I recently had an experience with a Roku, and definitely not a good one. It all started with my mom’s desire to get rid of the cable and say sayonara to the $150 cable bill. My aunt purchased a Roku box sometime back and my mom got really interested with it when she found out that Roku has a huge variety of channels to watch from including services like Netflix which she loved after watching some great movies and religious films. After discussing with the family(of 4) about replacing the cable with Roku, my mom got my aunt to order a Roku for her. It arrived within a week or so.
Ok, before I go on I’ll explain a little about the Roku box. A Roku box is a digital media receiver (according to Wiki). It uses the internet to stream stuff like movies and videos and can deliver high quality media to your tv. Unlike cable tv, there is no monthly bill for Roku. Just pay for the box, and while you can get a lot of the channels on there for free, there is also services like Netflix and Hulu Plus that have a small monthly subscription fee. A Roku box is also inexpensive. You can find more info on the Roku site.
Now I’ll discuss my thoughts about the Roku before it arrived. I don’t watch TV as I did a few years ago when I was about 13 years old(now 17). Back then I would get up early just to watch cartoons every day(lol). Ever since the internet was installed, my computer and the internet has become my very own entertainment system where I can watch, listen and play every and any piece of media right at my fingertips. Since building my first computer, the experience has only gotten a hundred times better. You can imagine that I rarely touched the tv remote after being exposed to the vast wonders of the net. If and when I get my own apartment, cable is something is something I would not even consider installing.
Back to the topic of my opinion of the Roku. I was delighted when I found out that the Roku had crunchyroll and a few other anime streaming services. I supported in having the cable axed for the Roku since it would be much better financially for the family. As for the opinions of my sis and dad, my sister is VERY easily entertained and as long as CNN and ESPN tennis is available, I guess my dad can let go of the cable tv. Right now I’ve yet to find a solution to get ESPN on the Roku besides streaming on a computer instead but I’ve heard about a service called PlayOn which I hope can solve that little problem. My mom likes her religious shows, which DirecTV(the cable service we have) doesn’t have, and as long as she can watch some news, great movies and shows like America’s got talent, she can adjust well without cable.
Now that the small stuff is out of the way, now to talk about the BAD stuff.
I was anticipating the arrival of the Roku box since I got interested in it. The Roku we got was the Roku HD. I set up the Roku myself and it was working fine, but it didn’t have the services like Netflix and many other channels were unavailable. I checked online for solutions and I tried as much as I could to resolve the problem. I tried almost everything and nothing seemed to work at ALL. I resetted the Roku box many times without success. Hours had went by and nothing had changed.
While I kept looking for solutions, I was told to reactivate the netflix account. I cancelled it once to use the free trial. Take note that I was using my mom’s credit card for the free trial and I was using it to restart the membership, but when I tried restarting it, I was presented with the message “We are unable to process your request at this time. Please try again later”. This has never happened before but I tried again several times after that but the same message showed up again and again.
Giving up on restarting the netflix membership , I tackled the challenge of trying to get the Roku to properly function for the whole night getting tired as the time passed, and then when I reset the Roku yet again, I got an error saying it’s not able to connect to the internet, even though it was connecting before and my wifi was working correctly.
After a time, I gave up on the Roku and tried netflix one more time. Nothing. As tired as I was I slept through the night well.
I woke up the next day with the feeling that the Roku will work. I turned on the box and it connected to the internet successfully. I was able to get the channels and services I wasn’t getting before. The problem? I believe the Roku wasn’t picking up my router’s US DNS settings and that I didn’t properly configure my Unblock us. Some of the simplest things make the biggest problems *sigh*.
You can bet that I was relieved when Roku started working the way I wanted, but the worst has yet to come. Yeah, it only gets better for a short time.
Finally able to enjoy Roku, I was not able to access netflix. I called customer support and I was told that the bank wasn’t allowing the funds to be transferred for some reason and that I should give them a call. I told my mom what was up and I told her to call the bank about her credit card.
My mom made the call. Now it’s time for the shocker. Remember when I said I wasn’t getting into netflix and kept getting the “We are unable to process your request at this time. Please try again later” message everytime I tried to restart the account? Guess what. Everytime I tried to restart the netflix account, the credit card actually got charged (◉_◉). The credit card had 21 charges that accounted to more than $150 US. Yeah, I was pretty shocked myself that my heart felt heavy at the time.
My mom and I had been trying the whole morning to get this HUGE problem resolved but neither was netflix or the bank helpful. Luckily, the problem was solved yesterday. As for netflix, I’ve yet to try if it working correctly.
The Roku hasn’t even been in my house for 24 hours and yet it has created a BIG problem. I know netflix is to blame here(not sure if the bank had anything with restricting the funds the first time), but this problem wouldn’t exist without the Roku box. Do I regret having the Roku? Not enough to down right hate it. Would I recommend it after having that experience? I doubt anyone will have the same exact experience I did, but if anything, I can’t say I wouldn’t recommend Roku since my biggest problem was with netflix. Beware of netflix if you have to.
It looks like the cable might stay, but it will be downgraded to the basic package. To be honest, I couldn’t see my sister living without the cable tv. She uses the tv the most in the house besides my dad. As for my dad, I don’t think he’ll easily let it go either.