Getting Started - Setup & How-to

Help getting started with Roku devices, including setup, connecting your device to your TV, linking a Roku device to your account at my.roku.com/link, adding channels, subscribing to services, and more.
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John_Small
Level 8

Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

I've been recommended to get a Roku box, and have some questions.

1. Do the live TV channels have an EPG?
2. Can you delete and reorder the channels in the EPG?
3. Can Roku be used to record TV shows from live TV? (I don't watch live TV unless I can skip the commercials.)
4. I believe the other feature of Roku is that you can watch non-live TV shows at any time you wish. Do these shows have any commercials? And if so, is there any way to know which ones will have commercials so they can be avoided? (I haven't watched a TV commercial in about 15 years since I got my PVR and have no intention of watching them again.)
5. I'm not interested in premium services, so can these all be hidden? Or, are they contained in a separate menu which you don't have to look in if you're not interested? I would find it very irritating having premium content on the screen when it's not something I'm interested in.

Finally, I need to make sure I get the right model of Roku. The model I'm thinking of getting is the Roku 2 XS. My requirements are...

- Must have ethernet, as I don't have wireless internet.
- Must output at SD resolution (my TV's HD capabilities are limited)
- I'd like a card reader so I can play back my own videos
- I'd prefer a unit without a microphone

Thanks!

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13 Replies
mike1597
Level 7

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

1. Do the live TV channels have an EPG?

  • It depends on the app.  Most live services like DirecTV Now and Sling TV have a built-in Program Guide.
2. Can you delete and reorder the channels in the EPG?

  • Generally no you can't delete or reorder the Guide. Most do allow for creating favorites in the Guide.
3. Can Roku be used to record TV shows from live TV? (I don't watch live TV unless I can skip the commercials.)

  • This depends on the app.  Some apps have a record feature and some apps lets you pay extra to be commercial free.
4. I believe the other feature of Roku is that you can watch non-live TV shows at any time you wish. Do these shows have any commercials? And if so, is there any way to know which ones will have commercials so they can be avoided? (I haven't watched a TV commercial in about 15 years since I got my PVR and have no intention of watching them again.)

  • It depends on the app.  Hulu and CBS All Access has an option for commercial free video on demand.  Netflix and Amazon Video doesn't have commercials.  I suggest you research some of the popular Roku apps. https://cordcutting.com/roku-channels/featured/
5. I'm not interested in premium services, so can these all be hidden? Or, are they contained in a separate menu which you don't have to look in if you're not interested? I would find it very irritating having premium content on the screen when it's not something I'm interested in.

  • Certain apps are installed by default these can be removed if you don't want them.
Finally, I need to make sure I get the right model of Roku. The model I'm thinking of getting is the Roku 2 XS.

  • The Roku 2 is obsolete so unless you get it really cheap there may be better alternatives. You may find Roku 2 slow and it may not be supported by some Roku apps.  Maybe consider a Roku Express+ and a cheap wireless router.  
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John_Small
Level 8

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Mike! Thanks so much for the answers. Smiley Happy That is exactly what I needed to know and I've decided to definitely buy one, thank you for your time.

I had been a little concerned that there might be no way to avoid commercials, but from what you say I can probably avoid commercials entirely, even if it means just sticking to Netflix and Amazon Videos alone.


I still intend to take my chances with a 2 XS model because I want to make sure it works with an SDTV.
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oberkc
Level 7

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

I would avoid the older rokus.  Some of the newer apps (tv streaming services such as directtv now, sling,) won't work on them.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Don't even consider the 2 XS. It is beyond obsolete and as already mentioned many channels no longer work on it. The Roku Express + supports SD TVs. 
.
Your initial questions bring some questions to my mind. If you are talking about a Roku player (not a Roku TV), you can't watch over the air TV on it, and no you can't record anything with any Roku. That's not to say that many channel providers allow you to view shows/movies on demand. Depending on the channel, there may or may not be commercials. If it's a channel you pay to access, like Amazon or Netflix, there are no commercials. But there are many free channels that are supported by commercials, and you can't skip past them. And often the commercial breaks are based on time, not when the show/movie was designed for taking a break. So the breaks can be very annoying when they occur at poor moments.
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There are Roku TV sets, mostly from TCL, Insignia and Sharp. With these you can watch over the air TV, and by adding a USB stick you can pause live TV. But again you can't record anything using the Roku TV.
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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jeffrok
Level 11

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

DO NOT BUY A ROKU 2 XS.

Buy the Roku Express Plus.

The Roku 2 XS will just leave a terrible taste in your mouth because these days it runs SO SLOWLY on the current firmware, and no, there's no way to roll the firmware back to an older version.

You'll get the compatibility you're looking for with a Roku Express Plus, and it'll be tons faster.
Yeah, I got some Rokus.
https://youtu.be/d1CSEeqWl10
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ghb51
Level 8

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Saw in another thread that John wants ethernet, so a Roku 3 would probably be the best bet, sdtv compatible, ethernet and much better performance than a 2 XS.

edit - roku 3 also has usb for videos/music, also has a card reader but i don't think there's anyway to use it for personal media (although ive never looked into it)
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John_Small
Level 8

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thanks for all the info!

Everyone's telling me not to get a Roku 2, but unfortunately I do not want wireless in my home, and the Roku 2 4210 is the only non-wireless box. (All other models either have no ethernet, or have Wi-Fi Direct remotes, which I'm told still transmit Wi-Fi even if you turn Wi-Fi off.)

Then again, I'm not even sure if Roku is right for me - it sounds to me like all the free apps have commercials, which I don't want. I had been quite optimistic when Mike said that Amazon and Netflix don't have commercials, but now I see that these are premium services, which I don't want. Here in the UK, the TV license alone is more than enough to spend on TV, and there are plenty of excellent terrestrial channels, so I would never need to buy more.

From what I can work out from Google, Roku only has a handful of channels that are both free and commercial-free (namely PBS, Timeless Television, and Pub-D-Hub). I'm not sure if these channels alone are worth the cost of a Roku box. I'll think about it.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

"ghb51" wrote:
Saw in another thread that John wants ethernet, so a Roku 3 would probably be the best bet, sdtv compatible, ethernet and much better performance than a 2 XS.

edit - roku 3 also has usb for videos/music, also has a card reader but i don't think there's anyway to use it for personal media (although ive never looked into it)

The card reader has only one purpose: to hold the code for channels when you've filled up local memory. Depending on how many channels you have installed, it may never be used. And if you don't have a card and have more channels installed than will fit in memory, it simply removes the code for the least used channel and will download it again if you use that channel. Only adds a slight delay when loading the code back in. The SD card cannot be used for any other function.
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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John_Small
Level 8

Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

"atc98092" wrote:
The SD card cannot be used for any other function.

Oh. That is a shame. Part of the reason I wanted a media box in the first place was to play my own movies.
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