So you got a new Roku. Now you are probably saying “What Roku Channels should I add?” The company advertises nearly 2000 channels. You can’t watch that many and a number of them may not appeal to the average buyer. Some are more like apps, some are games etc. Today we are going to present a list of channels/apps that no Roku should be without.
You can’t start a list like this and leave off Netflix. If you have not used Netflix before here it is in a nutshell. The largest collection of movies and television shows that can be found legally on the Internet. Roku started as a platform for Netflix streaming and has grown from there. From critically acclaimed original
series, cheesy sci-fi like Sharknado 2 to blockbusters like the Hunger Games Catching Fire Netflix is an obvious starting point for new Roku users. See our guide to customize Netflix here.
The pay version of Hulu available for mobile devices is available for Roku. The channel provides next day viewing of TV shows from all of the top broadcast networks besides CBS. There are many options from cable stations and huge archives of content from dozens of production companies. Hulu Plus also offers Hulu original series and a large collection movies. Many of the titles are not found on other channels. New users often can add Hulu Plus for free as part of regular promotions.
If you are an Amazon Prime customer this channel is an obvious add. It provides free content from a number of sources including a huge library of HBO original series and films. Amazon also gives users access to pay per view content for movies that you can’t find for free on other services. The PPV content is available whether customers have a prime account or not.
Are you an ESPN subscriber? Do you have a cable box on your guest room TV just for sports? With watch ESPN you can find live streams from the entire family of ESPN networks as well as watch ESPN 3, an ESPN offering that is exclusive to the Internet. In some cases ISP’s provide access to ESPN 3 without
requiring their users to have any cable service at all. This is not uniform though.
Dish World is a very well designed international offering. It provides foreign language content for a reasonable monthly price. This is a no duh add for anyone from outside the US who is looking to see content from home.
Plex has a lot to offer and far more than we can present in a short form. But the elevator speech version is this. Plex gives users access to their own digital media on their TV as well as pictures, music and user created content channels. It is its own app universe. More on Plex here.
Maddy GTV a totally independent channel made for online distribution. It features original series as well as multiple content channel options. The content often leans towards more crown up subjects. The channel has both a live feed and on-demand options.
The Smithsonian channel is a very nice addition to the Roku. It features a regularly updated list of full episodes of great content options. The programming is usually educational in nature but it is well produced. Worth checking out.
The History channel is part of an outreach by cable companies to provide content to cable owners and entice cord cutters to come back. There is a fair amount of good content available on this channel without the need to sign in to a cable account. Having a cable password adds to the fun. But some of the best content is available with no cable access needed.
Private channel that gives users access to public domain novels in audio form. Want to hear The Christmas Carol during Christmas season it’s there. There is so much more. Some of the books even use multiple voice actors.
This is a private channel that allows Roku owners to access the full library of
content on Apple’s iTunes podcasts, a very extensive collection of video and audio content. It is like a TV and radio station in one.
NFL Now is an official offering from the National Football League featuring the largest archive on NFL content anywhere. For a few bucks a month users have access to dozens of NFL series and specials along with in-season content from the NFL Network. Without the monthly fee users will have access to short clips with NFL news and Information.
Sony’s free add supported online offering featuring a rotation of hundreds of movies and TV-shows. Yes there are commercials but they are not too frequent. Crackly features a number of titles you will not find on other services.
The PBS channel for Roku is one of the most well thought out and well developed options. It is a portal to all of PBS’s content in on-demand HD. While some shows like Downton Abbey or Sherlock are often available for limited times they can easily be accessed on the Roku for days after airing. There are also archives of PBS programming to enjoy. All for Free.
YouTube is a quintessential Internet app. You must be familiar with it by now. YouTube alone provides countless content channels from comedy clips, instructional videos, music channels. The truth is a number of popular apps, even some on this list were once only found on YouTube. To get the most out of YouTube check out our story on making YouTube your personal Entertainment hub here.