Considering getting a Roku stick? Know this first.

This pissed me off today: I was trying to do something nice for my sister by buying her a Roku stick for her TV. Now my sis is by nature a somewhat paranoid person, so even setting up a Roku account with an email of hers associated with it was (for her) a stretch. Turns out, they want a birth date too (!). I said, well, you don’t necessarily have to give your real one I suppose. But then, get this, they require a payment method to finish setting up the account. I’ve had two Roku sticks (one 1080p one and one 4k one) and I don’t remember having to set up a payment method as a required thing. It was presumed that you’d set up your Apple TV+, Prime Video, Hulu etc. accounts separately and simply enter your credentials as necessary. But NO, now Roku insists you provide them with a valid credit card number, Paypal or Apple Pay info. This made it a no-go for her, and honestly I don’t blame her.

I’m going to go to the Amazon product page and see if it tells you beforehand that this is a requirement, because they should really let people know of that up front.

That would be a no-go for me as well. As a general rule I am adverse to adding payment details to any service unless strictly necessary for consumption of the service itself. Even then, I’d choose the external payment processor each time I make a transaction, rather cough up my details and have it linked directly.

Yep, a factory reset of the device and a return it was for me, too. I’m pretty disgusted. Actually pretty disgusted that they require a birth date. Where do they get off? I don’t remember having to give a birth date when I first set up a Roku account ca. 11 years ago, nor a payment method ever. I’d be interested to hear if other people’s memories on this score are different.

lol, I fired up V Rising v1.0 last night. Click the EULA and then they ask for a birth date.

Um, fuck right off.

Roku has unfortunately gotten much worse over time. Ever since they hit a saturation point for device sales they have aggressively pursued advertising and building walls around their garden in pursuit of endless “growth”. I can see on my pihole that my Roku TV makes exponentially more advertising calls than any other device on the network. It’s really bad when Amazon and Google are making alternatives that feel less scummy.

Yeah, it is just so shitty now, they were such awesome devices

For a freaking game??!

Could be an ESRB type thing with V Rising? Not sure about what laws are in different places about mature content and age gating, etc.

The ESRB has never required age checks in game. They are responsible for the ratings sticker in the US and that alone.

Sure, but Roku might be age gating.Same as Steam does for its store pages.

Roku will say they want your age for any number of reasons, but they’re all secondary to them wanting to have more complete demographic information about you to sell to advertisers.

As they say, why not both? There are numerous laws around the world about restricting certain media to minors, etc. I was using ESRB as an example, could have used MPAA or any number of other groups with age standards.

But none of those agencies require it. As far as I’m aware, no other media streaming device requires your age just to set it up.

Oh, I’m not saying it’s required, necessarily (though if the product is offered outside of the USA they might have a one-size-fits-all approach to compliance and just have one process I guess). It’s possible they are pre-emptively trying to avoid problems in that regard.

Or, as you say, they’re just greedy little fucks who will be selling your data. Which, I admit, is highly possible.

Just a point of clarity, the age request came from my post with regards to V Rising v1.0 when I launched in from Steam last night!

No idea if Roku asks for that data on set up.

@Papageno said Roku requires a birth date on setup in the very first post.

Cool, looks like it was me assuming my post had caused confustion when it’s instead just me being confused!

Let’s all be confused! It’s the way.

I do love my Rokus – we’re all in on all three TVs – but the pihole is a godsend. The sheer volume of roku-related garbage that gets blocked is unbelievable.

What is this Pi Hole and how do I get one?