The Best Free Roku Channels You Can’t Miss

Dan Price Updated 15-12-2019

Looking for the best free Roku channels around? We’ve got you covered.


After setting up your Roku device 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 channels. Which are 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, 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 Roku channels, so now we’re going to focus on the public channels. Here are the best Roku channels you really shouldn’t miss, all of which are free to install and do not require monthly subscriptions.

Movies and TV

1. The Roku Channel

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: roku channel

The Roku Channel is an official release from Roku that lets you watch movies for free.


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. FilmRise

FilmRise 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 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: FilmRise

3. Pluto TV

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: pluto tv

Pluto TV is a completely legal way to watch live 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.

You can also 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. Sony Crackle

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: 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.

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: Sony 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

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: popcornflix

Despite the name, Popcornflix is in no way related to the thoroughly illegal Popcorn Time P2P app. This service is entirely above board.

The app features full-length movies and TV shows. Movies are organized by common categories, though you’ll occasionally see special categories for holiday seasons and other events.

Download: Popcornflix


8. CBS News

If you’re a cord-cutter in need of news, 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

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: reuters tv

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

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


11. Hasbro Studios Free

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: newson

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.

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

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: 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.

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

Download: HappyKids.tv


14. TuneIn Radio

Unsurprisingly, the ubiquitous internet radio 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 4 million on-demand programs. A subscription costs $7.99/month.

Download: TuneIn Radio

15. Pandora

This screen capture depicts one of the 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. Spotify Music

Spotify needs no introduction. It is the most popular music streaming app in the world. More than 35 million songs are available, its music discovery tools are the envy of the industry, and its 200 million users means Spotify boasts a never-ending supply of playlists for you to listen to.

Download: Spotify Music


17. Text Twist

This screen capture depicts one of the best free roku channels: text twist

We have covered some of the best Roku games 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.

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.

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


19. Firefox

This screen capture depicts Firefox, which is capable of receiving remote video transmission similar to a Chromecast

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 from the Chrome web browser (on desktop or mobile) straight to your television.

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

Download: Firefox

20. Web Browser X

Web Browser X is the only web browser on the Roku platform The Best Roku Web Browsers to Use Here are the best Roku web browser options, plus a workaround that offers a better Roku web browsing experience. Read More . It isn’t 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, offering you 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, 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.

If you’d like to learn about more content, be sure to take a look at these ways to watch local channels on Roku for free How to Watch Local Channels on Roku for Free: 7 Methods to Try Have you cut the cord? You can still access your local TV networks! Here's how to watch local channels on Roku for free. Read More and read our list of the best private Roku channels 20 Private and Hidden Roku Channels You Should Install Right Now Here's how to add private channels to your Roku, alongside some of the best hidden Roku channels you can install right now. Read More .

Related topics: Internet Radio, Media Streaming, Roku, Streaming Music, Television, Twitch.

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  1. Jean Porter
    August 18, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    I am living in Johannesburg South Africa and have a Roku 3 device. I have been unable to get Acorn Channel although it is advertised as one of the streaming channels. When I go to Add channel it tells me that this channel cannot be added. I have a neighbour living about 500 yards from me with exactly the same set up and it opens for him.can you please advise. Regards Mean Porter

  2. Rob
    May 19, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    “Haystack.tv” App. On Roku For Local News. It Works Great In Mid-West.

  3. Dave
    November 11, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I believe Popcornflix, and several "Opcor.. .. .." are no longer available.


  4. Mar Dabo
    September 1, 2018 at 4:47 am

    I like VUDU, TubiTV for a decent selection of free movies with minimal commercials.

  5. Dan Cronin
    June 25, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Just installed a new ROKO box and now have a total of 21 channel's, This is more than I had with my previous box, ROKO 2. How can I determine if some of the new channells are chargeable with a monthy fee. For instance I have NFL, MLB. Does this just provide the scores of the games or the games themselves and a related charge?

  6. Brian
    May 27, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Most of these channels have way too many ads except roku channel has a few less than the others. Plutotv may be live but, there's nothing on it which interest me nor any of my family or friends. I'd like to see someone come out with a list of CHEAP AD FREE roku channels, and I'm not talking about the channels with shows from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, those shows are too old.

    • Ben
      October 26, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Can agree with you. At times find myself a bit frustrated with ads. It was one reason I didn't care for one of the major satellite providers. You as a subscriber are paying maybe $50 monthly to get a basic package deal with maybe five decent channels & at least 100 channels of nothing but ads (Yes, I actually counted them once.). Why pay for the content if they're making money out the wazoo using ads? That ought to help defer rights paying, license fees, royalties, production costs. Nope, you pay plus you pay to watch ads. *lol*

      Roku at least so far does try to keep ads limited & most of the free content providers using its platform do as well. So, I don't mind the ads as much yet when as you say there's no worthwhile content the ads frustrate. You're lucky enough to find something good to look at for a bit, unless you're paying the provider a few ads can be tolerated. Then, some go overboard. You pay a provider but still need to have ads? Sorry, I'm getting lost as to how media thinks you can charge consumers as well as advertisers & still claim both costs go to production value.

      Ah well, suppose we need to be gracious of what is offered. So far, not seen any Oprah. :)

  7. Dave O
    March 10, 2018 at 6:56 am

    The best channel is casting iptv from the pc until Roku gets it's shit together for Canadians

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

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

  9. 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.

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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".