Can Roku Connect to a Hotspot?

While it is always advised to use a proper internet connection with a Roku, the portability of the device has resulted in many people wondering whether the Roku can connect to a mobile hotspot. Let us explain whether you can.  

So, can a Roku connect to a hotspot?

Yes, it can. A hotspot is just a wi-fi connection. Assuming that your cellphone or tablet provider allows you to use your connection as a hotspot, then you can connect your Roku device to it. 

While a Roku can connect to a hotspot, you may want to limit how often you connect the Roku up. You may even want to change up a couple of settings in the Roku too. Let us explain. 

Can Roku Connect to Hotspot? 

Yes, a hotspot is really just a wi-fi connection with a fancy name. Since the Roku can connect to a wi-fi connection, then it should be able to connect to a hotspot. 

However, if you are running the hotspot through a cellphone contract, then you may want to check the terms and conditions of your contract. 

There are some people out there that discover that the contract prohibits them from using their phone connection as a hotspot. Some cellphone providers have even gone as far as to switch off the ability to even turn the hotspot on. Although, the latter situation is a bit rarer. 

Do bear in mind that running a hotspot requires a lot of battery power. Therefore, if you are using your phone as a hotspot, you should ensure that the phone is plugged into a charger at all times. If it isn’t, then the battery will probably be fully drained within a couple of hours.  

Does Roku Use Mobile Data? 

Yes, connecting a Roku to a hotspot will use a massive amount of data. Several GB an hour, in fact. Even if you are streaming video content in standard definition, you can still expect the Roku to use about 600MB an hour. 

If you do not have an unlimited data plan for your cellphone, then it simply is not viable to connect the Roku to a mobile hotspot for more than a few hours per month. You will be eating through the data like there is no tomorrow. 

Even if you do have an unlimited data plan, you may want to check the terms and conditions of the plan. This is because many companies will actually limit your speeds if you use more than a certain amount of data per day. If this happens, then you may end up suffering from streaming difficulties with your Roku anyway.  

Can You Control the Connection Speed of the Roku? 

If you have a hotspot where you need to pay attention to the amount of data you are using, then it may be wise to turn down the connection speed of the Roku. By doing this, you will lower the video quality, but you will also reduce data usage. 

The problem is that controlling the connection speed of the Roku isn’t something that you can do easily. In fact, it is really well hidden and you have to enter a special code: 

  • Press the home button on your remote control five times. 
  • Press the rewind button three times 
  • Press the forward button twice 

If you have followed this sequence, then a new menu will appear. You can then turn the connection speed down. The lower it is, the less data the Roku will use, but the lower the quality will be. You may also experience video pauses will it ‘buffers’. 

How Can You Monitor Data Usage? 

There apps that you can download for both Android and iPhones. 

These apps will be able to monitor the connection for you. Some of these apps may even allow you to set the maximum amount of data that the hotspot uses. Once the data you have allocated is met, the hotspot will just shut off. This is great if you really have to limit your data usage.  

Because there are so many different apps to choose from, and the feature set can change all the time, we are not going to recommend any specific apps. However, we can assure you that the app store is crawling with them.  

How Do You Connect a Roku to a Hotspot? 

Connecting your Roku to a hotspot uses exactly the same process as you would use if you were connecting your Roku to a normal Wi-Fi connection. After all, your hotspot is pretty much the equivalent as a wireless router. 

In order to connect your Roku to the hotspot, you will need to follow these instructions. 

Start by turning the hotspot of your phone on. How you do this will be dependent on the type of phone that you have, as well as the operating system version that is currently running on it. If you are unsure how to turn your hotspot on, then search Google for your phone model.  

  • Press the ‘Home’ button on the Roku’s remote control. 
  • Select Settings 
  • Select Network 
  • Choose the option ‘Set-Up Connection’ 
  • Choose Wireless 
  • Wait for the name of your mobile hotspot to appear. 
  • Select the name of your network 
  • Enter the password for the network 
  • The Roku will verify the connection  

Remember, if you do not want the Roku to be constantly using the data connection on your phone, make sure that you turn off the hotspot connection when you are done using the Roku. Turning off the hotspot on your phone should be enough. The Roku probably won’t use any data when you are not streaming content, but it may download updates. This can also sap your data allowance. 

Final Thoughts

You can connect your Roku to a hotspot. However, do beat in mind that if you are connecting up to a hotspot, the Roku is going to be using a huge amount of data. Therefore, if the hotspot is a cellphone that does not have an unlimited data plan, you are probably going to want to be careful with how much data you are using.  

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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