Many cord cutters love Roku’s streaming devices. When combined with an antenna, you gain access to a rich variety of content. It’s an inexpensive way to enjoy more entertainment, and Roku is so easy to set up.
Roku gives you access to both public and private channels, the ability to stream music, and the option to stream content via your laptop or computer.
To help you make the most of your Roku device, I’ve compiled a helpful list of tips and tricks.
Here’s a simple but overlooked tip for all cord cutters: boost your wireless speed. If you plan to use multiple streaming services on top of your usual web habits, you may need to upgrade your wireless speed – especially if you’re having trouble streaming videos. The simplest way to do this is to upgrade your router.
A wired connection is always the ideal option, but that’s not always possible. In this case, you need a wireless router that’s up to the hefty task of meeting your streaming needs.
If you’ve purchased a router within the last two years, you can probably ignore this tip. You should be able to stream in full HD without issue.
If you have an older router and want to stream in HD or even 4K, you’ll need to upgrade to the latest Wi-Fi standard: 802.11 AC. The newest standard offers faster speeds compared to 802.11 n, and it’s better able to maintain a strong link.
Also, talk to your Internet provider to find out how much bandwidth is available under your plan. If you want to stream 4K content, you’ll need speeds of 25 Mbps or faster.
Want to enjoy even more content? The latest version of the Roku software offers screen mirroring, so you can cast your tablet, smartphone or PC to your television.
Screen mirroring allows you to enjoy content and services that you can’t find on the Roku Channel Store.
Enabling screen mirroring is easy. Just head over to the Roku settings menu to allow Screen Mirroring. Select your Roku device from your tablet, smartphone or PC within the Screen > Casting menu.
The Roku Channel Store has lots of public channels, but did you know that they also have private channels? These are channels that just haven’t been officially approved by Roku.
Private channels include applications that are still in the beta-testing phase as well as apps developed by people who don’t want to go through the approval process. You can find these channels on rokuchannels.tv.
Most of these channels are free, but some require a premium subscription.
Here’s how to add a private channel to your device:
The channel should now be available on all of your Roku devices.
Private channels will give you an even greater range of content, but keep in mind that these channels are not officially supported by Roku. You may have to deal with a buggy performance from time to time.
If you have video content on your laptop or desktop PC, you can use the Plex app or add a Plex Media Server to your computer to access those files on your Roku.
The nice thing about the Plex application is that it will organize all of your videos, photos and music for easy access through your Roku device.
Plex can also transcode video formats that aren’t supported by Roku’s hardware. It will also allow you to continue accessing private channels that were removed or closed down.
The Roku app, which is available on both iOS and Android devices, can turn your smartphone into a remote control. It allows you to browse, add or delete channels from your account. You can also stream photos, videos and music stored on your device.
For those times when you don’t want to disturb others, you can use the Private Listening feature which allows you to listen to the content on your Roku through the headphones plugged into your smartphone.
I also recommend getting the newest Roku remote. The app and the remote will give you the most control over your Roku device. The Roku remote has a replay, or rewind, function that will skip back 10 seconds. The feature is handy for those moments when you can’t really make out what the actors are saying.
The remote also makes it easy to turn on closed-captioning in Captions Mode.
Roku devices come with built-in storage, but if you have the Roku Premiere+ or the Roku Ultra, there should be a MicroSD port that allows you to expand your storage even further.
If you’re a content hoarder, meaning that you install tons of channels and games on your Roku, then the extra storage space is essential. You won’t be able to store videos or files on the card, however. The Roku device will format the card to prepare for application installation. If you remove the card for any reason, you’ll need to re-install all applications.
I recommend getting a dedicated MicroSD card and simply leaving it plugged into your Roku device. Roku recommends using a card with 2GB of memory.
Many Roku users overlook the My Feed feature, but it can be a handy one. My Feed, which is accessible from the main menu, allows you to identify movies that you’re interested in watching – even those not available on Roku channels.
My Feed will keep an eye on the content you’ve added, and will alert you when it’s available and whenever the price changes.
Roku is a handy device for cord cutters, especially when combined with an antenna. It greatly expands your content options, and it’s so easy to install. You can use these tips I’ve shared to maximize Roku’s benefits.