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New Roku users FAQ

Check out this great list of Roku tips on the Official Roku Forums

is there anything i should do right after i get my roku set up for the first time?

nothing mandatory but it's probably a good idea to go into the settings menu, click on "about"
and then write down your roku's ip address somewhere. because when you lose your remote or your roku2 bluetooth gaming remote batteries suddenly die, you'll probably want to use an iphone/android/pc remote control app for your roku [look to the left under "remote apps" for links] to control your roku at least temporarily. you can't get the ip address without a working remote. but once you enter it into one of the apps you can control your roku from your pc or smartphone.

so can i get channels on the roku just like i did with cable/satellite?

um, no. not really. think of the roku as a great big a la carte menu. if you want to watch something produced by ABC on your roku, there isn't an ABC channel to go to. instead you'd go to hulu plus and choose the show you want to watch and the episode you want to watch. if you are used to netflix streaming, most roku channels work on a similar principle: menu full of shows to choose from, one thing at a time. some channels are livestreaming, but most of those are news channels. choose
"livestreaming" from the list on the right side of this page to see which channels you can just turn on and play continuously. some channels are a single theme : CHOW is all cooking clips and recipes from the website. there are entire channels for teaching your kid soccer/softball/hockey/etc. some channels have a little bit of everything and some are wholly dedicated to a single thing.

can i hook my roku up to a DVR?

A: not that i know of, but i don't know much about stand alone DVRs. more importantly though is "why would you need to?" having a roku and the right combination of chan
nels [the ones with shows YOU personally want to watch] is like having the world's most comprehensive DVR. navigate on the roku to where the show is, press play. need to pause? go ahead, it'll wait for you. sure, some of the content on some of the channels rotates around. but usually it's available for a few weeks at a time minimum so you should have plenty of time to get to it.

if i have a roku and get a second one, will all my channels show up on the second roku?
A: if you link it to the same account on, yes. this is optional. some of the reasons you might not want to link two boxes to one account:
  • the kids use the second one and you don't want them to have access to horror movies/pay per item channels/content that's inappropriate for their age
  • the rokus are not the same model and one has more memory, and therefore more channel capacity than the other. for example, an original roku and a roku XD/s or a roku3 and a rokuLT
Q: if i have netflix/hulu plus/amazon on one roku and i add it to a second roku, do i need a separate subscription?
A: nope! most subscription channels will let you activate multiple devices on one subscription. there may be limits to simultaneous viewing though. for example, hulu plus terms of service indicate you can watch hulu plus on one device at a time. amazon VOD and netflix* allow at least two simultaneous streams per account. check the terms of service on other subscription channels [on the content provider's website] to see what their rules are.  
*netflix now offers a streaming package for up to 4 devices at a time for $11.99 a month!

Q: can i hook one roku to 2 [or more] tv's?
A: technically, with the right splitters and enough cable, you probably could. but you wouldn't be able to watch different channels at the same time and would probably end up tripping over miles of cabling running through doorways. your video quality may also be diminished. in general, one roku per tv. they're awfully portable and you could just move it from room to room.

Q: can i use roku outside the US?
A: roku, yes. channels that are specific to the US like netflix or hulu plus? the official answer is no. if you want a yes answer go here.

update: the following answer SHOULD be a moot point now as the firmware on the roku2 gaming remotes has been updated.
Q: WTF is going on with the batteries on my roku2 bluetooth gaming remote? it's like i change them every other f_ing week!!!
A: the little strap on the roku2 remote is to keep you from throwing it across the room when you discover the batteries are dead again. ok, no really, look at your roku2 remote. see how it's round on the bottom? set it beside you on the couch. watch a movie. notice how you move every few minutes to keep your legs from falling asleep? yeah, every time your butt moves, the sofa shifts a little and the remote rolls a little and then it wakes up the bluetooth. bluetooth waking up is a huge battery drain. lay it face down on a stable surface when you aren't using it or in something where it won't rock or get jiggled. my dad likes to put it upright in a canister, i put it in a basket on my nightstand. don't let the cat play with it, don't put it on the coffee table that your corgi runs into every 20 minutes. just give it a quiet place to rest when you aren't changing channels or flinging angry birds.

Q: how do i keep my kids/roommate/live in cabana boy from adding paid channels to my roku?
A: put a PIN on your account. go to your roku account and select the update button on the grey box in the center of your account page that says "Channel Store PIN." you can set it for a PIN required to add any channels at all or just for paid channels.

Q: i put a PIN on it. and forgot my PIN. now i can't add channels on my roku
A: see how to get to the PIN update page on your roku account in the previous answer - it will actually show you the PIN you chose.

Q: when i am watching hulu plus the sound is constantly out of sync with the video. especially after a commercial! and sometimes it doesn't respond to the remote at all. or it skips a few seconds forward all by itself. and sometimes hulu plus even bricks my roku and i have to factory reset it. i'm tearing my hair out over this
A: right? it's so annoying. happens to a lot of people [otherwise it wouldn't be a frequently asked question] roku and hulu know about it and have supposedly been working on a fix since mid 2011. in the meantime, let go of your hair, unplug the box, count to 30 and plug it back in. stop throwing the remote across the room. wait for your roku to reboot. remove the hulu plus channel. add the hulu plus channel. relink it to your hulu account.
did that fix the problem? if yes, you should be ok for a couple of weeks in my experience. if not, read this guide to reporting problems to roku over on the roku forum and then provide the nice engineers with the details they need to try to get this resolved once and for all. also, tell Hulu Plus.

Q: how many roku channels are there?
A: not sure really. it changes daily and there are plenty of private channels that stay private if people create them for personal use. all the ones i know of are counted up here

Q: the content I want to watch doesn’t have a roku channel. how can I make that happen?
A: officially? contact the content owner and ask them to make a channel. roku makes the box, not the content. unofficially? ok, just because roku has the developers' kit for free doesn't mean you can just go grab content off the internet and stream it to your roku. maybe you have the technical knowledge to do so but without the content owner's permission it's not very polite and probably not legal. check the dead channel list for more about what happens to channels when the roku channel isn't approved by the content owner.

Q: why isn't there an NFL channel and will it be coming soon?
A: because NFL broadcasts are in contract with Directv for at least another year. and you probably won't see it anytime soon because Directv has already said they don't wanna play nice with Roku.

Q: i bought a previously owned roku and it has someone else's stuff on it. how do i get rid of that junk and make it mine?
A: that answer requires its own post

Q: my netflix won't play! everything else is fine. it will play on the pc/wii/ps3 but not the roku! what's going on?
A: first things first - is netflix down for just you or for everyone? check Downrightnow to find out. if it's down for a lot of people then you should probably go watch something else for a while. good thing roku has LOTS of channels, right? if it's just down for you, or if you want to be helpful to the engineers who are trying to fix it go to the Roku Forum general discussion and choose the sticky thread labelled "Netflix Connection Issues [insert month]" and provide them with details about your connection, your area of the country and what problems you are experiencing. THEN go watch something else. or read a book. books are awesome. - Oh, and it's important to be aware that the stream on your roku is different from the stream on your other devices. Netflix has a stream for each device so it might be fine on your pc or wii and still have the problem be with Netflix's stream, not your roku box.

Q: how do i change the order of the channels on my roku? i want to put the most frequently used ones all together
A: any remote with a "*" button can do this on any roku. the original roku remote can't do it but the instant replay remote and bluetooth gaming remote can and you can use them on the original roku also. for example: i own an N1000 roku original box from 2008. i can use the instant replay remote from my roku1 XD/s on the N1000 to change the channel order [or just when i misplace the original remote!]  you can also use the remoku application on your pc, or the android or iphone apps to control your roku and reorganize those channels.

Q: i don't have an HD tv! can i use roku with my ancient tv?
A: if you don't have a roku3 yet, probably. i do. now, i haven't successfully hooked a roku up to the black and white bakelite tv with an antenna connected to the tv by screws [i'll try it eventually!]
but here's the oldest tv i own with a roku N1000 [and a bunch of other stuff hooked to it] the directv box is gone now but this setup still works
my roommate has an angry birds roku2 XS hooked to a tv with a single coax input using this rf modulator.
however, the roku3 is HDMI only so if your tv is older, you will (probably) need at the minimum, an HDMI to composite adapter. after looking at the prices on those, i really suggest getting a new HD tv or a more compatible roku model like the roku2 or rokuLT.

Q: i just added a private channel and it won't show up on "My Channels"
A: the old roku interface (the left to right line of channels) would add the channel immediately after entering and exiting the channel store. the new roku interface (the square grid one) doesn't work that way, unfortunately. you have 2 options:
1) go to the settings menu and select "system update" to force the roku to refresh itself
2) add this free channel by TheEndless and use it to force your roku to refresh the channels

Great list of Roku Tips all in one place, by experienced Roku users:

misc odds and ends:
most common part of older rokus to fail: the power supply
the barrel size of the power supply is 5.5mm x 2.5mm
it really is better for your roku to leave it on all the time, and it uses a very miniscule amount of power and it does updates in the downtime so you don't have to wait for updates every time you turn it on


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