Do you need the internet to use a Roku device? In a word, yes — a wired or wireless internet connection is required to power any Roku product.
Roku offers a large line of video streaming devices that give your ordinary television the ability to display content like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and more. In other words, they turn “dumb TVs” into “smart TVs.”
In order to use a Roku product in your home or office, you’ll need to connect the Roku to the internet so the device can stream video to your TV.
How to connect your Roku device to the internet via a wired connection or WiFi
There are two ways to do this: You can use wireless internet (WiFi) or wired internet (by connecting the device directly to a router or hub using an Ethernet cable).
Not all Roku devices support wired Ethernet, though. Any Roku will connect with WiFi, but if WiFi isn’t an option for you — or your WiFi is too slow or spotty to stream video reliably — you might consider getting the Roku Ultra. This streaming box is currently at the top of the Roku product line (it costs $100), but has an Ethernet jack and can be connected to your router directly.
Regardless of which Roku model you choose, setup is quite simple.
1. Connect the Roku device to your TV via an HDMI cable, and plug in the AC adapter. Turn on the TV on and set it to the correct HDMI input for your Roku; you should now see the Roku welcome screen and setup instructions.
2. Insert batteries into the included remote control, and using the remote, follow the on-screen instructions to connect your Roku to your WiFi network. Note that you will need your WiFi network’s password to complete the setup process.
If you have a Roku Ultra, you won’t need to set up WiFi; instead, plug the Ultra into your network router or hub at the same time as you are connecting it to HDMI and power. It’ll automatically detect the network and you won’t need to enter any sort of network password.