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Roku TVs and devices offer an affordable, easy way to access both on-demand and live content.
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Like a smartphone, Roku enables its users to find Roku apps (or Roku TV channels) that they want and then install them on their device. You'll find not just paid channels, but free channels on Roku as well in the Roku Channel Store.
With so many people owning smart TVs these days, it's never been easier to stream the exact live or on-demand content you want (sometimes even in 4K). The only problem is knowing what to choose. So what channels are on Roku? Here are the top 20 Roku channels for you.
One of the most popular channels on Roku is Hulu, which started off as an on-demand streaming service for network and cable television. In fact, it used to be free in its infancy. However, these days, to access Hulu content costs about $7/mo., but you can pay $13/mo. to not have any ads.
Hulu has a vast library of content -- a lot of which are its original series. Some of its best original shows include:
The Handmaid's Tale
Conversations With Friends
The Wrong Mans
Looking for Alaska
If you're looking to further cut the cord, you can also purchase Live TV. Hulu + Live TV starts at $70/mo. and comes with more than 85 channels.
Disney+ is a must-have for anyone who's a kid at heart. Packed with almost every Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars classic, it's an easy channel to lose entire days to. Since Disney also acquired Fox, viewers can also watch every single Simpsons episode, too. Disney+ also has original content specifically for Disney+ subscribers. Shows like The Mandalorian and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have each expanded their respective universes and furthered the storylines for the Star Wars and Marvel universes, respectively. In a nutshell, Disney+ is a great streaming service for what's happening in pop culture.
Netflix has come a long way from being a DVD rental company (you can still rent DVDs from Netflix, but that's a separate plan). Not too long ago, Netflix didn't even produce its own content, but these days Netflix is one of the top content producers. From shows like Stranger Things and Bridgerton, to docuseries like Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, Netflix is producing top-tiered content. Of course, you can also watch shows and movies from TV networks. Subscribers have thousands of choices to choose from.
You don't have to pay to use Amazon Prime Video, but can just be used as an online video rental and purchase service. However, if you do choose to become a monthly subscriber to Prime Video, you'll get access to thousands of movies and TV shows available. Meanwhile, premium content is made exclusively for Amazon Prime members, who get the streaming service at no additional cost.
Paramount+ was formerly known as CBS All Access before CBS and Viacom merged into Paramount Global. Now subscribers not only get access to CBS content, but they all get access to BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and Smithsonian programming. Become a premium subscriber and you'll also get access to your CBS station, as well as CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live. It's not just a must-have for Star Trek fans anymore, you'll also get original Paramount+ content like 1883, Halo, and more.
If you're an avid sports fan, you'll find a lot of content on ESPN+. Not only will you get live updates on scores and news, but you'll also get access to podcasts, on-demand content, and live games from the MLB, MLS, and NHL leagues when they're in season. Subscribers also get access to international soccer games, tennis matches, college football, PGA golf tournaments, and UFC fights. When there is a big fight night, ESPN+ can also be where you go to stream via Pay-Per-View.
If you're considering getting ESPN+ and Hulu or Disney+, you can save money by bundling all three together for only $14/mo. -- thanks to the Disney Bundle.
To access the NBC streaming service Peacock, you technically don't have to pay anything. However, for only $5/mo., you get access to everything in the Peacock library. Whether you are a fan of The Office, or you want to keep up with Girls5eva, it's a small price to pay for ad-supported access to some of the best comedy and drama series on TV these days.
If you're a WWE fan, the WWE has recently moved to Peacock. You can watch almost every WWE past pay-per-view event, as well as Raw and Smackdown shows.
Like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, Apple TV+ is producing high-quality content. It doesn't offer as much content as its competitors, but what it does offer is both unique and fresh. Apple TV+ originals have also really stood out in the award circuit, with shows like Ted Lasso and The Morning Show taking top prizes, not to mention the original movie CODA winning big at the Oscars this year.
Spotify is free, but if you want to get rid of ads it costs $10/mo. One of the biggest music streaming services, Spotify can either play exactly what you want to listen to or mix it up based on your past listening preferences. If you have a nice pair of speakers on your TV, it's a great app to run in the background as you eat dinner or get ready for work in the morning.
If you're a movie fan, you might consider subscribing to The Criterion Channel. For just $11/mo., you'll have access to more than 1,000 titles that include classic, foreign, and art-house films, as well as contemporary titles -- everything from Yentl to Dolemite and Planet of the Apes to In the Mood For Love is there for you.
HBO Max is HBO's streaming alternative where viewers get access to all of HBO's original content, as well as any movies or TV shows it's currently licensing (such as Jurassic Park or NBC's hit sitcom, Friends). HBO Max on Roku also has a wide variety of movies to choose from. If you have children in the house, you can set up separate accounts, which a pin code would be required to access mature content.
If you want to watch football, ESPN+ won't cut it. For that, you need the NFL Game Pass channel on your Roku device. Each season you can watch every NFL game either live or on-demand. Viewers also get access to NFL shows, news reports, podcasts, and old Super Bowl matches.
A Starz membership gets you access to blockbuster movies such as Jumanji and Spider-Man and original content like Raising Kanan and Outlander. It's a cheaper alternative to HBO Max, but deserves just as much recognition. It has thousands of TV shows and films and can be added to your Amazon Prime subscription, if you don't want to skip from one app to the next.
Sling TV is a live TV streaming service that comes with some of the best and most popular cable TV networks, such as CNN, TNT, HGTV, ESPN, and much more. It has three packages for its subscribers to choose from: Orange, Blue, and Orange & Blue. Each package is a little different, but there are some similarities between them. If you want every channel offered through Sling, you'll want the Orange and Blue option, which costs around $50/mo.
DIRECTV STREAM is another live TV streaming service option, but it comes with a bit more content than other options on this list. Subscribers can choose from four packages that range from 65 channels to more than 140 channels. Depending on which package you choose, you may get a few months of HBO Max for free or included. No matter which one you go with, however, you'll get unlimited DVR storage space.
The streaming platform fuboTV is a cord-cutting option where you can watch all of the best news, sports, and entertainment channels. It has essentially every channel you could ever want, including ESPN, AMC, National Geographic, Disney, Hallmark, Comedy Central, and more. The more you pay the more channels you receive and the more content you're able to DVR. It's a great option if you have trouble accessing your local TV stations, too, such as NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox.
Showtime's been stepping up its game with original content lately, with shows like Yellowjackets and The First Lady coming to the premium channel. However, outside of its original content, Showtime is still just a great place to find popular movies and shows streaming on the channel. You'll also have access to Showtime's on-demand content, so there's plenty to choose from.
DAZN (pronounced "Da Zone") is a sports streaming service that can keep your pay-per-view costs down each year. Not only does it stream live boxing and fighting events, but you can also watch live broadcasts of the NFL, NBA, MLB, F1, and NHL. With original sports programming and an ever-growing library of on-demand content, DAZN may just become the Netflix of live sports streaming.
If you love documentaries or are homeschooling your children, then you should take a look at CuriosityStream. CuriosityStream has some of the most diverse documentaries available on the net. From King Tut's Tomb, Stephen Hawking, or the Great Barrier Reefs, there is a little bit of something for everyone. And best of all? You can download up to 10 hours of content to watch while you're away from home.
If you're one of those people who pays for a cable TV subscription just so you can watch Hallmark Channel, then Frndly TV is the channel you need. Not only do you get access to Hallmark Channel, but you also get channels like QVC, Weather Channel, Sportsman, Baby First, Game Show Network, and many more. For just $7/mo., it's a steal considering that you get more than 35 channels.