Roku devices are ideal for streaming everything from live sports and news coverage to long-forgotten movies and viral videos. It doesn’t matter whether you choose the cheapest model or the most expensive; you’ll get the same selection of apps and channels either way.
But what exactly are the compatible streaming services that work with a Roku box or streaming stick? Brace yourself, for the list is long.
Roku gives you access to so many streaming options; it’s almost impossible to count. There’s a channel for you and everyone in your household, from cable-like live TV to niche offerings. Here are the various streaming services you can expect to enjoy with any Roku device.
Live TV on Roku
All the major live TV services can be accessed via any Roku device. Together, they offer everything traditional cable does. If you want to watch more than 30,000 sports events live, try fuboTV. If you don’t want to pay extra for premium networks like HBO and Cinemax, there’s AT&T TV. Hulu, meanwhile, combines live TV with a highly-rated, on-demand catalog. Packages for all of these start from around $55/mo.
Philo and Sling TV, however, are more competitively priced options. Expect to pay around $20 or $30/mo. YouTube TV offers unlimited DVR storage so you can record shows and movies to your heart’s content. And don’t forget Redbox on Roku — it’s an entirely free way to watch the likes of TMZ. Even Spectrum TV and Xfinity subscribers can get in on the fun. Roku houses special apps for each platform.
When it comes to on-demand streaming options, Roku has plenty to offer. Big names like Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Netflix are all available on Roku. All feature exclusive films and TV shows. For more family-friendly titles and British-made series, try Disney+ or BritBox, respectively. You can even rent or buy blockbusters from the likes of Google Play and Vudu on Roku. Subscription service prices tend to range from $4.99/mo. to $15.99/mo.
Free Roku apps
If you don’t want to spend a single dollar, you can still watch hours upon hours of TV gold. All Roku devices feature several free TV apps. With these apps, you can enjoy full-length films from Popcornflix, viral content from YouTube or live news and sports from Roku’s very own channel.
A few free services offer some extra special features. Crackle is the place to go for free original content. (Unfortunately, Facebook Watch’s original shows aren’t available via Roku.) Tubi has one of the biggest free libraries with around 20,000 titles such as Kill Bill, Megamind and Inferno starring Tom Hanks. Kanopy and Hoopla both offer library card-holders the chance to watch classic and recent releases, read books from hit authors and listen to the world’s most popular albums. And if anime is your thing, head to Crunchyroll. It’s got all the latest from Japan’s animation scene.
Sports on Roku
National live sports coverage tends to be found on major live streaming services like AT&T TV Now, fuboTV and YouTube TV. Another all-rounder option is the ESPN channel. To access all the live events and exclusive shows ESPN offers, you’ll have to subscribe to ESPN+ for $5/mo.
But if you’re a huge fan of a specific sport, you’re in luck. There are MLB and NBA apps on Roku, where you can watch live games, highlights and replays and stay up-to-date with team stats. Football fans will be pleased to hear the NFL has a streaming app too. (Note that some content is free and some coverage will require a fee.)
Music streaming services for Roku
If you want to create the ultimate playlist, you’ll need Spotify on Roku. Listen to individual songs and albums across every genre in the music world and enjoy your tunes, both offline and ad-free, for just $9.99/mo. If a decent radio channel is what you’re after, Pandora can help. Simply tell the app the kind of music and singers you’re into, and it will devise a channel that’ll keep you happy all day long. VEVO, meanwhile, is ideal for checking out the latest music videos.
As well as sports channels, there are plenty of premium and specialist networks to browse on your Roku device. HBO, Showtime and Starz all have standalone apps that, for a small monthly fee, let you watch both live broadcasts and previously aired content. So whether you want to watch Homeland from the very beginning or catch the latest episode of Insecure, you can. More of a CBS viewer? Watch everything the channel has to offer and access an on-demand library of more than 2,000 titles via CBS All Access. Prices for these networks tend to range from $5.99/mo. to $14.99/mo.
Newshounds can stay on top of global goings-on with the Sky News app, and kids can stay entertained all day long with the Disney Channel. PBS also has a kids’ app that plays the likes of Sesame Street and Curious George. Adults can use the standard PBS app to watch Antiques Roadshow, Frontline and more. And if you want extended access to PBS streams, sign up for PBS Passport via your local station.
There are a bunch of Roku channels that don’t fall into a specific category. Take Twitch. The best way to watch your favorite gamers do their thing, it’s a haven for video game fanatics. Roku also has lots of home and cooking channels — try America’s Test Kitchen for easy recipes and expert tips.
Then there’s Plex: an app that’ll add an artistic touch to your own photos, music, movies and shows. Expect a beautifully organized collection complete with artwork, theme tunes and more. (Kodi is another well-known name for playing your own content. Unfortunately, it’s not available on Roku, but you can screen mirror Kodi from another player to a Roku device.)
Roku devices — no matter which one you buy — offer everything you’ll ever need. If you’re a movie fan, you’ll be taken care of. If you can’t miss a live game, Roku is compatible with plenty of sports streaming services too. And if you want to combine your love of music with an insightful documentary, you can without paying a single thing. Ultimately, there’s an app for just about every streaming need. What more could you ask for?