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How does the Roku player work?

Roku Support
posted this on September 24, 2013 09:55

This article is applicable to the following models:

 Models All Roku player models (US)

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The basics

The Roku player is a little device that connects to your home network wirelessly (even wired on select models) and streams music, movies and TV shows from the Internet, right to your TV. Setup is easy and takes just a few minutes.  Once connected to the Internet, the Roku player is linked to a free Roku account that you create, and gives you instant access to our growing library of channels and games in the Roku Channel Store.  

If you already have a Netflix subscription, then just log into the Netflix channel on Roku and enjoy. Or browse the Channel Store and install another new favorite movie or music channel.

As easy as it sounds, we know you might still have some questions.  The details below address some common ones about how the Roku player works.


Getting started

     Why Roku?    What you will need to use Roku
  • Ease of use - Roku players are easy to get setup and on to what you really want to do, stream movies and TV shows
  • Intuitive - Roku offers a menu and interface design that makes it easy to get around
  • Selection - a growing Channel Store filled with channels and games
  • Choice and value - there's a Roku to meet everyone's needs, at a low starting price
  • Broadband Internet
  • WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) wireless network
  • An available composite or HDMI input a TV
  • Roku account (it's free)
  • Optional (not included)
    • HDMI cable (if using HDTV)
    • Ethernet cable (if using wired network)

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You never need to turn off the Roku player, no power switch is needed.

It knows when to go into a low power state, but is always ready for use and to keep your Roku player up-to-date with the latest software.

All while using less energy than a nightlight.  


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Portability

The Roku player is such a small footprint, making it an easy travel companion.  

There are a few things to be aware of to ensure it will work where you are traveling. 

 Note: Although your Roku player works at home, network and Internet conditions may change on the road. 

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Travel Checklist (yes/no)

  • Will there be sufficient Internet broadband speed?
  • Internet access does not require web browser authentication.
  • TV has available input.
  • I am not leaving the country.

If you answered "yes" to all the above, it looks like a good fit to bring the Roku player along.

Still check with your destination to see if there are data limits.

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Using Roku in MAC ACL managed networks
(like a business, apartment, or school dormitory)

If you can not connect the Roku player to a DHCP network, either wireless or wired, check with your network administrator whether your MAC address needs to be added to a MAC access control list.  If it is, simply locate your Roku MAC address and have it added to the ACL. 

The MAC address is generally found in the Settings>About screen, or on the product label (bottom/back).  For the specific MAC address location of your Roku model, click "Change device" from the top of the page and select your model.  Then click on the link "Where can I find my MAC address?".  

What is MAC and ACL?  In simple terms, the MAC address is the hardware or physical address of the network client.  An ACL (Access Control List) controls which devices can join the network.  For a Roku player to work in a MAC ACL controlled environment, the MAC address of the Roku player needs to be added to the list.

What is DHCP?  In simple terms, it means that a server will dynamically assign a network address to the Roku player during the network setup process.

 
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