How to Stream TV for Free on Roku
Here's a fact: You don't need to pay a monthly fee to stream great shows and movies on your TV, thanks to Roku.
For the uninitiated, Roku is an easy-to-use, digital streaming platform that features just about every subscription streaming service available, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount+, HBO Max and many more. There are also a number of apps filled with television shows and movies you can watch for free. The selection includes classic television (Star Trek, Degrassi) and modern television (CSI, Survivor, Black-ish), plus plenty of great movies, such as The Matrix, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. You can even catch some free Roku originals, such as The Demi Lovato Show.
If you've already got a Roku box, great -- you're already ahead of the game. If you don't have a Roku yet, shopping for one is easy once you know what kind of TV you have. If you want to add Roku to an older TV, you can get away with an inexpensive HD Roku box. If you've got a new 4K TV, you might want to upgrade to a Roku with 4K streaming and other improved features.
Here are the best Roku streamers available right now.
The best option for people with older TVs that don’t support 4K, the Roku Express HD streaming box offers a basic 1080p Roku experience at a fantastic sub-$30 price. This easy-to-use, 4.8-star-rated streaming box doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of more expensive Rokus, but older TVs won’t support some of these premium features anyway.
A nice upgrade from the Roku Streaming Stick+, the Roku Express 4K+ streaming box features 4K and HDR streaming, a faster wireless connection and a voice remote. The only catch: Unlike the easy-to-hide streaming stick models, the Roku Express 4K+ will add to your set top box clutter.
If you have a 4K-ready TV, you don’t want to use an HD-only streaming box with it. Instead, upgrade to a device such as the Roku Streaming Stick+, which supports HD, 4K and HDR. It also comes with a voice remote with TV controls, another nice upgrade over the Roku Express.
The Roku Ultra streaming box is the most feature-rich of the Roku bunch: It supports 4K streaming, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and comes with a remote with a headphone jack for private, late-night listening. It has long-range Wi-Fi plus a wired connection, if you want the smoothest streaming experience possible.
Here are some of the best free TV apps on Roku to watch now.
The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel has plenty of free movies and TV shows to browse from -- there are more than 190 free linear channels available to watch. There are Roku originals, such as Demi Lovato’s new talk show, The Demi Lovato Show, binge-worthy shows such as The Bachelorette, Weeds and Kitchen Nightmares, and classic films such as Batman, Little Miss Sunshine and My Cousin Vinny. You can also access Live TV and premium subscription options, including SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more.
Pluto TV has hundreds of free channels and thousands of free movies, set up in a way that's reminiscent of classic cable TV. Many of Pluto's free TV channels are set up around specific shows, including Degrassi, America’s Next Top Model, and Gordon Ramsay’sHell’s Kitchen. Other free TV channels include Buzzr (free classic gameshows), MTV Dating, CBSN news, Nosey (free TV talk shows) and Judge Nosey (free episodes of Judge Judy and more).
(Note: ET Online and Pluto TV are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.)
Peacock (limited options)
There's a free access tier of Peacock available to all Roku users that features some amazing free TV shows and free movies such as Dateline, Chrisley Knows Best, 30 Rock, Bridesmaids, The Bourne Identity and more. (To access the full Peacock library, you can upgrade to a premium subscription for $4.99 per month.)
Plex is another great free TV option, with more than 130 free TV channels on offer (though many channels are duplicated on The Roku Channel and Pluto). It's a great way to satisfy your hunger for TV sitcoms such as Black-ish and Modern Family. You can also explore free anime, including Ghost in the Shell.
Yep, you read that right. It is free to watch some of your favorite drama TV series on The CW, including Riverdale, The Flash, Charmed, and much more. Cue the dark lighting and broody background music!
Tap into your intellectual side and tune in to PBS for some award-winning documentaries, series and live TV from your local station. Stay informed on the day-to-day news, or learn something new from the POV series or the Academy-Award nominated documentary For Sama.
The CBS Sports Roku app is the place for free sports news and highlights, pre-and post-game coverage, fantasy football shows and more.
(Note: ET Online and CBS Sports are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.)
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