Roku - Official Remote Control
Stream hundreds of hit movies, TV shows and more on the go with The Roku Channel, use it as a second remote, enjoy private listening, and more.
The free Roku mobile app makes it easy and fun to control your Roku player and Roku TV™.
Use the Roku mobile app to:
• Control your Roku device as another remote
• Stream hit movies, TV shows and more on the go with The Roku Channel
• Enjoy private listening* with headphones
• Use your voice or keyboard to search for movies, shows, actors, and directors
• Cast videos, photos, and music to your TV
• Add and launch channels on your Roku device
• Enter text on your Roku device easier with your keyboard
To use certain features of the Roku mobile app, you must connect your phone or tablet to the same wireless network as your Roku device. Certain features require a compatible Roku device, and may require logging in to your Roku account.
· Searching by voice is available in English in the US, UK, and Canada only.
· The Roku app is available in English only in Mexico.
* Mobile private listening is available for Roku Express, Express+, Roku Streaming Stick (3600, 3800, 3810), Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra and Roku TVs.
** Subscription or other payment may be required to access certain channel content. Channel availability is subject to change and varies by country.
For more information and troubleshooting help, go to http://support.roku.com,
A recent CBS News poll found that only 45% of Americans still watch TV using cable or satellite. If you're looking to cut the pay TV cord too, consider a Roku streaming media player.
Here's what you need to know before you buy.
What does Roku do?
Functioning similar to the Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV 4K, Roku devices are small streaming boxes or streaming sticks that connect to your television. They put streaming content from Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Disney+ and more (subscriptions required) in one easy-to-search place on a TV screen. They offer access to plenty of free content as well, including more than 190 streaming channels available for free on the Roku Channel and more than 250 channels available free through Pluto TV.
(Note: CBS Essentials and Pluto TV are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.)
How does Roku work?
Roku delivers streaming content via your home internet connection, so you'll need broadband speeds of at least 1.5 Mbps for standard definition and 3.0 Mbps for HD content at a minimum.
Roku boxes and streaming sticks are controlled with the included, easy-to-use Roku remote. Some Roku remotes support for voice commands and feature a headphone jack. And if the Roku remote gets misplaced, there are no worries -- Roku devices can be controlled via the Roku app on your phone or tablet, too.
Who should get a Roku?
Roku is a popular cost-saving option among those looking to cut the pay TV cable cord -- there's no monthly cost to use the device (aside from any premium streaming subscription you pay for anyway, such as Netflix).
Roku boxes and streaming sticks are popular for people looking to make a high-tech upgrade to older TVs, as well as with those just looking for an easier interface. Some smart TVs come with the Roku tech already built in.
What Roku is best for me?
Choosing the best Roku device for you depends on what kind of TV you're looking to upgrade. Older TVs won't require advanced features such as 4K support -- a basic Roku device will do. For newer televisions, you'll want to look for features such as 4K support, wired ethernet (for optimum streaming performance) and Dolby Vision/Dolby Atmos. More expensive Roku devices typically feature a more advanced Roku remote, as well.
Roku makes a number of different models, so choosing the right one isn't always easy. But that's where CBS Essentials comes in. If you're looking to give Roku a try, here are the most popular Roku models available right now.
Roku Express 4K+
Enjoy 4K picture quality and voice control via a Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant that lets you search across channels, turn on captions and more with the affordable Express 4K+ streaming box. It features dual-band wireless for a smooth streaming experience, and a premium HDMI cable is included to connect the Roku to the TV. The Roku Express 4K+ does not require a smart TV to work, but it does require a TV with an HDMI input. While some Roku devices support older TVs with an A/V input, this one does not.
"I can finally have the apps I want and not worry about storage running out on my TV," reviewer Lotte says. "It's very easy to set up and use. The remote is very simple and easy to learn."
$34 at Walmart
$39 at Amazon
With a new quad-core processor, the Roku Ultra is the fastest and most powerful media player the company makes. It has all of the features of the Express 4K+, plus support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It works both wirelessly and with an ethernet port, and it and comes with headphones for private listening. If you lose your remote, you can press a button on the streaming device, and your remote will play a sound. You can play music, podcasts and more on your TV with a connected Bluetooth streaming device.
"I have found that Dolby Vision (offered on many Netflix originals) is superior to standard HDR," reviewer Gary says. "If you're not as fussy as I am about getting maximum picture quality, getting Dolby Vision might not matter to you."
$79 at Walmart
$90 at Amazon
The Streambar is a Roku streaming device and sound bar all in one. The sound uses Dolby Audio tech, which automatically lowers the volume of loud commercials and boosts the volume of quiet conversations. It also has a long-range wireless receiver. Roku makes an add-on wireless subwoofer and wireless speakers that pair with the Streambar for an upgraded surround sound experience.
"I purchased [the Roku Streambar] because of its compact design and the audio mix coming from my LG TV made watching movies impossible," an Amazon customer says. "The Streambar solved my audio problem. I can now watch movies without turning the volume up for dialogue and down for action sequences. I also like the upgradeability of this device with wireless speakers and a subwoofer, which I'm sure I'll take advantage of over time."
$127 at Amazon
$127 at Walmart
Roku Streaming Stick+
The Roku Streaming Stick+ has a long-range wireless receiver and allows Bluetooth streaming, plus includes all the features of the Roku Express 4K+ in a smaller, easier-to-conceal device. Instead of connecting to a television via wires, it connects directly to an HDMI port. Note that the Roku Streaming Stick+ still needs to be connected to a power source -- either via a TV USB input or a wall outlet.
"It doesn't have the same bells and whistles that my Roku Ultras have...but then again, I also paid nearly twice as much for those," reviewer K. Krueger says. "This Stick+ is much cheaper and provides basically the same user interface and playback performance."
$40 at Walmart
$46 at Amazon
The Roku Express is an affordable option for people with older TVs. It keeps things simple with HD picture quality; a standard remote and HDMI cable; and standard wireless and connectivity. It still works with Alexa, Google Assistant and the Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.
"I finally decided to buy one to help keep my TV relevant," reviewer Mike T says. "Most of the apps from my 2011 model TV don't work anymore and it was limited in functionality. I wish I bought one of these years ago."
$28 at Amazon
TCL 50-inch Class 4-Series 4K UHD Smart Roku LED TV
Some TVs have Roku already built in. Pick from 45-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch and 85-inch sizes in this 4K smart Roku TV, for example, which comes with a super-simple remote. The 85-inch model can be purchased in combination with TCL sound bars for an upgraded sound experience.
"I have no complaints considering the price," reviewer Ross K. says. "The sound, picture quality, ease-of-setup, digital antenna and all other advertised features are above my expectations."
TCL Roku TVs are currently on discount at Amazon.
50-inch TCL Roku TV
$450 at Amazon
55-inch TCL Roku TV
$500 at Amazon
75-inch TCL Roku TV
$1,000 at Amazon
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Roku: My Number One Pick for Cable Cutters
Roku is my #1 streaming player recommendation for cable-cutters looking for an easy way to watch content from the Internet on their TVs. While Amazon Fire TV is also great, Roku is probably the best choice for most people.
What is a Roku?
Roku comes in several versions but basically it is a small black box or stick that comes with a remote control and power adapter. Roku connects to the Internet through your home’s Wi-Fi network (some models also have Ethernet connector), so you need an Internet connection to use it.
Roku allows you to watch paid and free content from the Internet such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, YouTube, and many other streaming services, on your TV.
When Roku first came out, there was a lot of misunderstanding as to what it was, with many folks think it was a free replacement for traditional cable TV. It is not an exact replacement for cable. It allows you to watch some free content from the Internet (like YouTube) on your TV, as well as subscription content such as HBO Max, Netflix, and Hulu. Much of this paid content is cheaper than a cable TV contract and usually requires no long-term commitment.
Also understand that the Roku itself is not a DVR; it doesn’t record video, although there are some services that do offer recording capability.
If you already have a “smart TV”, you might not need a Roku. Your smart TV already does a lot of what the Roku does.
Most current Roku models only have HDMI output, so they won’t work with an old tube-type TV. The exception is the Roku Express+ 2018 edition, which has composite video outputs in addition to HDMI. So, if you have an old tube TV, get a Roku Express+ 2018 (confusingly, the latest Roku Express+ does not have analog outputs, so be sure to get the 2018 edition!)
Physically hooking up your Roku is pretty easy. Plug in the power adapter to the wall, and connect the other end to your Roku. Then, plug in an HDMI cable (not included!) to your Roku and your TV.
Setting up your passwords is more of a pain. You will need to choose your Wi-Fi network and enter your password using the dreaded letter-picker and remote control:
Then you’ll have to create a Roku account, if you don’t already have one. One annoying thing is that it asks for your credit card information, even if you never plan to purchase any paid programming.
Note: Carefully follow the step-by-step setup instructions. Do not Google "Roku setup" on your computer or phone and start registering at the first website that shows up. There are scammers out there collecting "registration" fees when it should be totally free!
For every streaming service that you have (such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and so forth), you’ll have to go through the drill of authorizing your account, usually by getting a code from the Roku and entering it on your computer. If your TV and computer are far apart, you’ll be doing a lot of running back and forth (like I was). But, it’s a one-time deal. You won’t have to do it again.
Roku has the largest number of “channels” to choose from among all of the mainstream set-top boxes. Some offer free content, many offer content that you have to pay for. These are not the same as cable TV channels. Some of the content is on-demand rather than live, so it’s like renting from a video rental store.
Roku has really improved the amount of free content that is available right out of the box. In no time I was watching free videos on YouTube, the History Channel, Pluto TV, and Roku’s own free channel.
But there are a ton of other channels to choose from. There are the paid services you would expect like Netflix and Hulu. Here are some free channels that I would recommend:
- Pluto TV features over two hundred specialized channels of TV and movie content. While many of the other services are on-demand, Pluto resembles cable or broadcast TV in that the content is always streaming and you just watch what's playing at the moment. Just like cable and broadcast, there are commercials, but it’s one of the best sources of free video online.
- Crackle offers a few “B-level” and mostly “C-level” older movies for free with ads. I already offer this channel on my Internet remote. It’s worth keeping.
- Popcorn Flix is a free movie channel like Crackle (with ads), except that we’re talking about “C-level” and “D-level” movies here. I mean, I hadn’t even heard of any of them. They look like they went straight to video. Still, it’s free, so what the heck, I’ll keep it.
- YouTube (the regular old free version, not to be confused with the pay version, YouTube TV) is my favorite source for free video content. It’s available on all current-generation Roku devices and some older models.
So, out of the box, you can watch tons of free content without paying a dime, as long as you know which channels to look for.
If you’ve ever had to use the cumbersome letter-picker to spell out the name of a movie you’re looking for, you know why voice search is so helpful. It lets you simply say what you’re looking for instead of having to select each letter with the remote control and the Roku will find out which streaming services it is on, i.e., Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Amazon Fire TV also has this feature.
Note, the Roku Express and Premiere models do not have built-in voice search. Voice search comes with Roku Premiere+, the Roku Streaming Sticks and the Roku Ultra. But, if you don’t have a model with voice search, you might be able to use the Roku app on your phone to get the feature.
Roku gives search results without playing favorites to particular streaming services, while Amazon heavily emphasizes Amazon sources in its search results of course.
Remote Control Headphone Output
One feature unique to some Roku models (Roku 3 and Roku Ultra) is headphone output in the remote control. This allows you to listen to the TV using headphones so you don’t disturb other people in the room, neighbors, etc. If you need this feature, it works well, and none of the other boxes have it! It does cause your remote to eat up batteries if you use it a lot though.
Apple AirPlay Support on 4K Rokus
In late 2020, Roku released a software update that enabled Apple AirPlay to work in select 4K Roku models such as the Roku Ultra. This feature allows you to mirror your iOS device's screen to your TV, enabling you to watch almost any content from the internet on your TV. It works great! These are the Roku models that support AirPlay:
- Roku Ultra (I have tested the 2018 Ultra)
- Roku Streambar
- Roku Smart Soundbar
- Roku Streaming Stick+
- Roku Premiere
- Roku TV (select models only)
Previously, AirPlay was the pretty much the only reason I owned an Apple TV box. With this Roku software release, I'm packing up my Apple TV into my closet and solely using my Roku!
Streaming from Your Computer
Another feature I like is the ability to watch video on my computer’s hard drive on my TV. To do that, I had to add a channel called “Plex” and install the Plex server software on my computer. Once I did that and got them synced up (not too difficult), I could watch almost all of the video that I had on my computer’s hard drive – much more so than with my Apple TV, which has severe limitations to what file types it will play. So, Roku beats Apple TV here. If you have lots of video files on your computer that you want to watch on your TV, get a Roku.
Roku can mirror the screen of Android devices, but it can’t natively mirror Apple iOS devices. More info on mirroring to Roku here.
Several readers have mentioned a service called PlayOn, which allows you to stream from your computer to your Roku. The premium version gives you access to more channels, mostly the network websites. Cost is currently about $35 for a lifetime license.
Streaming from USB
Roku devices with a standard USB ports, such as the Roku 3 and Roku Ultra, have the ability to play video, music and photos from USB storage devices such as hard drives or flash sticks. Simply plug in the USB storage device and the Roku Media Player app should appear (if not, you can download it).
This is great for viewing videos you already own. Or, you can use it to show photos from your last vacation!
The one caveat is that the video file types that this will work are limited to .MKV, .M4V, .MP4, and .MOV. While many videos on the web are of these formats, many videos that you might have may not be (such as .MPG, DV-RMS video files from the old Windows Media Center and so on).
So, if your files are in the right format, this could be a really cool and dead simple way to watch video that you already own on your Roku!
Streaming Recorded Video from Your Phone
It’s actually really easy to stream recorded videos from your iOS or Android phone/tablet to your Roku! Simply get the Roku app on your device, then choose what kind of media you want to play/display on your TV, video, photos, or music. Just make sure your phone is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku (if you’re at home, it probably will be).
Note this lets you stream videos stored on your phone (like videos you’ve made), but not videos streaming in real time from the Internet. So, you can't watch a video from a website on your Roku using this technique.
Another note, the Roku won’t play your iPhone videos if you plug your iPhone directly into the USB port. Use the wireless method above.
Using Roku as a Spare Cable / Satellite Box
Several readers with pay satellite or cable services have asked me if they can use a Roku to watch DirecTV, Xfinity, etc. on a second TV without having to rent another expensive decoder box from the provider.
As far as I can tell, for DirecTV, the answer is “no”. There is a DIRECTVNOW service with Roku app, but that is separate from DirecTV, and DirecTV customers can’t use the app without subscribing.
Xfinity does have a beta Roku app which lacks some features but is still usable.
Spectrum TV does have a Roku app that allows you to watch your content using a Roku, but only when connected to your home’s Internet (i.e., you can’t use it in a hotel, for example). So in this case you could use it as a substitute for a cable box.
Since this site is about cutting cable and satellite, I don’t subscribe to any paid satellite or cable TV services, so anyone who does, please chime in on the comments below to correct or clarify anything I’ve said about this!
Roku vs. Other Streaming Boxes
- Has the most channels out of all of the mainstream set-top boxes.
- Roku Ultra has headphone output in remote control
- Easy to use
- Roku Express+ 2018 edition (note the “plus” and the 2018) will work with old tube TVs with composite video input
- Select 4K Roku devices (like the Roku Ultra) have Apple AirPlay built in, allowing you to mirror your iOS device's screen to your TV
For most people, Roku is my recommended streaming player. It has the most apps and is the easiest to use. If you like using Alexa or need a web browser on your TV, then Amazon Fire TV might be best.
Which Roku Should I Get?
If you think Roku is right for you, you might be wondering, “which one should I get?” It’s one of the most common questions people ask me, especially since Roku exploded their product lineup into a confusing mix of boxes and streaming sticks. Here are some guidelines:
- If you have an old tube TV, the only Roku that will work for you is the Roku Express+ 2018 (note the plus at the end, and it MUST be the classic 2018 version! The newer version does not have analog outputs!) Your TV will need to have composite video inputs (round and usually colored yellow, white, and red).
- I would avoid the regular Roku Express and Premiere, since those don’t have voice remote.
- I would avoid the regular Roku Streaming Stick, because it can’t do 4K. Even if your TV doesn’t do 4K now, you could just get the Roku Premiere+ for the same cost, and that does support 4K. So, that eliminates the Streaming Stick.
- If you need headphones in the remote for private listening, go with the Roku Ultra.
- If you need an Ethernet port (i.e., you don’t have WiFi), go with the Roku Ultra.
To summarize, my recommended Roku models are:
- Express+ 2018 (not the latest version) if you have a tube TV. Look for the red, white, and yellow cables on the box.
- Streaming Stick+ if you want a good mid-level solution and can’t afford an Ultra.
- Roku Ultra if you can afford it.
Note, you will need a separate Roku box for each TV in your home.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can buy a Roku on Amazon:
Only the Roku Express+ 2018 edition will work with older TV’s because it has composite video output (look for the red, white, and yellow cables on the box):
Note, you'll have to look under "other sellers" on Amazon since this is an older model.
What do you think of your Roku? Questions? Please leave a comment below. – Brian
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Box free roku
Roku has long been the leader in free video channels; however, with so many channels to choose from, finding the best can be difficult. With many new Roku Players and Roku TVs sold at the end of 2019 recently many have been asking for recommendations for the best free services on Roku. So here is my personal list in no particular order.
Do you have a Roku Channel from the official Roku Channel store you would like to suggest? Leave a comment and let us know what you think everyone should check out.
Check out our list of Best Roku Devices in 2020 here.
#1 Pluto TV
Download now to stream Pluto TV’s 100+ channels of news, sports, and the internet’s best, completely free on Roku. Also, get access to its Free On Demand library of over 1000 entire movies and full TV episodes.
Pluto TV is revolutionizing the streaming TV experience, with over a hundred channels of amazing programming.
You can add Pluto TV to your Roku HERE.
#2 The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is your home for free, live, and premium TV. Watch an ever-changing selection of hit movies, TV shows, 24/7 live news, sports, and popular kids’ movies and TV shows –all totally free. Want to watch even more? Easily add 30+ Premium Subscriptions from HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME®, STARZ, EPIX and more! It’s subscription streaming made easy with one login, one bill, and one place to stream the TV you love. Start watching on your Roku device at home and pick up where you left off with the free Roku mobile app. Enjoying your favorite entertainment has never been easier. Premium Subscriptions and Kids & Family on The Roku Channel are available in the US only.
You can add The Roku Channel to your Roku HERE.
Watch free TV channels on your Roku device. STIRR shouts to all kinds of people with a little bit of something for everyone — LIVE local news, TV series, LIVE sports, movies, the latest viral videos and much more. What’s the catch? There aren’t any! No hidden strings (or cords).
STIRR includes an exclusive new local channel featuring live news and programming based on where you live.
You can add Stirr to your Roku HERE.
Watch thousands of hit movies and TV series for free. Tubi is 100% legal unlimited streaming, with no credit cards and no subscription required. Choose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, with fewer ads than regular TV. Tubi is the largest free streaming service featuring award-winning movies and TV series. There is something for everybody; from comedy to drama, kids to classics, and niche favorites such as Korean dramas, anime, and British series. Download now and start streaming entertainment for free, today!
You can add Tubi to your Roku HERE.
XUMO is your destination for *free* LIVE and on-demand streaming entertainment. With over 160 different channels to choose from, you won’t get bored. Tune in for newly launched movie channels, breaking news, epic fails, stand-up comedy, sports, news coverage, and more. Share the latest from the guys at Funny or Die, or this week’s celebrity gossip from TMZ. Stay up to date, but most of all, stay entertained with XUMO. Download XUMO for free today.
You can add XUMO to your Roku HERE.
Stream free Hollywood movies, TV series and originals on your favorite devices. Wait, free? Yes, free, always and forever. Watch premium TV shows and movies from a full library of new and iconic hits. All on-demand, without a subscription.
Set up a free account to see fewer ads and to pick up where you left off on any device.
You can add Crackle to your Roku HERE.
hoopla is a groundbreaking digital media service offered by your local public library that allows you to stream movies and television episodes to your TV for free with no waiting. We have thousands of titles to choose from, with more being added daily.
hoopla is like having your public library at your fingertips. Anytime. Anywhere.
You can add Hoopla to your Roku HERE.
YouTube your way on the biggest screen in the house, from a playlist of music videos to your favorite comedy channels. Send videos from your phone to your TV when they’re sharing a Wi-Fi connection. Find a video on your YouTube app, click the TV icon that appears, and it instantly plays on your TV.
You can add YouTube TV to your Roku HERE.
FREE and Awesome HD Movies, TV shows and lifestyle content. 10,000 movies and shows from 25 genre including Action, Thriller, Horror, Comedy and more. No subscription, No fee. Content updated DAILY. Install and Watch NOW.
You can add Fawsome.TV to your Roku HERE.
Watch live, local TV newscasts for free. Stream newscasts from 200+ trusted local news stations across the U.S. with the NEW NewsON experience. Watch live news, previous newscasts (up to 48 hours for most stations), or local news clips now in a modern, approachable design. Set favorites for easy access to the stations you want to watch and tune in to local coverage of major breaking news. No cable subscription or login required. Enjoy local news with NewsON anytime, anywhere.
You can add NewsON to your Roku HERE.
Learn more about the Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Express, or Roku Ultra.
Check out the Best Roku Channels in 2020 here to see some of the top paid channels.
Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more news, tips, and reviews. Need cord cutting tech support? Join our Cord Cutting Tech Support Facebook Group for help.
Did you know we have a YouTube Channel? Every week we have a live Cord Cutting Q&A, and weekly Cord Cutting recap shows exclusively on our YouTube Channel!
Rokus are entertainment devices that can open up a whole new world of streaming options. You can have all of your favorite paid streaming services in one place, but Roku also has a long list of free channels with top content.
From sci-fi classics like Battlestar Galactica to hair-raising horrors like Resident Evil to popular anime shows such as Attack on Titan, this quick guide will list some of the best Roku free channels and show you how to find them.
- After the initial cost of a Roku device, you can use it for free by adding only free channels.
- There are lots of free Roku channels available, and you can find them in the Roku Channel Store.
- Many of the best free Roku channels offer 4K content, so it’s worth investing in a Roku device that supports 4K streaming.
- Some channels, such as Netflix, can be added to your Roku for free, but you will need to sign up and pay for the service to use it.
This guide is aimed at U.S. viewers, so if you’re in a different country, your channel options may look a little different. With geoblocks playing their part — see our geoblocking guide — some of the channels in this list may not be available in your region. You can, however, use a VPN with Roku to bypass the restrictions. On top of that, your Roku’s menu may look slightly different, too. For instance, in the UK, there’s no menu option for “top free movies & TV.”
Many Roku channels are completely free to watch, such as The Roku Channel and Pluto TV. Some channels offer premium content alongside the free content, but there is no obligation to make a purchase. Also, keep in mind that some Roku channels can be added to your device for free, but require a paid subscription or valid cable subscription to stream content.
You can add the HBO Channel to your Roku for free, but you will need to have a paid subscription to use the service. You can simply log in if you already have an active subscription, or sign up to it and then log in if you don’t.
There is a free ABC Roku channel, but you will need a cable TV provider account or DirecTV subscription to activate it.
After the initial device cost, you can use Roku for free by adding just the free channels. You will only need to pay if you sign up to a paid service like Netflix or purchase content, such as a movie.
Step by Step: How to Find Roku Free Channels
There are lots of free channels in the Roku Channel Store, and it’s not too hard to find them. This step-by-step guide will show you how to find free Roku channels.
- Press the Home Button
Press the home button on your Roku remote to make sure you’re on the home screen.
- Go to “Streaming Channels”
Go to “streaming channels” and press “OK” on the remote. This is where you can browse all the Roku channels and filter them by genre.
- Select “Top Free Movies & TV”
Go to “top free movies & TV” and press “OK” on the remote.
- Browse Through Roku’s Free Channels
You’ll now see all the top free channels available on Roku.
You can browse through the free channels library using the arrow buttons on your remote; press the “OK” button to view more details about any channel. If you find a channel you like, you can add the channel to your Roku.
Top 20 Free Roku Channels to Watch
There are lots of popular free channels on Roku, and although that’s great, it can take a while to browse through the whole library. Plus, the “top free movies & TV” genre lists only the top free channels, so you’ll need to do some digging using Roku’s search function to find others.
To give you a helping hand, we’ll list the best free Roku channels here, in no particular order, starting off with Roku’s own offering, The Roku Channel.
1. The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is a complete entertainment channel that includes live TV channels, movies, documentaries and TV shows. It’s capable of pleasing the whole family and has a similar layout to Netflix. You can purchase premium content, but it’s not required. Tune in to series such as The Nanny, classic movies like Armageddon or keep the kids happy with Peppa Pig — there’s something for everyone.
2. Pluto TV
Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels and thousands of movies for free. You can also browse live TV; it’s like having a cable subscription, only it’s free. OK, so, you won’t get the latest content, but you can search by category and watch anything from drama, food and sports to kids’ TV and classics like Unsolved Mysteries, CSI and Hell’s Kitchen.
Tubi is another multi-content channel where you can find a range of movies and TV shows. You can find anything from Western drama True Grit to horror movie Resident Evil on Tubi. There are lots of genres to choose from — including kids, drama, comedy, horror and even some niche categories, such as anime and Korean dramas — so there’s something for everyone.
With Crackle, you can watch TV shows and big Hollywood movies. The selection rotates frequently, too, so you’ll never get bored with what the channel has to offer. You can watch classic movies, such as The Karate Kid, but you can get lost in Crackle’s own original content, too, such as the crime comedy-drama series, Snatch.
Xumo offers free live TV and on-demand streaming. There are more than 190 channels to surf through, including sports, local news, comedy, horror movies and much more. Laugh your socks off with the FailArmy channel or get in some family time with Family Feud. You can also catch up on sports highlights with FOX Sports, PGA Tour and more.
Fawesome — a combination of “free” and “awesome” — enables you to watch free and awesome movies, TV shows and more. This channel’s library consists of thousands of titles in genres ranging from rom-coms and family to action and horror, and it’s constantly updating and adding new content.
Aside from the usual genres you’d expect, Fawesome also includes an anime genre. Plus, the company behind it has created some separate niched, free streaming channels, such as Fawesome LGBTQ, Fawesome Black Cinema and Fawesome Bollymix, to name but a few.
NewsON provides in-depth news coverage for any U.S. state. You can enjoy local news programs by default, but you can also check out other states’ news easily. Newscasts come from more than 200 news stations across the U.S., and you can set favorites for easy future access to breaking news.
Stirr brings more than 100 channels to its viewers, along with live local news, movies, sports, TV shows, music and more. You can find classic series such as Knight Rider and comedy shows like Whose Line is it Anyway? Plus, there are dedicated channels like “Law & Crime” and “NASA,” as well as a fitness channel.
9. Cooking Guide TV
Cooking Guide TV is a great source for sprucing up your kitchen knowledge. It offers recipes, cooking tips, healthy cooking options and much more. Whether you’re a foodie, health-conscious or are just bored of your current home menu, Cooking Guide TV will help add variety to your diet — healthy or not.
Popcornflix offers a whole range of hit movies and television shows worthy of, well, getting the popcorn out. You’ll find classics like the 1934 movie Murder on the Orient Express and more recent blockbusters like Lord of the Rings. There are lots of genres to choose from and a decent menu of foreign films, stand-up comedy, documentaries, foreign films and more. There are also separate Popcornflix Kids and Popcornflix Comedy Roku channels.
11. CBS Sports Stream & Watch Live
If you’re a sports fan, then the CBS Sports Stream & Watch Live channel could be your ticket to staying up to date with the latest sports events. You can watch pre-game and post-game coverage, 24/7 live sports news and highlights, and more from all types of sports, including the NFL, PGA Tour events, National Women’s Soccer League and much more.
12. Comet TV
Science fiction fans will appreciate Comet TV’s effort in bringing viewers a free sci-fi streaming experience, loaded with popular favorites and classics. Its lineup includes movies and TV shows, such as the 1933 horror movie The Vampire Bat and 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1. Comet TV is a great substitute for anyone missing the SyFy channel in its early days.
What began in 1984 as a technology, design and entertainment conference, TED has now formed into its own Roku channel. It’s home to powerful talks from expert speakers on a range of different topics. Choose from business, science, finance, culture, medicine and much, much more. Thankfully, there’s a search function so you can narrow down what you’re interested in.
Newsy is a great source for keeping up to date with the latest news and top stories. It also lets you scale down to category-specific news, such as politics, tech, sports, world news and so on. You’ll also find documentaries for specific topics.
You’ll find everything you didn’t know you wanted about music on the Vevo channel. You can watch your favorite music videos, as well as artist interviews and behind-the-scenes videos. Find all sorts of singers, bands, etc., in genres such as pop, country, jazz, classical, rock, R&B, hip-hop and more.
The HappyKids.tv channel is aimed at infants and toddlers. Its content is categorized by age group, making it easy to find suitable show series such as Paw Patrol, Thomas & Friends and even game videos from Roblox and Minecraft. There’s also a learning section where you’ll find educational videos for the alphabet, colors, counting and more.
ChefsFeed is a free cooking channel with original content that includes a mix of dining and drinking guides, cultural cuisine, culinary tips and much more. You’ll also find everything from restaurant recommendations by top chefs to cooking classes to culinary events. It’s the perfect fix for any foodie and totally free.
If you’re after a channel dedicated to anime and manga, then Crunchyroll is the perfect Roku channel for you. You can watch hundreds of popular anime shows, such as One Piece and Attack on Titan, dramas like Akagi and Unriddle, and even read manga. Keep in mind that the free version of Crunchyroll will only stream in standard definition.
19. PBS & PBS Kids
PBS has thousands of popular, on-demand TV shows and documentaries within its library. You can catch up on the news headlines with PBS NewsHour or tune in to a show like Frontline or Endeavour. There’s also a PBS Kids channel with titles such as Sesame Street, Odd Squad and even Curious George. New content is added weekly, too.
If you’re partial to a bit of throwback daytime TV and enjoy the trash talk, paternity questions and marital issues that come with TV shows like The Jerry Springer Show, Sally Jessy Raphael or Maury Povich, then the Nosey channel is right up your street. It’s the perfect channel for getting your kicks off of other people’s misery.
What Is the Best Roku for Free Channels?
There’s a whole lineup of Roku players to choose from, but we’ll list some recommendations here to help you choose one. As a quick note, though, we won’t recommend the cheapest Roku, the Roku Express, because it doesn’t support 4K streaming. You can enjoy 4K streaming service with the Roku Premiere for just a few more bucks, and there is a fair bit of free 4K content.
For a more detailed look at all the Roku devices available, be sure to check out our dedicated Roku buyer’s guide.
- Roku Premiere — The best budget Roku for 4K streaming
The Roku Premiere is the cheapest Roku that supports 4K and HDR streaming
The Roku Streaming Stick+ plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port and includes a built-in long-range wireless receiver — perfect for travel or poor WiFi connections.
- Roku Ultra — The fastest and most powerful Roku in all areas
The Roku Ultra 2020 is Roku’s latest and most powerful model that includes better WiFi range and the option of connecting the Roku with an Ethernet cable.
Rokus allow you to combine all of your streaming services into one device, but having multiple paid services on Roku can become costly. Thankfully, there are free channels available, and you can find all of those channels through the Roku Channel Store menu. That said, it will only display the top free channels. Plus, not all channels are available in every region, so you may need to use a VPN.
We hope this guide has helped you find the best free Roku channels available, so you can start watching your favorite films, TV shows, news, documentaries and more. We also have a guide for if you want to cast to Roku from iOS, Android and Windows 10.
If you experience any issues with your Roku, our Roku troubleshooting guide may be able to help.
What’s your experience with free Roku channels? Do you have any free channel recommendations? Let us know in the comment section below and check out our list of the best Roku games, too. As always, thank you for reading.
Let us know if you liked the post. That’s the only way we can improve.
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Watch any web video or camera-roll video on your Roku and enjoy the show on your big screen with the no#1 web video streamer.
With Video & TV Cast for Roku you can browse the web and stream any web video or online TV show on your Roku. Mp4, m3u8, hls livestreams, video over https and of course Full HD are supported.
Just open Video & TV Cast, navigate to a website, wait for link detection and send the video with a single tap to your Roku. The discovered link will be shown below the browser. A tap on the video link will start the show.
* COMPATIBILITY: Please test your favorite videos with the free app edition before upgrading! Compatibility may depend on your Roku device and firmware.
* iTunes movies, Flash video and DRM protected videos like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, DirecTV, Xfinity, HBO now are not supported!
* The app streams only the video part of a website and not the whole website content (No screen or tab mirroring!).
* Sometimes it is necessary to play the video on your iPad or iPhone first before it gets discovered by the app for streaming.
* If a specific video does not cast, please check our FAQ. If that does not help, please give us a chance to help you by dropping a mail to [email protected] instead of leaving a negative comment on the App Store. We will try to add support for your video as soon as possible.
>>> UPGRADE FEATURES (available as in-app purchases)
* Premium Edition: Unlocks all of the features listed here. Also future features are included, so you do not have to pay for them when they are released in an updated app version.
* Remote: Control your Roku straight from your iPhone or iPad. The remote works independed from video streaming and you can use it with other Roku channels as well.
* Personal Media: Cast unlimited personal photos, videos and music directly from your device or from cloud services like iCloud and Dropbox.
* Ad-Blocker: Blocks ads & popups on most websites and removes the sponsoring ads from the app. You can update and enable/disable ad-blocking at any time in the settings.
* Bookmarks: Save unlimited website bookmarks. Synchronize and transfer them between different TV Cast apps and iOS devices by using backup and restore via iCloud.
* Desktop Mode: Change the browser user-agent and cloak your iPhone/iPad as a desktop PC to load the desktop website instead of a mobile website. Please note that this will NOT enable video casting on websites that serve Flash videos in desktop mode.
* Change Homepage: Set your personal homepage in the settings.
>>> USER FEEDBACKS
"You have saved my life - Honestly. I cannot thank you enough. This is probably the best app I have ever gotten. Purchased all of the addons immediately after I saw it worked. I hope you continue to develop, and I trust you see our emails :)"
AJ The Man, USA
>>> A MESSAGE FROM THE DEVELOPERS
We want to say thank you for all your great support and kindly invite you to honestly rate our app. This helps us to keep up our app development and support for you.
If you have any feedback, feature requests or other request, please notify us at [email protected]
Disclaimer: This app is not affiliated with Roku or one of its products or any other trademark mentioned here. ROKU, the ROKU Logo, STREAMING STICK, ROKU TV, ROKU POWERED, the ROKU POWERED Logo, ROKU READY, the ROKU READY Logo, "STOP DREAMING. START STREAMING.", "HAPPY STREAMING", "THERE'S A TON OF ENTERTAINMENT IN THIS LITTLE BOX," and "NOW THIS IS TV" are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Roku, Inc. in the United States and other countries.
Ratings and Reviews
4.3 out of 5
🤗 A MUST HAVE! 🤩
This app does EXACTLY what it says it will do, if not m😳re! (If that’s somehow p🤨ssible.) in all honesty though, this 💎 of an app is an absolute insta-download if... 1. You own/ use a Roku. 2. Want to cast either photos, music, or videos/ movies🎞 🎥🍿 from your 📱onto your 🖥! It worked perfectly from the minute I downloaded it for the sole purpose of casting movies I had been streaming from a website on my iPhone, onto a bigger screen, being my somewhat older, Vizio 37 in. flatscreen! Not to mention there wasn’t and still hasn’t been N🚫T ☝🏼problem or issue which seems to be VERY rare these days w/ all the apps out there nowadays! Anyways, I recommend this one 💯% to everyone out there!✌🏼this app is a God send! 🙌🏼🙏🏻
Thank you so much for taking time to review our app and for the detailed feedback. We really appreciate it and are glad that you like our app.
We just wanted to let you know we improved the app with the latest release. Please give it a try and let us know what you think.
If you encounter any issues, please contact us via [email protected] We are always happy to help.
I love the app, I even purchased an ad blocker. For some reasons now my device just wont connect to the Roku TV, its in a loop and it never gets connected. I tried to reinstall the app ( and apparently now I have to buy ad block again?). I followed steps where I put my device in Airplane mode, 10 seconds later it says that it finally got connected, but once I click Web Browser, it goes back to idle reconnecting. I tried unplugging my tv, my router, I have waited ( yes, both devices are connected to the same network , I have checked multiple times ) and nothing seemed to be working. I will gladly change my review when the problem is fixed.
I dont know how to see the device or model I use? It is a TCL TV, I can disconnect all the devices and reconnect them again to same network and nothing happens, It wont connect, it wont find the TV to connect too (yes, tv and a phone connected to the same wifi ) . It keeps going on , sometimes its just randomly connects when I use fly mode and back, but as I said, sometimes, 1 time out of 100 tries. So the review stays the same is 1/5, because I cant still use the app I paid for, and I dont wanna sit and spend 30 minutes going fly mode and back and hope this time it will work.
Thank you for taking time to review our app. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Just wanted to let you know we improved the app with the latest release. Please give it a try and let us know what you think. Please also make sure that you have allowed that the app can connect to the local network (Apple: Settings > Privacy > Local Network)
If you still have issues with the app, please add a few more information: Please also add information about the sender device (example: iPhone 7 with iOS 11.1) and the receiver device (example Roku model xyz). Could you send us screenshots or video clips showing the issue via email ([email protected])?
Thank you very much in advance. We'd love to hear from you.
Kinda fixed the patch!! Thanks!!!!
I took my bad off review because you guys actually tried to fix the patch i notice that it works on mostly any movie i select from an ads free website i see movies. But if the http has google on it like for example http/:goolgeshare or http/:googlestorage or any other form of google it doesn't work it does play on my phone but says failed to load but only on google or lemonshare http/: if you could fix that patch i would be thankful and if its out of your hands still great job guys and thanks for all your hard work and actually listening to our comments and try making this app the best.
P.S. try fixing the google problem because narcos season 3 is only on googleshare lol 😅
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- Kraus und Karnath GbR 2Kit Consulting
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