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How to Set Up Your Roku Device

Setting up your Roku is easy and takes just a few minutes. Here's what you need to know about getting your device ready to stream.

Lara Vukelich

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Picture this. It's Friday night, and you just made it home. You're settling into your favorite spot on the couch, ready to celebrate the end of the week by watching a movie. You click the button to turn on the Roku and start your movie night, and then… nothing.

The Roku is silent, the TV is blank. It sounds like you need to reconnect your Roku device with your television! Thankfully, the set up process is simple. If you're a first-time Roku owner, set up instructions also come in very handy. Read on to learn everything you need to know about setting up your Roku device.

Connecting Your Roku Device to Your TV

The first thing you should know about setting up your Roku device is how it connects to your TV. Roku models connect using an HDMI cable, but the instructions will still vary by device. The only exception is the Roku TV, which does not require an external streaming device. Once you know what you're working with, connecting your Roku to your TV is a breeze.

Roku Express

The Roku Express is a set-top box that uses an HDMI cable to connect to your TV. It also comes with a USB powerline that you'll need to plug into an outlet to power the device. You can reset the Roku device using a small reset button next to your USB port. 

Currently, the Roku Express goes for about $30 at most major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and more. The device only supports HD streaming and comes with a voice-controlled remote. The Express remote also features shortcut buttons to some of the most popular streamers, such as Netflix, Sling TV, Hulu, and others.

Roku Premiere

Like the Roku Express, the Roku Premiere is a set-top box with an HDMI cable. To watch the Roku Premiere on your TV, you'll need to connect this cable to an HDMI port and then turn to the appropriate HDMI source on your TV. For example, if you connect the cable to HDMI 1 port, then you'll have to tune into HDMI 1. You can typically change the source using your TV remote's "input" button.

The Roku Premiere goes for about $10. That's a $10 difference from the Roku Express. The Roku Premiere supports 4K streaming, so if you're looking for a device to watch 4K titles, this Roku model may be your best bet.

Roku Ultra

The Roku Ultra is considered one of Roku's top streaming devices. You can connect the device to your TV using an HDMI cable, as well as an Ethernet cable to link the device directly to your internet.

At $100, the Roku Ultra is one of the most expensive standalone devices offered by Roku. But it's also the only Roku device that comes with a remote that supports private listening and a box that connects to the internet via an Ethernet cable. And if that wasn't enough, it also supports 4K streaming. You'll also enjoy a lost remote finder feature. 

Roku Streaming Stick+

The Roku Streaming Stick+ is similar to Amazon's Fire Stick. This Roku model plus directly into any HDMI port on your TV. The stick is smaller than Roku's "box" devices, and it's certainly convenient, but you'll still need a power source. You can either use a nearby wall outlet or plug the USB adapter that comes with the Streaming Stick+ into a USB port on your TV.

Rounding out the list of standalone streaming devices featured here, the Roku Streaming Stick+ costs about $45. The device supports 4K and HDR streaming, while it's one of the easiest devices to set up. All you need to do is plug it into your TV, wait a few seconds for it to configure, launch your streaming channel of choice, login, and then start streaming your favorite movies and TV shows. 

Meanwhile, you can also get the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ for about $70. It comes with an upgraded remote with personal shortcuts and private listening.

Roku TV

There's virtually no setup required with the Roku TV. Prices for models start at around $190. Once you've purchased your TV, there are only two things left to do before you're able to start streaming. 

One, figure out a nice place to put the TV and decide if it'll be mounted or placed on a TV stand somewhere. And two, make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi. Once you've done this, you'll be well on your way to streaming your favorite titles.

How to Set Up Your Roku Device

Regardless of what Roku device you have, there are still some steps every Roku user should take to get it set up and ready to stream. Here's what you should know (in 10 easy steps).

  1. Make sure your Roku device is connected to one of your TV's HDMI ports.

  2. If your Roku comes with a power adapter, then you should also plug it into the outlet closest to your connected TV.

  3. Turn your TV on, and switch the source to the corresponding Roku source (the source may be labeled as an HDMI port or you may need to toggle through each input to find the right source). 

  4. Roku's setup page should pop up shortly after switching over to the correct input source.

  5. Unbox the remote that came with your Roku device, and then place the batteries you've been given into the back of the remote. 

  6. Aim the remote at your TV, and then use the directional buttons on it to click around and ensure that your remote is working properly.

  7. You should see a menu that asks you to set up your preferred language, so select which one you'd like to use. 

  8. Next, you'll be brought to a screen to "Set Up Wireless Connection." Go ahead and enter your Wi-Fi information on this screen. You might want to keep your Wi-Fi passwords close for this step, so it's easy to enter when prompted.

  9. If your wireless connection is successful, next you'll see Roku's home screen.

  10. Now all that's left to do is to download the streaming channel you want to use and input your login information for each channel.

Our Final Take

Setting up your Roku device is a relatively simple process. All you really need to do is ensure that the device is plugged into your TV with a suitable power outlet and connected to your home Wi-Fi network. Once that's been taken care of, you can download streaming channels and stream your favorite movies and TV shows, cast your own media from your smartphone or tablet via the Roku app, and much more.