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How to See Your Roku Viewing History

Posted by Arch on November 24, 2019
how to see roku viewing history

There are a couple of ways in which accessing viewing history can come in handy. You can easily resume whatever you were watching before you got rudely interrupted by someone. You can also check to see what your kids are watching and if they’re dabbling in the pool of R-rated TV shows and movies.

But, checking your viewing history on a Roku device isn’t as easy as checking your browser history on your phone or laptop. Due to the way in which the Roku OS works and how the devices have been designed, you’ll find that the viewing history is a different story on Roku.

Understanding Roku OS Data Cache

In order to understand why there are limited viewing history options on Roku devices, you must first understand how the Roku OS data cache differs from that of most Android-based devices.

Roku OS, unlike other systems, stores very little data locally. You’ll notice that there’s no option to delete data and app cache on any Roku device, TV or streaming players alike. That’s because the only information a Roku device will store is personal login information.

In order for your Roku player to let you resume shows after a login, Roku will only store one data point locally so that the device will know where to look online after you log back in. This means that a Roku device is under no risk of becoming overwhelmed by unnecessary data.

roku official home screen generic pic

What’s Up with Roku’s Viewing History?

There are two reasons why you don’t get to experience a traditional viewing history on your Roku device. First of all, as previously discussed, Roku devices don’t store large amounts of information locally. On most apps, a viewing history is stored as cached data, something that Roku clearly doesn’t have.

Secondly, you have to remember that Roku is an intermediary. Roku smart TVs and Roku streaming players, the USB sticks you can connect to a TV, are acting as the middleman between your TV and a wide range of online streaming services and channels.

This means that you can’t see what shows you’ve watched and on what channel from your Roku OS home screen. That data isn’t saved by the device but rather by some of the individual channels and streaming platforms.

This is why you can still see your YouTube viewing history if you’ve used YouTube through your Roku device. The same goes for Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, and other streaming platforms. But the extent or detail of your viewing history, will have nothing to do with the type of Roku device you’re using.

Channels with Built-in Viewing History Options

Hulu is one of those streaming platforms that’s very user-friendly. It also has a well-designed recent history interface which also lets you remove recently watched shows from the list.

third party hulu watch history

It goes without saying how useful this can be if you don’t want anyone else snooping on your viewing tendencies. Here’s how you can use Hulu’s viewing history.

  1. Log into your Hulu account from a laptop or computer.
  2. Hover with the cursor over your name to bring the drop-down menu.
  3. Choose the History option.
  4. Select all titles you want to remove.
  5. Click the Remove all videos option to remove multiple titles simultaneously.

Note that this is an account-wide feature. This means that even though you can’t delete your history directly through your Roku device, you can delete it from the Hulu desktop website and the changes will be updated to show on your Hulu channel on your Roku device.

Netflix will also show you a list of recently watched episodes and movies. However, other than resuming from the same point you stopped watching the last time, there’s not much else you can do with this history. You can’t delete it since it’s automatically synced between all devices.

Does the Lack of a Well-Defined Viewing History Annoy You?

How frustrating is it that you can’t check your viewing history across all channels from your Roku device? Sure, many channels give you an option to resume the last title from the point it was paused, and yes, Roku does show you a list of previously watched channels.

But at the end of the day, you’ll still have to go through every channel to get details, if any are available. Do you think that this is a must-have feature and something that developers should improve upon in the near future, or is it something that you can live without? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “How to See Your Roku Viewing History”

Douglas R Ward says:
It’s really irritating when you find a good show, then can’t remember what platform it was on. A history list would sure be a big selling feature for me!
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Tinisha Lairson says:
I think in this day and age with the vast amounts of pornography being thrown around, viewing history is a must if you want more people to use this platform you need to give parents the option to see what Is being viewed. Otherwise no thank you. Seems very secretive to me so therefore I want nothing to do with it
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