In terms of streaming, Roku is one of the best streaming devices out there. I have so many friends that were able to cut the cord thanks to Roku. There is an enormous amount of content available to you. Apps and content channels allow you to watch everything from TV shows and movies to live sports and news. Of course, with nearly 3,000 options in the Roku channels list, there are bound to be plenty of duds in the mix. You need to fill your device with the best Roku channels in order to get the most out of the cord cutting experience. In this guide, we’ll go over the best free Roku channels as well as the best paid Roku channels.
With so much to choose from how do you determine what’s worth watching? After a little digging, I’ve come up with ten of the best Roku free channels to get you started! Finding others is simple and before you know it, you will have all of the best Roku channels loaded and playing daily!
What are the Best Roku Channels?
With so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a handful. But, below, find our current list of the best Roku channels overall, followed by our list of the best free Roku channels.
Best Paid Roku Channels:
They say the best things in life are free… but that might just not be true when it comes to the best Roku channels. These options below provide HD streaming of some of the best stream-able content out there. While they aren’t free, they are still very affordable options, and some of the best Roku apps overall.
Hulu with Live TV – a Full Cable TV Alternative
Hulu with Live TV is a good Roku app and one of the best streaming services overall. It offers a complete alternative to cable TV. It will run you $40 per month (with no contract), and gives you over 50 channels to watch LIVE. Plus, you’ll get a HUGE on-demand library that rivals Netflix!
Hulu covers channels like ESPN, FOX News, TNT, HGTV, NBC, FOX and many more. It’s got excellent coverage of local channels, which is key for watching sports online and keeping up with the local news. And for those times when it seems like nothing’s on, you can flip over to the original Hulu library (included free) which has thousands of on-demand movies and TV shows to choose from.
Philo – 40+ Channels for Just $16 Per Month!
Philo is a dream come true for budget-minded Roku owners. If you’re after live TV, no other service offers such a good value for your money. Philo costs just $16 per month, and offers over 40 channels to stream live! This is a new service, but it’s quickly becoming one of the top rated Roku channels simply because of its value proposition!
These are mainstream, popular channels, as well – no junk! Expect networks like AMC, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, and many more. The only thing that Philo does NOT have are sports. The service is able to keep prices so low because they don’t offer sports networks. See the full Philo channels list for details.
You can get started with a free 7 day trial.
fuboTV – a Dream Come True for Sports Fans
fuboTV is a sports-focused streaming service that makes it easy for cord-cutters to still keep up with their favorite sports teams. It costs $45 per month, and offers 75+ networks to stream live. This includes mostly sports networks, although there are also a fair share of entertainment and news networks.
DIRECTV NOW is one of the best Roku apps for folks who have quit cable but still want to watch live TV. The service offers a very easy way to stream live TV on Roku and many other devices. When you sign up, you’ll get over 65 channels which you can watch live. The channel selection includes key networks like AMC, ESPN, TBS, CNN, FOX News, HGTV, and even NBC/FOX/CBS in many areas!
DIRECTV NOW is priced at $40 a month for the basic package, and there are also larger packages available. It’s completely contract-free, so you can cancel at any time. It works over the internet, so no cable or satellite TV is required. Overall, DIRECTV NOW is one of our favorite paid Roku apps. See our DIRECTV NOW review to learn more.
Want to take it for a test-drive? Try out a free 7-day trial today!
Another great alternative to a cable subscription is Sling TV. This service allows you to watch live TV from 25+ channels, for only $25 per month. Up to 150+ channels are available in larger packages, if you crave selection. Some key channels include ESPN, TNT, AMC, CNN, TBS, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, and more. Sling offers a free 7-day trial.
Unlike most good Roku channels, Sling TV is LIVE, which means you can watch TV live as it airs. It’s very similar to having cable, except it’s much cheaper, and doesn’t require a contract. You can cancel Sling TV at any time. These factors combine to allow us to honestly call Sling TV one of the best Roku apps. There are some Sling TV competitors, as well, but Sling TV is currently a great way to watch live TV on Roku.
Sling TV works on all models of Roku, as well as most other devices including mobile phones. They actually great deals on Roku devices to new customers who prepay for a few months of the service, but if you’re reading this guide you probably already have a Roku! You can check out our full Sling TV review to learn more, or click here to try Sling TV for free for a week!
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Next up we have Amazon Prime Instant Video, a Netflix-like service that provides on-demand streaming of thousands of different movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more. It’s not a live streaming service like Sling TV, but it offers an impressive selection of on-demand content, ranging from the latest TV shows to new and classic movies to Amazon Originals, which are not available anywhere else – making it one of the best channels on Roku.
Amazon Prime costs $119 per year, but it offers a whole lot more than just the Amazon Prime Roku app. For starters, you get free 2-day shipping on most items on Amazon.com, and you also get free digital photo storage, free music streaming, access to exclusive deals and sales, and much, much more. See our Amazon Prime review for details.
If you’re interested in trying this service out, you can start things off with a free 30-day trial! That gives you a full month to explore Amazon Prime Video, as well as all the other benefits of an Amazon Prime membership.
No list of the best Roku channels would be complete without Netflix! As the most popular online streaming service, Netflix offers perhaps the most impressive library of on-demand content, ranging from TV shows to movies to Netflix originals.
Netflix starts at $8 per month, but that won’t get you HD. For full HD, you’ll pay $11 per month, and for 4K, you’ll pay $13 per month. It’s worth it to go for at least HD, if not 4K if you have a compatible TV. Netflix is very well established, so their Roku channel works very well and quickly. Our Netflix review has the details.
Best Free Roku Channels:
There are lots of free channels on Roku that will provide you with a free source of entertainment. These services don’t offer nearly as much as the paid services above, but hey – they’re free! If you’re looking for good free channels on Roku, here are our recommendations.
Crackle is one of the most popular free streaming networks. While the selection isn’t as diverse as Netflix or Hulu, it’s free and they do have some pretty decent movies and TV shows. Crackle is the exclusive home to shows like Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Crash, Sports Jeopardy, and StartUp. Coupled with the movies, this makes Crackle one of the best Roku channels around.
CW Seed doesn’t have the full lineup of CW shows, but they do have a few new shows, plenty of older shows, and even some CW Seed exclusives. If you’re looking for a good laugh, all of the episodes of Whose Line is it Anyway is available through CW Seed.
Obviously, PBS is free! This is going to be hit or miss, but these days PBS has some of the best TV around. Their Masterpiece collection includes Downton Abbey, Grantchester, Indian Summers, and Poldark. You’ll be able to find full episodes of these shows, and many others for free!
Perhaps the best part of the free channel, TubiTV is the section, “Not on Netflix.” This is a free streaming service, so the content can sometimes be obscure. But unlike many of the free movie channels, this one will have some titles that you’ll recognize. Current offerings even include Mr. Brooks, The Duchess, and Lions for Lambs.
PopcornFlix is kind of like the poor man’s Netflix. It’s free so you’re not going to find the sweeping array of content you will there, but there are some gems here that make this worth putting on your Roku and keeping it there.
Jim Henson Family TV
Jim Henson Family TV offers a small selection of family content. Normally I wouldn’t recommend anything as small as this, but Jim Henson lovers and their children will find a lot to appreciate here. From Fraggle Rock and The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss to Secret Life of Toys and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band, so much of the beloved Henson catalog is here to enjoy for free. This is also available on Hulu, but if you don’t have a subscription, this is a great way to watch without one.
Vevo is great if you want to watch music videos or other music performances. You can think of Vevo as an all-music, YouTube. There are thousands of new and classic music videos, so chances are, if it exists, you’ll find it here.
iHeartRadio is a must have app for music lovers. This digital radio service provides well over 1,500 live stations from around the country. No matter what you listen to you’ll find it in abundance on iHeartRadio. Best of all, you’re not going to pay anything for it. I’m not a huge fan of music channels really, just because I’m more interested in TV and movies where Roku is concerned, but I have this app and use it quite a bit.
The great thing about YouTube is the sheer amount of content that is available to you for free. Original YouTube channels offer everything from comedy skits to music videos. There are also plenty of TV shows and movies available, if you know how and where to find them. There really is something for everyone here and while it’s not the free Roku channel, it’s definitely one worth having.
There are so many Roku channels that these are just some of the best Roku free channels that are available to you. Make sure to try out new and unknown channels, too. Who knows, you might just find something you like.