I ask as I approach this small device with Roku written above it.
And as I read through its specs, I can’t help but say, “Wow.”
I want to get it, but I first have to ask:
Can this work on my TV?
Stay tuned for answers…
Keep reading to discover:
- How to connect Roku devices to a network.
- 3 steps to fix a broken HDMI connection with Roku.
- Why dumb TVs with a Roku device are better than smart TVs.
- Which HDMI cables should you get for optimal viewing experience on Roku.
- And so much more…
Does Roku work on any TV?
Roku works on any TV–as long as it has an HDMI port. However, that doesn’t mean that all TVs can run Roku devices on its best picture settings. You have to consider other factors such as the HDMI cable, the specs of your TV, and internet speed.
Can you use Roku on a non-smart TV?
You can use Roku on a non-smart TV.
And honestly, if you’re using Roku anyway…
It’s better to use a non-smart TV. Or, as people like to call it, dumb TVs.
Let me explain.
Dumb TVs are relics of the past…
But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring their technologies to the present.
Simply with streaming devices.
And my recommendation? Roku.
So what makes dumb TVs such an attractive purchase?
For one, TVs that predate smart appliances tend to be more durable.
Because, back then, the focus of manufacturers is on improving their hardware. And this leads to:
- Lower costs.
- Better longevity.
- Stronger security
And don’t worry. I’ll explain all of these reasons one by one. Starting with:
First, allow me to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to buy a brand-new TV today.
To do that, I’ve made this list of flagship smart TVs from mainstream brands:
- LG OLED65G2: $2996.99.
- Sony XR-55A80J: $1237.99.
- Samsung QE55QN95A: $1874.99.
I don’t think I’m out of bounds to say that the prices have gotten out of hand.
Now, you might say:
“Wow, you convinced me. I’m heading out to buy a dumb TV right away.”
Great, but not so fast.
There’s a part that I haven’t told you yet:
Major manufacturers don’t sell dumb TVs anymore.
However, there’s no shortage of dumb TVs for us frugal folks. Where?
You can find them in secondhand markets and garage sales.
Sometimes, even on Amazon.
It’s baffling even to suggest, but it’s true…
Dumb TVs can last longer than smart TVs.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, brands made old dumb TVs to be durable.
But that’s not all that there’s to it.
Smart TVs don’t usually become obsolete because of hardware malfunctions…
They die because their software can’t keep up with newer models.
That’s not a problem for dumb TVs, though.
Because their longevity isn’t tied to smart software, which means they can last longer than a few years.
Lastly, the reason why manufacturers don’t sell dumb TV anymore:
Do you know when you connect your TV to a Wi-Fi network, your data is no longer only yours?
Instead, TVs use that data to find shows and movies that you might like. Then they’ll give you an ad for it so that you’ll be encouraged to watch more from streaming apps.
And that’s if you’re lucky…
Vizio, for example, was sued by the FTC for selling user data to media, analytics groups, etc.
I don’t know about you, but consider me alarmed. It’s creepy having my information sold.
What do they sell about us, you ask?
- Viewing habits.
- Personal information.
- Private conversations.
Business Insider alleges there’s a reason some smart TVs are so affordable. Why?
It’s because companies are selling our data as commodities.
On the other hand, this is something you’ll never have to worry about with dumb TVs.
Manufacturers can’t snag your data since they don’t force you to connect to the internet.
Not only that…
Have I mentioned that dumb TVs have no ads?
Sounds pretty good, right?
How do I know if my TV is compatible with Roku?
You can know if your TV is compatible with Roku by checking its specs.
Let me explain…
As I said, all TVs with an HDMI port can run Roku.
But, not all of them can run Roku at its best settings.
You have to check the specs of the Roku device against your TV.
For example, you’ll be able to run a Roku Ultra device on an old smart TV but…
Don’t expect that you’ll get 4K and HDR10+ if your TV doesn’t have those.
Also, that’s not the only thing you have to consider.
It would be best if you also bought the proper HDMI cable.
Which cable should you buy
There are 3 categories of cable.
Each of them is separated by their:
- Color accuracy.
- Resolution capacity.
- Maximum refresh rate.
Category 1 (Standard)
- 720p at 60 Hz, 24 BPP (True Color).
- 1080i at 60 Hz, 24 BPP (True Color).
Note: BPP means bits per pixel. The higher BPP is, the more color accurate it will be.
There are 2 kinds of HDMI cables under Category 2:
- High Speed.
- 4K HDMI Cable.
And these are the resolutions and refresh rates they can broadcast.
- 4K at 30 Hz, 30-64 BPP (Deep Color).
- 1080p at 60 Hz, 30-64 BPP (Deep Color).
4K HDMI Cable (a.k.a. Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable)
- 4K at 60 Hz, 30-64 BPP (Deep Color).
Category 3 (8K HDMI Cable)
Quick fixes for HDMI
Now, what if you have the correct cable and the correct TV…
But there’s still no picture?
That doesn’t necessarily mean that your TV isn’t compatible with Roku.
Although, that means that your connection might be compromised.
“Oh no, what should I do?”
First of all, don’t panic.
Second, follow these instructions.
Step #1: Check if you have the correct input
Sometimes, people tend to overthink simple problems.
For one, have you tried switching inputs yet?
If you haven’t, do so now.
And, if you have, move on to the next step.
You may also be interested in: (5 Ways) How To Change Input On Samsung TV
Step #2: Power cycle
Power cycling is the process of completely restarting your TV.
But it’s not so simple as pushing a button on your remote.
Instead, you have to:
- Turn off your TV.
- Unplug Roku from the TV.
- Unplug your TV from the socket.
- Wait for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Plug everything back in.
- Turn it back on.
Did it work?
If not, proceed to…
Step #3: Scan for viruses
As for the last one, who knew that smart TVs could get viruses?
I certainly didn’t.
Nevertheless, malware can cause your TV not to read any input.
So, it’s a good practice always to scan your device for viruses.
How? Just follow these 4 simple steps:
Note: These instructions are for a Samsung TV.
- Press the Settings button on your remote.
- Go to General.
- Under System Manager, select Smart Security.
- Press Scan.
This process should tell you if your TV has any malicious software.
Want to see someone else perform a scan? You can watch this video:
Does Roku work with older TVs?
Roku works with older TVs.
As previously mentioned, you can use Roku on any device with an HDMI port.
But, there’s also another thing you have to consider…
That’s how you can connect Roku to a network.
After all, you can’t enjoy Roku’s functionalities without internet service.
And older TVs don’t always have a Wi-Fi module or ethernet port built-in.
In that case, what can you do?
Truthfully, you don’t have to worry about that.
Because all Roku devices come equipped with their own Wi-Fi module.
But some of them are faster than others.
According to Roku’s website, this is how they classify their connectivity:
- Roku Express: Standard Wi-Fi.
- Roku Express 4K: Fast Wi-Fi.
- Roku Express 4K+: Fast, Long-Range Wi-Fi.
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K: Fast, Long-Range Wi-Fi.
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K+: Our Best Wi-Fi.
- Roku Ultra LT: Our Best Wi-Fi.
- Roku Ultra: Our Best Wi-Fi.
- Roku Streambar: Our Best Wi-Fi.
- Roku Streambar Pro: Our Best Wi-Fi.
Note: “Standard,” “Fast,” and “Our Best” Wi-Fi are Roku’s naming conventions. They don’t provide any information about what they mean and how fast it is.
If you’re using their Ultra line-up, you also have access to an ethernet port.
Alternatively, you can also buy adaptors to enable ethernet for their other products.
Roku even provides you a list of which adaptors work best with them:
Roku Express 4K and 4K+
- TV xStream USB to RJ45 Ethernet adapter.
- Belker micro USB to RJ45 Ethernet adapter.
- Cable Matters micro USB to Ethernet adapter.
- UGREEN micro USB to RJ45 Ethernet network adapter.
- Weixinke micro USB to RJ45 Ethernet 100Mbps network adapter.
Roku Streambar, Streambar Pro, and Soundbar
- Plugable USB 2.0 to Ethernet fast 10/100 LAN wired network adapter.
- TRENDnet USB 2.0 to 10/100 fast Ethernet LAN wired network adapter.
How much does Roku cost per month?
Roku costs zero dollars per month.
Yes, you heard that right:
To put that into perspective…
You’ll get all of these features:
- Live TV.
- Minimalist feed.
- Private listening.
- On-time updates.
- Free Roku mobile app.
- Voice search and controls.
For zero fees. Well, after your initial payment.
But, even then, Roku streaming devices won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
What’s that? Don’t you believe me?
Then believe Roku themselves.
According to their website, here’s a list of all Roku devices with their prices:
- Roku Express: $29.99.
- Roku Express 4K: $33.99.
- Roku Express 4K+: $39.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K: $49.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K+: $69.99.
- Roku Ultra LT: $78.99.
- Roku Ultra: $99.99.
- Roku Streambar: $99.99.
- Roku Streambar Pro: $179.99.