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TV Answer Man

Roku: What Are Their Private Channels?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (October 14, 2014) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to swann@tvpredictions.com

Q. I was thinking of buying a Roku player and a friend told me that they had more than 1,500 channels, including some cool channels that are called private channels. What are these private channels? Can anyone get them? -- Carl, Reno, Nevada.

Carl, Roku, which offers its Net TV service in several devices, including a streaming stick, now offers more than 1,800 channels, including such popular subscription services as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus.

The company also offers a number of free channels, which is nice considering that Roku does not require a monthly subscription (except for the subscription services such as Netflix.)

The list of free channels includes
CNET, Wall Street Journal Live, Crackle, Pandora's music service, HBO Go (if you subscribe to HBO and your Internet provider permits you to watch HBO GO) and foreign language channels, among many others. Here's a link to Roku's Channel page.

And then there are the mysterious Roku 'private channels.'

Roku describes the channels as programming services that it does not approve or review, but are available over the Internet. The programmers will make the channel available to Roku's subscribers, the company says, for a few reasons, including:

1. The channel is not ready for prime time, meaning the programmer doesn't want a large number of people to watch it yet. Instead, it prefers that a small number of Internet users, including Roku subs, watch it and give the programmer feedback about how to make it better before publicizing it to a larger audience.

2. The channel may be adult-oriented, which Roku does not officially sanction.

3. The channel may be truly "private," meaning it's intended for a private event such as an employee meeting or corporate presentation. However, the company will make the channel available to Roku as a private channel to allow people to easily access it on their Roku devices.

To watch a private channel on Roku you must enter the channel's code and add the channel to your list of available channels. You can do this by going to your Roku account page, click 'Add Private Channel' and then fill out the form. The channel will then be added to your personal list.

You would obtain the channel code from the programmer's web site, the programmer directly, or from a web site that specializes in publishing lists of Roku private channels, such as this one.

What are some private channels? The current list includes: USTV Now, which provides U.S. network programming for service personnel; Nick reboot On Demand, a collection of 6,000 episodes of your favorite Nickelodeon-based shows. Archive.Org, which streams movies and TV shows in the public domain; TNTV, which streams classic TV shows; Ohio Valley Wrestling (it does get esoteric); and Hockey Streams, which purports to offer local NHL broadcasts without blackouts (like we said, Roku does not officially sanction these).

And many, many more. If you have Roku, exploring the private channel list can be a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

For more information on Roku products, click below:

Roku 1
Roku LT
Roku 2
Roku 3
Roku Streaming Stick

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at
swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

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