The Roku Channel is a free, ad-supported, streaming video service from Roku, Inc. that is available on Roku and other devices. The Roku Channel currently includes over 10,000 movies, TV shows, and sports, news and other videos, along with 35 linear ("live") video streams. Also availalbe are subscriptions to many popular premium streaming videos services, which can be accessed through The Roku Channel.
What's Available on The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel spans a wide variety of content, from live news streams and hit movies, to classic TV shows and YouTube videos. Content can be broken down into Linear Streams ("Live" TV), On Demand, and Premium Subscriptions.
Linear Streams (Live)
The Roku Channel currently carries 35 linear streams, similar to traditional "live" TV broadcasts, including the following:
- News - Continuous news coverage from several providers, including ABC News, WeatherNation (also available as a standalone Roku channel), Newsy, NewsMaxTV, USA Today, TYT, Yahoo News & Finance, and Cheddar News
- Sports - Eight streams, including Stadium, Fubo Sports Network, and Outside TV
- Entertainment News Three streams, including TMZ and People TV, covering celebrities and the entertainment industry
- Reality - Seven streams of "reality" programming, including FailArmy, TasteMade, and American's Funniest Videos (AFV); these streams consist of short YouTube-style videos, rather than the reality TV shows like "Big Brother" or "Flip or Flop"
- Entertainment - Seven streams of movies and TV shows, including FilmRise Movies and FilmRise Classic TV.
Because these are linear streams, you have no choice over what to watch within any of them. None of the linear streams identify the current content and there is no schedule of upcoming programming. As with basic over-the-air TV without DVR, these streams offer no rewind and no pausing or skipping of content. However, they make for good couch potato viewing when you don't want to sift through hundreds or thousands of VOD choices, trying to decide what to watch.
In August 2019, Roku added the Kids & Family video library to the On Demand offerings on The Roku Channel. Roku's announcement describes Kids & Family as bringing "a combination of TV shows, movies, live linear, and short-form video together to watch for free in a single place. In addition to the thousands of free, ad-supported options." There are currently 21 video collections available, including "G.I. Joe Renegades," "Pokémon, "Transformers," "The Cat in the Hat," and "My Little Pony."
Remaining on-demand content is grouped by traditional genres and descriptive categories that include Nature, Suspense, TV, Family Night, Adventure, Documentaries, Sci-Fi, Historical Dramas, and so on. Content is updated monthly, so be sure to check out the "New This Month" category at the top of the channel's home screen.
In addition to all of the free content, you can also subscribe to premium channels and access those channels from within The Roku Channel. Inspired by competitor Amazon's Prime Video Channels, The Roku Channel currently offers the ability to subscribe to 48 premium streaming services, including HBO, STARZ, Showtime, Cinemax, Epix, Acorn TV, and Lifetime Movie Club.
How to Get The Roku Channel
Add The Roku Channel to your Roku device or Roku TV through the Roku website or directly from your Roku device.
To add the channel through the Roku website:
- Go to channelstore.roku.com/details/151908/the-roku-channel.
- Log into your Roku account if you are not already logged in.
- Click the + Add channel button.
- After adding the channel through the website, you will find it on the Roku device's home screen at the bottom of the list of My Channels.
To add The Roku Channel from your Roku device:
- From the Roku's home screen, select Streaming Channels >> Search Channels >> and enter The Roku Channel.
- Select The Roku Channel from the search results, press the OK button on your Roku remote, and select Add Channel.
- You will then find The Roku Channel on the Roku device's home screen at the bottom of the list of My Channels.
If the channel is not available on the Roku website when you are logged into your account, or if it doesn't appear in search results on your Roku device, it means that The Roku Channel is not available on your device (The Roku Channel is only available on current generation Roku devices) or is not available in your geographic region.
If you need additional help in adding The Roku Channel to your Roku device or Roku TV, or for instructions on accessing The Roku Channel on other devices, please visit this article from Roku Support.
-- Information is current as of October 3, 2019
Developer's Channel Description: 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.
CHANNEL STORE CATEGORY: Movies & TV
FEES: None for ad-supported content; fees vary for optional premium subscriptions