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Should you Offer Streaming Devices at Your Rental Property?

5 Jul 2019
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As we work our way through this rental season, I wanted to make a few comments regarding cable TV/internet and streaming services.  Many of you have asked questions about potential options to the Spectrum service for cable TV/internet.  As promotional deals expire, many of you are seeing much higher monthly bills for this service, prompting you to take a look at your options.  One option we’ve discussed a lot is the streaming sticks (Roku, etc.) that can be attached to the TV and provide streaming programming via the internet.  Here are my (edited) thoughts as shared with one owner upon his inquiry:

Roku sticks work great, I have them in my home.  However:
1.  Since they are a streaming device, I think we may run into bandwidth capacity issues with the internet during periods where several people are trying to watch different TVs at the same time.  Also keep in mind that the available bandwidth capacity is per distribution box outside (neighborhood), so periods of trouble may be intermittent depending on the behavior of the people in the homes surrounding yours.  I see this where I live as even one TV streaming on Roku suffers sometimes in the summer when the homes around me are rented, while I have absolutely no issues ever during the winter.

2.  We haven't specified this, as it has not been an issue until recently, but I think the guest expectation is to receive network "local" channels for news, current TV series, etc.  These may not be readily available through the Roku.  Spectrum does provide a streaming app that solves this problem,  but if you don't have any cable boxes (cable TV service) in your home, it is another charge (it's about half of cable service).

I do recognize the rising costs of cable TV are prohibitive, and I think we are all evolving together as the consumer, trying to find acceptable alternatives, but I'm not comfortable with total replacement of the cable service with Roku due to the reasons stated above.  Some owners have maintained 1 or 2 cable boxes (Living Room, Den, for example), and converted the bedroom TVs to the Roku option.  This saves the cost of the additional boxes yet still maintains the "local" TV options for guests and circumvents the bandwidth capacity issue as well for at least one or two TV's, a much more defensible situation. 

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Written by Scott Quigley, Corolla Rental Manager