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Since my Sharp smart TV isn’t so smart as I thought when I purchased it, I’ve been looking for while for a device to watch my streaming services. There were some alternatives to take into account:
- Google Chromecast (Ultra)
- Amazon Fire Stick/TV
- Roku Streaming Stick (+)/Ultra
- Apple TV
- Nvidia Shield
However since I want to watch the content in UHD and I’m living in Portugal (that’s in the EU for those of you who are kinda lost here), some of them were eliminated. That’s what happened with the standard version of both the Chromecast, the Fire Stick and the Roku Stick. None of them had UHD support. The Apple TV and Nvidia Shield, although reportedly great devices, were too expensive to be taken into account.
This left me with the 4 survivors: The Chromecast Ultra, the Fire TV and both Roku Stick + and Ultra. Due to geographical restrictions, I couldn’t purchase easily any of them. But I had a trip to the USA on the works, so I went review searching. In the end I opted for the Roku Ultra, since it seemed to have all the requirements I had: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Spotify (only later I learned that support for Spotify was put on hold earlier this year). It also sported platform agnostic software and an ethernet port!
The next problem was how to make it work back at home, with all the channels (Roku lingo for services) I have unblocked. I tried to contact Roku support, but they only advise me to contact each channel developer for the geographical restrictions. Some online reviews showed that Netflix, Youtube and Spotify worked as intended, but Amazon Prime Video for some reason only worked in the USA. This proved to be the case.
Here are the steps that I did to make Amazon Prime Video work in Portugal, using a Spanish Prime account, without using a full time VPN to do so:
- If you already tried to use the Roku Ultra with a local account, reset it (hold the reset button on the bottom)
- In your computer or smartphone, connect to a VPN (I used Proton VPN, since it works great and is free) and create a new account on the Roku website. Make sure the website you’re visiting is the US version. You should enter all the details of your USA address, of course *wink wink*.
- After you have your account, turn on your Roku and link it to your new account. No VPN is needed for the Roku at any time. If you still have the VPN on the computer connected, now’s the time to turn it off.
- Add all the channels you want either on your Roku or using the website.
- Login to all your services normally. You should be able to use them all.
The only disadvantage of this method is that the content you watch on Prime Video using the Roku isn’t synced correctly to any other device. But at least you can enjoy your UHD content!
Now all Prime Video content is synchronized with other devices. Netflix and other services work as intended.