TV Streaming at the Villas
To our beloved guests!
In the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic Our Cable Television Provider declared Bankruptcy!!
And what this meant for us and guests of our Florida properties, is NO TV cable service as of July 2020.
Welcome to the Digital Age!
We are completing our transition to Streaming Services in January 2021.
The villas now feature ROKU Streaming Players in most rooms, which deliver television content over the internet. If you are not familiar with how this works, it can be a little daunting at first. But just like when TV first started being delivered by cable, if one takes the time to figure your way through it you will find 1) it actually does work, and 2) it’s not so bad once you’re used to it. In fact, in many ways it is much simpler than cable.
The Roku Player, which has its own very simple remote, is the hardware that feeds the TV signal to the TV. It connects to the TV using an HDMI cable, so the input on the TV must be set to HDMI (Usually HDMI 1).
Some of our TVs actually have the Roku player built right into them, it isn’t a separate device.
The Roku device (similar to a cable box, but much smaller) allows you to access various Streaming Services, which are programming services which stream content over the internet.
The Roku devices in the home are already connected to the home’s wifi network. You don’t need to set them up, so please don’t play with their settings. Roku devices must be registered on a Roku Account to work, and they are already all set up and registered on our account (so don’t ‘borrow’ them, we’ll know where they are and where to find them!).
When you bring up the Roku main screen on the TV, you will see a number of Streaming Services to choose from, many which you will recognize as being available previously through cable providers, like ESPN. Many are quite new, like Disney+ which features Disney content.
What and How to Watch
There is a lot of content available on the Roku, some of it free of charge, and some paid content which we have purchased for you.
1) Free Content Free channels include The Roku Channel, YouTube, The CW, CBS News, PBS Kids, iHeartRadio, and more with commercials.
2) Authenticated Cable This means watching content provided by your own paid for cable provider at home. Most cable providers now give their subscribers a ‘watch anywhere’ or ‘TV everywhere’ service which allows them to view subscribed services anywhere over the internet. You may use a service like this with your phone, for example, allowing you to watch your cable provided services on it, in addition to your regular TVs.
Accessing your own cable service that you are subscribed to at home is as easy as launching the channel on your Roku device, then following the instructions to activate or authenticate using your cable or satellite account information. (You did bring that with you, right? Likely not, of course, but it is often available online by logging in to your cable provider’s website to get the info.) TV Everywhere channels include ABC, ESPN, HGTV GO, CW, MTV, and Freeform – and there are no extra charges (besides your regular cable or satellite fees).
3) Subscription Streaming Services These are content providers that you get a monthly paid subscription to, which allow you to access content anywhere over the internet. The most well known is Netflix, and other popular ones include Disney+, Apple TV, Hulu and Sling.
4) Rent or Buy Content This is mentioned in order to provide complete information on using a Roku, but because purchasing content while at the villa means entering your credit card information which other guests could then use to pay for their content (exception: see below) we recommend NOT doing this at all.
How to Watch more than Free Content
There are two ways to watch Paid Content (besides using your own paid cable content as described above).
1) Access Your Own Paid Streaming Services If you already have a subscription to Netflix (and who doesn’t now…) or other streaming service like Disney+, you can safely watch them at the villa by using the Roku in Guest Mode. When we put the Roku Player in Guest Mode, you enter your own account information (email or user name and password) and access your paid streaming subscription(s) just like you do at home or on your portable devices.
When we put the Rokus at the villa in Guest Mode, all account information entered on them is stored until your departure date, at which time Guest Mode is turned off, and all of your account information is then deleted so it can’t be accessed by us or other guests.
If you would like the Rokus at the villa placed in guest mode during your stay, just send me a text or email, or give me a call. I’m happy to do this for you if you wish.
2) Access OUR Paid Streaming Service Just as we used to pay a monthly cable fee in order to provide TV content for our guests to watch, we now have a monthly subscription to a general content streaming provider, which we provide to our guests free of charge. The service we have available is called hulu.
This is the easiest way for our guests to watch ‘normal’ TV. Simply select hulu on the main Roku content screen, and then select the channel(s) you want to watch.
As we are giving all of our guests free access to our Roku and Hulu accounts, please don’t try to ‘reverse engineer’ our account information and ‘borrow’ the use of our accounts elsewhere or when back home. Like so much in the vacation rental industry, we offer you use of our subscriptions on the honor system, and appreciate your not taking advantage of this.
What is available to watch on our hulu subscription at the villas? Lots!
Hulu content falls into two categories:
The Hulu Library which is (like Netflix) a collection of currently available movies and tv shows. There are 2500 of them available! Use the link below to see them online, or just search for your favorites using the Roku and Hulu channel.
Hulu Live TV which is just like tuning into a live TV broadcast using an antenna or cable subscription. Here is a list of the channels available on hulu at this time (January, 2021).
ABC News Live
Big Ten Network
CBS Sports Network
ESPN College Extra
Nat Geo Wild
NBC Sports Network
Check out everything available on Hulu at this link here: Online guide to hulu content