Is there a better way to watch PBS than the Roku app?

Discussion in 'Apps & Channels' started by janineanne, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. janineanne

    janineanne New Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    Apologies in advance if this is an FAQ... the forum software won't let me search for PBS.

    While the variety of shows available is impressive, the app is terrible. It doesn't keep track of what you've seen, and you can't even see your favorites. The one on Apple TV is no better. Both of them include a Frontline show in the featured shows list, but find no results when searching for Frontline. It's all very frustrating. There seems to be a lot more content available on their website, and I can stream that from my computer, but I'd rather not need the extra step.

    I don't see much complaining about this around the Internet, according to Google anyway... am I missing some great source of programming that everyone is using?

    (this is my first post here, so hello and thanks from a brand new cord cutter!)
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  3. gmckee1985

    gmckee1985 Well-Known Member

    Oct 14, 2014
    As far as I know the internet and Roku are the only options to stream PBS. Of course, other than your television set. Hate that I couldn't be of any help but in my research I haven't found any other avenues that have the options for PBS. They have some good programming on there, so I hope you find a way to watch it in an enjoyable way.
  4. olandir

    olandir Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    Richmond, VA
    PBS Kids is available through Hulu.

    You can access the content on PBS's website through a media server called PlayOn if you have the following.

    1) A computer on your network that can act as a conduit to send the stream from the website to your TV
    2) A roku or other connected device to install the PlayOn app
    3) About $40 to burn to by PlayOn (current price)
    4) About 20% more patience than the average person has with computer stuff.

    PlayOn is a media server for your computer that allows you to watch content normally only available through the provider's website on your connected device (Roku, apple tv, what-have-you) . It works pretty well on the big stations, and PBS is one of the channels it supports. Basically once it's setup (took me 30 minutes to do), you can go to you're roku, select the channel you want, select the show you want (just like if you were selecting it through Hulu or Netflix) and just hit play and it contacts your computer, and starts streaming the show through your computer to your Roku (it doesn't actually appear on your computer, but it is using your computer's CPU to do it)

    It requires some configuration and some patience though, it's not for the faint of heart, and I only recommend it for those people wanting to watch a bunch of content. If there's like one show you like on PBS, then this may not be worth it for you. But if there is a ton of PBS content you feel you're missing and you really want to watch it on your TV instead of on your computer or tablet, plus you'd like to watch stuff from other channels like CBS, ABC, NBC, etc. then it's worth a shot.
  5. galmal

    galmal Well-Known Member

    Jan 27, 2015
    Does the PlayOn server have an interface that keeps track of what you're watching and where you are in the show. For example, using Roku and netflix, I can stop in the middle of episode 23 (or whatever) and when I come back, it picks up where I left off. I don't have to remember the show, the episode or the time when I stopped watching.

    Is the user interface easy to understand? I have the same problem
    @janineanne has with the app in that it's really cumbersome to use - when I go to the Roku channel, it just brings me to the page, without remembering what I was watching before or anyway to sort or order the shows in a "logical" way for me. Again, with netflix, I can manipulate my list in such a way that makes sense for me. Thanks for your help!
  6. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2015

    I don't know what version Roku you have, and it is true when you go back to the channel you get the page, However I have noticed if you are watching a series you will notice the episodes you have watched in full look dull in color AND if you stop an episode in the middle and go back to it later, even if you have shut down the Roku, it will go back to the point you were at before you were finished.

    This is annoying to me because I do not watch the end credits on all the shows, so those shows look like I haven't watched them yet. Low and behold when I would click on them (because I forget episode names) it would go to the end credits. It was only when I looked very closely at the ones that I had let run to the end I noticed the color change on the thumbnail for the episodes. Now my Roku is a few years old so maybe the newer ones are different. I think the designers could have made that more pronounced, but it does seem to exist.
  7. janineanne

    janineanne New Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    Thanks for the info and this does sound very promising, but unfortunately as far as I can tell it only works on a Windows PC, and all I have are Macs. I was quite surprised; it has been years since this was last an issue, now that so many more people have Macs, but they don't seem to have caught up yet.
  8. IcyBC

    IcyBC Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    I can't find PBS when searching on Hulu and Netflix, but I saw Nature and Nove on shows on Netflix. I went to the website to watch Downton Abbey and then found the app for it too. So now I have the app on my phone, but I can't stream it.
  9. janineanne

    janineanne New Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    I guess it depends what kind of phone you have; I can stream from my iPhone but it's not nearly as good an experience as watching via the Roku. With the Roku PBS app video streaming works well if you can find what you want to watch.

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