don't understand if it is possible or how to go about it at all and would it really save me money?  Can anyone explain it to me and so can I cancel a cable subscription and still watch all of my channels on Roku, do I have to have internet service/wifi?    (This may sound dumb, but is Wifi and internet one in the same?)  Thank you!!!!    Oh, I also would like to set favorites so when I open my Roku app those channels show up first or something.  Thank you, Connie

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Re: Cancel Cable and also can I set "favorite" channels?


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Roku Guru

Re: Cancel Cable and also can I set "favorite" channels?

Wi-Fi is the wireless local network in your home that is connected to the internet.  (So not really the same, but closely connected so one is accessible through the other.) Yes, you need Internet for streaming.  Some models of Roku do not strictly need Wi-Fi, since they can be plugged in via ethernet - if an ethernet connection is conveniently located in your home.

Roku and Firestick are two families of streaming appliances.  They stream video over the internet, much like your computer can, but they are small and cheap and have a UI that is meant to be used from a sofa instead of a desk.

“save me money” and “watch all of my channels” really depends a lot on what “my channels” happen to be and how much you are currently paying.  There is also the potential complexity that you may currently be getting cable TV and internet from the same company in a bundle, and if you remove the cable, then the price of internet may change.  (Not knowing anything about your cable company and package, this is something you’ll need to figure out.)

I would suggest trying to be somewhat flexible on the channels.  There are thousands on Roku and many are completely free.  But it’s very likely that those free ones are not the ones you’re watching now.  And if you’re used to skipping ads with a cable DVR, then you may find the ads on streaming to be annoying.

There are some (generally non-free) streaming services that provide a service like a cable TV system – those include YouTubeTV, SlingTV and others.  These have a monthly fee for accessing a set of channels that is probably quite similar to what your cable system provides.  (But you need to check channel by channel if specific channels are critical.)

The main benefit of a streaming device is that there will more channels, more services, more packages available to you.  As such, you can pretty much run a Roku for whatever you want to pay – as long as you are willing to be flexible on the exact channels you will accept.

By the way, many people use Roku to add options to cable TV, much like DVD players have been used.  You don’t have to drop the cable to experiment with Roku.  You can get a Roku now, hook it up, and start experimenting with cheap and free channels.  By the way, if you happen to be paying for Amazon Prime for the shipping, then the price you are already paying also includes Prime Video on your Roku.  Some cell phone plans, for weird marketing reasons, come bundled with some free streaming channel(s) as well. (As you can see there are lots of variables.)

This site shows you some ideas for packages that include specific channels.  Cable, Satellite, and Streaming options are included:


Oh and don’t forget, if “save money” is number one, it’s really hard to beat an antenna.  Or an antenna backed up with a few (possibly completely free) things on Roku.

Banned but back. Because why not?

Re: Cancel Cable and also can I set "favorite" channels?

Thank You So Much for all of that information, very helpful.

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Community Streaming Expert

Re: Cancel Cable and also can I set "favorite" channels?


The Roku streaming devices (and FireStick/FireTV by Amazon), require an internet connection. (content is streamed over the internet to the device).

Wifi is a local "network". (think of a router).  The Roku device will connect to your network, and then will connect to the internet when actively streaming content.

Generally, devices can connect to a network in two ways. (wired and wireless).  With wired, you run a network cable between the router and the device.  With wireless (wifi), you do not need the cable for the device to communicate with the router (as long as the device is wifi-capable).

You do not need internet to have a network.  A network is local to you and your devices.  This is how you can get computers in your home to communicate with other effortlessly.  However, you do need internet access in order to browse the internet and use your Roku devices. (and any other streaming device).


As for cancelling your cable question.  If you wish to receive most/all of the channels you did with your cable package, you may find subscribing to a "cable-alternative" package an easy way to make the transition. (Hulu, Sling, YoutubeTV).  https://channelstore.roku.com/browse/cable-alternative

In many cases, if you have just a few channels you really watch, you may be able to just subscribe to those channels directly. (browse through the Roku Channel Store from the above link).  Any channel in the Store that says "requires cable subscription or TV provider" means that you need a cable subscription or use a cable-alternative service mentioned above. (some users maintain a cable subscription and then just use the Roku device in place of their rented cable box).

However, with streaming, you may find that you really don't need any of the cable channels you used to watch and find some alternative programs and channels very similar for free on the Roku platform.  There are many channels/apps like Roku Channel, Pluto, Filmrise, Tubi, Sling Free, Xumo, and many others that offer free content (with ads).

Many subscriptions are billed monthly so you can also bounce around and try to find what works and doesn't work for you.


As for setting up favorites, etc.  You can move your channels/apps around on your device in an order that is convenient for you.  Also there are different ways in the various channels/apps that you can set up Favorites. (each channel/app has its own features and behaviors).

Streaming comes with a bit of a learning curve.  It may not as easy as just turning on the TV and selecting a channel number with the remote.  However, you will likely find you will access to things you did not find or knew existed through your cable subscription.  


A good place to start may be to visit the Roku website https://www.roku.com/, and browse through the "How it works" section.

Feel free to post back if you additional questions.



Roku Community Streaming Expert
Just another Roku user... I am not a Roku employee.
Insignia RokuTV, Ultra 4660, Premiere+ 3921, Express 4k+ 3941, Streambar 9102

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Re: Cancel Cable and also can I set "favorite" channels?

You can save favorites in live TV with the asterisk button which can be accessed in the left menu of the live TV Guide. You can create a saved list using the asterisk button for non-live TV which can be accessed by scrolling down somewhere near recent row.

These new menu systems are terrible. I think they want to influence what you watch rather than let you make your own decisions.

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