The Roku Channel – Review 2022

For countless amusement seekers, Roku serves as a gateway to video streaming. Whether it’due south through a Roku media streaming device or Roku software directly congenital into your smart Boob tube, Roku is the platform we go to in order to reach the video services nosotros dear. However, Roku also offers its own video streaming service, The Roku Channel, for gratuitous. It doesn’t surpass the all-time paid options, or even the costless tier of Editors’ Choice choice Peacock, just the advertizement-supported service is worth checking out.

What Can You lot Watch on The Roku Aqueduct?

The Roku Channel has more than ten,000 complimentary shows and movies. This puts it in line with competing free streaming services like Tubi (20,000 shows and movies) and Peacock (xiii,000 hours of content). The last time we checked Crackle, it only had around 1,000 free shows and movies. Free video services tend to have a more catch pocketbook approach to entertainment, offering upward whatever licenses the company tin can score. Although The Roku Aqueduct spans decades and genres, its library feels random, whereas premium Editors’ Selection pick services, such as Netflix and Hulu, experience comprehensive.

Television shows range from 1950s
Dennis the Menace

and the original 1980s
Miami Vice
Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
ii Broke Girls, and
Xena: Warrior Princess. You tin watch
Ace Ventura

or the first 2
films on The Roku channel, and then put on
Man on Fire
when you lot’re in a serious mood. Its trashy reality hits include
Hell’southward Kitchen
and some adept, one-time-fashioned daytime court Television. You tin even watch some dubbed anime, such as
Naruto, although RetroCrush and Editors’ Choice pick Crunchyroll are the improve complimentary anime streaming services.

Much of The Roku Channel’southward acquired content feels a bit dated, but if yous’re looking for something more than recent that yous’ve almost likely never seen earlier, Roku also has original shows. The wild thing about these shows is that Roku actually purchased them from the sick-fated Quibi. That expressionless service spent a lot of money on serious star power to convince people they wanted to watch “quick bite” videos on their phone. Equally a upshot, these rechristened “Roku Originals” are surprisingly impressive, from the
Reno 911
reboots to Volition Smith’s stand-up comedy reality show to a prove where Christoph Waltz hunts Liam Hemsworth for sport.

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Even so, as funny as information technology is to encounter Rachel Brosnahan talk about her precious gilt arm on Roku, Editors’ Choice selection Peacock has a superior backlog, equally well as more heady original shows, like its
Bel Air

reboot featuring a deliciously evil Carlton.

Alongside its on-demand content, The Roku Channel provides free live Television set. Yous have news channels like ABC and NBC. Merely you also have channels themed around Lifetime movies,
Bob the Builder,
Project Runway, or The Asylum’southward glorious “mockbusters.” This is a squeamish perk to savour alongside the on-demand shows and movies, simply if you’re primarily interested in free live TV, Pluto TV might behave the channels that y’all seek.

If you’re willing to pay for premium content, The Roku Channel sells paid channels from partners like AMC, BET, Starz, and Showtime. These networks as well sell premium channels on other subscription services, similar Amazon Prime Video or Apple Tv+, or offering entirely standalone streaming subscriptions. You don’t need to go through Roku to get them, but it’s a prissy option.

Roku Channel premium

Costs and Platforms

Aside from the optional premium channels (whose prices vary depending on the channel), The  Roku Channel is entirely free. You don’t even need to make an account to start viewing content. Even so, in that location is only i tier available: you must picket ads. Peacock provides a robust and worthwhile free tier, only customers tin can besides pay $iv.99 or $ix.99 per month to get a amend experience.

As you might expect, you can access The Roku Channel on anything with Roku’due south name on information technology, including HDMI dongles, smart TVs, and Roku’s Android and iOS apps. You lot tin even watch information technology through a browser or install it to your desktop. Non-Roku owners can view programming through Amazon Fire Boob tube or select Samsung Smart TVs. However, unlike Tubi, there’s no Roku app for video game consoles.

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Roku Channel player

The Roku Channel on the Spider web and Mobile

Roku users will exist familiar with the dark imperial-and-blackness colour scheme that dominates The Roku Channel. The website displays a big splash image for a featured plan before list other shows and movies in densely packed rows. The categories include whatsoever shows yous’re already watching, as well as themed categories. Browse new trending shows or shows that are just about to exit the service. Catch movies that aren’t on Netflix. Get a free taste of premium channels. Or let Roku recommend content it thinks you’ll relish. You lot can also directly search for content, and save it to your listing. Selecting a movie gives you a synopsis, the rating and genre, and cast photos. Shows also include a listing of every episode in a given season.

The video player itself is okay. You can skip back fifteen seconds and turn on picture-in-picture. However, you can’t adjust video quality (or even run into what a stream’s video quality). We sympathise gratuitous services not supporting 4K streams, only viewers should still know that data. The stream quality likewise depends on what you lot’re watching. If a show isn’t in widescreen, it’s also probably not Hd. Although playback was largely satisfactory over my home Wi-Fi connection (60Mbps download), some shows would struggle at kickoff earlier smoothing themselves out and improving picture show quality. This happened a lot with live Television set streams.

The mobile experience is largely the same, except you can choose between vague “Machine, Low, Mid, and Loftier” video quality options. The real perk for mobile users is that the Roku app also serves every bit a remote for any Roku device. And so, apply your phone to control your Television receiver, rapidly type text searches, or issue vox commands. Equally a free service, Roku lets you simultaneously stream The Roku Channel to as many devices as y’all want without hitting a limit. However, you lot can’t download videos to your mobile device for offline viewing, something we capeesh about premium streaming services.

Roku Channel mobile

Accessibility and Parental Controls

Free services are peculiarly tough for parents to constabulary because there’s virtually no barrier to entry. Whatever kid with an cyberspace connexion tin watch whatever they want without spending money or fifty-fifty making an account. That said, The Roku Channel has ratings for all its shows and movies, and lets you lot create a Pivot number to restrict access to mature content if yous accept an account.

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As for accessibility, you can turn English subtitles on or off. You tin can also adjust several subtitle display options, such every bit text colour, font size, and window opacity.

The Roku Channel and VPN

It’southward i matter to watch a streaming service without paying money, simply what if y’all could watch a streaming service without exposing your individual life online? A VPN is a vital tool for online digital security, because they spoof your location to some other part of the globe. However, they tend to clash with streaming services and their regional licensing deals.

I tested The Roku Channel with a Windows PC connected to ProtonVPN servers, and the results were disappointing (simply expected). I could stream video while continued to VPN’due south US-based servers, but I got locked out if I virtually went overseas. Oddly plenty, live Television receiver worked with the agile VPN, simply that might change in the time to come given how quickly streaming services move to block VPN traffic.

Stone On, Roku

If you lot already take a Roku device, y’all might equally well see what The Roku Channel has to offer. Subsequently all, information technology’s free. You lot could find a classic sitcom from your childhood, an quondam striking movie you never caught in theaters, breaking news, or a subconscious original gem rescued from Quibi.

That said, Editors’ Choice pick Peacock is a more than appealing free service that lets yous upgrade to an fifty-fifty ameliorate paid subscription. If you’re willing to pay from the beginning, Hulu and Netflix are also Editors’ Selection picks for general streaming audiences.

For more on streaming, cheque out v reasons why you may desire to ditch your video subscription and go along cablevision. In add-on, you lot should read how streaming has ushered in a new trash TV golden age.