How to Watch Live TV On Roku: Local and Pay TV Channels Guide

Watch live TV on Roku

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.


Live Stream on Roku via DIRECTV NOW

DIRECTV NOW provides a great way to stream live TV shows on Roku. The service offers 60+ channels for $35 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.

DIRECTV NOW recently added Roku support, so you can now watch DIRECTV NOW on Roku. Key channels 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.

For more info, check out our DIRECTV NOW review, or test the service out for yourself with a free week trial.


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 $20 per month, and all packages are available without a contract.

Sling TV’s basic package, Sling Orange, includes 30+ channels, 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. The intermediate package, Sling Blue, includes several Roku local channels like NBC, FOX, and FOX Sports Regional networks – although, most of these channels are only available in select markets. ABC is also available in select markets. 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 $20 per month, without a contract. You can also try it out for free for 7 days. They also run some great deals, like a free streaming device 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.


FuboTV Lets You Watch Live Sports on Roku

FuboTV reviewFuboTV 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 60 channels in total. See the FuboTV channel list for details.

The service costs just $35 per month, with no contract required. It offers a free trial for new users.

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.


Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW & PlayStation Vue offer Live Sports on Roku

As described in their respective previous sections, each of the three major live streaming services, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW all offer a lot of live sports content. All three services now work on Roku (the DIRECTV NOW Roku channel was just recently added), 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.


Sling TV/DIRECTV NOW/PlayStation Vue offer Live News on Roku

If you subscribe to one of the “big three” live streaming services, you’ll get plenty of live news. Channels like CNN, BBC America, etc. are included, and Sling TV also offers some local channels on Roku that can be useful for news, including LocalNow. 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. You may also be interested in Sling TV’s “World News Extra” expansion pack, which adds channels like Fusion, BBC World News, Euronews and more.



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. 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 $35 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 PlayStation Vue.


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, Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial, as does DIRECTV NOW.



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 really, is good news! If you’re looking for the simplest, most affordable all-around option that gives you something of everything, try out Sling TV. Sling offers 25+ channels – including live sports, news, TV shows, movies and more – for $20 per month, and their Roku app works great. Click here to try Sling TV for free for a week.

If you’re looking for a bit more selection, start with DIRECTV NOW’s free 7-day trial. This will give you 60+ channels for $35 per month, with no contract. And you can now watch DIRECTV NOW on Roku devices!

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is a cord-cutting reporter living in the rainy but beautiful Pacific North West.
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Austin Meadows

6 Comments on "How to Watch Live TV On Roku: Local and Pay TV Channels Guide"

  1. Hank Rearden | January 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm |

    Tablo seems to be a glaring omission from your list (at least glaring to me, since it’s the way I watch live TV over my Roku). Many cord cutters are not interested in subscribing to additional services to get the channels they want. If those channels are broadcast over the air, and you want to watch them live or via DVR, then Tablo is the way to go.

  2. Cathy Piscitello | March 8, 2017 at 12:05 am |

    Hello I have a sharp tv roku 4k 50 inch still in the box as I want to get rid of Cox and trying to find an internet service 92119, cutting the cord with access to local channels fox news, fox business news. would also like to find an app with Crt tv and it gets more confusing the more I research it. I am mainly interested in these channels and the qvc hsn evine live which all have free apps. With a ROKU smart tv how can I accomplish these goals of channels without spending a fortune on apps? What is the best internet in my zip to get. I would really appreciate some HELP!!also do I need a separate streaming device?

  3. I’m not sure if you actually took the time to review and try out Playstation Vue. The comment the Sling is more flexible than Playstation Vue is a bit misleading. I have tried both and found Playstation Vue to be a much better service than Sling. You stated that Playstation Vue won’t work on mobile. They have a mobile app that works just fine. Playstation Vue also has a free cloud DVR service, that Sling does not offer. Playstation Vue actually offers more channels than Sling, so how is Sling more flexible? Why are the majority of these articles more like advertisements for Sling and less like real reviews?

    Plus you completely failed to mention the private channels Channel Pear or XTV. Also, USTVNOW will give you ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX for free.

    • Eric Anthony | March 22, 2017 at 12:08 pm |

      Thanks for the comment, Stacy.

      I do have and use Vue (and all of the live streaming services) quite often, and I enjoy the experience at home on my PS4. However, the Roku app could use some work in my opinion as the interface isn’t the most user friendly. Vue has a mobile app, correct, but if you aren’t on your home’s internet connection (i.e. watching on the go away from home), many live channels are often blocked for a lot of subscribers (just Google “PlayStation Vue mobile restricted” to see the stories). Having said that, they have been loosening these restrictions over time and you are able to access more content on the go than you initially could.

      What I mean by saying Sling is more flexible exactly that — their channel packages are more flexible. You can start at $20, and if you want more channels, pick and choose which genres you’re interested in and add them on for $5 a pop. It’s not a la carte, but it’s the closest thing to that right now.

      As far as USTVNOW, for me, it rides the line of being illegal so I don’t endorse it. The service is advertised as for US citizens living abroad, but they don’t block US IP addresses.

  4. Brad McNeal | March 22, 2017 at 8:11 pm |

    It’s late March! Where is DIRECTVNOW and Roku?
    I bought a Roku for that reason!

  5. Rose Buckner | March 27, 2017 at 11:31 am |

    We have subscribed to cbs all access….now we cannot get our live sreaming….is there a reason upset

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