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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cutting the Cord from Cable TV

Almost a year ago, I installed a Roku media streaming device for our television. This required an internet connection and a Wi-Fi router for the box to work. We ordered both the Roku and the router from using site to store. This was amazingly convenient for us.

After setting up the Wi-Fi connection to your device, you also must add and activate the channels on your computer Roku Account. Many channels are free, but some of them require a subscription either through Roku itself or a third party. Netflix and Hulu are some of the excellent third party providers, and are much cheaper than cable, and provide much of the same content. For kids content, I've found that Netflix is better.

I've been using RateRix as a supplement to the usual programming that we have, and have been able to enjoy  music videos, learning content for my children, and even helpful videos for my math class. There was even documentaries from PBS available there. Sometime in September the RateRix stopped being fully supported.

I've been researching alternatives to RateRix and one that keeps showing up is the Plex channel. Plex is a customizable solution and requires software to be installed to your computer, unlike most Roku channels.
I've not downloaded Plex Media Server yet. It seems to have two important values as a Roku channel, it's free and it can do what you need it to, if you can only figure out how. Its disadvantage is that it is only as good as the third party plugin channels that you install to it. I'll comment on this when I actually install and try the Plex Server.

Information about Plex Media Server link below:

Information about the Roku link below:


  1. I've installed both the Plex Media Center & the Plex Media server, and added the Plex Roku channel with the private add code Plex.

    The Media Center is needed to add some channels to the server. Not all channels that I've added work. PBS and PBS kids do not seem to work on the Roku box. Sesame Street channel has zero shows.

    The channels that do seem to work are YouTube and Ted Talks. The Ted Talks channel works perfectly. The YouTube channel has some minor hiccups like loading errors. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it can be unusable. Luckily for me, I have my Netflix and the NowhereTV channel.

    An installation URL for NowhereTV is below:

  2. I may have forgot to mention that, for the Youtube channel to work, you must have a YouTube account and provide information for that account to Plex. This enables Plex to display any playlists you have, and any subscriptions. Subscriptions on YouTube cost nothing, and simply enable you to receive up to date content from channels like Sesame Street and Khan Academy.