TV Streaming Works and Solving Streaming Problems

How TV Streaming Works and Solving Streaming Problems

About TV Streaming

Like everything in the digital age, TV Streaming is more complex than old-style cable TV (which was complicated enough!).

To assist you, here is a guide to how the systems work, and what may be necessary to do if things aren’t working right.

For a general guide to TV Streaming and what content is available, please see this post here: Introducing TV Streaming at the Villas

The Basics…
Each TV is either attached to a Roku Streaming Device (in which case there will be two remotes; one for the TV, and one for the Roku device), or has the Roku device built right into the TV (in which case there will only be one remote).

Roku remotes (wether a separate device or built into the TV) are much smaller and simpler than older TV remotes (yay!) because everything is menu driven on the screen. You use the arrow keys to select things on the screen, rather than knowing which buttons to press on the remote.

If you have a TV only remote (besides the Roku remote), you essentially will only use it to turn the TV on and adjust the volume, everything else will be done on the Roku remote. (In the odd situation, you may need to re-select the input on the TV, using the TV remote. You want to select the HDMI input signal from the Roku, most likely HDMI1).

Accessing content the ‘old fashioned’ way

Many of our TVs have BlueRay players attached to them. These were much more commonly used when a lot of content was only available on disk. The BlueRay players also provide access to some online content. Whether accessing content on a disk or online through a connected BlueRay player, press Input for the TV on the remote, and select the appropriate HDMI connection. Both the BlueRay player and the Roku device use HDMI connections to provide input to the TV.

Our BlueRay players and TVs use the same BlueRay player remote for general use. You will see two power buttons at the top of the remote, one for the TV, and one for the BlueRay player. If a TV needs setup functions performed these may only be done by a specific TV remote (not the one we leave out for guests). We have provided one in the villa for these ‘emergency’ purposes, but generally speaking TV specific remotes are not provided in the bedrooms as the TVs can be controlled by the BlueRay player remotes for general use. We find it best to minimize the number of remotes needed and available if at all possible. (Less to lose!)

Contact us for further instructions and troubleshooting assistance if a TV is itself malfunctioning. 

How the Roku Works

For the Roku Device to function, it must be registered and logged in on OUR Roku account, over the internet. This requires access to our Roku account, which is restricted to ourselves, the owners. This registration has already been done on all Roku devices in the villa.

To access our Roku account, when first set-up, the Roku Device (or Roku TV) must be given access to the internet. This means it must be connected to the house router over the local WiFi Network (or has access directly using an Ethernet cable). This has also been already done for all Roku devices in the villa.

A Roku may fall off the WiFi network (become disconnected from WiFi). If a Roku must be re-added to the local WiFi Network, it will tell you on-screen. Use the on-screen instructions and the WiFi credentials supplied with your arrival information to put it back on the local network.

It should not be needed, but IF the Roku must be re-added to our Roku account, you MUST contact us to assist you. The Roku will ask for our credentials, which we will provide to you, and then provide you with an activation code on-screen, which you must provide to us. We will enter the device activation code on our Roku account, after which the Roku will begin to perform system updates for a few minutes. Once completed the Roku will again be operational.

Summary: Each Roku Device or Roku TV must have access to the internet, and be registered on our Roku Account to function. Access to the local WiFi network requires a System ID and Password (which you have), and access to our Roku account requires a separate account ID and Password (which we have).

Accessing a Streaming Service

With the TV and Roku on, you must now select which Streaming Service you want to get TV content from.

You always start from the Roku Home Screen. On the Home Screen, there is a menu on the left (which includes a search function) and a series of Streaming Service ‘tiles’ on the right side of the screen. Using the arrow keys on the remote, move around and through the menu or tiles to select the Streaming Service you want to use.

You can always get back to the Roku Home Screen by pressing the ‘Home’ Button (looks like a house) on the Roku remote.

Among the service tiles, you will see a number of various Streaming Services; some paid, and some free to access. For example, the Roku Service is free to use and has a number of channels available.

Each Streaming Service is itself like a separate paid cable subscription, with many channels or particular content (TV Series or Movies) available. How each Streaming Service offers their content varies. Some are like a single TV channel, with only one stream of programming. Others offer a number of separate channels from which to choose. Some of the channels are time based, like old-style TV, where a particular offering is only available at a particular time. Oddly enough, many of these can still be paused while watching them. Other services offer a variety of movies and or TV shows from which to choose in a fashion similar to Netflix.

Hulu Plus Live TV gives access to a library of TV shows and movies, in a fashion similar to Netflix, AND caries around 65 channels of live TV, including local channels which will have local programming, news and weather. Once logged into Hulu Plus Live TV, the interface is very similar to old-style cable TV access to view the various live channels.

Note that the Search function on the Roku can be challenging, because the search results include free programming and paid programming provided for you, along with programming on services that we do NOT have paid access to. This means that when doing a search from the Roku home screen, results will include programming you do and do not have access to, and it is sometimes difficult to know which is which, forcing you to select services by trial and error in trying to find what you want.

Summary: Use the Roku Device to select a Streaming Service. Once the particular streaming service is accessed, choose the particular channel or program you want to watch. Get back to the Home Screen using the Roku remote. Hulu Plus Live TV provides traditional live TV channels, including local central Florida stations. Search results include both available and unavailable programming.

Paid Streaming Services Provided for You

Each paid Streaming Service requires an Account ID and Password to access. We have previously set-up these paid Streaming Service  accounts on each Roku in the villa, ready for you to access them without having to enter any information.

The paid streaming services should have OUR Account ID and Password stored in the Roku, however you may encounter situations where this is not the case:

  1. The service may not have been used in a number of months (more common on the bedroom Roku devices) in which case too much time has elapsed and the account needs to be initialized once again.
  2. A previous guest has entered THEIR OWN Streaming Service account information, from their paid account back home, in order to access their own streaming account, viewing history, and preferences, etc. They may not remove it prior to departure. In this case, the previous guest’s account information will be stored in the Roku, and be automatically used if you now access that streaming service on that device.
  3. Note that if a previous guest’s account is still being accessed from the villa, it is quite possible that at some point in time, the previous guest may remove the villa Roku device remotely from their own streaming account, ‘cutting off’ the villa access.

If the Streaming Service will not function unless it is logged into again, our Account Credentials should be used in order to again access the service. If needed, please contact us to ask for Account Credentials to log in to any of the below paid services.

The following paid Streaming Services are available to you, which we pay for our guests to be able to access:

  • Hulu Live TV
  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • ESPN+

Other paid services are not available.

Who’s watching?
Each Streaming Service typically requires the setup and use of individual user profiles.

When first accessed, the service will ask ‘Who’s watching?’ or something similar and ask you to select a profile account. You should see an owner’s profile under the name ‘Robert’ and another profile with the name of ‘Guest’. There may be others as well, setup by other guests.

Please use the ‘Guest’ profile under each streaming service. If the service asks for a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for the profile you select, OR if you create a PIN for a new Guest Profile, please use 1111 (one-one-one-one) for the PIN!

(If you don’t see ‘Robert’ or ‘Guest’ profiles that is a good hint that the Roku is still accessing a previous Guest’s streaming account. Their viewing history and preferences and yours may become ‘cross contaminated’ as you both access the streaming service using the same profile. Oh… the joys of offering streaming services in a vacation rental! Be prepared that access may suddenly get cut off, in which case you may need to re-initialize accessing the streaming service on our correct villa account, as explained above.)

Other Paid Streaming Services not Provided by Us

For simplicity’s sake, we ask that you not access other paid streaming services on the villa Roku devices.

If you want to access another US-based streaming service using your own account and your own account credentials during your stay, please delete the login access (to that service ONLY) prior to leaving the villa, otherwise you may find that other villa guests continue to use your account in the future.

Upon departure, DO NOT simply reset the entire Roku device or any other service in order to delete your own streaming account. This will necessitate re-initializing the Roku and all of our Streaming Services by our local management staff at a charge which will be levied against your account.

Do not accept invitations for free trials of streaming services which may be presented to you. In some situations, it may be possible for a guest to sign up for a paid service on our account, or a free trial which automatically becomes a paid service long after the guest has departed the villa. Any such charges will be traced to and charged to the guest, along with a service fee, if necessary.

If you run into trouble

Please ask us directly for assistance, either by email, text or phone. Sometimes solving streaming service access issues may require account level work with the provider which only we ourselves can do. Often times it may be necessary to work jointly together with you to solve a streaming access issue, as work by the account holder (us) with the provider is necessary along with someone in the villa locally accessing the device in the villa, often at the same time. It may be necessary to co-ordinate with us to setup a mutually suitable time to solve a streaming access issue while we work together over the phone.

Be patient with us!

Please accept our apologies in advance, along with our thanks for your assistance, in dealing with streaming access issues. Simply put; unfortunately there are many times simply no other way to deal with these issues. As cable TV service is no longer available at the villa, we must put up with and tackle the challenges that online streaming services present in order to provide TV content for our guests.

What we can do and provide is defined by what providers make available to us.

The fact is, our provided streaming services are always working and available when we set them up. It is things that guests do or do not do while accessing them that causes problems to arise. We ourselves would prefer a much secure and simpler system! But if things go wrong, it’s not because of anything we ourselves have done!

How problems get fixed

We have worked directly with guests many times in the past to solve streaming and online access issues. In other cases, we have made arrangements for our local property management staff to come to the villa to solve these issues. Which of these two choices is the better option for dealing with a particular issue is often dependent upon the the technical knowledge, experience and capability of the guest, along with their willingness and availability time-wise to solve a technical issue.

We understand that our guests are on vacation, and streaming access issues are not theirs to solve, especially while on their holidays. The last thing we want to do is consume or waste our guests time!

It is also true however, that the login and security requirements of accessing streaming services over the open internet (it is not a closed system like old-style TV cable was), along with the fact that in order to make the service available to guests we must provide them with access to our accounts (information usually kept confidential and private) leave wide open vast potential for guests to ‘mess things up’… either intentionally or not.

Your understanding and assistance while we work to make streaming content available to all of our guests is greatly appreciated.


Author description

BOV Host

About the author:Rob Peters is the Site Administrator, Blogger and Chief-Touble-Maker on When not online, he is managing his terrific vacation rental properties in Florida, or admiring his three adult kids and loving his wife Donna.