It’s absolutely undeniable: some of the biggest names in the streaming world belong to on-demand services Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, amongst cord-cutters like us, there is a growing interest in live TV streaming. If you’re wondering how to watch live TV without a cable subscription, you’ve come to the right place! And since the Roku streaming device is one of the most popular, we decided to put together a guide on how to watch live TV specifically on Roku.
If you’re a cord-cutter wondering how to watch Roku live TV, there are lots of different options. In the guide below, we’ve broken things down into sections to make finding the right information a little easier.
Free live TV on the Roku Channel
Every Roku device comes with automatic access to 100+ live TV channels. The lineup includes weather, news, sports, entertainment and more, but be warned, these channels aren’t the top networks like ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.
If you want those top channels and their local offerings, you’ll need to add an HD antenna. Simply connect an HDTV antenna to your Roku TV and follow the on-screen step-by-step setup to start watching local channels for free.
Use Hulu with Live TV to stream live TV on Roku
Hulu with Live TV is a great way to get live channels on Roku devices. The service costs $54.99/mo., and offers over 65 live channels with offerings in sports, entertainment, family networks, news and more. And as if live TV wasn’t enough, Hulu includes access to its on-demand streaming library to every account holder.
This service works seamlessly on Roku (and most other devices), and offers a ton of value at a fair price. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, this might be it. See our Hulu review for details. Or, get started with a free 7-day Hulu + Live TV trial.
Watch Roku live TV on the cheap with Philo
Philo is a live streaming service with a slick Roku app. One of the biggest selling points of this service is its low price point. For only $20/mo., you can subscribe to Philo and get more than 58 channels to stream LIVE.
Philo includes many popular networks, such as HGTV, AMC, Comedy Central, Animal Planet and more. It does not, however, offer any sports channels (which is why it’s so cheap). You can, however, record up to 30 of shows with DVR and watch on up to three screens at once. Want to try it out? Click here to start your free 7 day trial.
Live stream on Roku via AT&T TV NOW
Formerly known as DIRECTV NOW, AT&T TV NOW provides a great way to stream live TV shows on Roku. The service offers 65+ channels for $55/mo., with no contract or commitment required. Besides Roku, the service works on most other streaming devices, as well as mobile devices and computers.
Key channels on this service include ESPN, TBS, FOX News, CNN, TNT, Disney Channel, and much more. Depending on where you live, you may also get local channels from FOX, CBS, NBC, and regional sports networks. New subscribers also get a 30-day free trial of HBO Max on top of their plan’s channel offerings.
There’s a TON to watch on this service, and most channels are available for live streaming and on-demand streaming. AT&T TV NOW Cloud DVR capacity is pretty sweet— 500 hours of storage— but recordings do expire after 90 days.The At&T TV Roku app is available directly in the Roku store.
Pro tip: For more info about AT&T TV NOW check out our full review.
Use Sling TV to watch live TV on Roku
For everyone looking to keep an eye on their finances, Sling TV is a popular, budget-friendly way to watch live TV. Prices start at $30/mo., and you can pay for packages month-by-month, so you’re never tied down to an annual contract.
Sling TV offers a couple different plans, with key channels offered including ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, CNN, AMC, and many more. All of these channels are available nationwide for live streaming, and select content is also available on-demand. You can also go for a larger package, plus channel add-ons, for up to 100+ channels in total.
Pro tip: For a better idea of the Sling TV channel offerings, browse our comprehensive channel list. Or, to learn more about the service as a whole, check out our full Sling TV review.If you’re interested in Sling but aren’t 100% sold, don’t sweat it— try it out for free for three days instead. Sling TV also runs some promotions, including great deals on new streaming devices when you prepay for a few months in advance.
How to watch live sports on Roku
For you sports fans out there – whether your game is basketball, baseball, hockey, football, soccer, tennis or all of the above – the methods listed below are the best ways to stream live sports on Roku devices. Keep in mind that all the services we’ve already discussed also offer sports.
fuboTV on Roku
If you’re looking for a great way to watch live sports—especially international sports— on Roku, fuboTV has you covered. The service costs $54.99/mo., with no contract required. fuboTV offers a free trial for new customers, so you can try it out risk-free.
fubo is an ideal way to watch soccer online, because it offers many channels like BeIN Sports, FOX Soccer Plus, Univision, GOLTV, El Rey Network, and more. But the service doesn’t stop with soccer—networks like FS1, FS2, NBCSN, CBSSN, NBA TV, and more ensure that there’s always TONS to watch on the service.
Recently, the service announced that it will be adding the ESPN suite to its channel lineup, filling what was the service’s biggest content gap in terms of sports coverage.
There’s also a selection of non-sports channels, like FX, FOX news, USA and soon, Disney Channel and ABC. Even some Roku local channels are included! There are more than 100 channels in total—check to see if your favorites are available with the fuboTV channel list.
ESPN+ on Roku
Use the ESPN app to login to your ESPN+ account to start watching select ESPN broadcasts from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, SEC Network and more.
It’s important to make one thing clear: ESPN+ is not a substitute for the ESPN cable network. The app is a lite version of the network giant, so you won’t get access to all the live games you otherwise would with a full cable subscription. If this is a turn-off to ESPN+, you can use the same ESPN Roku app to login to an ESPN cable subscription for a wider range of content.
The upside to ESPN+ is that it’s just $4.99/mo. And is a great option if you love 30 for 30 episodes, expert commentary and analysis, player stats and game archives. Pro tip: To really understand what ESPN+ has to offer, read our full review of the service.
NFL Sunday Ticket on Roku (for DIRECTV subscribers)
If you’re a DIRECTV subscriber, you may be able to get the NFL Sunday Ticket Roku app. This will give you access to live out-of-market Sunday NFL games. But again, you’ll need to be a DIRECTV subscriber. AT&T TV NOW, the live TV streaming service, does not include Sunday Ticket—only subscribers to DIRECTV’s traditional satellite service will be eligible for live streaming on Roku with this app.
League sports packages on Roku
Most major sporting leagues, including the NHL, MLB, and NBA offer their own subscription packages offering live streaming of select games. There’s NHL.TVTM, MLB.TV, and NBA League Pass, all of which are offered as standalone services, so no cable subscription is needed. Prices vary depending on the service, but each subscription will run you anywhere from $4.99 to $59.99.
Hulu, Sling TV & AT&T TV NOW offer live sports on Roku
As described in their respective previous sections, each of the major live streaming services, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW all offer a lot of live sports content. All of these services now work on Roku, and all three services include the ESPN family of networks, and offer FS1, FOX Sports Regionals, NBCSN, and even NBC/Comcast Sportsnet regionals in various packages.
How to watch live news on Roku
If you’re someone who likes to stay in the know about current events, you’ll want to know how to watch national and local news on Roku. There are a couple different ways to go about it, from free to paid subscriptions.
Newsy on Roku
Newsy is a live streaming service providing 24/7 news coverage, and they offer a Roku app. With the app, you can browse stories by category or search through the story archive, so you can customize your watching experience. It’s a completely free service (yes, really), so there’s no need to sign up for anything—just download the app and start watching!
NewsOn on Roku
NewsOn, a news-based Roku app, lets you live stream content from 200+ local news channels, for free! It does not require a cable login, but most of the channels are lower-tier news organizations. However, the biggest plus here is that in most locations, you can get your local news affiliate.
CNNGo on Roku
If you still have a cable subscription, you should be able to use your login credentials to access the CNNGo Roku app. This live streaming on Roku app provides 24/7 live coverage of CNN’s news broadcasts.
Hulu, Philo, Sling TV & AT&T TV NOW on Roku
If you subscribe to one of the live streaming services we’ve already discussed, you’ll get plenty of live news. Channels like CNN, FOX News, BBC America, etc. are included. Some packages offer live local channels in select locations, so check availability to see if this is an option to watch local news on Roku.
How to watch Premium Channels live on Roku
Two of the most popular premium entertainment streaming services are HBO and Showtime. These services are offered on their own, or as add-ons to select streaming services. It’s another option for live streaming on Roku.
Watch HBO on Roku with HBO NOW
The HBO NOW app offers HBO content through a standalone service, which costs $14.99/mo. and is available without a cable subscription. Though HBO NOW is not a true live stream, new episodes are added the same time they air on cable, so tomato, to-mah-to. Catch HBO Originals like Game of Thrones, Insecure, Big Little Lies and Euphoria with your subscription.Both Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV offer HBO as a $14.99/mo. add-on if you want to consolidate services. With AT&T TV NOW, you can add HBO Max for $14.99/mo., or get HBO Max automatically with your subscription when you choose the MAX AT&T TV NOW package.
Watch Showtime on Roku with Showtime’s app
Showtime offers a standalone Roku channel for $10.99.mo., that offers a live stream of the Showtime content that is currently airing like Billions, Homeland and Dexter, or watch episodes whenever you want on-demand. Showtime is also available as an add-on to many of the best streaming services.
Our hot take
This is quite a bit of information, we know, but that’s because there are lots of different ways to watch live TV on Roku—which is good news! If you’re looking for the simplest, most affordable all-around option that gives you a little bit of everything, our suggestion is Hulu with Live TV. A Hulu subscription will give you 65+ channels to enjoy live, plus a huge on-demand library, for just $54.99/mo. The only big compromise with Hulu is its standard DVR is average compared to services like AT&T TV NOW and fuboTV. Other than that, Hulu + Live TV is a great choice. If you’re not convinced, use the Hulu +Live TV free 7-day trial.
If Hulu doesn’t quite fit your needs, the other live TV services we discussed all offer different benefits depending on what you want from your live TV experience.