One of the things that makes Roku such a popular streaming option is that you have so many apps to choose from in one setting. It truly allows you to cut the cord because it offers so many great options. From TV Everywhere apps to Sling TV, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, Roku has something for every person in your home. While some do require cable (or PS Vue) authentication, there are many free Roku channels that are worth watching. All in all, there are around 3,000 channels being offered.
As you might guess, this means they won’t all be the best Roku channels. So, how do you separate the top Roku channels from the ones that suck? Well, barring some obvious choices, there are tons of lists out there that will tell you about the top Roku channels or even the top free Roku channels. This list is going to focus on the 15 best Roku channels. Some of the Roku channels will be free and others won’t. So, keep reading and find some new Roku channels to explore!
Best Roku Channels: Paid
These channels require some sort of subscription, but at the end of the day, they are worth it. Most of them also have a free trial, so you can certainly try them out to determine if they are one of the best Roku channels for you!
With the Roku app, you not only have access to Amazon PrimeAmazon Prime, you also can access Amazon Channels, and you can buy or rent movies straight from your app to begin watching immediately. Prime is available for $99 a year. If that’s too steep or you just want the Video portion of Prime, you can get it for $9/month. Amazon Channels, such as HBO, Starz, Showtime, and dozens of other options can be added for a monthly fee. You get a 30-day trial to try out Amazon PrimeYou get a 30-day trial to try out Amazon Prime, so it’s certainly worth trying. It’s one of the best Roku channels thanks to the sheer volume of content that is available to you. Not only do you have everything Prime has to offer, you get the option of rentals and Amazon Channels to create an endless amount of entertainment!
Once upon a time, Netflix was subscribed to for the sheer amount of content. While they still offer more than anyone could possibly watch on their own, it’s the original content that keeps people around. House of Cards, Black Mirror, Orange is the New Black, and Jessica Jones are reasons to try Netflix if you haven’t. It’s also a great way to find older shows or even cable shows that you haven’t been able to watch. Best of all, it’s cheap – starting at $8/month and you get up to 5 profiles so you don’t have to share with anyone!
3. HBO NOW
HBO NOW is the standalone way to watch HBO without cable. The goal is to give you everything that the cable users receive with HBO GO and they have succeeded. You have all the HBO Originals from Game of Thrones to Divorce. Every episode that has aired is available. You also receive HBO documentaries and hundreds of movies. It’s $15/month. One thing to consider though, is that Amazon Channels offer HBO for the same price, which means you could have two apps available in one package!
You may sign up to Hulu because it’s the only on-demand service that offers new local and network TV episodes. It’s pretty awesome being able to watch This Is Us, Lucifer, and Chicago Fire the day after they air with limited (or no) commercial breaks. Hulu only costs $8/month with commercials, so it’s not that expensive either. The Original content alone makes it worth subscribing to. The Handmaid’s Tale, The Path, and several new shows are binge-worthy, addictive, and you can’t find them anywhere else!
CBS All Access gives you complete access to the CBS library from daytime shows to everything on Primetime. Some shows offer only 5 episodes at a time, but many offer the full season. You also have access to a CBS Classics library, a small selection of films, event shows, and CBS All Access Originals like The Good Fight and the upcoming Star Trek reboot. Many cities will even have live stream access to whatever is airing on CBS. Prices start at $6/month and include a 7-day trial.
6. Sling TV
The cool thing about Sling TV is that it gives you access to some of your favorite elements from cable, but not with that hefty price tag. Sling TV starts at $20/month. You’ll have 30+ channels, an on-demand library, and the ability to add channels to your package as you see fit. AMC, History, A&E, ESPN, and TNT are all included. Packages with more channels are also available. It’s a live stream cable alternative offering the chance to enjoy the best of cable at a price that is certainly better. They even offer a 7-day trial to give the service a chance.
PS Vue has four packages you can choose from. The starter package is $30/month (or $40 with local live streams) and comes with 45 channels. You’ll be able to watch AMC, Syfy, USA, ESPN, FOX News, TNT, Discovery, and many other channels. The guide has the look of cable, which makes transitioning easier. There are mobile restrictions, but those won’t affect you using Roku in your home. Even still, you can login to TV Everywhere apps with your PS Vue info, so you can bypass those restrictions. PS Vue is one of the few services with a cloud-based DVR, so you’ll get to record live TV, too. Premium channels are available as an add-on, which means you’ll need less apps. Oh, and a 5-day trial is available.
Best Roku Channels: Free
Some of the best Roku channels are absolutely free! So, if you’re looking for something good to watch without spending a lot of money you can consider these options.
Perhaps the best of the free Roku channels, Crackle is an ad-supported network that offers original content, along with a mix of movies and TV shows. The Crackle library is smaller than something like Netflix, but there are some solid offerings including Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
If you want to have some background music playing or you’re having a party and need some tunes, Pandora is a good choice. While there is a paid subscription option, there’s also a free service that allows anyone to listen to their favorite music. If you’re new to Pandora you just pick some of the music you like, be it artists or specific songs, and Pandora analyzes your music tastes to create a channel that’s just for you.
10. PBS Kids
This free app is amazing if you have younger children at home. They will be able to watch Dinosaur Train, Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, and many other shows. There are also a few PBS classic shows that are for a bit older kids, like Arthur or The Electric Company. Some Sesame Street episodes are even available!
11. Disney Jr
Speaking of kids, Disney Jr offers episodes and shorts from all of the favorite characters. While a subscription could be necessary for some of it, there are many free episodes and shorts available. If you don’t have cable or pay for any subscription service that would give you access to Disney Jr, this is a great way to sneak it in on the cheap!
News, especially local news can be hard to come by when you’re streaming. NewsON helps to alleviate that by offering more than 170+ local news streams. Not only can you stream all of the newscasts for free in live stream, many of them offer previous newscasts (up to 48 hours old), and news clips. It’s one of the best free Roku apps available where news is concerned.
13. The CW
Hulu used to offer the CW but since then there has been a real lack of ways to keep up with current episodes. Well, now there’s the CW app. Watch current episodes of The Flash, Supergirl, and other CW shows. Episodes are available the day after they air and five are available at a time, so if you miss one the most recent ones will be waiting for you.
If music videos are more your thing, Vevo is the app for you. You’ll be able to watch official music videos in high definition. All your favorite artists, new and old, should be there. You can even sync your Vevo account. There are more than 75,000 music videos from over 20,000 artists. You can make music video playlists or you can watch Vevo.TV.
Roku users know all about the free movie alternative to Netflix, PopcornFlix, but did you know they have a kids version of the app? Well, they do! Popcornflix Kids offers full length movies and TV shows that fit a family audience, are great for kids, and are absolutely free. No strings attached. It’s all legal. Just download the app, sit down with the kids, pick a movie, and enjoy!
Did I miss your favorite Roku app? Do you have a question or suggestion? If so, just leave them in the comments!