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

Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:54 pm

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!
 
mike1597
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:11 pm

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

Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:54 am

Mike! Thanks so much for the answers. :) 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.
 
oberkc
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:03 am

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

Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:16 am

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

Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:33 am

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
 
ghb51
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:48 am

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)
 
John Small
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:17 am

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

Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:57 am

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

Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:08 am

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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atc98092
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:08 am

John Small wrote:
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.

The 4210 does not support analog video. For both Ethernet and analog video, you are correct that the 2 XS (3100) is the only option. Trust me, I have an old 2 XS and you would absolutely hate using it because of the slow performance. You are correct that there are few no cost channels with no commercials. Even YouTube has commercials, although you can skip almost all of them after 5 seconds. Also, since you are in the UK there's no guaranty that you can access any of the free, non-commercial channels. Each region has different permissions, and the channel owner can designate in which regions their channels are permitted to work. If you are an Amazon Prime member already, then you can stream much of their catalog for free. So before you decide to buy a Roku you are sure your desired channels will actually work in the UK. 
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As far as no-commercial channels, someone has to pay for the content they provide and the bandwidth necessary to stream the content. In my experience the ad-supported channels usually don't have the greatest quality videos, anyway. I'd rather pay Netflix or Amazon for the quality streams they provide. And both Amazon and Netflix are a fixed cost, regardless of how many shows you watch. I realize your cost incentives are different from us here in the States, but for me it is still far cheaper to pay for Amazon (which I use for Prime shipping, so video is a no cost extra for me) and Netflix, compared to almost $200 per month for my Dish Network service.
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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atc98092
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:11 am

John Small wrote:
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.

Any player with a USB port can play videos from an external device. All Roku players can also stream from a networked computer either using DLNA or a proprietary solution like Plex. Either of those methods can be done for free. I have all my DVDs and Blu Rays ripped to a computer and can stream to any player on my network, Roku or otherwise.
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.
 
John Small
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:26 pm

ATC, thanks again for the info. Really helpful :)
 
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atc98092
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Re: Thinking of buying a Roku... a few questions.

Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:06 pm

No problem  :D
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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