Let’s say you have bought, or received as a gift, a new Roku streaming device or a new big-screen TV with the Roku OS installed. What do you start watching? There are thousands of Roku channels that you can download and, but most of them are not worth the time.
Thankfully, there are still quite a few great Roku channels that you can find that will be well worth your time, and in some cases your money. Here are our picks for the best Roku channels you can currently watch. Again, some of these will require paying a monthly and/or a yearly fee, but there’s a surprising amount of great channels you can download and watch for free.
Read more: Best Roku deals
Best Roku channels
1. Roku channel
We start our list by checking out Roku’s own content channel. It offers tons of free streaming movies and TV shows, plus some live TV news, sports and channels as well. You will likely find a great movie or show to watch. In addition, you can sign up for other premium services in the Roku channel, like Starz, Showtime, and others. You can even watch selected episodes from these premium services for free via the channel.
Price: Starting at $8.99 a month
Netflix started the video streaming trend, and it remains the biggest premium service with almost 200 million subscribers worldwide. The Netflix Roku channel allows you to access the service and all of its exclusive series and movies, with tons more original content being added every month.
3. Disney Plus
Price: $6.99 a month
While it doesn’t have a ton of original content (yet), Disney Plus has lots of great classic and more recent movies and TV shows from the vast Disney library (with a few 20th Century Fox titles thrown in for good measure). The family-friendly service is slowly building up its original content library, include the first two seasons of the hit Star Wars show The Mandalorian. 2021 will be an even bigger year for the service, with several Marvel Cinematic Universe series debuting, and much more. It’s a must for your Roku channels list.
Price: Starting at $5.99 a month with free trial
Hulu has been around for almost as long as Netflix. Its main attraction is that it has a number of current broadcast network TV shows from ABC, NBC and Fox. New episodes are available the next day after they are broadcast on their respective networks. You can also watch lots of classic and more recent movies and TV shows, and you can stream a number of original movies and series, including the Emmy winning drama The Handmaids Tale. You can also sign up for Hulu Plus Live TV, which offers lots of live streaming cable TV channels, plus cloud DVR, for extra fees.
5. Amazon Prime Video
Price: Included with Amazon Prime at $12.99 a month with free trial
Amazon Prime’s streaming video section lets you stream thousands of TV shows and movies, including original series like the hit superhero show The Boys. Amazon also offers a limited number of live sports events, including an upcoming NFL football game (the San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals on December 26) that will only be available on Amazon Prime Video.
6. HBO Max
Price: $14.99 a month
One of the most recent of the Roku channels is HBO Max. You can watch nearly everything from the HBO pay cable channel library, plus lots of other stuff, including shows like Friends and Doctor Who. You can also watch a growing number of original series and movies, including Raised by Wolves and The Flight Attendant. Best of all, in 2021, you will be able to watch all of the Warner Bros theatrical movie releases on the service day-and-date with their theater releases.
Price: Starting at $5.99 a month
ESPN remains the biggest name in TV sports coverage. The ESPN Roku channel lets you watch live sports from football to NBA basketball to MLB baseball and more. In addition, you can sign up for ESPN Plus for an extra fee for access to even more sports shows and coverage. You can even give a gift card to friends.
8. Pluto TV
Pluto TV offers hundreds of its own channels to watch. ranging from classic TV to live news programs and much more. The service also has lots of shows and movies to stream on demand. Best of all, Pluto TV is completely free (supported by ads).
9. Apple TV Plus
Price: $4.99 a month with free trial
The folks in Cupertino are in the streaming movie and TV business with Apple TV Plus. It offers a small but growing number of (mostly) original content. Including acclaimed TV series like The Morning Show and Ted Lasso. It also has a few original movies like the recent WWII drama Greyhound.
10. Tubi TV
Like Pluto TV, Tubi TV is completely free to stream as one of the Roku channels. It also offers up recent and classic TV shows on-demand, and that includes movies and shows that are not available for free on other digital stores and streaming services.
Price: Starting at $20 a month with free trial
There are many internet-based live TV streaming services, including Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV and others. One of our favorites is Philo, which lets you stream over 60 live TV channels, plus cloud DVR support, for just $20 a month.
Price: Starting at $6.99 a month, with free trial
The TV shows and TV movies made from across the pond are some of the best around. BritBox lets you watch some of the best BBC and ITV shows, including classic Doctor Who and, more recently, Downton Abbey. You can even watch news programs and UK soap operas the day after they are broadcast in Britain.
Price: Starting at $9.99 a month, with free trial
Some Roku channels offer more than video. You can also listen to music and podcasts on your Roku devices. That includes the most popular streaming music service, Spotify, which serves up your favorite tunes and podcast.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about YouTube as one of the many Roku channels. Yet, it’s also perhaps the biggest free streaming video service, with tons of great content to access from its millions of content creators. Plus, if you sign up for YouTube Premium, you can ditch those annoying video ads.
Price: Free, with premium options starting at $4.99 a month
Here’s another recent entry in the many Roku channels that are available. Peacock offers viewers a way to stream content from NBCUniversal’s TV shows and movies, and much of that content is available for free. Peacock is also the exclusive streaming service for the US version of The Office.
16. Discovery Plus
Price: Starting at $4.99 a month, with free 7-day trial
The new kid on the block offers tons of reality and documentary series from the Discovery family of cable channels. You can also watch a growing number of Discovery Plus original shows and specials, including spin-offs of popular shows like 90 Day Fiance, and much more.
Those are our picks for the best Roku channels for your new streaming purchase or gift. Of course, there are plenty of other channels to check out, and we will update this list when new ones are released.