Guide to Roku Movies & TV Shows - Part 1: Fee-based New & Recent Releases

December 25, 2013 - 18:48 -- RokuGuide

Roku 3 The ability to watch movies and television shows on demand is probably the primary reason most people purchase a Roku player. In fact, Roku was originally designed as a Netflix player. But Netflix spun Roku off and today there are over 170 channels in the Movies & TV category of the Roku channel store. Trying to figure out which Movies & TV channels to install on your Roku? is here to help you figure it out.


If you have a new Roku, or if your older Roku has been upgraded to the new Roku 3 style menu, you'll notice that Movies and TV Shows are top-level menu items, right under My Channels. Those links take you directly to the built-in M-GO movie service, a pay-per-view streaming video service. If you're looking for a pay-as-you-go service with no recurring monthly fees, there is nothing particularly good or bad about M-GO. It offers a wide selection of movies and TV shows with 24-hour rental rates around $5 to $6 for HD (usually a dollar less for standard definition). That's right around the going rate for streaming rentals, but heavy users will probably want to check out services offering unlimited streaming for a fixed monthly price (see below). M-GO Purchase prices average $15 to $20. M-GO also offers free trailers.

Your first two M-GO rentals are free when you sign up, which you through your Roku device or at the M-GO [] website. More information about the M-GO service on Roku is available at
If you're looking for an alternative pay-per-view service, a different all-you-can-watch option, or free videos, read on...

Other Popular Fee-Based Channels

The widest selection of recent and modern-era movies and TV shows (more on classic videos later) are offered by seven services, in addition to M-GO. Listed below in order of "most popular" (as currently ranked by Roku), these providers offer videos on a fee basis. Netflix and Hulu Plus offer unlimited streaming for a monthly fee. Blockbuster offers videos only on a rental basis. VUDU and Redbox lets you rent or purchase videos. Amazon is unique in that it offers a mixed-fee model: Amazon Prime members get a large number of videos free with the membership and can rent or purchase videos that are not part of the prime program. Viewers who do not want to pay for a prime membership still have access, through rental or purchase, to the full Amazon video library.

To access the following video services through your Roku, you will need to go to "Channel Store" in the main menu and add them to your device, or use the Add Channel link on each channel's RokuGuide page - follow the links below. After the channels have been added to your player, you can find them under My Channels in the main Roku menu.

Netflix - The granddaddy of video services, Netflix needs little introduction. It offers a large library of movies and TV shows, from recent releases through classics of Hollywood's Golden Era, for a single monthly fee. Netflix excels at recommending titles based on your ratings of what you've previously watched, and lets you manage your watchlist from their website.

Amazon Instant Video - Amazon Instant Video offers a mix of payment options for their streaming video service, which serves up both movies and TV shows. Amazon Prime subscribers have unlimited access to thousands of videos as part of their Amazon Prime $79 annual membership(which also includes free shipping on much of Amazon's physical merchandise), and can rent or purchase thousands more. Non-subscribers can rent or purchase movies and TV shows from the entire library, including the titles that are free to Prime subscribers.

Hulu Plus - For a monthly fee of $7.99, Hulu Plus offers unlimited streaming of current and classic TV shows and movies. Watch any current season episode of Community, Modern Family, New Girl, and many more popular shows. Users of the free Web-based Hulu service should note that some shows available on "regular Hulu" are not available on Hulu Plus. This is a limitation imposed by studios who will allow their programs to be seen on a computer screen but not over a connected TV.

VUDU - Walmart-owned VUDU has a pay-as-you-go model, charging you to rent or purchase each video. Rental prices start at $2 for two nights.

Redbox Instant by Verizon - Redbox Instant offers subscribers access to over 5,500 streaming movies on the Roku, plus four one-night video rentals from Redbox vending machines. Users can also rent or purchase many movies that are not currently available for free streaming.

Blockbuster on Demand - Another pay-per-view service, Blockbuster offers movies rentals at an average price of about $4 to $5. Rentals are good for 24 hours after viewing begins.

Target Ticket - This pay per view service offers movies and TV shows for purchase or rental with no monthly fee. Many new releases are available only for purchase, with most prices ranging from $12.99 to $14.99. Most movies available for rent are $3.99 or $4.99. TV shows are generally available to purchase at $1.99 (SD) or $2.99 (HD) per episode, although many popular shows are available only in season packages. New subscribers can get 10 free movies through February 22, 2014. However, the free movies are in SD only, and are limited to pre-selected titles.

Other Movies & TV Channels

That leaves around 170 additional Movie & TV channels on the Roku. Those include channels from TV networks like Disney and A&E, indie films, classic films (usually public domain films from the 1920s through the 1950s), and niche (or special interest) films. These subcategories deserve their own treatment, so we'll be looking at these channels in other installments to this series on Roku Movies & TV channels.