The 20 Best Free Roku Channels You Shouldn’t Miss
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There has never been a better time to buy a Roku. Thanks to the new hardware released in October 2017 A Brief Guide to the New Roku Hardware for 2017 A Brief Guide to the New Roku Hardware for 2017 Roku has refreshed its entire lineup for 2017. The problem is it's difficult to keep track of so many different devices. Let us help you with this brief guide to Roku's new hardware. Read More , Roku devices are the fastest, most powerful, and most versatile they have ever been.

Once you set up your Roku device How to Set Up and Use Your Roku Streaming Stick How to Set Up and Use Your Roku Streaming Stick So, you have bought a new Roku Streaming Stick and are wondering what to do next. We're here to help, with the complete guide to setting up your new Roku Streaming Stick. Read More , it’s time to start installing some channels, which are essentially the Roku equivalent of apps.

The channels on Roku are divided into two categories: Public and Private. If you want to install a private channel How to Install Private Roku Channels and Unlock More Content How to Install Private Roku Channels and Unlock More Content The Roku devices have one huge advantage over all other streaming devices: private channels. Read More , you’ll need to enter the unique code on Roku’s online portal. The public channels are available in the Channel Store on your device.

We have previously looked at the best private channels 20 Private Roku Channels You Should Install Right Now 20 Private Roku Channels You Should Install Right Now In this article we explain how to add private channels to your Roku, and recommend 20 of the best that we think you should install immediately. Read More , so now we’re going to focus on the public channels. Here are 20 of the best free Roku channels you really shouldn’t miss.

Note: All the apps listed here are free to install and do not require monthly subscriptions.

Movies and TV

1. The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel is an official release from Roku that lets you watch movies for free The Roku Channel Lets You Watch Movies for Free The Roku Channel Lets You Watch Movies for Free The Roku Channel -- a free channel offering hundreds of popular movies -- has now rolled out to all current-generation Roku devices. Read More .

best free roku channels roku channel

It offers hundreds of Hollywood movies across many categories thanks to content from several major studios, including Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros.

You don’t need an account to watch the content, but be warned that you will have to sit through some ads.

Download: The Roku Channel

2. OVGuide

OVGuide has more than 10,000 free movies. You won’t find the same number of recent releases as on The Roku Channel, but it’s a great place to watch B-movies and classic films How to Watch Timely Classic Movies for Free Online How to Watch Timely Classic Movies for Free Online We make your life easier with a list of some of the best web resources where you can find your favorite timely classics and watch them online for free. Read More .

Again, no registration is required. You just need to install the channel to get started.

Download: OVGuide

3. Pluto TV

Pluto TV is a completely legal way to watch live TV.

best free roku channels pluto tv

The company has partnerships with NBC News, MSNBC, Sky News, and Bloomberg to bring you 24/7 coverage of the world’s current affairs. The channel also offers lots of minor channels, including Crime Network, Funny AF, IGN, Pro Wrestling, and All-Day Anime.

Lastly, you can enjoy a small library of 1,000 on-demand TV shows.

Download: Pluto TV

4. PBS

The PBS channel delivers everything you’d expect, offering thousands of on-demand TV shows.

You’ll find classics like Masterpiece, Frontline, and NOVA, as well as cutting-edge documentaries and even some original web content.

Download: PBS

5. Crackle

Crackle is well-known to cord cutters. It offers free TV, some old movies, and even some original content. The exact shows you can enjoy varies between countries.

best free roku channels crackle

Because Crackle works on multiple platforms (including Android, iOS, Apple TV, PlayStation, and Xbox), your recommendations list and watch history will sync up regardless of which device you’re using.

Download: Crackle

6. The CW

The CW channel is the official Roku app from the American television network of the same name. It’s entirely free to use, so no cable subscription is needed.

It offers the last five episodes of a given series on-demand. Shows are generally available 24 hours after they air on TV.

Download: The CW

7. Popcornflix

Despite the name, Popcornflix is in no way related to the thoroughly illegal Popcorn Time P2P app The Truth About Popcorn Time, And How To Torrent Safely The Truth About Popcorn Time, And How To Torrent Safely Read More . The service is entirely above board.

best free roku channels popcornflix

The app features full-length movies; there are no TV shows included. Movies are organized by common categories, though you’ll occasionally see special categories for holiday seasons and other events.

Download: Popcornflix

News

8. CBS News

If you’re a cord-cutter in need of news 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters One of the biggest drawbacks of canceling cable TV is the availability of news. Or lack thereof. Thankfully, things are changing, and here are now plenty of free news channels for cord-cutters. Read More , you can’t go far wrong with the official CBS app. It offers 24/7 live streaming of its news channel, along with on-demand segments such as CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, Sunday Morning, and Face the Nation.

Download: CBS News

9. Reuters TV

The Reuters app doesn’t offer 24/7 streaming, but it does provide live feeds when there’s significant breaking news.

best free roku channels reuters tv

The app aims to give you a customized news experience, offering a summary of snippets based on your interests. The snippets can be anything between five minutes and 30 minutes long.

Download: Reuters TV

10. NewsON

If you’re more interested in local news than global affairs, this is the channel for you. It offers more than 170 live local news channels from across the United States, and you can watch reruns from the previous 48 hours.

Unlike some other local news apps in the Channel Store, NewsON does not require a cable subscription to operate.

Download: NewsON

Kids

11. Hasbro Studios Free

Hasbro Studios Free is an excellent app for fans of classic cartoons. If you want to entertain your kids or rekindle your own youth, it’s a must-have channel.

best free roku channels newson

You can sit down as a family for evening entertainment with GI Joe, Transformers, and more.

Download: Hasbro Studios Free

12. PBS Kids

The number of shows on PBS Kids isn’t vast, but it’s more than enough to amuse young children for hours.

You’ll find classics such as Sesame Street and Curious George, as well as modern releases like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train, Super Why, and Wild Kratts.

Download: PBS Kids

13. HappyKids.tv

HappyKids.tv is an educational channel primarily aimed at toddlers and infants. It offers music, stories, guides, and games. The material covers topics such as the alphabet, counting, colors, and animal sounds.

best free roku channels happykids tv

If you run out of things to watch, check out its sister channel, HappyKids.tv 2.

Download: HappyKids.tv

Audio

14. TuneIn Radio

Unsurprisingly, the ubiquitous live local radio How to Find the Best Internet Radio Stations How to Find the Best Internet Radio Stations In this article, we explain why you might want to start (or go back to) listening to internet radio, as well as showing you how to find the best internet radio stations for you. Read More app has a Roku channel. It offers more than 100,000 radio stations to all users, covering everything from music and sports to politics and chat shows.

The app is free to download and use, but subscribers can enjoy an additional four million on-demand programs. A subscription costs $7.99/month.

Download: TuneIn Radio

15. Pandora

best free roku channels pandora

Pandora is another well-known audio app. The free tier has some limited features, but it still delivers on the core premise of learning your musical tastes over time and playing tracks you’ll enjoy. It’s perfect for background music at an event.

You can subscribe to Pandora Plus for $4.99/month.

Download: Pandora

16. Vevo

Vevo is a joint venture between Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. You’ve probably seen a countless number of their music videos on YouTube.

The Roku app provides Vevo’s complete catalog of 75,000 songs. You can watch the songs on demand or enjoy a non-stop feed of music from your favorite genres.

Download: Vevo

Gaming

17. Text Twist

We have covered some of the best Roku games 10 Amazing Roku Games You Should Be Playing 10 Amazing Roku Games You Should Be Playing Did you know that the Roku has a surprisingly extensive gaming catalog? Here are the best games you can play on your Roku now! Read More elsewhere on the site, but Text Twist deserves a special shoutout.

best free roku channels text twist

It’s great for family fun. The app gives you either six or seven random letters, and you face a race against time to make as many words as possible before the clock runs out. If you can work out the top answer, you can move onto the next level.

Download: Text Twist

18. Twitch

If watching other people play video games is your thing, you should install the official Twitch app. Some people think Twitch has changed gaming forever How Twitch and Streaming Have Changed Video Games for Good How Twitch and Streaming Have Changed Video Games for Good Video game streaming on Twitch and the upcoming Microsoft Mixer service is a wildly popular activity. But could this affect gaming as we know it and shape a new generation of gamers? Read More .

Like the smartphone app, you can use it to follow your favorite gamers, watch eSports events, and tune in to a live stream of almost any title you can think of.

To maximize your enjoyment, create a free account for personalized recommendations.

Download: Twitch

Apps

19. Firefox

If you’re a cord cutter, you’ll almost certainly be aware of the Google Chromecast. It allows you to cast almost any video content 10 Must-Have Chromecast Apps for Watching TV 10 Must-Have Chromecast Apps for Watching TV The Chromecast is arguably the best device currently on the market for anyone looking to cut the cord. And you'll definitely need these 10 apps to get you started. Read More from the Chrome web browser (on desktop or mobile) straight to your television.

best free roku channels firefox

Firefox offers similar functionality. Just install the Firefox browser on your smartphone, and this app will let you cast videos to your Roku device.

Download: Firefox

20. Web Browser X

Web Browser X is the only web browser on the Roku platform. It’s not perfect — the interface isn’t inspiring, and it’s not always smooth.

Nevertheless, if you just want to browse the news or flick through Reddit, it’s more than adequate.

Note: We can’t vouch for the channel’s privacy, so we recommend you don’t use Web Browser X for online banking or other sensitive tasks.

Download: Web Browser X

What Are Your Favorite Free Roku Channels?

We have introduced you to our pick of the best free Roku channels. We have tried to offer a little something for everyone, so there’s a wealth of content across a huge range of categories and genres.

However, given the fact that the Channel Store includes more than 5,000 apps at the time of writing, we have barely scratched the surface here. To be honest, we could give you 100 channels and still not do justice to the breadth of content available to Roku owners.

What are are your favorite free Roku channels? What makes them so unmissable? Or what makes them unique enough to justify recommending to your fellow MakeUseOf readers? As always, you can let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Luc Schots
    November 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I'm in Belgium, can't even add a channel through the web interface...

  2. Ray
    November 4, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Reading this in the UK and almost nothing on the list is available which is pretty disappointing.

  3. Brian Guy
    November 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Web Browser X is not free, requiring a $4.99 monthly fee.

  4. John
    November 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    TubiTV is another good ad driven channel. Has lots of TV shows and movies including many classics and obscure shows. I prefer it to Crackle for a couple reasons: first you don't need to log on to use the channel, you can sign on as a guest, secondly Crackle likes to put up annoying previews or even plays movies in the background while you are browsing for a show (I find this intolerable) - TubiTv gives you a nice simple selection menu without playing previews.

  5. Gerry
    November 3, 2017 at 1:07 am

    PBS has some great shows, and a few are available free, but recently they've put most of their best things behind a paywall, which is not apparent until you've selected them, wasting your time if you're not willing to buy their "passport".