Roku Device Features, Settings & Updates

Help configuring Roku device settings, using Roku OS features such as screen mirroring, adjusting display type and audio settings, using Guest Mode, and assistance with software updates.
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Oddball
Level 7

Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

Hi all,

Noob here.

I've read that a USB drive, added to certain Roku devices that CAN accept them (and apparently, our 3800X, which is only 2-3 months old, CANNOT) will allow you to fast-forward through the commercials.

My Questions:
1. Does this all fast-forwarding (hereinafter referred to as "FF) through ALL content available through Roku?

2. Is there any way I can add a USB-capability to our (6-7 y.o., NON-smart TV), since our Roku 3800X does NOT have a USB-port?

3.  IF there is no "workaround" to add a USB to work with our "non-USB-slotted" Roku 3800X, can someone please recommend the best device to upgrade to, while still keeping our "dumb" TV?

Thanks,

Oddball
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11 Replies
twiceover
Level 10

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

This allows fast forwarding and replay on Roku TV models.  On Roku boxes with USB it is used to play back your local video files.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

In addition, most Roku channels allow FF, but not through any commercials. And of course, if you play local media from the USB drive you can FF through that. The only way you can FF through TV broadcasts is if you are using some sort of DVR (TV recording) like a Tivo. 
.
Even with a Roku TV, you can't FF through the commercials unless you've paused what you're watching for enough time to get past the commercials. So you can't save any time watching an hour show in 40 minutes. You have the TV on the proper channel, pause it as soon as the show starts, and don't start watching it until about 20 minutes later.
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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Basil
Level 10

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

"Oddball" wrote:
...
I've read that a USB drive, added to certain Roku devices that CAN accept them (and apparently, our 3800X, which is only 2-3 months old, CANNOT) ...

The age of the device has nothing to do with it not having a USB slot. None of the Sticks have USB.

USB is for content that you have stored on a drive (Flash drive or external hard drive). Generally, you would provide that content yourself. How well the fast-forward works is up to the playback app, but generally, you can FF through content played via USB. Because it's just a file, not live content.

Perhaps this question needs to be answered to better understand: What are you wanting to connect via the USB?
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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Oddball
Level 7

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

"atc98092" wrote:
In addition, most Roku channels allow FF, but not through any commercials. And of course, if you play local media from the USB drive you can FF through that. The only way you can FF through TV broadcasts is if you are using some sort of DVR (TV recording) like a Tivo. 
.
Even with a Roku TV, you can't FF through the commercials unless you've paused what you're watching for enough time to get past the commercials. So you can't save any time watching an hour show in 40 minutes. You have the TV on the proper channel, pause it as soon as the show starts, and don't start watching it until about 20 minutes later.

atc98092,
The sentence I bolded, of yours, is the answer I was seeking, IF it would apply to a Roku that would accept a USB-drive, which I've learned, from this thread, is NONE of the stick models.

What you describe is what we do, currently, on many cable TV shows that still DO allow FF--i.e., we wait approx. 20 min. to start watching so, effectively, you CAN watch an "hour-long" show in approx. 40 min., or whatever, as you can FF through the commercials.

What I'm still unclear about is whether or not there is some coding which would prevent FF through the commercials on the "up to 90 min." of "live" (recorded) show, PROVIDED we did not change off of the channel we were watching.  I only ask this because, even with on-demand Cable TV, on some shows, even with our DVR (present but not being used, as the show is on-demand), FF through the commercials is NOT allowed.
Thanks again,
Oddball
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Oddball
Level 7

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

"Basil" wrote:
"Oddball" wrote:
...
I've read that a USB drive, added to certain Roku devices that CAN accept them (and apparently, our 3800X, which is only 2-3 months old, CANNOT) ...

The age of the device has nothing to do with it not having a USB slot. None of the Sticks have USB.

USB is for content that you have stored on a drive (Flash drive or external hard drive). Generally, you would provide that content yourself. How well the fast-forward works is up to the playback app, but generally, you can FF through content played via USB. Because it's just a file, not live content.

Perhaps this question needs to be answered to better understand: What are you wanting to connect via the USB?


Basil,

I agree--I need to answer the last question you asked, that I bolded, above:  I do not want to play any of my own media via the USB-drive.  Rather, I simply want to allow a live or on-demand, Roku/Prime, etc...show, that is free, but has commercials, to record itself onto the USB-drive, and then begin watching it, some 20 minutes after the show started, as atc90 suggested, HOPING I can FF through the (recorded) commercials.  As it stands, with just the Roku Stick, I cannot FF through the commercials.

But thank you for helping me understand that NO Roku "stick" will accept a USB.  I believe our "dumb" TV does accept a USB but correct me if I'm wrong, I'm assuming that is of NO help with this, as the USB-drive would have to be ATTACHED TO the Roku device, right?

Can you recommend any brands and models of Roku/Hulu, etc-type devices that we could upgrade to, that would accept a USB drive, and allow us to FF through the commercials, either during a live show we've allowed to partially record onto the USB-drive, or in on-demand Roku/Prime/Hulu content?

Thanks in advance,

Oddball










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Basil
Level 10

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

"Oddball" wrote:
"Basil" wrote:
"Oddball" wrote:
...
I've read that a USB drive, added to certain Roku devices that CAN accept them (and apparently, our 3800X, which is only 2-3 months old, CANNOT) ...

The age of the device has nothing to do with it not having a USB slot. None of the Sticks have USB.

USB is for content that you have stored on a drive (Flash drive or external hard drive). Generally, you would provide that content yourself. How well the fast-forward works is up to the playback app, but generally, you can FF through content played via USB. Because it's just a file, not live content.

Perhaps this question needs to be answered to better understand: What are you wanting to connect via the USB?

Basil,

I agree--I need to answer the last question you asked, that I bolded, above:  I do not want to play any of my own media via the USB-drive.  Rather, I simply want to allow a live or on-demand, Roku/Prime, etc...show, that is free, but has commercials, to record itself onto the USB-drive, and then begin watching it, some 20 minutes after the show started, as atc90 suggested, HOPING I can FF through the (recorded) commercials.  As it stands, with just the Roku Stick, I cannot FF through the commercials.

But thank you for helping me understand that NO Roku "stick" will accept a USB.  I believe our "dumb" TV does accept a USB but correct me if I'm wrong, I'm assuming that is of NO help with this, as the USB-drive would have to be ATTACHED TO the Roku device, right?

Can you recommend any brands and models of Roku/Hulu, etc-type devices that we could upgrade to, that would accept a USB drive, and allow us to FF through the commercials, either during a live show we've allowed to partially record onto the USB-drive, or in on-demand Roku/Prime/Hulu content?

Thanks in advance,

Oddball

To watch USB content, you'd need an app that access the USB input on a Roku (today's lineup means the $100 Ultra). I'm not aware of any app that would accept live content via the USB.

The functionality you're describing is a DVR, such as TiVo.

If you want to skip commercials on Hulu, pay the extra $4/month. But, if you're doing Hulu with Live TV, that won't impact live content, only the on-demand (including after-it's-aired) content. $8/month for the standard/on-demand, $12/month for no commercials. $40/month for Live (with the standard/on-demand included), $44/month for Live, and no commercials for the on-demand.

To skip commercials on The Roku Channel, or other ad-supported services, the answer is no. The commercials are what make it free.

As for Amazon Prime, I wasn't aware of commercials.
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

"Oddball" wrote:
"atc98092" wrote:
In addition, most Roku channels allow FF, but not through any commercials. And of course, if you play local media from the USB drive you can FF through that. The only way you can FF through TV broadcasts is if you are using some sort of DVR (TV recording) like a Tivo. 
.
Even with a Roku TV, you can't FF through the commercials unless you've paused what you're watching for enough time to get past the commercials. So you can't save any time watching an hour show in 40 minutes. You have the TV on the proper channel, pause it as soon as the show starts, and don't start watching it until about 20 minutes later.

atc98092,
The sentence I bolded, of yours, is the answer I was seeking, IF it would apply to a Roku that would accept a USB-drive, which I've learned, from this thread, is NONE of the stick models.

What you describe is what we do, currently, on many cable TV shows that still DO allow FF--i.e., we wait approx. 20 min. to start watching so, effectively, you CAN watch an "hour-long" show in approx. 40 min., or whatever, as you can FF through the commercials.

What I'm still unclear about is whether or not there is some coding which would prevent FF through the commercials on the "up to 90 min." of "live" (recorded) show, PROVIDED we did not change off of the channel we were watching.  I only ask this because, even with on-demand Cable TV, on some shows, even with our DVR (present but not being used, as the show is on-demand), FF through the commercials is NOT allowed.
Thanks again,
Oddball

I believe most, if not all, Roku TVs will accept a USB drive. In fact a USB drive is required to be able to timeshift a TV broadcast. But yes, no Roku Stick does. 
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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Oddball
Level 7

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

"Basil" wrote:
"Oddball" wrote:
"Basil" wrote:
"Oddball" wrote:
...
I've read that a USB drive, added to certain Roku devices that CAN accept them (and apparently, our 3800X, which is only 2-3 months old, CANNOT) ...

The age of the device has nothing to do with it not having a USB slot. None of the Sticks have USB.

USB is for content that you have stored on a drive (Flash drive or external hard drive). Generally, you would provide that content yourself. How well the fast-forward works is up to the playback app, but generally, you can FF through content played via USB. Because it's just a file, not live content.

Perhaps this question needs to be answered to better understand: What are you wanting to connect via the USB?

Basil,

I agree--I need to answer the last question you asked, that I bolded, above:  I do not want to play any of my own media via the USB-drive.  Rather, I simply want to allow a live or on-demand, Roku/Prime, etc...show, that is free, but has commercials, to record itself onto the USB-drive, and then begin watching it, some 20 minutes after the show started, as atc90 suggested, HOPING I can FF through the (recorded) commercials.  As it stands, with just the Roku Stick, I cannot FF through the commercials.

But thank you for helping me understand that NO Roku "stick" will accept a USB.  I believe our "dumb" TV does accept a USB but correct me if I'm wrong, I'm assuming that is of NO help with this, as the USB-drive would have to be ATTACHED TO the Roku device, right?

Can you recommend any brands and models of Roku/Hulu, etc-type devices that we could upgrade to, that would accept a USB drive, and allow us to FF through the commercials, either during a live show we've allowed to partially record onto the USB-drive, or in on-demand Roku/Prime/Hulu content?

Thanks in advance,

Oddball

To watch USB content, you'd need an app that access the USB input on a Roku (today's lineup means the $100 Ultra). I'm not aware of any app that would accept live content via the USB.

The functionality you're describing is a DVR, such as TiVo.

If you want to skip commercials on Hulu, pay the extra $4/month. But, if you're doing Hulu with Live TV, that won't impact live content, only the on-demand (including after-it's-aired) content. $8/month for the standard/on-demand, $12/month for no commercials. $40/month for Live (with the standard/on-demand included), $44/month for Live, and no commercials for the on-demand.

To skip commercials on The Roku Channel, or other ad-supported services, the answer is no. The commercials are what make it free.

As for Amazon Prime, I wasn't aware of commercials.

Basil,
I believe you're correct--I don't think there are any commercials on Prime--I'm new to this, as you can tell.  Smiley Surprisedops:
So re:  this sentence:  "To skip commercials on The Roku Channel, or other ad-supported services, the answer is no. The commercials are what make it free."
...does that mean that even if I bought the $100. Roku Ulta (and THANK YOU for the model identification and pricing info!) that I could not start a live or on-demand, Roku show, and let it BUFFER, as atc90 was describing (without using the word "buffer") and I would still NOT be able to speed through the commercials, if I'd recorded, say 20-40 minutes of an hour-long show, and had NOT changed the channel, but just left it on "Pause" for 20-40 minutes (of the 90 min. recording capacity afforded by a 16GB USB-drive?
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mike_s
Level 8

Re: Can a USB Drive Allow Fast-fwd on ALL Commercials?

An USB stick buffers video ONLY on a RokuTV. And then, ONLY for broadcast ("over-the-air") TV channels, not for "Roku channels."

All this talk of Roku Ultras, and Roku streaming channels, etc. is way off base here - none of that gets buffered (other than a few seconds to accommodate network delays), and any FF or rewind ability is up to the individual channel. Some won't let you skip past commercials, and a USB (or SDCard) won't change that.  Here's an article from Roku about the "pause live TV" capability. It only works on the antenna input. It should be possible to pause cable TV if you have a cable box which outputs RF so it can connect to the antenna input, but any that do that are probably only putting out low-res standard definition signals, so no HD. 
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