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Cut the Cable Cord Part VII: Streaming with Roku®

When you’re ready to start saving money and cut the cord, how will you stream TV content? Start with high speed FairlawnGig® Internet service. Stream video to any TV with an inexpensive set-top streaming player. Even with a Smart TV, you might want to consider adding an external streaming player. One of the top brands is Roku, with six streaming players. Here’s an overview of the Roku® Streaming Stick® and the Roku Premier+.

 

Streaming on FairlawnGig with Roku

Why streaming?

Delivery of TV content has been revolutionized in the last few years. Just as you watch a YouTube video on your smartphone or a Netflix movie on your laptop, you can now watch that same content at home on your big-screen TV. And you can stream all the content from the traditional TV networks too. Watch only what you want, when you want. If you are a “Hawaii Five-0” fan, you can watch any episode any time. Do you follow the Cleveland Indians? Stream every game live.

With so much content available, the choices can become overwhelming. Fortunately there are now streaming plans available that are similar to the cable TV packages and bundle related video content. Streaming plans are customizable and less expensive than traditional cable: this is how to enjoy TV when you have lightning fast FairlawnGig Internet.

How do I stream if I don’t have a Smart TV?

No problem! Stream from any TV using a set-top player, either a stick or a box. For both, setting up a Roku is simple and takes only minutes: plug it into your TV, log in to your Roku account and follow a few prompts on your TV screen. Roku’s products start at only $30.

What can you stream with the Roku?

Access to 500,000+ movies and TV episodes from top free and paid channels:

  • Free channels with apps pre-loaded onto your Roku such as PBS, WatchABC, YouTube, CBS News, Smithsonian, and others.
  • Numerous paid services get you access to all streaming content currently available. New Roku products come with free trials of a variety of paid and free subscription channels, so try them out before you sign on. It’s easy to find the app you want and one click activates it.
  • Subscription channels like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video. These are inexpensive options offering original series content, movies, as well as selected programming from cable stalwarts like HBO and FX.
  • “Traditional” cable packages (without the cable) from services like DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, fuboTV, and Sling TV. Enjoy sports, news, HGTV: just about everything you’ve viewed on cable at lower prices.

Roku® Streaming Stick®

($50 direct from Roku or less at other retailers)

https://www.roku.com/index

Who should choose the Stick?  Designed for those who are cost-conscious and want portability, it’s one of the least expensive devices to stream video. It will stream as lightning-fast as your chosen FairlawnGig plan allows (FairlawnGig’s Gigabit or Premium plans). An updated app lets you listen through your phone’s headphone jack. Roku offers more apps, refined search options and more customization than most other streaming players. Quickly locate the major streaming service apps, view their listed monthly price and arrange them in the order you want on your screen.

Wi-Fi Streaming

The Stick doesn’t have an Ethernet port, so it streams using Wi-Fi, rather than a wired connection. FairlawnGig’s installers can advise you on whether streaming content over Wi-Fi is a good fit for your home or whether a streaming box with an Ethernet port for a wired connection to the FairlawnGig ONT is a better option. A small hiccup is that the private listening feature you use with your smart phone can lose lip-sync with some Bluetooth headphones.

An Enhanced Remote

Both the Roku Streaming Stick and the Roku Premier+ include a better remote than the other Rokus: point anywhere instead of having to aim directly at the player. This allows you to place the box out of sight and with the stick, it’s hidden, plugged into the back of the TV.

Portability

The Streaming Stick is portable: take it to a friend’s house and plug and play. Most Roku streaming players include a feature known as Hotel & Dorm Connect that allows you to connect your Roku streaming player to a captive portal network (how hotels and dorms limit Internet access). The Stick’s small size and no cord makes packing easy.

Impressive Value

At $50, you’ll get great performance and the best value in streaming-video hardware when compared to other brands. CNET gives it a 9.4 rating and it’s rated highly on most tech websites. The new stick stays out of sight in the back of your TV; without wires, it’s perfect for a wall-mounted TV. It’s as fast as the Roku 2 and 3 boxes; while it doesn’t have the boxes’ headphone jack, you can use the app to listen on your phone’s headphones.

Roku Premiere+

($90 from Roku direct or lower, prices varies by retailer)

streaming on FairlawnGig with the Roku Premier+

This is the choice for a powerful streaming player if you value watching TV content in 4K resolution (4K),  with a horizontal screen resolution of a sharp 4,000 pixels and high-dynamic range (HDR). Many streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube stream some of their TV shows and movies in 4K, with higher video quality than their other streams. Some offer a smaller amount of content in HDR, with even better picture quality: more contrast and realistic colors. While 4K and HDR is still uncommon, it’s becoming available on more content every day. One drawback is that the Premiere+ doesn’t work with Dolby Vision HDR.

Who Will Benefit from the Premiere+?

The Premiere+ is perfect for those with a new 4K HDR TV. If you already have other 4K streaming options, such as a 4K game console, 4K Blu-ray player or the Smart TV system built into your TV, you can go with the Roku Streaming Stick or check out their other boxes to fit your system. But no other single device currently available can match Roku’s selection of 4K and HDR apps and services, and the Roku system is easy to use and frequently updated.

The Premiere+ will also deliver lower-quality streams, accessing all the apps available on all Roku players. It has a MicroSD card slot if you want to load apps faster. The Ethernet port allows for wired connections to the FairlawnGig ONT. FairlawnGig installers can advise you on whether the Premier+ will stream best over Wi-Fi or a direct wired connection to the FairlawnGig ONT. You can connect headphones for private listening.

Should you get the Roku Premiere+ if you already have a Smart TV?

Depending on your Smart TV, you might be fine streaming without an external box. But Roku in particular has more streaming apps that offer 4K, HDR and standard video streams. It also makes the apps and streams easier to find and use. The interface and app updates come more frequently than most Smart TVs, and provides a single source for all your Internet video.

This is also an alternative for Smart TV owners tired of using their TV’s built-in apps, because Roku’s interface and apps are superior. Roku also has a listing of Smart TV makers on their website who use their interface and apps if you’re in the market for a new Smart TV.

Roku Current Offers

There’s a couple of good promotions for new Roku subscribers:

  • Purchase a new Roku player or Roku TV and get two months of Hulu free if you activate by 9/9/2017 and redeem the offer by 9/16/2017.
  • Get a free Roku Premiere (note that this is different from the Roku Premiere+) when you prepay two months of DirectTV Now.

Read more about all six of Roku’s streaming players here, and Smart TV brands loaded with their apps and interface. Roku has a comprehensive website with a handy tool to help you choose which Roku product will work best for you home. FairlawnGig does not endorse any particular streaming player company, but offers this information as a starting point in choosing the right product for your household. If you need more about streaming services and getting local channels, see our articles on “cutting the cable cord”. If you haven’t yet signed up for FairlawnGig Internet, please do so here.