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Can someone explain about Roku, Fire Stick, and other streaming stuff?

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I just bought a new Samsung TV, and it has some streaming stuff built into it. It has something called Tizen, which the salesman explained was similar to Roku and Fire Stick.

I've never used Roku or Fire Stick, and to be honest, I'm not really sure what they are or what exactly they do.

Are these their own streaming services, or do they just stream other services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.?

Are they free, or are they another charge, in addition to each streaming service's charge?

Do they stream through the cable company or the internet provider? (I have a triple play service from my cable provider, so this part doesn't really make a difference to me, but I'm curious how it works.)

Would the streaming stuff work at all if I bought this Smart TV, but I didn't have cable or internet?

Thanks in advance.
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My parents got a Samsung smart TV, but have had a lot of issues watching their streaming services through it.

We got them a Roku, and that has worked a lot better.

A Roku (or a fire stick) is a device that plugs into your TV, just like you'd attach a VCR or DVD to a TV. The TV is basically acting as a big monitor/screen for what the Roku is playing.

You pay for the device (like $50 or whatever), then you can watch your services through the Roku. Set-up is pretty straight-forward.



I'll also add that you can access many free services via the Roku (like Tubi or VuducFree).

There is something called The Roku Channel which does cost money, but I've never tried it out.

You can still have a cable box plugged into your TV. You'd plug the cable box into one input and any device (like a Roku) into a different input. Changing back and forth between inputs is very easy. Most remotes have an "input" button that allows you to toggle between them.



You will need internet to access your streaming services.
My parents got a Samsung smart TV, but have had a lot of issues watching their streaming services through it.

We got them a Roku, and that has worked a lot better.

A Roku (or a fire stick) is a device that plugs into your TV, just like you'd attach a VCR or DVD to a TV. The TV is basically acting as a big monitor/screen for what the Roku is playing.

You pay for the device (like $50 or whatever), then you can watch your services through the Roku. Set-up is pretty straight-forward.

Thanks for the information.

We didn't buy it for the streaming services, so if it's going to cost more money to use them, then we'll probably just ignore them for now.

We only bought the new TV because our old TV died. (It was so old that it wasn't even a flat screen TV.) So far, we're very happy with the TV, so it won't really make a difference to us if they're just a menu option that we don't use.



I'll also add that you can access many free services via the Roku (like Tubi or VuducFree).

There is something called The Roku Channel which does cost money, but I've never tried it out.

You can still have a cable box plugged into your TV. You'd plug the cable box into one input and any device (like a Roku) into a different input. Changing back and forth between inputs is very easy. Most remotes have an "input" button that allows you to toggle between them.

We already found something called Samsung TV, which has a bunch of free programming, and I saw that there was an option to add some services that I know are free, like Tubi TV and YouTube, so I might explore some of those when I have some free time.

I also already hooked up a BluRay DVD player to it, and I found the "Source" button to toggle between them.

Thanks again.



There is a charge for each streaming platform but there are some, that contains ads, that are free.

I have Amazon Prime, which includes streaming as well as buying products from them with next day or 2 day delivery, at $14.99 a month. You can add other streaming packages to this, ie Masterpiece, Britbox, Shudder which is an additional charge.

Hulu package including ESPN and Disney+ at $13.99.

Netflix, HBO Max and Starz charge as well.

Crackle, Pluto TV and several others are free, but again, they contain ads.

I have the firestick. You just download the app for each streaming service you want and create an account.

Peacock (NBC) has free with limited content, $4.99 premium with ads and $9.99 with no ads.



I wanted to let you know that the majority of the platforms have free trials or a discount price to try. I got 6 months of Starz for $20. It's normally $8.99 a month.



There is a charge for each streaming platform but there are some, that contains ads, that are free.

I have Amazon Prime, which includes streaming as well as buying products from them with next day or 2 day delivery, at $14.99 a month. You can add other streaming packages to this, ie Masterpiece, Britbox, Shudder which is an additional charge.

Hulu package including ESPN and Disney+ at $13.99.

Netflix, HBO Max and Starz charge as well.

Crackle, Pluto TV and several others are free, but again, they contain ads.

I have the firestick. You just download the app for each streaming service you want and create an account.

Peacock (NBC) has free with limited content, $4.99 premium with ads and $9.99 with no ads.

We already pay enough money for Spectrum cable, so we're not planning to add any paid streaming services any time soon, but I'll look into the free ones when I get a chance. I don't mind ads because they give me a short break to get a drink or snack, or maybe a bathroom break if necessary.

Thanks for the information.



I wanted to let you know that the majority of the platforms have free trials or a discount price to try. I got 6 months of Starz for $20. It's normally $8.99 a month.
I don't like free trials because the whole idea of them is to get you hooked so that you won't want to give it up. If I don't try them, then I won't miss them later.

(Starz is already included in my cable package.)

Thanks again.



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Think of such devices as hubs that offer an access point to several streaming services. Many streaming services require individual subscriptions. Some, as mentioned, may offer free streaming of select movies and shows with the trade-off of frequent commercial interruptions. Through a device, such as a fire stick or Roku, you can install apps like Netflix or HBOnow. Each service requires a subscription and login. The plus side is your login accounts can be used through a computer browser, devices like a fire stick, smart TVs, your mobile phone, and even gaming platforms like the PlayStation. Down side is you have an account for HBO, one for Netflix, one for Amazon Prime, etc.


Depending on your watch preferences, it could be cheaper than basic + premium channel cable TV, considering you likely already pay for internet. Sometimes not.



Think of such devices as hubs that offer an access point to several streaming services. Many streaming services require individual subscriptions. Some, as mentioned, may offer free streaming of select movies and shows with the trade-off of frequent commercial interruptions. Through a device, such as a fire stick or Roku, you can install apps like Netflix or HBOnow. Each service requires a subscription and login. The plus side is your login accounts can be used through a computer browser, devices like a fire stick, smart TVs, your mobile phone, and even gaming platforms like the PlayStation. Down side is you have an account for HBO, one for Netflix, one for Amazon Prime, etc.


Depending on your watch preferences, it could be cheaper than basic + premium channel cable TV, considering you likely already pay for internet. Sometimes not.

Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense, but it sounds like we would be spending more money than it would be worth to us if we signed up for a bunch of paid services. We'll probably just check out some of the free, ad-supported services.

We get a bunch of movie channels with our current cable plan, but we get a discounted rate because our co-op negotiates a cheaper price for the whole co-op community to get the same provider at a discounted rate. (We also get discounted internet service through the same provider.)



We only bought the new TV because our old TV died. (It was so old that it wasn't even a flat screen TV.) So far, we're very happy with the TV, so it won't really make a difference to us if they're just a menu option that we don't use.
Fairly recently replaced my flat screen tv, which had died. Did not want a smart tv & probably bought the last non-smart tv on the market.

I’m happy streaming to my iPad & using the tv for my DVDs. Don’t have any particular desire to stream to my tv.
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Fairly recently replaced my flat screen tv, which had died. Did not want a smart tv & probably bought the last non-smart tv on the market.

I’m happy streaming to my iPad & using the tv for my DVDs. Don’t have any particular desire to stream to my tv.

We didn't go looking for a Smart TV, but I think that's all they sell now.



We didn't go looking for a Smart TV, but I think that's all they sell now.
Like I said, I probably bought the last one available for sale. No question that when this new tv eventually dies, I will have to buy a smart tv.



I bought a Smart TV and it annoys the hell out of me. I can not plug in my cable box or my Roku which was already set up for streaming the way I like it. The apps on the TV buffer a lot. I am constantly rebooting it. And the cable channels have apps I can use so I don''t miss BRAVO and TCM but they require me to log into them again and prove that I have cable about once every two weeks. And no more channel surfing. Ugh!
Rant over.



The whole thing can also be equated to computer operating systems (i.e. Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, etc.) The one you have will determine the screen interface and most importantly, what streaming platforms you have access to. I switched last year from a Roku TV to an LG one, and found that some streaming platforms like Tubi weren't available for LG TV's, at least at that moment.

EDIT: To go into all the questions...

I just bought a new Samsung TV, and it has some streaming stuff built into it. It has something called Tizen, which the salesman explained was similar to Roku and Fire Stick.
Tizen is the OS used in most Samsung devices, including smart TVs. LG smart TVs use webOS, and Roku TVs use Roku OS. I'm not sure about Tizen/Samsung, but it might have a proprietary streaming service built in with the same name. I know Roku has the Roku Channel, so maybe Samsung/Tizen have a Tizen streaming platform with some shows and/or films.

Are these their own streaming services, or do they just stream other services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.?
The above examples are operating systems that allow you to install and manage different streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Disney+). Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, some streaming services are not available for all smart TV operating systems, although that's usually with the more obscure ones (I mentioned how Tubi wasn't available for LG/webOS when I bought mine).

Are they free, or are they another charge, in addition to each streaming service's charge?
This depends. Some streaming services require additional charges, others are free by default, and others aren't free but come bundled as part of a package with some smart TVs or Internet provider bundles.

Do they stream through the cable company or the internet provider? (I have a triple play service from my cable provider, so this part doesn't really make a difference to me, but I'm curious how it works.)

Would the streaming stuff work at all if I bought this Smart TV, but I didn't have cable or internet?
This is a blurry line right now, cause most companies do both, but the bottom line, it is an Internet service, and needs Internet access for it to work.
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im thinking to get another tv for my gaming room . it has to be between samsung or sony or LG

We buy a lot of Samsung products, (TVs, DVD players, cell phones, etc.), and we've never been disappointed with them. I have nothing against Sony or LG, but I prefer Samsung over them.



I bought a Smart TV and it annoys the hell out of me. I can not plug in my cable box or my Roku which was already set up for streaming the way I like it. The apps on the TV buffer a lot. I am constantly rebooting it. And the cable channels have apps I can use so I don''t miss BRAVO and TCM but they require me to log into them again and prove that I have cable about once every two weeks. And no more channel surfing. Ugh!
Rant over.

Do you have cable in addition to the streaming apps on the Smart TV, or do you just use the apps?

We have cable, which includes several movie channels, so we haven't started looking into any of the streaming apps yet. We're happy with the Smart TV, but so far, we've only been using it as a normal TV, nothing "smart" about it.