Roku Channels: Best channels, what's free, what's paid, and how to watch
Roku TVs and Roku devices give you the ability to stream a variety of content from your favorite apps all in one place. Specifically, Roku provides users with access to more than 3,000 channels, which is more than nearly every competitor. With that in mind, we've created this guide covering everything you need to know about Roku Channels.
Stream it now
Plug in and stream
The Roku Express device makes it super easy to stream your favorite online media on your television right now. Simply connect your dongle and use the remote to explore channels and navigate apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Roku Channels: What are the best channels?
The number and variety of Roku Channels currently available can be overwhelming. Thankfully, we've rounded up a list of the best channels available right now on Roku devices. This list includes both free Roku Channels, as well as a handful you'll need to have a separate subscription for in order to use.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video gives you instant access to a changing selection of hit movies, Prime Originals, and more. Series currently available on the platform include The Boys, The Expanse, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Good Omens. The service costs $8.99 per month on its own, but it is included with an Amazon Prime subscription.
Crunchyroll is a must-add channel for fans of anime and costs just $6.66 per month. In addition to new shows like Dr. Stone and Tower of God, the platform carries fam-favorite series including One Piece, Naruto Shippuden, and My Hero Academia.
Disney Plus is the digital hub for all things Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and more. For just $8 per month, subscribers have access to new and classic Disney films, as well as Disney Channel Originals like Hannah Montana and the High School Musical franchise. You'll also find a bunch of new series and nature documentaries from National Geographic.
The premier app for sports, ESPN provides viewers with access to thousands of live sports events and shows, as well as game highlights, live scores, and more. You'll also have the option to subscribe to ESPN+ for $5.99 per month, which grants access to even more live coverage, ESPN+ originals, and the entire collection of 30 for 30 documentaries.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu provides access to a ton of movies, new episodes of series currently airing on other networks brand-new Hulu Originals like Pen15 and The Handmaid's Tale. Roku also now allows you to upgrade to the Hulu + Live TV tier for $64.99 per month, which gives you access to 50+ Live and On-Demand channels on top of the streaming library.
PBS and PBS Kids
The PBS and PBS Kids channels offer a ton of content for the whole family, for free. PBS Video features thousands of full-length episodes, award-winning documentaries, and series from PBS and member station. Meanwhile, PBS Kids provides 24/7 access to fan-favorite programming like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street, as well as live-streaming of programs on your local PBS station.
Peacock's ad-supported free tier offers a variety of new and classic film and TV series, as well as Peacock Originals like Punky Brewster and Saved by the Bell. You'll also find new episodes of several current NBC shows, including Saturday Night Live and Young Rock. Peacock's ad-supported Premium plan costs $4.99 per month. In contrast, the ad-free Premium Plus tier costs $9.99 per month and gives you access to an even larger media library, as well as the entire catalog of NBC favorite The Office.
Pluto TV gives viewers access to more than 250 live channels and thousands of movies on-demand for free. Pluto TV also offers access to a variety of live sports coverage, including college baseball, basketball, and football, as well as FOX Sports and PGA Golf.
The Roku Channel
The Roku channel offers an ever-changing selection of on-demand movies and TV shows, as well as a variety of popular kids' programming at no extra cost. The channel also provides 24/7 live news in the United States and Canada.
Tubi is the largest free streaming service and features a variety of award-winning movies and TV series. In addition to featuring the best in comedy, drama, and kids content, Tubi also features an impressive selection of Korean dramas, anime, and British series.
Roku Channels: Which channels are free?
Every Roku device comes with a lineup of channels that don't require a subscription or any additional fees. Here's a round-up of some of the best channels you can add to your Roku home page and enjoy for free right now.
- The Roku Channel
- Adult Swim
- America's Test Kitchen
- The Bob Ross Channel
- CBS Sports
- The CW
- FilmRise Sci-Fi
- FilmRise True Crime
- Kidoodle TV
- PBS Kids
- Pluto TV
- Red Bull TV
It's safe to say that most of the free apps and channels offered by Roku will feature some amount of ad support. If that's not something you can deal with, you may want to stick to the ad-free, subscription-based options.
Roku Channels: Which channels do you pay for?
Roku also offers a long list of apps and channels that you can pay for through Roku. While these apps are free to download on Roku, they require either a subscription or an existing cable or satellite subscription that includes the service. Here's a roundup of some of the most downloaded channels on Roku that you'll need to pay for.
- A&E Crime Central
- Amazon Prime Video
- Apple TV
- AT&T TV NOW
- DAZN Live Sports
- The First TV
- FOX Sports
- FOX Sports Go
- Frndly TV
- The Great Courses Plus
- HGTV Go
- HBO Max
- Hulu + Live TV
- Investigation Discovery Go
- Marquee Sports Network
- MyOutdoor TV
- NBC Sports
- NCAA March Madness
- NFHS Network
- Sling TV
- Tennis Channel
- Watch TVG
- YES Network
- YouTube TV
It's worth pointing out that Roku also allows you to bundle a handful of channels together via the popular Disney Bundle. That package includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for $13.99 per month. Roku users can also choose to upgrade to Hulu + Live TV as part of The Disney Bundle, which includes several live channels and acts as a competitive cable replacement.
Roku Channels: How do you watch them?
In order to watch content via Roku Channels, you'll first need to download your preferred channels to your account. When you connect your Roku device for the very first time, you'll be asked which channels you already subscribe to or want to feature on your homepage. If you want to add channels at another time, these are the simple steps you need to take.
- Press the Home button on your Roku remote.
- Scroll up or down and select Streaming Channels.
- Select Search Channels and enter the channel or app you're looking for.
- Highlight the channel you want to add and press OK.
- Select Add channel.
Once you've downloaded your selected channels, they will be displayed on your Roku Home page. You can choose to delete channels you've added at any time, and if updates are available, they should start automatically each time you connect your Roku device.
If everything is up to date, all you need to do next is select the channel or app you want, login, and start streaming.
The best Roku device
The Roku box
The Roku Ultra streaming box offers high-end performance with extra features that will enhance your media viewing experience. Plug it in, add your channels and get to streaming.
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Keegan Prosser is a freelance contributor based in the PNW. When she's not writing about her favorite streaming apps and devices for Android Central, she's listening to a true-crime podcast, creating the perfect playlist for her next road trip, and trying to figure out which fitness tracker she should try next. You can follow her on Twitter @keeganprosser.