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Thread: Roku - Any difference with Canadian hardware? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
2014-05-15 02:59 PM
Spazmogen UPDATE: 15 MAY 2014.

My American Roku Streaming Stick is working 100% fine with FULL American content.
I needed a router with VPN abilities. I had a router, it just needed the DD-WRT firmware for it, which added VPN on the router level.

I set up the router with the UnoTelly VPN settings and then signed up for the USA Roku account. I still had my AMEX set up with a Michigan address. My VPN shows I am in Utah somewhere...

Amazon Prime (US version with videos), Blockbuster & HBO Go are running fine (but you need an American Cable TV account for HBO). I spent about 30 minutes online adding channels to it.

I have no idea if this could work in reverse: Canadian bought Roku, VPN for USA and an American Roku account. The Roku player is watching the IP address you first connect with and reports it to the account server.
2014-04-20 01:08 PM
cafebrad i want to sort of hijack this with a 'what if'. i have had a roku for a couple years and use unblock us. it is a bit frustrating that the whole american canadian thing is an issue , but whatever. i lam curious if anyone can confirm this. If i buy a roku or start a new roku acct with american billing info and buy a prepaid visa (for 20$ for arguments sake) from across the line in washington will i be able to then stream us content apps. not netflix, i already get all the netflix i could ask for. but hulu or pandora or something.
so to condense this: i use a u.s. address and a u.s. visa for billing technically - then i get u.s. channles?
i have family across the border where i could use an address probably but i have simply never tried this.
2014-04-19 03:21 PM
Spazmogen I tried signing up for an American Roku account and using a Canadian Streaming Stick.

It was a disaster. I wound up returning the Canadian Stick to the store.

The American Roku account REFUSED to allow me to add American channels to the device as this is "not supported in my region". I used my computer with a VPN for this. I'd even had AMEX change my billing address to a shipping service in Michigan. I confirmed the AMEX worked just like an American card buy using it online with a merchant that does not take Canadian credit cards.

I spoke with Roku on a chat and their solution was to close the US Roku account and open a Canadian one and the device should work. Not what I wanted obviously; I want American content.

I have an American Roku sitting in a post office box in Michigan and will try this again shortly. If that fails, I'll buy the Amazon Fire TV next time I am in Michigan.

Bottom line: since the Streaming Stick, it appears as though Roku is tightening up by watching the serial # of the unit and checking which location it was meant to be used in. My mismatch was not permitted.

I use the UnoTelly DNS service which is/was working fine when I tried this.
2014-02-01 12:58 PM
rosenqui You won't see the US-only apps with a Canadian Roku account. That includes ones like Hulu Plus, VUDU, and I would imagine SyFy and HBO although I haven't checked for either of those personally.
2014-01-31 06:13 PM
Just Bill thanks for this.

So what does a US Roku account do for me. Lets say I want SyFy or HBO do I need a US Roku account?
2013-09-10 08:51 PM
aquatarkus OK thanks, I think I now fully understand how to best use the Roku here in Canada!

FYI the VPN proxy I was using was CyberGhost. Very handy if you just want to appear as if you're in a different location from within a browser. I wouldn't recommend it for any kind of streaming.
2013-09-10 05:28 PM
North_of_Calgary You need to have a Roku account to be able to use a Roku. But like I said you can make that ahead of time. They want payment information just in case you purchase pay apps. If you don't do that then they won't charge you for anything.

I don't know what VPN proxy you're using and exactly what for. But from the Roku perspective it doesn't look like you need to do this to setup your Roku account - the Canadian Roku account will suffice.
2013-09-10 04:38 PM
aquatarkus Thanks, that makes it much clearer!

So, do I even need to set up a Roku user account at all, if I just want to use Netflix as well as non-blocked services such as Vevo, Plex, Flixster, Sky News, etc?

I had been trying to set up an account from my PC over a VPN proxy which made it look like I was in Alabama, but I got stuck at the credit card/PayPal stage.
2013-09-10 12:17 AM
North_of_Calgary I think you're making this way more complicated than you need to. Some points:
  • The Netflix content is dependent on where they **think** you are. If they think you're in the US they'll give you US content. That's regardless of whether you signed up for Netflix in Canada or the US. And that's hardware independent.
  • You don't need to use a US credit card or US address to get US Netflix. You can sign up in Canada and as per the previous point, when they think you're in the US you will get the US content.
  • Unblock-us is the service that will allow to choose what country you want Netflix to "think" you're in. The unblock-us service will allow you to sit in your house and choose whether you want the Canadian or US Netflix content
  • When you use unblock-us to make them think you're in the US it will work on any of your devices incluing the Roku, your PC, Apple TV, Western Digital, and anything else.
  • There's only a few pay apps that are limited to US based Roku accounts. Namely, Hulu, Amazon VOD, Pandora Radio, Vudu, Blockbuster on Demand, and maybe a small handful of other subscription/pay services like those.
  • The vast majority of Roku apps (i.e. Vevo, Plex, Flixster, Sky News, etc) work irregardless of whether you have a US or Canadian Roku account.
  • Watching US Netflix is not related to having a US Roku account (as per the previous points).
  • The advantage of the Roku 2 is the non-IR (non-line of site) remote so you can hide it behind your TV for example
  • The advantage of the Roku 3 is the non-IR remote and the earphone jack in the remote for private listening
  • The disadvantage of the Roku is that it's late getting the new Netflix features such as the "My List" and "Profiles"

Hope that makes sense.
2013-09-09 10:35 PM
aquatarkus I first of all want to be able to get the US Netflix content. Do I have to be able to charge that to a US credit card, which like most Canadians I don't have?
And apparently, there's a lot of other online content that the Roku box can get. I don't really know what Hulu and VOD would give me. So I'm not sure if I need to care about those two, especially if there is other content I can stream.

I have to say that I'm finding all the information on the forum pretty confusing. According to unblock-us, you can register with Roku using a made-up US zip code. So is that not true any more? And if I need a US credit card regardless, then unblock-us starts to look somewhat useless, at least with a Roku player. If so, should I return the Roku box and get something different, like maybe a Western Digital?
2013-09-09 09:06 PM
North_of_Calgary I don't know the answer to that by why not just give it a try. You can setup your Roku account without actually having a Roku unit. Then when you do get or open your Roku you simply "link" it to the existing account.

But to understand you properly, it's going to be a "waste of money" if you can't get Hulu and Amazon VOD??? Those are going to require a US based billing address.
2013-09-09 07:43 PM
Originally Posted by North_of_Calgary View Post
...both an American and Canadian bought unit will work fine for Netflix on either side of the boarder. Hulu & Amazon might be a different issue. However it's not as much where you bought the device but where you activated your "roku account". If they *think* you have a US roku account it will download apps like Hulu & Amazon. Not so if you have a Canadian roku account. So to re-iterate I think it's to do with where your roku account is homed that will effect those US services but either way Netflix will be fine.
Originally Posted by unblock-us
Recently Roku started asking users' billing address and uses it to select apps available through Channel Store. In order to setup Roku account "compatible" with US channels you need to select "United States" as country and use ZIP code made of digits from postal code of your actual billing address. Add zeroes before and/or after actual digits in ZIP if your postal code has less than 5 digits. For example, Canadian postal code A1B 2C3 can be "converted" to 00123.
Will this work if you don't actually have a valid credit card or PayPal account with a US billing address? I just bought a Roku 2 XS from Best Buy for $90, but I haven't opened the box until I'm sure it's not going to be a waste of money.
2013-09-04 09:14 PM
North_of_Calgary Roku 3 is now available in Canada. Via the website, Amazon, and all of the normal stores.

While the wifi remote is great (meaning you can velcro the box to the back of the TV out of sight) and the headphone jack on the remote can come in handy (i.e. if you watch in a bedroom for example while your significant other sleeps) I'm loosing faith in the Roku line. No Netflix "My List". No Netflix "Profiles". No movie rental services natively available in Canada.
2013-04-17 06:45 PM
North_of_Calgary No, it's just price and the bonus HDMI cable that comes with it. Apart from that I think the actual boxes are the same. And it's your IP location & Roku account home that effects what software is loaded onto it.

Yes it is kind of a shame that it doesn't allow you to customize the IP address and DNS settings. I too use ICS when in hotels.
2013-04-17 01:49 PM
j0dest3r Other than price is there any real advantage to getting the 2 in the U.S.?

Does the new U.I or the 3 have more flexible IP address settings? I was pretty ticked at the lack of settings trying to hook it up to a hotel's wireless Internet. I ended up using good ol' Windows ICS to share out the wireless on my laptop and hook the Roku up to the ethernet port.
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