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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

What Is The Roku Channel? Roku's Streaming Service Explained

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Did you know that Roku has a streaming service? Well, now you do. Since 2017, Roku has had its streaming service competing with other juggernauts like Disney Plus, Netflix, and HBO Max. It's also one of the best places to watch free movies.

While not as big as the streaming services just listed, Roku does have a decent serving of content lately. In fact, Roku is where you're able to watch Weird: The Al Yankovic Story as of November 4th. (In case you missed it, see our review of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, where we called it a hilarious parody of the music biopic genre). Now, let’s dive right into what The Roku Channel is and the type of shows and movies that it offers.

What Is The Roku Channel?

The Roku Channel is a streaming service that launched back in 2017 in the USA before launching in the UK and Mexico in 2020 and 2022, respectively. The Roku Channel was originally available exclusively on Roku devices, though the company would soon open the service to other devices in 2018 starting with support on web browsers and some smart TVs made by Samsung. Roku is one of the streaming media devices you've likely heard of, with other example devices being Apple TV and Chromecast.

What Type of Content Is On The Roku Channel?

TL;DR: Both Originals and Live TV.

The Roku Channel has its own original content, most notably back in January 2021 when Roku acquired the original content library for Quibi, a short-lived mobile video service platform. The service also includes access to Live TV and an influx of content from licensing deals made with studios like MGM, Paramount, and Sony Pictures. You can browse movies and shows that are currently streaming on all Roku devices here.

Roku Originals

Some main categories include:

  • Food and Home
  • Comedies
  • Drama
  • Crime and Thrillers

What Original Shows Are Free To Watch?

According to Roku's website, these are the free titles available to watch for free since launch:

  • About Face
  • Bad Ideas With Adam Devine
  • Barkitecture
  • Big Rad Wolf
  • Blackballed
  • Centerpiece
  • Chrissy's Court
  • Cup Of Joe
  • Die Hart
  • Dishmantled
  • Dummy
  • Fight Like A Girl
  • Flipped
  • Gayme Show
  • Iron Sharpens Iron
  • Last Looks
  • Let's Roll With Tony Greenhand
  • Most Dangerous Game
  • Murder House Flip
  • Murder Unboxed
  • Nightgowns
  • Prodigy
  • Punk'd
  • Reno 911!
  • Royalties
  • Shape Of Pasta
  • Thanks A Million
  • The Fugitive
  • You Ain’t Got These

Live TV Channels

There are over 300 TV channels within The Roku Channel. Here are the channel types (with a full list and major networks listed out here):

  1. News
  2. Sports
  3. Movies
  4. Sci-Fi/Anime
  5. Game Shows
  6. Music
  7. Kids & Family
  8. Lifestyle
  9. Travel & Nature
  10. Comedy
  11. Crime
  12. Spanish Language

There are several interesting titles available to stream, but the selection is always changing. From documentaries (Slugfest: DC vs Marvel) to cooking shows like Martha Cooks; to kids' tv shorts (like Minecraft Tutorials: Survive & Thrive); the variety of content on Roku may really surprise you.

What Platforms Is The Roku Channel Available On?

You can watch content available on The Roku Channel from an internet browser like Google Chrome. Additionally, the service is available on any Roku streaming device, Samsung Smart TVs, some Amazon Fire TV devices, in addition to iOS and Android devices. A desktop app for The Roku Channel is also available.


  • Roku TVs
  • Samsung TVs (Note: "Premium Subscriptions not available on Samsung Smart TVs" as noted on Roku.com)
  • Amazon Fire TVs

Streaming Players

  • Roku Players
  • Amazon Fire TV Devices

Roku Mobile App

  • Android
  • iOS


  • TheRokuChannel.com

How Much Does The Roku Channel Subscription Cost?

Unlike most streaming services, The Roku Channel is free.

The only caveat is that it has ads. You would pay if you have subscriptions for services like Apple TV Plus, which allow you to watch content on those platforms through The Roku Channel if you prefer.

Some of the Premium Subcriptions listed on The Roku Channel's official site include:

  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • AMC+
  • EPIX
  • BET+

ALSO SEE: The latest news from State of Streaming.

Taylor is the Associate Tech Editor at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.

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