With the advent of popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, the cord-cutting world has largely been concerned with on-demand streaming sources. However, there is a growing interest in live TV streaming coming from the cord-cutting community. If you’re wondering how to watch live TV without a cable subscription, you’ve come to the right place! And since the Roku streaming device is one of the most popular devices among members of the rapidly growing cord cutter movement, we decided to put together a guide on how to watch live TV on Roku.
If you’re a cord-cutter wondering how to watch Roku live TV, there are now a lot of different options. In the guide below, we’ve broken things down into sections; the first is a section of services that provide broad selections of various channels, similar to the selection you’d get with a traditional cable subscription. Then, we will move on to individual sections, like Roku local channels, Roku sports channels, news channels, etc.
Roku Live TV Channel Bundles
In this section, we’ll go over various services that provide a wide variety of channels to subscribers. These services are not free, but they are the best way to stream live TV on Roku – and still present a great value when compared to traditional cable/satellite prices.
Use Hulu with Live TV to Stream Live TV on Roku
Hulu with Live TV is a great way to watch live TV on Roku devices. The service costs $40 per month, and offers over 50 channels to watch live. It covers everything from live sports to local news to the latest hit TV shows, all in one place. And when live TV isn’t enough, there’s also a HUGE on-demand library to utilize!
This service works seamlessly on Roku (and most other devices), and offers a ton of value at a fair price. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, this might be it. See our Hulu review for details. Or, get started with a free 7-day trial
Philo is a new live streaming service with a slick Roku app. One of the biggest selling points of this service is its low price point. For only $16 per month, you can subscribe to Philo and get more than 40 channels to stream LIVE. That’s quite a bargain!
Philo includes many popular networks, such as HGTV, AMC, Comedy Central, Animal Planet and more. It does not, however, offer any sports channels (which is why it’s so cheap). Want to try it out? Click here to start your free 7 day trial.
Live Stream on Roku via DIRECTV NOW
DIRECTV NOW provides a great way to stream live TV shows on Roku. The service offers 65+ channels for $40 per month, with no contract or commitment required. Besides Roku, the service works on most other streaming devices, as well as mobile devices and computers.
Key channels on this service include ESPN, TBS, AMC, FOX News, CNN, TNT, NBA TV, and much more. Depending on where you live, you may also get local channels like FOX, CBS, NBC, and regional sports networks. There’s a TON to watch on this service, and most channels are available for live streaming and on-demand streaming. The DIRECTV NOW Roku app is available directly in the Roku store.
Use Sling TV to Watch Live TV on Roku
Sling TV is a popular live streaming service from the makers of Dish Network, and it happens to be one of the most popular Roku live TV channels. It’s an affordable and easy way to watch live TV on Roku, and on tons of other devices. Prices start from only $25 per month, and all packages are available without a contract.
Sling TV offers a couple different packages, with key channels offered including ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, CNN, AMC, and many more. All these channels are available nationwide for live streaming, and select content is also available on-demand. You can also go for a larger package, plus add-on additional channels, for up to 100+ channels in total. See our Sling TV review for details.
Sling starts from $25 per month, without a contract. You can also try it out for free for 7 days. They also run some promotions, including great deals on new streaming devices when you prepay for a few months in advance.
Watch Live TV Channels on Roku via PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue is another live streaming service that you can use to view live TV on Roku and other connected devices. The service provides 45+ channels, including ESPN, AMC, CNN, FX, FS1, and more. Prices start at $40 per month.
Roku local channels, including ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, are also available in some packages and in some markets. Availability varies by location – see our PlayStation Vue review for details.
PlayStation Vue is a good service that has a lot to offer. And it’s one of the more well-regarded Roku live TV channels. There’s a 5-day free trial available, as well, so you can enjoy free live TV on Roku for a few days.
Methods to Watch Live Sports on Roku
For you sports fans out there – whether your game is basketball, baseball, hockey, football, soccer, tennis or all of the above – the methods listed below are the best ways to stream live sports on Roku devices. Keep in mind that all the services we’ve already discussed also offer sports.
FuboTV Lets You Watch Live Sports on Roku
FuboTV is a service that can be used to watch live sports on Roku. It may not be as well known as some other services on this list, but the service is rapidly expanding to meet the needs of the growing cord-cutter community, making it one of the Roku live TV channels with a ton of potential.
FuboTV is a one-stop shop for many of the best live sports channels. It’s an ideal way to watch soccer online, because it offers many channels like BeIN Sports, FOX Soccer Plus, Univision, GOLTV, El Rey Network, and more. But it’s far more than just soccer: with networks like FS1, FS2, NBCSN, CBSSN, NBA TV, and more, there’s TONS to watch on the service. There’s also a selection of non-sports channels, like FX, FOX news, USA and more. Even some Roku local channels are included! There are more than 75 channels in total. See the FuboTV channel list for details.
The service costs just $45 per month, with no contract required. FuboTV offers a free trial for new customers, as well. It’s a great way to try one of our favorite Roku live streaming channels.
Use WatchESPN to Stream Live Sports on Roku
ESPN now offers their own standalone app, called WatchESPN. This app can be downloaded on your computer, smartphone or Roku, to watch select ESPN broadcasts online. You’ll get access to select content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, SEC Network, and more. The catch is you need to have a paid cable TV provider authentication. You can also get access to WatchESPN using your Sling TV or PlayStation Vue login credentials. Some internet service providers also give you access. See the WatchESPN FAQ’s page for more info.
FOX Sports Go Gives You Access to FSN Broadcasts
FOX Sports Go is another app on the Roku that lets you stream select broadcasts from Fox Sports Network. You’ll need to have a paid-TV provider authentication, although fuboTV login credentials work, as well. You can enjoy live streaming on Roku of any sports airing on FOX, including NFL and UFC events.
Use NFL Sunday Ticket for Live NFL Games (for DIRECTV Subscribers)
If you’re a DIRECTV subscriber, you may be able to get the NFL Sunday Ticket Roku app. This will give you access to live out-of-market Sunday NFL games. But again, you’ll need to be a DIRECTV subscriber. DIRECTV NOW, the new streaming service, does not include Sunday Ticket – only subscribers to DIRECTV’s traditional satellite service will be eligible for live streaming on Roku with this app.
Use League Sports Packages for NHL/MLB/NBA Action
Most major sporting leagues, including the NHL, MLB, and NBA offer their own subscription packages offering live streaming of select games. There’s NHL.TV, MLB.TV, and NBA League Pass, all of which are offered as standalone services, so no cable subscription is needed. Prices vary depending on the service, but they’re generally in the $125+ per year range for the full options.
Hulu, Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW & PlayStation Vue offer Live Sports on Roku
As described in their respective previous sections, each of the major live streaming services, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW all offer a lot of live sports content. All of these services now work on Roku, and all three services include the ESPN family of networks, and offer FS1, FOX Sports Regionals, NBCSN, and even NBC/Comcast Sportsnet regionals in various packages.
Methods to Watch Live News on Roku
If you’re someone who likes to stay informed on the latest goings-on, you’ll want to know how to watch national and local news on Roku. There are a couple different approaches, as detailed below.
Use Newsy to Watch News on Roku
Newsy is a live streaming service providing 24/7 news coverage, and they offer a Roku app. It’s a completely free service, so there’s no need to sign up for anything – just download the app and start watching!
Use NewsOn to Stream News Live on Roku
NewsOn, a news-based Roku app, lets you live stream content from 100+ global news channels, for free! It does not require a cable login, but most of the channels are lower-tier news organizations. However, the biggest plus here is that in most locations, you can get your local news affiliate.
CNNGo Provides Live News Streaming on Roku for Cable Subscribers
If you still have a cable subscription, you should be able to use your login credentials to access the CNNGo Roku app. This live streaming on Roku app provides 24/7 live coverage of CNN’s news broadcasts.
Hulu/Sling TV/DIRECTV NOW/PlayStation Vue offer Live News on Roku
If you subscribe to one of the live streaming services we’ve already discussed, you’ll get plenty of live news. Channels like CNN, FOX News, BBC America, etc. are included. Some packages offer live local channels in select locations, so check availability to see if this is an option to watch local news on Roku.
Methods to Watch Premium Channels Live on Roku
There are a class of so-called “premium” channels that offer their own subscription services, and their own Roku apps. The two best ones are HBO and Showtime. These services are offered on their own, or as add-ons to select streaming services. It’s another option for live streaming on Roku.
Watch HBO on Roku with HBO NOW/HBO Go
HBO has the HBO NOW standalone service, which costs $15 a month and is available without a cable subscription. HBO NOW is not a true live stream, but new episodes are added at the same time they air, so it is essentially live. Hulu with Live TV also offers HBO as an add-on. You can also add HBO to your Sling TV subscription for the same $15 a month – allowing you to consolidate services. With DIRECTV NOW, you can add HBO for just $5 a month (although the base package is $40 a month). HBO also has an HBO Go app, but this is only for cable subscribers.
Watch Showtime on Roku with Showtime’s App
Showtime offers a standalone Roku channel for $10.99 per month, that offers a live stream of Showtime content currently airing, as well as an on-demand library. Showtime is also available as an add-on to many of the best streaming services.
Methods to Watch Live TV on Roku for Free
There are a couple different ways to watch live TV on Roku free, although none of them offer the best selection of channels. You can use a service like Crackle or PlutoTV – both of which have Roku apps, to watch select live TV channels on Roku without any sort of subscription. Additionally, you can take advantage of the free trials offered by live streaming services:
- Hulu with Live TV free 7-day trial
- Philo free 7 day trial
- fuboTV free 7 day trial
- Sling TV free 7-day trial
- DIRECTV NOW free 7 day trial
How to Watch Live TV on Roku: Bottom Line
That’s quite a bit of information, we know, but that’s because there are a lot of different ways to watch live TV on Roku – which is good news! If you’re looking for the simplest, most affordable all-around option that gives you something of everything, try out Hulu with Live TV. That will give you 50+ channels to enjoy live, plus a huge on-demand library, for just $40 per month. Hulu also offers a free 7-day trial.
If Hulu doesn’t quite fit your needs, use one of the other Roku live TV services discussed above.