How to Stream TV Without Wi-Fi
Our family doesn’t watch much TV, but the Olympics were airing soon and we live far enough out in a rural area that an antenna receives few channels. Satellite or cable TV is excessive for our needs, leaving a streaming service as the only viable option. The challenge then became figuring out which streaming device uses ethernet and does not broadcast radiofrequency electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.
My first book details the negative health effects from exposure to non-native EMFs, such as cellphones and Wi-Fi. In practicing the precautionary principle recommended from my research, I have gone to great lengths to have all our internet needs serviced by ethernet cables. That made the first choice an Apple TV 4K device, as it is manufactured with an ethernet port and would interface with my iMac and iPhone.
True to its design, the Apple TV streams flawlessly over ethernet connectivity. The only problem is that the device continues to broadcast radiofrequency EMF constantly. This isn’t altogether obvious, as one would think that a hardwired device would negate the need for wireless activity. However, testing with my microwave meter quickly revealed that the latest models of Apple TV continuously broadcast, not only while operational but also while in standby mode. The only way to stop it from broadcasting is to unplug the device.
After consulting Apple customer service and reading multiple online forum threads, I discovered it is not possible to turn off Wi-Fi transmissions from the device. The last model Apple TV device that does not broadcast Wi-Fi when connected via ethernet is the third-generation Apple TV, but that device is limited in the apps that come preinstalled and does not have the streaming app we needed to watch the Olympics. I returned the Apple TV 4K and continued my search.
Next up was a Roku streaming device. We purchased a Roku Ultra model that is also manufactured with an ethernet port for connectivity. After setup, the same problem emerged—the device continuously broadcasts Wi-Fi while awake and in standby mode. Roku customer service proposed several options for changing settings to disable Wi-Fi, but after several rounds of emails, it was clear that might not even be possible.
Finally, my tech-savvy brother-in-law (who also owns a Roku Ultra) did some research and discovered that the only reason the device uses Wi-Fi, if hardwired via ethernet, is to communicate with the voice remote control that comes with it. There is a setting to disable Wi-Fi connectivity, but that option can’t be selected so long as the voice remote is enabled. The solution was to purchase a separate, infrared-only Roku remote control and pair that to the device instead.
Here’s where things get dicey, because without a microwave meter to test your efforts, pairing an infrared remote is not enough to disable Wi-Fi. As long as the device registers the voice remote, it will still transmit ceaselessly. The solution is to roll back the Roku to factory settings and only pair the infrared remote from the start. If you would like to turn off Wi-Fi transmissions, follow these steps:
1. Have an infrared remote ready. I purchased this one from Amazon.
2. Revert the device to factory settings by following this path: Settings > System > Advanced system settings > Factory reset
3. Set up the device as normal using only the infrared remote. Take the batteries out of the voice remote so there is no possibility of the Roku picking up a signal from it.
4. Once the Roku is set up and you are at the main menu, follow this path to disable Wi-Fi: Settings > System > Advanced system settings > Device connect > Disable ‘Device connect’
If you’ve followed those directions exactly, Wi-Fi will be permanently disabled. I’ve confirmed this with my microwave meter. If starting with a new device, follow the instructions, but you won’t need Step 2.
The sad truth of this discovery is that Roku tech support was wholly unaware that the device’s use of Wi-Fi is tied to the voice remote. More disheartening is that this option doesn’t even exist for Apple TV devices that come with a Siri remote. For anyone suffering from electrohypersensitivity syndrome, this is disturbing trend; more and more smart devices are built to only communicate via the internet of things. These devices broadcast constantly, consume energy that you have to pay for, and collectively increase the total body burden of EMF exposure.
This last point is the most salient. No single device or 3G, 4G, or 5G infrastructure is the sole problem. Proliferation is the problem. Each generation of wireless hardware and infrastructure is built upon the previous, the collective electrosmog growing thicker with every raised cellphone tower and each new wireless device you add to your home.
If you’re choosing a different path and applying the precautionary principle, the Roku Ultra streaming device may be the only option to stream TV without exposure to the “secondhand smoke” of radiofrequency EMF radiation. I make no claims as to whether the above procedure will work with other Roku devices. If you have a microwave EMF meter and a different device to test, please contact me and I will update this post with your findings.