Home Latest News What is The Roku Channel? Content, cost, and how to use it...

What is The Roku Channel? Content, cost, and how to use it – Digital Trends

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?
If it’s your first time on the Roku platform (or even your 100th), you may notice an option called The Roku Channel once you are finished setting everything up and logging in with your Roku account. Unlike some third-party apps that you have to download, The Roku Channel itself is already pre-installed and ready to go. But that leads to a big question: What exactly is The Roku Channel, and should you care?
Roku’s own channel is a hub with a wide variety of content, and it is an excellent starting place when first learning how to use and customize the smart platform. We are big fans of Roku devices and TVs, especially for those looking for an affordable streaming platform, and The Roku Channel is one of the advantages that you get: Here’s everything you should know.
The Roku Channel is Roku’s own streaming app for delivering its unique content to users. It works in a similar way to apps like Hulu or Netflix, except it’s created to support a wide variety of content directly from Roku. The Roku Channel was first released in 2017 and has been updated a number of times to improve access and expand the content.
The Roku Channel should not be mistaken for the Roku smart platform that hosts The Roku Channel and other apps: You’ll always find The Roku Channel on this platform, but it is separate from the platform itself.
The base tier of The Roku Channel is free to access, and any content delivered by Roku is free to view. But, as we will explain below, that doesn’t mean everything advertised on The Roku Channel is free to view — some services will come with their own fees. However, there is no charge to access the service as long as you have a free Roku account.
The free content on The Roku Channel rotates frequently and represents a wide variety of genres, so it’s difficult to give a precise list of everything it has. However, you can use The Roku Channel to view things like:
Much like Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and similar apps, The Roku Channel allows you to add premium subscriptions within the app to access content delivered by third-party streaming services. That includes things like Discovery+, AMC+, Starz, Showtime, Paramount+, and dozens of others. There are two important points to keep in mind here.
First, you don’t need to use The Roku Channel to pay for, log in, and watch these services, not even if you are using a Roku TV or device. You can download the third-party apps themselves onto the Roku platform (as long as they are available) and use them independently without ever visiting The Roku Channel. The big advantage here is that you can use The Roku Channel to organize all your streaming services in one place and pay for them with one payment.
Second, Roku will automatically deduct monthly payments for these services from the payment option linked to your Roku account. That means you need to be very careful when choosing advertised content on the Channel, or picking shows or movies that are marked Premium. You could sign up for a monthly fee without easily realizing it until Roku sends you a bill.
There are not many regional restrictions for The Roku Channel. If you have a newer Roku device and a Roku account, for example, you should be able to access it right out of the box. The exceptions are the live news broadcasts, which are only available in the United States and Canada at this time.
Yes, it is, you don’t need to use Roku’s smart platform to access it. You can download the Roku app to access it for iOS here, or for Android here, or use the web app here.
This independent app on a mobile device also adds some unique new features that you may want to use along with your Roku device. It can connect with the Roku platform and allow you to remotely switch devices, use the app like a remote, or switch to silent listening if you have a pair of earbuds handy.
No, you can get full use of any supported apps on Roku without touching The Roku Channel itself. But it’s a lot of free content, which may be hard to pass up. Additionally, the exception would be subscriptions for some content on The Roku Channel that do not have a corresponding third-party app available to download on the Roku platform: You may have to boot up The Roku Channel for content like that.
If you’ve been shopping around for a new set of earbuds or headphones with the latest technology, like the recently announced 2nd generation of Apple’s AirPods Pro, you’ll see some of them boast about something called a “transparency mode.” It’s not immediately clear what that means or if it’s something that you want, so we’re taking a moment to go over this headphone/earphone tech, what it is, and when you would use it. Let’s get started with some answers to important questions!
What is transparency mode?
To talk about transparency mode, we first have to introduce a different feature — ANC, or Active Noise Cancellation. This mode is found on an increasing number of today’s earbud and headphone models, and it works to silence external noises. ANC does this with mics that are actively picking up background noises and creating inverted soundwaves that help block those noises out. There are many ANC designs, but they all function in similar ways and excel at blocking out ongoing background noises such as the rumbling of a subway, passing cars, airplane cabins, and so on.
Apple’s AirPods provide durable, true wireless sound for your music, podcasts, movies, TV, and more, but they’re also tiny sticks that sit in your ears — which means they’re easy to lose, and accidents can happen. You may know the feeling of leaving your AirPods behind or reaching up and suddenly realizing you only have one AirPod left in your ear — oh, the horror!
The good news is, Apple’s Find My service is designed just for these situations and can help you locate your lost AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max from an iPhone, iPad, or on your computer, pinpointing their location on a map and even allowing you to trigger a sound to help you find them. There’s also a Lost Mode, notification options so you won’t forget your AirPods, and more. Here’s how it all works.
With so many streaming services to choose from, keeping track of which TV shows, movies, and channels are available where you can find them can be overwhelming, if not impossible. Even if popular services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video pique your interest, they can also leave a massive dent in your wallet, especially if you plan to subscribe to more than one, as most people do when they decide to cut the cable cord. 
Pluto TV, on the other hand, isn’t Netflix or Hulu — it’s free.
Looking for a movie?
Upgrade your lifestyleDigital Trends helps readers keep tabs on the fast-paced world of tech with all the latest news, fun product reviews, insightful editorials, and one-of-a-kind sneak peeks.