In my opinion the Roku NZ media streamer is the best in the market and I’ve tested the Fire TV, Apple TV, MiBox and a whole raft of android boxes over the last few years. Today I’ll show you how to buy one, setup correctly and use the hidden apps only a select few know about.
For those that don’t know, Roku offers a media player capable of streaming Netflix and other US or UK apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV, Channel 4, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus among many others.
Roku NZ Buyers Guide
Most people buy one of these devices. I prefer the most powerful one, Roku Ultra but it’s entirely up to you:
It’s important to note the processor speed and whether the Roku offers ethernet port for faster connections. If you live in rural NZ then I recommend choosing one with an ethernet port and connecting direct to the router. For homes with no connectivity issues then a wireless roku is a much better option.
How To Purchase Roku NZ?
The easiest and cheapest way to purchase a Roku media streamer is to head over to Amazon.com and purchase one directly. Unfortunately they don’t ship internationally to New Zealand so you’ll need to create a free account with NZ Post’s service called Youshop.
Next enter your shipping details provided by Youshop into your Amazon order form. Within a few days your Roku will arrive at Youshop and you’ll receive an email asking you to ship your item to NZ.
Youshop cost me $30 to ship a Roku 4 to New Zealand. It arrived within 2 weeks.
Roku’s voltage is 110-240V so works fine in NZ.
How To Setup Roku NZ
Before you rush out and install your Roku you need to decide what you want to watch. If you’re buying one to watch Netflix or Hulu or any blocked apps in NZ then you must follow a strict setup process.
Blocked apps include iPlayer, ITV, Channel 4, 5 on demand, Hulu Plus, ESPN etc.
First you need to purchase a smart dns proxy service. A normal VPN will not work as Roku doesn’t offer the ability to edit DNS addresses (which we need to) so performing this on your router is the only way.
Smart DNS allows your router to tell certain websites you’re located somewhere else. For example you can still access most NZ websites but when it comes to Netflix it appears like you’re in the USA or UK.
Before you create a Roku account you should ensure you’ve correctly setup smart dns.
How To Setup Smart DNS Proxy
Smart DNS is the easiest way to get up and running if you’ve got a router that doesn’t support PureVPN software. You change your DNS addresses, fooling the website into thinking your router is actually in the country you want to geo-unlock.
They offer a 14 day free trial to get everything setup.
Using technology on their servers you can unlock services worldwide without using a VPN. As you’ll know Roku DNS is hard coded. Smart DNS bypasses this by using the router DNS instead thus fooling Roku into using the router instead.
The DNS servers are located in New Zealand too so normal browsing won’t be affected.
Login to your account and get the DNS addresses and activate your IP.
You need to be able to access your router’s IP configuration.
Usually this is 192.168.1.1 or 10.1.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 depending on your brand.
Open your web browser and login to the configuration page. Usually username and password is admin unless it’s been changed. Checkout this page for a list of common login details for various brands of routers.
Next you want to change the ‘DNS’ server addresses. Usually there is two and these are most likely in the advanced settings, DHCP or under WAN settings.
Again these settings vary by router model so you may need to search online. SmartDNS offer an easy to use setup guide for nearly every brand of router.
Change the primary and secondary DNS to the details provided by SmartDNS.
Save and reboot your router.
You’ll now need to login to your SmartDNS account and active your new IP address. It helps if you’ve got a static IP address as you’ll need to do this step each time your IP changes which can be a lot if your internet or power is flaky and you’re using a dynamic IP.
Ask your ISP if you’re unsure if you’re static IP or not. Usually you can get one for $10/mo.
Now you should be able to select the region settings you want in SmartDNS control panel.
Congratulations, you can now access USA websites. Test this out on your computer. If it’s not working then check your DNS settings again.
Also check to ensure you’re not using a proxy on your computer as these bypass DNS settings.
Unlike a VPN, SmartDNS does not have any impact on accessing local NZ content. It also does not hide your IP address so you won’t be securely encrypted online like a VPN.
Now you’re ready to create an account.
Step 1: Create Roku Account
Do not create an account without a US VPN or Smart DNS setup.
Once your smart dns is setup, check you can access the USA Netflix on your laptop. If it works then you’re all setup. Go to roku.com and create your free account. On the last step you should see US apps you can add. If you can’t then you need to create a new account after checking smart dns is working correctly.
You can use your Youshop address for the billing address and a NZ card.
Step 2: Turn On Roku, Setup
Now turn on your Roku for the first time, go through the setup process and then link your Roku player to your Roku account using the on screen instructions. If everything goes well you’ll be up and running within 5 minutes.
Step 3: Download Apps
Now you’ve setup your roku correctly you should be able to see the blocked apps. Take note depending on whether you setup your roku as a US or UK one you will only see apps to match. i.e. You might see Hulu and Netflix if you chose US but no iPlayer or ITV.
You can now install as many paid apps as you like. There are many forums out there where you can buy logins for premium apps too. If you want to swap to UK or US then you need to reset the Roku and create a new account.
Roku Hidden Apps
There is a secret feature within the Roku account page (where you setup your account) that allows you to add private channels. In most cases people add channels which are used for live tv streaming or pirated content.
I can’t go in too much detail here for obvious reasons but you need to find the hidden app codes and then under ‘Add Channel’ and enter this code. Your Roku will update and download the channel automatically. If not go to ‘Update’ on your Roku settings.
If you’re looking for adult content, pirated content, live streaming and self made apps then using the hidden apps feature is the best way to find content. There are many websites out there that provide the codes for you.