Sunday, June 13, 2021

Why I don't subscribe through Roku

I'm a Roku fan. While I do like Apple TV, and Chromecast with Google TV, I really like Roku. I've mentioned this before, I'm certain. But, I don't like everything about Roku. One of their biggest features they promote is one I really really do not like. I will not subscribe to any service through Roku billing.

Now, if I'm such a fan of Roku, why would I refuse to use one of their most promoted features? Simple. It's not what it does that I don't like, it's what it doesn't do.

First, here are the good things about subscribing to content through Roku.

All of your streaming billing is in one place. It's easy to find the stuff to which you have a subscription, and it's easy to cancel any subscription. You don't have your credit card on a bunch of different services. When you rent or buy something, in addition to subscriptions, it's really simple to do on a Roku device. It's super easy, barely an inconvenience.

Except...

There's one thing about Roku subscriptions that I really really really don't like. If you subscribe through Roku, you can only use that subscription on Roku.

"What's the big deal?" you might ask.

Here's the big deal. Do you have anything other than a Roku that you might want to watch the content on? For example, a Roku in the living room, and a Fire TV or Android TV (smart TV) in the bedroom? Guess what? You can only watch on your Roku.

Your iPhone or Android phone? Nope. Not watching Hulu though the Hulu app if you subscribed through Roku.

Your iPad or Fire tablet? Same problem.

Your laptop? Again, same thing.

Do you have multiple Roku accounts? For instance, you have a Roku for the kids, but don't want to have certain apps available to them? You can set up a separate Roku account that you control and limit what apps are available there, without impacting your Roku. Well, if you do this, and you subscribe to Netflix through Roku (for example) you can only watch it on your Roku (or others on that same account). Subscriptions are limited to Roku, and only Roku devices on your own Roku account.

What if you are visiting relatives for a few days? You can't use your Roku subscription unless you brought your Roku.  Well, yeah, you could have them put the Roku in Guest Mode, but that can be problematic if it's their main TV.

If you subscribe to Netflix or Hulu or any service directly, you lose the simplicity of Roku billing. I do like its simplicity. But, you are then limited to only watching on your Roku.

I really really really don't like that limitation. So much so, that I not only do not recommend Roku billing, I recommend not using it, but subscribing directly.

Sure, it may be exactly what you need. And, if that's the case, fantastic. It is easy to use and has some good points. But, it's not what I want in my Streaming Life.

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