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Can You Use Roku Without USB Port?

Man on a sofa watching TV.

Roku is one of the leading media streaming devices and platforms available today, along with Amazon’s Firestick. If you are interested in a new media streaming device or you want to create a smart TV in your own home, you may want to know how to get started. Once you make the decision to invest in Roku, choosing how to connect to your device will help you complete the setup in just a few minutes.

How is a Roku connected?

Connecting Roku to any type of television or device is possible with the use of the included HDMI cord that comes with every Roku purchase, regardless of the Roku version you choose. 

Do you need a USB port to connect to Roku?

Laptop usb port, closed up shot.

No. The Roku device is designed to work without a USB port. In fact, in most instances, it is possible to simply connect the Roku to a streaming device or television with the use of a standard HDMI cord. 

Is it possible to use a USB port with a Roku device?

Yes, it is possible to use a USB port with most versions of the current Roku streaming device. It is also possible to use USB connectors with a SmartTV that also includes Roku in most instances.

How do I use a USB with a Roku device?

USB cable on white background.

Using a USB cord with your Roku device is not complicated and will take less than a few minutes for a complete setup from start to finish. First, you will need to ensure that your Roku device is plugged in and/or properly installed on your SmartTV or device of your choice.

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Once your Roku device has been confirmed as plugged in properly and/or connected to your preferred device(s), you can then plug the USB cord into the Roku device connector and/or adapter, depending on your setup and the type of TV or device you are using with your Roku. 

How do I use my Roku without a USB port?

Big black TV set.

If you want to use your Roku and all that it has to offer without a USB port or plug, you can do so with the use of an HDMI cord. Most standalone Roku devices and interfaces offer HDMI ports for easy and seamless connections. Once you have an HDMI cord that is long enough between your Roku and your television, you can set up your Roku by completing the following steps:

  • Locate and identify the HDMI ports on both your Roku device as well as on the screen or television device you intend to use. If your television does not have an HDMI port, it may be incompatible with your Roku device or you may need an additional adapter or converter, depending on your needs.
  • Plug your HDMI cord into the Roku device as well as into the appropriate port on your television or flatscreen TV. 
  • Power on your television.
  • Change the source of your television to the appropriate HDMI channel, based on where you plugged your Roku device into your television or preferred electronic device. Once you change the source of your television to the correct HDMI channel, your Roku should complete the booting up and installation process automatically on its own. 
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What if my Roku is not compatible with a USB plug?

While most Roku devices are compatible with USB cords and plugs, some versions may require an additional adapter and/or converter, depending on your setup and whether you intend to use your Roku on your television or another type of handheld wireless device.

Is it safe to use a USB cord with a Roku device?

USB plugged in laptop usb port.

Yes, the Roku was designed to be compatible with both HDMI cords as well as standard USB cords. There are no risks to using a USB cord with any Roku device, regardless of the device version or the type of cord you are planning to use. 

Can you use a USB memory stick with Roku?

In fact, you can use a USB memory stick with Roku once you are familiar with working with your Roku and managing the setup of your Roku device. If you have an external Roku device that is not built into your own home’s smart TV, you can plug an external USB device as well as an external hard drive into your Roku device itself.

Plugging your USB drives and external hard drives into your Roku device will provide you with the ability to stream and open just about any type of media file you have downloaded, uploaded, or saved to your USB interface or external hard drive. Using an external hard drive or a USB interface device will allow you to easily stream third-party applications, music, video, and other forms of media without a hassle. 

Using a USB memory stick with Roku

If you are using a USB memory stick with your Roku, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always power down your Roku before installing or plugging it into an external USB device.
  • Connect your USB device and reset both your Roku device as well as your television.
  • Allow the Roku a few minutes to boot up before attempting to access your media files. 
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How can I choose media files to stream using a USB memory stick?

Once you have successfully plugged your external USB memory stick or external hard drive into your Roku device, you may be wondering what you should do next to begin streaming your preferred and uploaded media. After you have completed the necessary steps to connect to your memory stick or hard drive, turn on your Roku device and complete the following: 

  • Change your television output to match the Roku channel or HDMI port it is plugged into to easily connect to your Roku device.
  • Browse to the Roku Media Player subsection upon Roku loading and turning on.
  • View the folders of your media files that include music, television shows, movies, and more.
  • Select the folder that you would like to browse inside of your Roku to view the file(s) that are available to stream.
  • Choose the file(s) you would like to open and stream to begin playing the file immediately with the use of your Roku device.  

When to use a USB port with a Roku

If you are thinking of using your Roku device but also want to use a USB port or USB drive, you should do so when:

  • You do not have HDMI cords or ports available for either your Roku or your current television/streaming device.
  • Your HDMI ports on your television are not working or do not register with your Roku device.
  • You are interested in streaming media and content that is not available with the current Roku setup you have.
  • You have media, music, videos, and other types of content that you have created and want to stream but cannot. If your media is not available on Roku itself, you can use an external USB hard drive to stream the content yourself without problems.  
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Is it better to use USB or HDMI to connect to Roku?

HDMI cable, closed up shot.

Both options are suitable for streaming content and media with the use of Roku. However, using an HDMI cord is often recommended if you intend to use Roku in the original way it was manufactured and marketed, as HDMI cords can also provide faster feedback and refresh rates than a standard USB cord is able to provide.

Choosing to use a USB connector with your Roku device is likely to occur with older or outdated versions of Roku as well as with televisions and/or screens that do not yet have proper HDMI ports installed. Using a USB cord and connector may also be optimal if you are interested in streaming third-party media or other types of files that you have uploaded and saved to an external hard drive yourself.