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  1. #1
    Untanglit
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    Apr 2016
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    Default Limiting Roku / Streaming TV

    Is there a way to limit streaming video usage, by time quota?

    Roku(s) running Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, etc.

    Ultimately I'm trying to limit my kids' summer usage of television to a time limit without having to interrupt my workday to go police while mom is shuffling our other kids around to camps and stuff. Also I won't always know how much time they have been streaming but I assume the untangle can track this. Yes I know this is not ideal and there will be no warning message to the kids it will just stop streaming (again less than ideal). Please humor my original question though.

  2. #2
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    Default

    You can put the device in a policy and use the firewall app to block its access. But that's not a time limit, it's a schedule.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  3. #3
    Untanglit
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    Apr 2016
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    Default

    Yeah I need something a little more flexible.

    Not: these devices can stream video from 9-10AM
    More of: these devices can stream video for 1 hour a day. I have this kind of parental control for kids' iPads but Roku has nothing on the app side to set limits.

  4. #4
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by atothek View Post
    Yeah I need something a little more flexible.

    Not: these devices can stream video from 9-10AM
    More of: these devices can stream video for 1 hour a day. I have this kind of parental control for kids' iPads but Roku has nothing on the app side to set limits.
    That's the problem though... the network device hasn't a clue when "streaming" started. The device has a timer on the app itself, so parental controls there have timers to work with. From the network? We have no such love.

    If Roku doesn't do it... no one can basically. All we can do is say, this device has access, or it doesn't based on the criteria we have at that point.
    Last edited by sky-knight; 06-08-2021 at 09:02 PM.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  5. #5
    Master Untangler
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Default

    You could play around with daily bandwidth quota but the actual screen time will vary wildly depending on the video quality. This is as close as you can achieve what you want without application-level support.

    Another less elegant option is to use a smartplug to power the Roku and/or TV. Those made by Sonoff has an "inching" feature that, when set, allows you to set a specific length of time the plug is on after activating its power button (whether physically, via its app, or through Alexa/Google Home). The inching delay can be set to 1 second up to 59 minutes and 59 seconds. This is feasible only if the Roku is dedicated for your kids' use (ie. in their bedroom). Just hide the smartplug or make it so that the kids can't get to it and activate it themselves. Optionally, you can setup push notifications so you'll know if the smartplug was activated.

  6. #6
    Untanglit
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    Apr 2016
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    Default

    @oj88 that's a good idea about the smart plug. Maybe physically secure the smart plug too if needed.

  7. #7
    Untanglit
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    Apr 2016
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    Default

    In 2021 sadly Roku nor Apple TV have a way to limit screen time.

    Quote Originally Posted by sky-knight View Post
    That's the problem though... the network device hasn't a clue when "streaming" started. The device has a timer on the app itself, so parental controls there have timers to work with. From the network? We have no such love.

    If Roku doesn't do it... no one can basically. All we can do is say, this device has access, or it doesn't based on the criteria we have at that point.

  8. #8
    Untanglit
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    Apr 2016
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    Default

    Looks like Circle can do this kind of filtering and time limiting but not sure how well it works as I've never independently verified.

  9. #9
    Master Untangler CMcNaughton's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
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    Denver, CO
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    Default

    Well, IMHO....I think Apple/Roku would have to want to limit screen time first. Quotas could help, but they can't be time-based. I have my Roku Ultra tagged in my NGFW (which is in bridge mode), and I can do some interesting things, but seeing someone's "time on page"/limiting screen time aren't exactly easy (or common) for a network security/edge device to accomplish. Now what's this smartplug you speak of...?

  10. #10
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    Default

    A smartplug is just a power outlet with an IP address on it.

    So when the timer expires it pulls power! They're quite handy at times.
    CMcNaughton likes this.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

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