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.

out of 20

Free Shows and Movies: Pluto TV

Menu Pluto TV - Roku channel version

Pluto TV menu is a version of the Roku channel.
What we like
  • Ability to hide content from certain sources.

  • Classic reruns of old TV shows.

What we don’t like
  • 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.

out of 20

The Best of British TV: Acorn TV

Acorn TV - Roku Channel Menu Example
What we like
  • Great deal for half the price of Netflix.

  • Keeps track of what you are watching.

What we don’t like
  • 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).

out of 20

Free Netflix-like channel: Tubi TV

Tubi TV channel menu example - Roku
What we like
  • Combination of new releases and old films.

  • No subscription required.

What we don’t like
  • 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.

out of 20

Make Your Content Easier: Roku Channel

Roku channel example

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.

What we like
  • 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.

What we don’t like
  • Free content has ads.

  • Free movies and TV shows are not the most relevant.

  • No 4K content.

out of 20

TV and movies from all over the world: FilmOn.TV

FilmOn.TV for Roku
What we like
  • Experimental virtual reality channels.

  • DVR support for an additional fee.

What we don’t like
  • 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 .

out of 20

Best Cult Movies & Shows: Shout Factory TV

Shout Factory!  Roku channel menu example
What we like
  • Free without ads.

  • HD remasters of classic shows.

What we don’t like
  • 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.

out of 20

Best in Anime: Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll channel menu version - Roku
What we like
  • An amazing selection of popular and obscure Japanese animation shows.

  • Excellent subtitle support.

What we don’t like
  • 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.

out of 20

Seat Edge Thrills and Horrors: Shudder TV

Shudder TV - Menu Example
What we like
  • An impressive selection of foreign horror films.

  • Stable HD streaming quality.

What we don’t like
  • 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.

out of 20

Current events without hype

Newsy channel menu example - Roku
What we like
  • Curated news based on user preferences.

  • Unbiased reporting.

What we don’t like
  • 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.

out of 20

All about technology: TV TV

TWiT TV Example - Roku Channel
What we like
  • The streaming schedule automatically adapts to your time zone.

  • Technical reviews and tutorials.

What we don’t like
  • 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.

out of 20

Turn your TV into an art gallery: Artcast

Artcast Channel Menu Example - Roku
What we like
  • Displays priceless art in your home for free.

  • Excellent image quality.

What we don’t like
  • 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
out of 20

Cartoons for Everyone: Boomerang

Boomerang - Roku channel menu example
What we like
  • Frequent new additions.

  • Scooby-Doo celebrity crossover special.

What we don’t like
  • No current shows.

  • No Disney properties.

Do you miss those Saturday morning cartoons? You can watch as many cartoons as you can handle 24/7 Boomerang .

With over 1,000 titles, including Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera TV shows and movies added weekly, you can avoid the bombardment of cable news and reality shows while enjoying great cartoons.

Offers include classic characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Courage the cowardly dog, Huckleberry Hound, Johnny Quest (original), Popeye, Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, The Smurfs, Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear and many others.

Boomerang is not sold on the Roku Channel Store, but requires a paid subscription after a 7-day trial ($4.99/month or $39.99/year).

out of 20

Quality User uploaded video: Vimeo

Vimeo Channel Menu Example - Roku
What we like
  • Flexible premium plans.

  • Content you won’t find anywhere else.

What we don’t like
  • Limited live content.

  • The professional plan is limited to 50 GB of downloads per year.

The most watched videos on YouTube are uploaded home videos, movie trailers, and news clips. Nonetheless, vimeo which is available on the Roku Channel Store, takes it up a notch with a focus on uploading creative content from independent filmmakers who have gone through Vimeo’s submission and approval process, as well as on-demand selections of movies and series.

User-uploaded content is presented in HD (some in 4K) and ad-free. Most user-uploaded content is free to view, but some on-demand movies or series may require online rental or purchase fees.

It is also important to note that although you can upload and share limited number of videos on Vimeo with their basic plan, for extra space and technical support, Vimeo offers four paid plans to choose from depending on your video production and distribution needs. ,

Think of Vimeo as a better version of YouTube — there are no funny videos about cats shot on smartphones!

out of 20

The excitement of science and nature: the flow of curiosity

Curiosity Stream Channel Menu Example - Roku
What we like
  • Video tags make searching easier.

  • An excellent resource for teachers and students.

What we don’t like
  • Watching streams in 4K is paid separately.

  • No content from Bill Nye or Neil deGrasse Tyson.

If you are passionate about science, but do not understand all this, Curiosity Stream offers content that will surprise and inform you.

Curiosity Stream offers most of its content in 4K — if you don’t have Roku or a 4K TV ( or high enough broadband speed ), you can still watch in HD.

While you can install the app on your Roku device for free through the channel store, a subscription fee of $2.99 ​​per month is required to view the content (after a free 7-day trial).

Curiosity Stream has exclusive series and movies. If you’re not sure what to watch, you can search by topic or name (for example, famous scientist, astronaut, or historical artist).

You might think that Curiosity Stream might not be much different from National Geographic or the Discovery Channel, but it excludes some of the «pop» or «sensational» material that is sometimes shown on these channels, and it does not contain ads.

out of 20

Extreme Sports & Adventure: Red Bull TV

Red Bull TV - Roku Channel Example Menu
What we like
  • International and domestic sports coverage.

  • Cheaper than similar sports channels and apps.

What we don’t like
  • Random buffering issues.

  • Streaming content resumes when interrupted.

If you love to travel and study sports, Red Bull TV is a great channel to add to your Roku viewing experience. The focus is on extreme and extreme sports such as off-road cycling and motorcycle riding, cliff diving, mountain climbing, skiing, snowboarding, flying, surfing and more.

Red Bull TV also includes categories for music, dance and culture that introduce you to competitions and festivals from around the world.

In addition to recorded travel and events, you can also access selected live events, original series, or watch something recorded that is currently streaming.

More than just a regional sports channel or ESPN, Red Bull TV is a combination of non-traditional sports and adventure that delivers a great viewing experience that can be installed through the Channel Store.

out of 20

Learn something new: TED

TED Channel Menu Example - Roku
What we like
  • Ideal for short attention spans.

  • Sort by speaker and topic.

What we don’t like
  • Negotiations vary in quality.

  • The topics are not well explored.

If you haven’t taken the time to look TED You will miss! TED stands for T technology, E entertainment and D ESIGN, and its premise is «Ideas Worth Spreading».

TED is centered around free «lectures» (TED Talks) presented to live audiences at venues around the world. Topics range from the latest scientific discoveries, how to solve a social problem, why animals and humans behave the way they do, and occasional musical performances.

Click «Watch Something» and choose from options like Casual, Jawed, Funny, Persuasive, Bold, etc.

The best thing about TED is that the talks are presented by experts in an informative and engaging style that will definitely grab your interest. Installation is free through the store channel.

out of 20

From the list of private channels: The Silent Movie Channel

The Silent Movie Channel
What we like
  • Frequently updated catalog.

  • Wide selection of foreign films.

What we don’t like
  • No translation for non-English text.

  • Offers only old movies.

The Silent Movie Channel features true gems from the early years of filmmaking that you can watch for free on your TV through Roku. It’s not part of the official Roku channel list (it’s classified as a «private», «secret» or «uncertified» channel), but you can add it for free by logging into your Roku account on a PC or smartphone (not your Roku player or TV ), press » Add channel with code» and enter the word ROLLEM (all in upper case).

You’ll be surprised how good these films are for their time — including gripping drama and early attempts at sci-fi and fantasy (with special effects that might surprise you).

out of 20

Saddle Jump: Channel Cowboy Classic

Cowboy Classics menu example - Roku Channel
What we like
  • An eclectic mix of classic and obscure films from 1929-1983.

What we don’t like
  • No resume playback.

  • Release dates are not specified.

The Classic Cowboy Channel features films from the 30s and 40s, a selection of spaghetti westerns, and more. If you like old westerns, there are real gems with stars like John Wayne, Lee Van Cleef, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and more.

Flickstream (owners of the Cowboy Classics Channel) claims that each subscription comes with a $1.99 per month subscription fee and a short ad. However, we found that it is also a hidden channel in the list of private channels, so if you log into your Roku account on PC or mobile, log in, click «add channel with code» and type COWBOY (everything in uppercase), just like adding a «private» or «non-certified» channel, you should have access to all non-subscription movie subscriptions, though there may be multiple ads before each movie.

out of 20

Indoor and Outdoor Gardening Tips: Garden TV

Garden TV
What we like
  • Comprehensive textbooks.

  • Full episodes of «Garden House».

What we don’t like
  • Lots of overlap across different categories of topics.

Do you spend all day in front of your computer or TV watching streaming video? Take a break and get into the outdoor habit of gardening.

However, before you get started, check out Garden TV on the Roku channel store. Once installed, check out everything you need to know to plant flowers, trees, lawns, and vegetables by watching the great instructional videos that are available.

The Garden TV channel is free, but ads are shown before each video.

out of 20

Informative, no-nonsense weather reports: WeatherNation

WeatherNation Channel Menu Example - Roku
What we like
  • View weather for multiple locations at the same time.

  • Educational content on demand.

What we don’t like
  • Inconvenient interface.

  • There are no international forecasts.

Are you a weather junkie? If so, check WeatherNation on your Roku. With WeatherNation, you can not only check the current conditions in your area or check the weather in other areas provided by the National Weather Service. Additional weather news is available to give you more context and understanding of what’s happening and why.

Weather reporting hosts are presented by certified meteorologists — no comedy hosts here!

WeatherNation is free on the channel store, but it does have ads.

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