Cord cutters have preferred Roku to nearly every other media platform by a huge margin, and there’s a good reason for this. It supports literally thousands of different channels. Cable companies can hardly compete! Once you get the hang of it, Roku is unbelievably easy to use. About the only thing, you’ll have to worry about is spending way too much time binge-watching your favorite shows.
Whether you bought the stick, box, or a TV with an integrated app you’ll want to take a look at these eight tips to get the most out of Roku. They’ll get you up and going in no time.
Be Sure to Add Essential Free Channels
As long as you have your Roku pin code handy, you can add new channels for free. Most of the ones listed aren’t very good, but you probably want to add at least a few more because you start out with nothing but maybe the Roku channel itself and Tubi.
You’ll want to add Netflix or Amazon Instant Video if you already have an account, but there are some essentials you can access without ever signing up. Search for the following which has long been a favorite of cord-cutters everywhere:
• Shout Factory
• YouTube, which offers the same experience you’d get while using it on any other device
If your box didn’t come with the Tubi and Roku apps included, then take the opportunity to download them now too. Once you’re done, make sure you hide the pin code so other people don’t start making in-app purchases without your permission.
Update Your Onboard Software
More than likely, your Roku device is configured to look for updates once a day. Every once in a while, you should go to the Settings menu, scroll down to System and then select Update just to make sure you’re running the latest version of the software. If the system needs to be updated, then you approve the installation. The rest of the process is automatic.
This ensures you’ll never miss a new feature or channel. If a buddy ever gives you the code to watch a private channel, then running this update feature will also let you start streaming content from it.
Download the Roku App on Your Phone
Not all Roku TVs and boxes come with a headphone jack. This means you can’t use voice control easily on all of them. If you’re in this predicament, then simply download the Roku app for your phone or tablet. It responds to whatever you say no matter what kind of equipment you’re getting ready to stream on. Best of all, the app gives you a touchscreen keyboard. That’s sorely needed if you’re regularly searching for shows since it’s rather hard to do that with a remote’s cursor buttons.
Format Your External Media And Load It Up With Films
You probably have tons of movies in MP4 or MOV format that you’ve downloaded off the web. As long as they’re not protected with some kind of DRM, you can watch them on your Roku device. While you’ll need to format an external storage device before you can watch them, it’s much easier than you think.
Insert your USB stick or the Roku micro SD card that came with your box into your PC. As long as there’s nothing on it you want to keep, select FAT or NTFS as the format and wait a few minutes. You’ll have a blank drive you can load up with video files and then watch on your TV. It sure beats having to gawk at a small laptop screen. Best of all, the built-in Roku Media Player app can support 4K video depending on the kind of TV you’re using.
By the way, if you don’t want to play your own media files you can still benefit from that microSDXC slot. Put a blank card in and your Roku will automatically format it. It can then use it as extra storage for your streaming purchases.
Turn Off Any Features You’re Not Using
Turning off unnecessary features can make your Roku work faster. Some of them are just plain annoying anyway. Head over to the Settings menu and scroll through the available options. The list will change depending on what kind of system you’re using, so make sure to go through each and read over what it does. If you make a mistake, then it’s easy to switch something back on.
If you have an option for audible clicks or an audio guide, then you more than likely want this off unless you need it for accessible reasons. Many users find that it annoys them by making noise when they’re searching for movies!
Tweak the Privacy Settings
While you’re in the Settings menu, scroll over to Privacy. Make sure that there’s a check next to where it asks you to limit ad tracking. Once you’ve done so, make sure to reset your advertising identifier with the control right underneath. This will limit how much people can find out what you’re watching with your Roku box.
Hide Your Player
While most Roku tips and tricks focus on watching movies, you don’t want to forget about the unit itself. If you have an integrated TV or a Roku stick, then it’s already out of the way. Users of Roku boxes, however, might want to invest in a mount to position it away from their screens. This can save a ton of space without compromising input.
Add Secret Channels
You may have heard your friends talking about so-called hidden Roku channels. Some enterprising cord-cutters have created their own streams, and you can access them with a Roku guide in any browser. Once you find a channel you like, jot down the number and then log into your Roku account from your PC or phone. You can’t add this code through the interface on your TV, but by selecting the add channel feature on your account page you’ll be able to enter it. Once you cycle the power on your Roku device you should be in business.