I get a lot of questions from readers related to my series on streaming media players. One of the most common ones is whether you need a separate player for every TV you want to use it with.

And, as is the case with many technology-related questions, the answer is: It depends. The basic concept here is that all the “magic” behind the player comes from the connections that have been set up between the device, your account with the device manufacturer (Roku, Apple, Amazon, Google), and any accounts you have with content providers (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, etc.). Your TV simply acts like a big computer monitor that takes the signal coming out of the device and plays it through its screen and speakers. This means two things related to the original question.

First, a device must be physically attached to your TV to be able to watch streaming content through it. You can’t access the signal from a device connected to a different TV.

Second, if you have multiple TVs in your home but you only ever watch one at a time, you can simply move your device from one TV to another. All of your settings will still be intact. However, if you want to use the device with more than one TV at the same time, then you need a separate box or stick for each TV.

Notes:

  • If you want to use the device somewhere outside the area covered by your Internet connection, you can still use it but you’ll have to set it up again to work with the new network (and it may not work at all in a different country). I did this last summer when I took my Chromecast on vacation with me and it worked great.
  • If you have multiple devices from the same manufacturer but want to access different content providers on them—for example, you might want the one on your kids’ TV to only receive children’s programming—you’ll need separate accounts for the device manufacturer. You should be able to still use the same accounts for most content providers as long as both devices are on the same network, but I can’t guarantee that applies to ever provider out there. Of course, you can also use devices from different manufacturers on each TV (e.g. Roku on one and Amazon Fire TV on another) and you would obviously need separate accounts for them, but I’m not sure whether you would need separate accounts for the content providers in that case.

You may also be interested in:

Streaming Media: Frequently Asked Questions

Elizabeth Kricfalusi

View Comments

  • You can also use an HDMI splitter if you watch the same thing in multiple rooms. My wife and I have this setup so that we can have the same show on in the family room, bedroom and office.

  • Also, a follow up question....do I need to change my data plan to unlimited? I currently have our cell service as well as cable through At&T. Have a limited data plan for our sons...hubby and I don't use data..just use phones for talk and text.

  • ok. so thinking of cutting the cord with at&t. We have 5 tv's that are watched in separate rooms. My son can use his xbox 1 to connect to sling, but I will buy a Roku for each of the other tv's. Would my son's tv require a separate account when we sign up?? So confused. I'm old and technology challenged. Help!

  • So I'm just now cutting the cord, but am still somewhat confused. I bought a ROKU stick and plan on streaming SlingTV Blue (3 lines available with this service). We have 2 TV's and at times each one has someone watching something different on it. I'll buy another ROKU for the 2nd TV. Can I have both ROKU's on the same account and then watch different things on on each TV? We don't need to control/limit any channels (due to children, etc) on either one. I know using Sling Blue up to 3 lines can be watching different shows. I couldn't find a clear answer on ROKU's website. Thank you for such helpful content here.

    • Hi Colleen.

      If your Sling TV plan allows up to 3 streams to be watched at the same time, then you can sign into it using the same account on both Roku devices and watch different content on each one at the same time.

      I hope that makes things clearer.

      - Elizabeth

  • If I have Apple TV in the living room with Netflix & HBO NOW... can I use the same accounts if I put a firestick in the bedroom?

    • Hi Debbie.

      It depends what plan you have with Netflix and whether you want to watch Netflix on both the Apple TV and the Fire TV at the same time. If you have the lowest level plan, you can only view a video on one screen at a time. They do have higher level plans that allow 2 and 4 screens at a time. Go here to see what plan you currently have: https://www.netflix.com/ChangePlan

      HBO Now says it has a limit on the number of simultaneous screens, but I can't find what that limit is. But two TVs should be okay.

      http://help.hbonow.com/app/answers/detailHBO/a_id/27

  • Hi Elizabeth. I received a Roku TV as a gift. I do like it but I have a question. On my other TV's I use the Amazon Fire-stick with ad-dons. I'd like to use my Fire-stick on my Roku TV. I have 3 HDMI ports 2 open. My question is can I use my Fire-stick on the TV with out harming my TV or Fire-stick?

    Thank you, in advance

    • Hi Maria.

      Yes, you can use your Fire TV Stick on your Roku TV without any problem. It will work like any other TV.

      Enjoy!

      - Elizabeth

      • Elizabeth,

        Thank you so much for your quick response. I've been so worried about damaging my TV if I tried the Fire-stick on it.
        Maria

  • Hi Elizabeth. I was wondering if you use multiple devices on multiple TVs ie (Fire TV in the living room, fire stick in the bed room and another fire stick in the family room) and all 3 devices are on the same account can you watch 3 different shows on all 3 TVs at the same time?

    • Hi Trevor.

      Yes, you can do that. However, note that different content providers have different rules for how many screens you can watch their videos on at the same time. So, for example, Netflix has different pricing tiers. At the first level ($7.99/month), you can only watch on one screen at a time. For $9.99 you can watch on 2 screens simultaneously and you can watch on 4 screens at once for $11.99. (There are other differences with the plans as well, e.g. the lowest level doesn't include HD streaming.)

      https://www.netflix.com/changeplan

      But, for example, it would be no problem to watch a Netflix video on one TV, an Amazon Video on the second TV, and HBO NOW on the third TV all at the same time.

      I hope that helps.

      - Elizabeth

      • Yes that definitely helps and was exactly the answer I was hoping for. I just picked up my Amazon Fire TV today and was testing it out and I love it! Now it's time to drop that $150 satellite bill. Thank you so much for your time and insight.

  • I have found one service (FilmStruck) that does not allow you to move a Fire Stick to different TVs. It is very problematic about downloading and retrieving files after moving the Stick.

    • Hi John.

      I'm sorry for the delay in responding to your comment but I've just had the opportunity to test this out myself. I had no trouble moving my Fire TV Stick from one TV to another and have FilmStruck work fine after I moved it. Are you still experiencing the problem?

      - Elizabeth

  • Hi Elizabeth-We are looking at purchasing a firestick --- in doing so, we would need to also purchase a month subscription to a Netflix, Sling TV, or another - correct? Second question, can more than one of these services be purchased and used in conjunction with the firestick?
    I'm so very confused but I'm tired of the $170 cable bill for terrible service :)
    Thanks!
    Jacque

    • Hi Jacque.

      You're correct that you need to sign up for different content providers to watch through your Fire TV Stick. They don't necessarily have to be monthly plans, though. For example, you can rent and purchase streaming videos from Amazon and Vudu per title. And there are a few providers that are free like Crackle (has ads).

      And yes, you can purchase multiple services and watch them all through your stick. I watch Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, CBS All-Access, and Playstation Vue videos regularly through mine. You just need to switch apps to watch the videos each service provides. You do this with the Fire TV Stick's remote.

      I hope that helps!

      - Elizabeth

  • Your post was very helpful in setting up streaming in all the rooms that have TVs. Keep up the excellent work!!!!?

    • I'm so glad you found it helpful, Shirley! I appreciate you taking the time to let us know. - Elizabeth

1 2 3

Recent Posts

T4L Monthly Update: February 2019

CES 2019, FaceTime bug, streaming the Super Bowl, Wi-Fi calling for Android phones.

4 years ago

Top Tech Stocking Stuffers

Big-ticket electronics get all the attention, but these little extras are always appreciated.

5 years ago

Four Ways to Access Control Panel in Windows 10

Microsoft is doing its darndest to hide the classic Control Panel from Windows 10 users.…

5 years ago