Q. I am 66 years old and I want to get Roku so I can watch shows on the Internet. But do I need a special TV to use it? Can you hook up a Roku to any TV? I have a Vizio TV we bought a few years ago. Will that work? — Betty, Topeka, Kansas.
Betty, that’s a great question. As you may know, Roku delivers thousands of channels over the Internet, including such popular ones as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and HBO Now. (But not HBO Max.) Many of the channels are free, although the aforementioned ones require a monthly subscription.
Roku can provide those channels using three different kinds of devices, a set-top, a streaming stick, and a TV from manufacturers such as TCL that have Roku’s software inside.
But to your question, you can connect a Roku set-top or streaming stick to any TV that has an HDMI port in the back. I can’t think of any TV that has been manufactured in the last several years that doesn’t have an HDMI connection. So I think you should be fine with your Vizio model.
If you’re not sure your TV has an HDMI connection, look in the back or side where the connectors are located. At least one of the connectors will be labeled, HDMI, but most sets have multiple HDMI ports, allowing you to connect more than one device at the same time.
To set up a Roku set-top, connect an HDMI cable to the back and then connect the other end to the HDMI port on the TV. Roku recommends using a ‘high speed’ HDMI cable if your TV displays 720p or 1080p video, or a ‘premium high speed’ HDMI cable if have a 4K TV. Then, you begin using the Roku by turning it on and following the on-screen prompts.
The Roku streaming stick will not require a separate HDMI cable. The stick connects directly to your TV’s HDMI port.
Betty, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann