- All Roku devices require the internet to stream video content to your television.
- Roku devices are streaming devices that connect to your television via an HDMI cable and allow it to behave like a "Smart TV," streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and thousands of other channels without the need for cable or over-the-air broadcast television.
- Most Roku devices rely on WiFi, but the Roku Ultra also features an ethernet port, so you can connect it directly to a router by cable.
- Roku needs the internet to stream video, but it’s also possible to download content to other devices to play back without WiFi.
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Roku offers a large line of video streaming devices that give your ordinary television the ability to display content like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and more. In other words, they turn "dumb TVs" into "smart TVs."
How to connect your Roku device to the internet via a wired connection or WiFi
There are two ways to do this: You can use wireless internet (WiFi) or wired internet (by connecting the device directly to a router or hub using an Ethernet cable).
Not all Roku devices support wired Ethernet, though. Any Roku will connect with WiFi, but if WiFi isn’t an option for you — or your WiFi is too slow or spotty to stream video reliably — you might consider getting the Roku Ultra. This streaming box is currently at the top of the Roku product line (it costs $100), but has an Ethernet jack and can be connected to your router directly.
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Regardless of which Roku model you choose, setup is quite simple.
1. Connect the Roku device to your TV via an HDMI cable, and plug in the AC adapter. Turn on the TV on and set it to the correct HDMI input for your Roku; you should now see the Roku welcome screen and setup instructions.
2. Insert batteries into the included remote control, and using the remote, follow the on-screen instructions to connect your Roku to your WiFi network. Note that you will need your WiFi network’s password to complete the setup process.
If you have a Roku Ultra, you won’t need to set up WiFi; instead, plug the Ultra into your network router or hub at the same time as you are connecting it to HDMI and power. It’ll automatically detect the network and you won’t need to enter any sort of network password.
Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:
- A beginner’s guide to the Roku Express: What you can do with it, and how to set it up
- How to make the most out of the YouTube app on your Roku device
- A beginner’s guide to the Roku Streaming Stick: How to install and use the device