Condo Blues: How to Watch Spectrum Cable without a Digital Cable Box

Sunday, September 9, 2018

How to Watch Spectrum Cable without a Digital Cable Box

Spectrum Cable TV is switching all of their customers over to digital cable boxes. Which means you now need a digital cable box on every TV in your house in order to watch to watch Spectrum’s new and supposedly improved digital cable TV signal.

That’s all well and good for our main television set in the living room but I’d rather not rent a second cable box for the older flat panel TV we intermittently use in our home office.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Cable TV is old fashioned and costly. This extra annoyance has made me think about cord cutting. (Well, this and I think Spectrum’s service has gotten worse since Charter bought them.)

But as of now cable TV is part of a bundle and I’d like to use what I’m already paying for to watch the news or a movie on the second TV in my office without the extra expense of renting a second cable box or buying a new TV.

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How to Watch Spectrum Cable on an Older TV Set

You have six options when it comes to legally television on a second TV set without a cable box:

1. Buy an indoor TV antenna (CNET recommends this TV antenna as the best performing budget friendly TV antenna) for your television to watch over the air TV signals. Yes, they still exist.

2. Download the Spectrum TV app to one of these five TV streaming devices:

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As of this writing, the Spectrum Cable TV app is not available on Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, or Google Chromecast which pretty much made my streaming media player choice for me. Roku it is!

How to Install a Roku Streaming Player to an Older TV

My office flat panel television does not have a USB port like the set in the living room. No worries because the I bought the Roku Express + (learn more about it here.) The Roku Express + is the only streaming stick that is compatible with  TV sets that HDMI or composite cable connectors. I told you it was an old skool flat panel TV!

(Eventually when we dump cable I’ll buy the Roku Ultra  which works best for streaming on your main TV set, Get more info about it here.)

1. Locate the HDMI connector or the red, white, and yellow composite video connections on the back of your television set.

2. Plug the video cable into the tiny Roku box and the red, white, and yellow compost plugs into the coordinating connectors on the back of your TV Set.

This TV is so old it doesn't have a digital tuner to allow me to use it with an antenna but it works perfectly fine for streaming.

3. Attach the power cable to the tiny Roku box and plug the other end into an electrical outlet.

4. Next you need to step up an activate a free account on The site will give you the option of adding free channels and channels you’ve paid for elsewhere like Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, HBO and of course the Spectrum TV app to your Roku streaming box  just like every other app on planet Earth.

If you change your mind after you set your Roku account on line, Roku lets you buy channel subscriptions from the comfort of your sofa through the Roku box itself. This is why Roku asks you for credit card or Paypal information when you activate your Roku account on line.

How to Create a Roku Account without Entering a Credit Card

What happens if you don’t want to give Roku a credit card because you don’t plan on buying channel subscriptions or you don’t want to give your kids the power to to drain your bank account with the click of a remote?

Don’t worry.

There is a  perfectly legal way to set up and register a Roku account without giving them payment information upfront.

1. Turn on your TV and Roku box to allow the Roku box to find your home’s wifi internet signal.

2. A personal connection code will appear on your TV screen. Write it down and enter the connection code into the web form on and click the Submit button.

3. Click Create a Roku account.

4. Create a username and password and Click Next.

5. You will come to a Payment Method form. Do not complete this form (you can always add your credit card info later if you decide you do want to buy channel subscriptions through your Roku box.) Click the Skip, Ill Do This Later button at the bottom of the form.

The Roku web form won’t let you move forward with the registration process. Don’t worry. We’ll show them and close the browser window. Bub-buyeeee!

6. Open a new web browser window, go to, and click My Account.

7. Sign into Roku using the username and password you created in Step 4. Boom! You’re in and you’ve just created a Roku account without entering a credit card.

Go forth and stream your favorite TV show or movie!

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