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Got a new Roku? Here's how to set it up

Time to put that gift to use.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Time to set up that new Roku. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Between their impressive performance and strong value, if you got a new Roku over the holidays you probably weren't alone. Whether it was a new Streaming Stick Plus ($43 at Amazon), Ultra box or Roku TV, now that the gift is out of the box its time to set it up and start putting it to use. 

To help make sure you have no problems, we took out a Streaming Stick Plus to walk you through it. Here's how to set up your new Roku. 

Step 1: Plug it into HDMI and power

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Connect your Roku into your TV's HDMI port. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

There are a few things you'll have to connect whether you have a box or Streaming Stick. In our case, with the Streaming Stick Plus, you'll need to plug in the included USB power cable into the Roku as well the Roku into your TV's HDMI slot. 

For power, the Streaming Stick can use a USB input on your TV, but make sure it has at least 5 volts of power (some manufacturers list the voltage next to the USB designation) so your Stick is getting maximum performance. But if you can we recommend using the included wall adapter instead to ensure that the Roku stays powered-up and ready to go. Roku includes a USB extension cord with the Streaming Stick Plus to help. 

If your TV is wall-mounted and the HDMI port is hard to reach for your Streaming Stick, you can get a free HDMI extender from Roku

After everything is plugged in, turn on your TV and select the input into which you plugged your new Roku. 

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Step 2: Pair the remote

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Pressing down on a button below the battery slot can pair your Roku with its included remote.

Sarah Tew/CNET

After connecting your Roku and navigating your TV to the proper input, you should see Roku's interface ready to help take you through the next steps. First, you'll to pair the included remote with your Roku. 

Insert the included batteries into the remote. It should connect automatically, but if not, hold down the button located by the battery slot for three seconds. 

Step 3: Going through the process

Now we can go through the setup process. After choosing your language, you'll be prompted to connect to Wi-Fi. If you have a Roku Ultra box and have plugged in through wired Ethernet you may skip this step. For everyone else, click on your Wi-Fi network and enter your password. 

Wi-Fi

After confirming you're connected to the internet, your Roku may need to update its software. Let it do this and go spend more time opening other presents. This shouldn't take longer than a few minutes, but times will vary depending on your connection. 

Display (your TV)

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Your Roku will analyze your TV to find the best settings.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Once updated, your Roku will ask to autodetect the type of TV you have. Hit OK and let this run. It will pick the best settings for your TV for playing back content going forward. If there is an issue you can retry the test otherwise choose OK, go to automatic. If the screen looks good click OK at the next prompt. 

TV control setup

If you have a Roku with a remote that can control your TV, you'll be prompted to set it up now. Your Roku will sync volume and power controls with your TV to allow you to control both with the Roku remote. Click OK and follow the prompt. Music will play, so keep your remote pointed at the TV. Follow the steps, if the music stops automatically you're all set. 

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The Roku Streaming Stick remote can be set up to control a TV. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Otherwise, click No and choose Enter TV brand. Enter your TV brand and repeat the process until your remote syncs with your TV. 

Linking your Roku account

You'll need a Roku account to be able to use your new Roku. Thankfully the accounts are free, and Roku makes it pretty easy to get one and link it to your player. 

Head to Roku.com/link on your computer, tablet or phone and enter the code displayed on your TV. If you already have a Roku account you can log in. If not, you'll need to make a new one. If logging in you may have to re-enter the code again by clicking "Activate a device" (the upper-right corner on a computer). 

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Roku will ask what services you use to stream. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

After you log in, assign your device to a room (or enter a custom name) and agree to the user agreement. Next, you'll be taken through a guide to help you determine what services you already subscribe to -- like Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Prime Video and HBO Go -- and your interests.

After you click through your Roku will automatically begin downloading and installing the apps. You still, however, will need to log in to each app (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and so on) individually to watch. 

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All done. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

That's it. Your Roku should now be good to go. If you want more control you can download the Roku app on your iOS or Android device that allows your phone to serve as your Roku remote, or add the Roku skill to your Google Assistant or Alexa app for voice control from smart speakers like a Google Home ($79 at Walmart) or Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon). Also, remember to check your privacy settings.

Happy streaming!