How to Purchase Roku Channels

January 30, 2011 - 20:35 -- RokuGuide

Roku recently introduced the ability to purchase channels and apps directly from your Roku player. Unfortunately, Roku provides no on-screen instructions, only a "buy" option. When I attempted to buy a game app, I got a notice that the "operation is not supported at this time". Not very helpful! Roku is hopefully working on a more-informative notice, but in the meantime here are instructions on how to set up your account to allow on-screen purchases directly from your Roku digital video player.

Previously, to make a purchase you had to add the channel to your lineup in the Channel Store, select the channel for viewing, then go to the channel developer's website to purchase the channel and enter the activation code shown on your television. Not very user friendly! Several channels now allow for onscreen purchase, which simplifies that process.

First, though, you will have to set up a payment method using your computer. You can do this by logging into your account on the Roku website. You created an account when you registered your Roku player, but don't worry if you don't remember your login information - you can retrieve your password or create a new account.

If you log into an existing account, select "Payment Information" after logging into your account. If yo are creating a new account, you will be required to set up your payment method. You can set up your account to have purchases billed to MasterCard, AmEx, Visa, Discover, or PayPal. At this time, you can also select a four-digit PIN that must be entered to make a purchase. The PIN is optional, but a good idea if you want to prevent friends or family from making a purchase without your knowledge.

That's it! Now you can purchase channels and apps directly from the comfort of your living room, no computer required. Pay attention when purchasing, though: some channels are subscriptions that automatically bill to your account on a recurring basis. However, these are clearly marked as a subscription.

Not all channels have switched over to the on-screen payment system, but expect to see more pay-for-play offerings now that Roku has enhanced the payment process.