I love my Roku and my regular readers can certainly vouch for it. By the time you read this, I will have celebrated my first year anniversary with my beloved Roku 2 XS. It is the ultimate streaming media player ever, in my humble opinion.
Since I have covered what a Roku is and what it does in previous columns, I would like to focus this column on some tips and clarifications that might be useful for new Roku users. Considering hardware connections are easy as pie and they also include an easy onscreen setup as well, these tips and clarifications are for ensuring a smooth experience if someone still manages to hit a snag.
First, a clarification about setting up a Roku account. The common misconception is that a Roku account can’t be set up without placing a credit card number or a PayPal account on the account for future purchases. This is not the case. Simply call Roku support at (888) 600-7658 or contact it via live chat. It gladly will set up a Roku account without a payment method attached to the account. I know these methods work because I have tried both in the past when helping people who didn’t have either a credit card or PayPal account.
Another option for someone without a credit card or a PayPal account is to purchase a prepaid credit/debit card and use that to setup their Roku account. Keep in mind that as with any other place where a credit/debit card is added as a payment method, a temporary $1 hold may appear on your account. This is not an actual charge, it will go away. This is done to make sure that the payment method is indeed legitimate. Therefore, there is no cause for panic. A pin number can be set on the account to prevent random purchases of games or premium channels on your Roku.
Make sure you have a Web browser handy during setup to make it easier to input the codes to link channels to your Roku player. Any device should work — an iPod touch, a cell phone or a computer — as long as the device has a Web browser with an Internet connection.
Another clarification is needed in regards to an on/off button. Simply put, none of the Roku players have a power switch. When the player is not in use, it goes into sleep mode. The Roku only draws about two watts of power, but one could simply disconnect the power if that is preferred.
Now for a tip about Roku channels. Roku’s Channel Store is full of more than 500 awesome channels covering a wide range of interests including entertainment, education, games, movies, music, outdoors, religion, sports and much more. However, some of the very best channels for a Roku are found amongst private channels. Private channels are simply channels not present in the Channel Store. I have many private channels on my Roku and among the best ones are NowhereTV, iTunes Podcasts and MummyBox. To add these private channels, one must log into the Roku account and click on the Add a Private Channel link, then input the code for that channel. The codes for the above mentioned channels are H9DWC, ITPC and livetvnow, respectively. Do a search on “Roku private channels” for an extensive listing of private channels.
In closing, a clarification about fees. There are no fees in association to a Roku player unless a channel purchase is made via the Roku Channel Store. Premium channels such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon are paid directly through each service, not via Roku. Premium accounts can be linked to a Roku device via a special onscreen code and Web site and then content is made available for viewing on the Roku box.
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