Roku Chanel logo

The Roku home screen is made up of various “channels” for services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more. One of those channels is The Roku Channel and it’s easy to overlook. You might want to check it out, though.

In simple terms, The Roku Channel is exactly what the name implies—it’s Roku’s own streaming channel. So what does that actually mean, and why should you care about it? Let’s take a look.

Roku’s Streaming Service

Roku Channel

As we’ve established, The Roku Channel is the company’s very own streaming channel. Except it’s not just a channel on the Roku, it’s actually a full-blown streaming service. Think of it like Roku’s version of Netflix.

The Roku Channel is comprised of a few main sections—Roku Originals, Live TV, and Premium. Like many other streaming services, Roku produces its own content. It has a number of completely new TV shows and it has continued some that were previously canceled by other networks.

Roku Channel Live TV

The Live TV section is a similar concept to Pluto TV. It’s an aggregator of OTA broadcast channels and content from around the web, presented in a linear TV format. There’s even a traditional channel guide like you would expect to see on cable.

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Premium Channels All in One Place

Roku Channel Premium content.

The Premium section is where things get interesting. This is where you’ll find content from other paid streaming services, such as Starz, HBO, AMC+, Discovery+, and more. The cool thing is you can subscribe to them from The Roku Channel and have just one bill for whatever you decide to subscribe to.

Most of these services also have their own dedicated channels in the Roku Channel Store as well. If you already pay for one of those services and you’re familiar with its TV app, you may opt to go that route. However, it’s very convenient to have them all in The Roku Channel. It saves you from constantly jumping between apps.

Is The Roku Channel Free?

The majority of the content on The Roku Channel is completely free. All you need is the same thing you need to use a Roku device—a Roku account.

The trade-off is there are some ads in some of the content. Other than that, the Roku Originals and anything outside of the Premium section is free to watch. Content that requires a subscription is labeled with a dollar sign.

How to Watch The Roku Channel

Roku Channel on the home screen.

The easiest way to watch The Roku Channel is simply right on your Roku device. It’s one of the channels that comes pre-installed when you set up a new Roku. You can find it right on the home screen. However, you don’t actually need a Roku device to access The Roku Channel.

The Roku Channel is also available on mobile devices through the Roku Remote app—which is actually much more than just a remote—for iPhone, iPad, and Android. There’s a dedicated tab for The Roku Channel and your watch history syncs between devices.

The Roku app.

Unfortunately, there’s no Google Cast feature and you won’t find The Roku Channel on Android TV/Google TV, Fire TV, or Apple TV due to the nature of competition. You can, however, watch The Roku Channel in a web browser from the website.

That’s the story on The Roku Channel. Every media company seems to have its own streaming service these days and Roku is no different. They make the device and some of the content you can watch on it. If you have a Roku, it’s certainly worth checking out The Roku Channel. It’s one of the many benefits of using a Roku instead of another streaming device.

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Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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