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Complete Beginner. Some Questions...

I received a Roku Premiere for my birthday after mentioning that I wanted to ditch my cable tv package. After checking the Roku website, I'm not sure if it's worth it to make the jump. Hopefully I'm just missing something simple.

It looks like I connect the Roku to my wi-fi and stream specific shows, but I need to purchase subscriptions to each channel/app I want to access? Are those fees on a monthly or yearly basis? Does the subscription give me 24/7 access to all shows on that particular network?

Right now, I have a Netflix subscription and DVR through my cable tv package, and I'm paying about $80 per month. Since I can't see prices for the different Roku channel subscriptions, I'm concerned it's going to be about the same cost to watch the same programs in a more cumbersome way. What am I missing?

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Roku Guru

Re: Complete Beginner. Some Questions...

No jump is actually required.  Most people I know either didn’t quit their cable at all or did so years after they started using their Rokus.

Some channels have fees, some do not.  Those without any fees usually have quite a few commercials.  Some channels even have multiple plan/levels with differing amounts of commercials.  Channels are all different in their plans/levels/business models.

You can see all the prices.  Netflix prices are at, paramount+ prices are at, Hulu prices are at, prime video prices are at Amazon (many people I know already had Amazon prime for the shipping and just needed to plug in a streaming device to see the video they were already getting with that.)

Other things like Pluto, Shout, The Roku Channel etc. are free.  There are lots of channels (Apparently thousands of them.)  I've found some where I can't even detect any business model.

It IS possible to spend lots on streaming if you choose.  It's also possible to spend nothing.  (Beyond the internet of course – but most people seem to "need" internet these days with or without TV.)

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Community Streaming Expert

Re: Complete Beginner. Some Questions...

@Strega summed it up nicely. The costs are solely dependent on what you want to watch. In my case, I pay for Amazon Prime for the shipping, so I consider the streaming as no cost. I get HBO Max via my cell phone plan. YouTube is free, although you have to tolerate a number of ads. You can rent stuff to watch from Vudu or Prime, so no monthly fee, just pay to watch. 

Some services can be subscribed to directly through Roku, while some require you to go directly though the provider. If you want to access the content on something other than a Roku player, then you should not subscribe through Roku, as that requires using their devices. You have to be careful, as it's easily possible to end up paying more than you do for your cable service. Just be honest with yourself about what you really want to watch, and you'll likely find you only need a couple of subscriptions. And that should cost far less than your current cable bill.

To directly answer a couple of your questions. Billing can be monthly or annually, depending on the service. That does give you 24/7 access to their content. But also some providers might not stream content at the same time it's available via cable. Some popular TV shows might not offer to stream the latest episode until the next day, or you might need a more expensive subscription for immediate access. Just make sure you research the providers you're considering, and feel free to ask questions.


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