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MargoRed
Level 7

Circle app showing Google and Spotify use on Roku when we're not using our Roku

We have a Roku 3 and recently installed a parental controls hardware/app called Circle on our router and phones. We set up a profile to control the amount of time our kids could use on our Roku, and part of that feature is the ability to show the history for that device. This morning I checked the Roku history on our Circle app and saw Google running through the Roku from 3:30 to 6 am, Spotify running from 1:30 to 3:30 am - when no one in our house was using the Roku or TV and in fact everyone was asleep. What is going on and what should we do?

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4 Replies
DBDukes
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Circle app showing Google and Spotify use on Roku when we're not using our Roku


@MargoRed wrote:

We have a Roku 3 and recently installed a parental controls hardware/app called Circle on our router and phones. We set up a profile to control the amount of time our kids could use on our Roku, and part of that feature is the ability to show the history for that device. This morning I checked the Roku history on our Circle app and saw Google running through the Roku from 3:30 to 6 am, Spotify running from 1:30 to 3:30 am - when no one in our house was using the Roku or TV and in fact everyone was asleep. What is going on and what should we do?


I've not used Circle, so I'm basing my response on what I've read about it. I gather it connects to your router and tracks data usage of the various devices on your network. I'll proceed assuming that is correct.

You are making a few assuptions in your statement that may not be valid, or impactful. You said no one was using your TV. However, a Roku 3 (or any Roku streaming device apart from a Roku TV) does not require the TV to be on to stream. It can be running and streaming and not even be connected to a TV.

The other thing, and don't be upset with this, but if you're asleep, how do you know everyone else was, too? Sure, if you have a camera set up and you can see that no one approached the Roku, then yeah, you know. But you're saying no one was using the device, but you then place yourself in a state that couldn't know that was accurate.

Don't misunderstand me, you did ask how could this be, but you asked under a set of circumstances that indicate you may not be fully accurate as described.

Another possibility is that the Circle device doesn't operate correctly. Again, I've never used one, so I'm not intending to cast aspersions upon them, I just don't know.

So, let's start ruling things out by changing the parameters.

Let's start simple. Are you certain that the Roku isn't streaming? That is, are you returning to the Home screen before you turn off your TV? Or are you simply turning off the TV thinking that stops the Roku from streaming (it doesn't)? Verify your Roku end-of-day behavior.

With your (what I assume is) newly-gained knowledge that Roku can stream with the TV off, and your (possibly) new behavior that the Roku is indeed not streeaming before the TV is turned off, does the device continue to show overnight usage to those services?

DBDukes
http://www.dbdukes.com/
Roku Community Streaming Expert

Help others find this answer and click "Accept as Solution."
Note: I am not a Roku employee.
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MargoRed
Level 7

Re: Circle app showing Google and Spotify use on Roku when we're not using our Roku

Thanks for your very thoughtful and thorough reply, DBDukes. Are you a Roku employee or responding in another capacity?

Yes, you are correct that Circle has hardware that connects to a router and tracks data usage across various devices. Thank you for raising the possibility that someone in my household could be streaming the Roku, but not on the TV. It's important to look at all possibilities and keep an open mind. So let me rephrase: when I got up at 4:15 this morning to take a quick trip to the bathroom, my husband was asleep in our bed and I saw that both of my children were in their beds asleep. Let's assume just for the sake of argument that all of those people were in fact asleep, as they appeared to be. When I look at the Circle app history for the Roku it shows that Spotify was running through the app at that time. I'm pretty sure no one in my house was using our Roku at that time.

What's interesting is that there seems to be a disparity between active Roku use in our house and the history Circle is showing for our Roku. I have Circle set to cut off access to our Roku after 45 minutes each day. My son used the Roku earlier to stream Youtube, and now my app shows a usage of 20 minutes for that session. At the same time, the Roku history on my Circle app shows activity on our Roku (mostly for Google and then Spotify in the wee hours of the night) nearly all the time. My Circle app Roku history from 2 minutes ago shows Google activity, but two minutes ago I was typing you, my husband was in the kitchen, my son not on a device, and my daughter using her Chromebook, but I'm pretty sure the sites she's accessing are running through our router, not the Roku.

Just to be safe, I changed our Roku password earlier this morning...and I'm still seeing tons of history on our Roku. What could be going on here?

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Strega
Level 15

Re: Circle app showing Google and Spotify use on Roku when we're not using our Roku

Keep in mind that no one has to be awake or "using a Roku" for the Roku to be "in use".  If you turn off the TV and go to bed, the Roku will probably not know that and will just keep going.  If you have the bandwidth saver turned on, then it should shut down any streams after 4 hours, though I'm not sure that is completely reliable.

I assume you have some TV service related to google to see all that "google activity". (?) Google being a huge company, I'm not sure if you mean doing a web search, or running some kind google video, or… there are just so many google-owned things I could go on and on…

I also assume there are various Roku maintenance activities that just happen whenever they happen.

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DBDukes
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Circle app showing Google and Spotify use on Roku when we're not using our Roku


@MargoRed wrote:

Thanks for your very thoughtful and thorough reply, DBDukes. Are you a Roku employee or responding in another capacity?

Yes, you are correct that Circle has hardware that connects to a router and tracks data usage across various devices. Thank you for raising the possibility that someone in my household could be streaming the Roku, but not on the TV. It's important to look at all possibilities and keep an open mind. So let me rephrase: when I got up at 4:15 this morning to take a quick trip to the bathroom, my husband was asleep in our bed and I saw that both of my children were in their beds asleep. Let's assume just for the sake of argument that all of those people were in fact asleep, as they appeared to be. When I look at the Circle app history for the Roku it shows that Spotify was running through the app at that time. I'm pretty sure no one in my house was using our Roku at that time.

What's interesting is that there seems to be a disparity between active Roku use in our house and the history Circle is showing for our Roku. I have Circle set to cut off access to our Roku after 45 minutes each day. My son used the Roku earlier to stream Youtube, and now my app shows a usage of 20 minutes for that session. At the same time, the Roku history on my Circle app shows activity on our Roku (mostly for Google and then Spotify in the wee hours of the night) nearly all the time. My Circle app Roku history from 2 minutes ago shows Google activity, but two minutes ago I was typing you, my husband was in the kitchen, my son not on a device, and my daughter using her Chromebook, but I'm pretty sure the sites she's accessing are running through our router, not the Roku.

Just to be safe, I changed our Roku password earlier this morning...and I'm still seeing tons of history on our Roku. What could be going on here?


I don't work for Roku. I'm like you, just another user. Roku employees will have Roku in their user name.

I'm really curious if your real time monitoring continues to show Roku activity if you unplug the power from your Roku. The thought here is that it is misidentifying usage.

Sure, Roku could be communicating with Google, but that would be if it were receiving content from Google. Unless you have a Google app, that's unlikely.

Of course, if you have a screen saver that shows images, and those images are hosted on Google servers, that would explain things. But unplugging the Roku would likely rule in or out the monitor app as misidentifying usage.

DBDukes
http://www.dbdukes.com/
Roku Community Streaming Expert

Help others find this answer and click "Accept as Solution."
Note: I am not a Roku employee.
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