I'd like to set up some decent media options for my parents who don't have access to high speed internet where they live. My first thought was to set them up with a Roku and either a wireless router connected to their laptop, or a Roku 3 with an external HD. This way I could just stop by once in a while and load them up with content that I happen to have.
I guess my first question is: Is running a Roku without internet access practical/possible? I could set it up for them and download channels at their nearby business, which does have high speed internet.
Second question: If it is practical to do this, would a basic Roku, + router + laptop w/ Plex be the best option, or an external HD + Roku 3 + Roku USB Media Player channel?
@tasumegam A Roku 3 is very old and no longer manufactured. Any channel you download and use will require and internet connection to work. If you have movies and want to put them on a hard drive you could use Plex. Why don’t you set them up with an antenna? If available in that area? How fast is the internet in their area? If they have at least 15-20 Mbps they could stream. Your making this way over complicated. My mother is 82. I bought her a TCL Roku TV and she uses YouTube TV for her entertainment. AvsGunnar uses a Plex and other methods. He would be a good source of information
There are also dedicated hard drive media servers, which work with Roku (although some hiccups with Roku OS upgrades).
Some channels will serve up SD grade content on low bandwidth (Netflix). A reliable low latency ADSL2+ at 6+ is viable for HD (I have such a setup in a rural town in the UK). A solid 4g LTE should also be viable
If you already have a Roku you plan to use for that purpose, set it up at your location. If you have a guest network, even better, as you can set it up using that, then turn off the guest network, replicating the situation at their house. Then you could see how well it works over time.
I know that once set up (which does require Internet connection), it will work with Plex or other local content, because there have been outages and it continued to work. What I don't know is how long. The longest I've seen it work was three days when a tree took out my mother's Internet (Comcast) and she just used Plex for three days. Service was restore, so I don't know how long it would have worked with certainty.
If you don't have a Roku, then the Ultra (not the Ultra LT) and Streambar devices (both on sale today, by the way) have USB, if you go that route as opposed to Plex. Oh and if you do go USB, I understand there is an upper limit on the size of the hard drive with which it reliably works, but I'm uncertain what that size is. At least, I've seen reports of issues with larger (larger than around 2 TB) drives.
If you go Plex/similar, then any Roku will do. I suggest staying away from the Express because it reports the most wireless issues, though if you have your own wireless router, you would likely not have issues. But the remote is IR, meaning it needs clear line of sight. I'd lean towards any other current Roku device.
DBDukes Roku Community Streaming Expert Note: I am not a Roku employee.
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