With over 5000 «channels» and applications Roku media steamers provide access to the most comprehensive selection of online content to view. However, with such a large selection, it is very difficult to find channels that you might actually like.
From pre-loaded or add-on channels, most users stick with the most popular and well-known offerings such as Netflix , Hulu , Vudu , Amazon and delayed playback from television networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, or cable channels such as HBO and Showtime.
However, if you just stick with these obvious solutions, you may be missing out on some great content from lesser-known providers. Below is our selection of the top 20 Roku channels that you should consider including some hidden, private channels that are not on the official Roku channel list.
Free Shows and Movies: Pluto TV
Ability to hide content from certain sources.
Classic reruns of old TV shows.
There is no way to rewind the live broadcast.
On-demand content rotates too frequently.
Pluto TV gives you access to over 100 free sources of news, sports, TV shows, music, and over 1,000 movies that you can add through the Roku Channel Store.
Like a cable or satellite menu, you scroll through the categories and select what you want to see or hear (no need to install additional apps). Channel categories include News, Sports (including boxing and wrestling), Comedy, Geek/Games, Life/Style, and even Music and Radio. There is even 4K channel (assuming you have a compatible Roku device and TV) .
Because many choices are available in real time (the on-screen guide is set to your local time), programs or music may already be running. However, movie-on-demand offers start when selected.
Since the compilations and movies are free, most of them contain ads.
The Best of British TV: Acorn TV
Great deal for half the price of Netflix.
Keeps track of what you are watching.
Mainly shows old movies and series.
Certain content is restricted outside of the US.
Are you a fan of British TV series? If so, then Acorn TV might be for you.
Acorn’s software library is very extensive, featuring exclusive films, popular mysteries, dramas, comedies, documentaries, feature films, and programs and films from selected other European countries with English subtitles.
If you’re addicted to the British TV programs you usually watch on PBS, climb up a notch and dedicate yourself to Acorn TV.
You can install Acorn TV for free through the channel store. However, after a free 7-day trial, the subscription fee is $4.99 per month (commercial free).
Free Netflix-like channel: Tubi TV
Combination of new releases and old films.
No subscription required.
Movies include advertisements.
Some content is region restricted.
Tubi TV (pronounced Too-bee) is a free, ad-supported channel that has an extensive library of MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate movies, as well as a large number of TV shows.
Tubi’s offerings are categorized into genres such as action, comedy, documentaries, drama and horror, as well as foreign films, films for children and more. Two broad categories are named: not on Netflix and highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes .
Tubi TV’s on-screen menu looks similar to the Netflix menu, including a «continue watching» option that lets you pick up where you left off if watching was interrupted.
Tubi TV doesn’t have original programming or the latest movies, and it doesn’t offer a 4K viewing option, but there is a lot of great content worth watching that you may have missed or have long been a favorite of.
Make Your Content Easier: Roku Channel
Not only does Roku offer over 5,000 third-party channels, but it also provides its own channel. The Roku channel contains an interesting mix of content that provides users with a more compact version of what Roku has to offer without having to jump from app to app to find something you might want to watch. Both free and paid content is provided.
24/7 Live News from ABC and Newsy (free).
Sports live from the stadium (free of charge).
Free movies and series.
Access select subscription services like HBO, Starz and Showtime with single sign-on and one monthly bill.
Free content has ads.
Free movies and TV shows are not the most relevant.
No 4K content.
TV and movies from all over the world: FilmOn.TV
Experimental virtual reality channels.
DVR support for an additional fee.
Inappropriate video quality.
Premium plan is more expensive compared to similar services.
If you are a TV lover, you can watch live channels from all over the world with the FilmOn TV Roku App (which has been purchased OVGuide — the largest player in the early stages of Internet broadcasting — in 2016).
Featuring international channels (indicated by their flags) from the UK (including live BBC News), France, Germany, India, Russia, Slovakia and other countries (in their native languages), as well as free and pay-per-demand movie content. and special interesting content for viewers in English and other languages.
For example, if you click on the «breaking news» icon, you will get a list of live news feeds from multiple countries without having to search for them in each country’s list.
FilmOn TV is one of the best private channels available for Roku . To add it, log in to your Roku account using a PC or smartphone, click » Add channel with code» and type in the input field letters NMEVA .
Best Cult Movies & Shows: Shout Factory TV
Free without ads.
HD remasters of classic shows.
Content rotates too frequently.
Only one or two seasons of the series are available at any one time.
If you’re a fan of iconic B-movies and old TV shows, then Shout Factory TV is a free promotional channel that you can add through the Roku Channel Store.
Shout Factory has a large library of movies and TV shows that includes Action, Adventure, Comedy, Cult, Documentaries, Drama, Horror, Martial Arts, Music, Westerns and more.
Watch classic episodes MS3TK (Mystery Science Theater 3000) and films from the legendary work of Roger Corman.
If you’re a Power Rangers fan, check out some episodes super sentai — The original Japanese version of the series (with English subtitles).
You can also watch classic comedy classics from Steve Martin as well as classic rehearsals of various TV shows from The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and The Red Skelton Show .
Shout Factory TV also has an original series » backlot» which provides great behind-the-scenes information on some of the classic cult movies and series.
Best in Anime: Crunchyroll
An amazing selection of popular and obscure Japanese animation shows.
Excellent subtitle support.
Doesn’t recommend content based on your browsing history.
Several feature films to watch.
If you are an anime fan, you should try Crunchyroll which can be downloaded for free from the Channel Store. Once installed, you can watch their basic services for free or use either Premium ($6.95/month) or Premium Plus ($11.95/month) subscription services.
The basic service allows viewing of a limited selection of anime and live content (labeled «drama») with occasional commercials.
The Premium option gives you ad-free access to Crunchyroll’s entire movie and TV library, as well as new episodes of select Japanese anime and TV shows within minutes of their release on Japanese TV.
Premium Plus took first place thanks to discounts on items sold in the Crunchyroll store and VIP access to Japanese anime creators who attend fan conventions.
If you’re not sure which viewing option is right for you, take advantage of the free 14-day free trial. If you’re just a casual viewer, then the free, ad-supported limited access is the way to go.
Seat Edge Thrills and Horrors: Shudder TV
An impressive selection of foreign horror films.
Stable HD streaming quality.
No mobile support.
Some content is not available in all regions.
If you’re a fan of suspense, thrillers and horror, then you should try Shudder TV from the Channel Store.
With films ranging from Dracula by Bram Stoker and finishing Texas Chainsaw Massacre feels just enough thrill and chill to keep you on the edge of your seat.
In addition to movies, there are classic series such as Tales from the Darkside and original series such as Born to Kill and black lake . There are also some great podcasts that explore movie-related topics such as Inside the Excorist .
To the categories of movies and series include Curator’s Choice, New Festivals Arriving, Alien Enforcers, Shudder Exclusive, and more…
You can watch Shudder TV for free for 7 days, after which you can cancel your subscription, stay on board for $4.99 per month, or subscribe to an annual subscription for $47.88 (at US prices). If you are browsing in Canada, the UK or Ireland, prices may vary.
Current events without hype
Curated news based on user preferences.
The video is too short to explore the topics in detail.
No syndicated or local content.
Are you tired of cable news channels with more opinions and gossip than real news? If so, then add Newsy from your Roku channel list.
Newsy covers short and easy-to-understand videos from around the world that tell the story, with the necessary context and analysis, without debating talking heads or pontificates by a biased host.
News is published around the clock in the following categories: Top Stories, Live, World, Business, US News, Politics, Science/Health, Entertainment, Technology, and Sports.
Newsy is free to install and watch — no subscription or pay-per-view fees. However, there are occasional ads.
All about technology: TV TV
The streaming schedule automatically adapts to your time zone.
Technical reviews and tutorials.
Inconsistent live stream quality.
Labor intensive installation process.
If you are a complete technical geek or not versed in technologies, but would like to get answers, TWiT (on this week in Tech) is a free ad-supported channel available through the Roku store channel. which provides both live and recorded content, which can only be what do you need.
The best show on TWiT for non-techies is The Guy with Leo Laporte, which airs Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm ET/EDT. This show includes a recap of the previous week’s major tech news, with easy-to-understand analysis, followed by audience calls.
Other shows presented live or recorded during the week include iOS Today, All About Android, Ham Nation, This Week on Google, Windows Weekly and much more …
All live TWiT shows are recorded and archived by episode name and number, which you can easily access from the TWIT OSD menu.
Turn your TV into an art gallery: Artcast
Displays priceless art in your home for free.
Excellent image quality.
Parts of the paintings are cut off by the screen.
There is no way to add your own photos or art.
Add a little more art to your life with Artcast. This Roku channel is both a screensaver and an art gallery.
Artcast claims subscription fee in $2.99 per month .
Artcast features around 400 galleries and a total of 20,000 paintings, photographs and art videos. New galleries are added weekly.
Artcast galleries are looped, so once launched, you don’t have to come back later and resume playback. However, if you are using Artcast Lite, ads are shown before the galleries play. Also, if you select a different gallery to show in Artcast Lite, you will have to wait until a different set of commercials is played. Each photo or painting is displayed for 60 seconds.
Some of the gallery categories for Artcast Lite and Artcast Premium include:
- classical art
- Modern Art
- Nature and Scenic
- Travel and Culture