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Are you unwittingly stuck with a laggy streaming service? No biggie. Thankfully it's 2020 and we’re no way short of stress-free ways to stream content on TV no matter if it’s new or old. Of all the picks out there, one of the oldest and fail-safe methods is Roku, which by the way is getting bigger and better with around 46 million monthly active users.

There’s so much to boast about this streaming device, but the best bit is that you don’t need to toss your old TV and get a smart one. Instead, you only need to buy a budget-friendly Roku for your daily dose of true-blue entertainment. But what is Roku, you ask?

With Roku, you don’t need to choose between content and price. Instead, you get access to a plethora of channels and streaming services. It’s nothing like your regular computer-TV hookup or game consoles.

Thanks to an excellent user-interface, Roku streamers provide a dead-simple way to stream content on a TV. From the largest collection of apps (Roku channels), you get a mash-up of horror, adventure, detectives, westerns, and way more money in your pocket.

Already have a Roku device or planning to buy one? We break down exactly what makes Roku stand out among the rest.

How Much Does Roku Cost Per Month?

You can get the Roku streaming players at a starting price of $29.99. Sadly the best things aren’t always free so you do need to pay for services like Netflix, HBO Now, PBS, and Hulu. Roku also lets you access movie rental or purchase services, but you’d need to spend a few bucks for that too. But then who needs paid-content when you have tons of free options at hand!

List of Roku Devices with Prices

Most Roku sets include an easy-to-use and simple Roku player, a remote control, and an HDMI cable, while some come with just a portable stick and a remote. All the Roku players work with any TV with an HDMI port. All devices offer access to more than 4,000 channels and support 1080p HD video or higher. Roku is accompanied by a Roku mobile app to control the device.

There is no monthly device fee and you can even enjoy free 3 months of Apple TV upon purchase of an eligible Roku streaming device. Plus, if you don’t like the Roku devices, you can have your money back within the first 30 days.

Roku Here is the list of Roku streaming devices you can choose from.

  • Roku Express — $29.99
  • Roku Premiere — $39.99
  • Roku® Streaming Stick® — $49.99
  • Roku Ultra — $99.99
  • Roku® Streambar™ — $129.99
  • Roku Smart Soundbar — $179.99

The following Roku streaming devices are exclusively available at Walmart:

  • Roku Express — $39.99
  • Roku® Streaming Stick® Headphone Edition — $59.99
  • Roku Ultra LT —$59.00

Roku prioritizes its content sound quality to give you a cinematic entertainment experience. The Roku Streambar and Roku Smart Soundbar have built-in soundbars. You can even expand your Roku audio system with deeper and richer bass. Here are the Roku audio products you could add to your Roku devices to get an immersive surround sound.

  1. Roku TV™ Wireless Speakers — $199.99
  2. Roku Wireless Subwoofer — $179.99

Is Roku a Device or a Software?

Roku is both. It boasts a variety of media-streaming devices, which are powered by the Roku software. Roku rolls out automatic updates to fix bugs and enhance the customer experience. The latest software version Roku OS 9.4 offers new ways to quickly navigate and control their Roku players.

Roku sells its own streaming devices such as the Roku Express that cost as cheap as $29.99. There are several Roku device models, which get better as they get pricier. The top-end Roku Smart Soundbar costs a solid $179.99, which boasts a fully functioning 4K HDR Roku streamer with dynamic bass and Dolby Audio. In short, there is a Roku device for everyone.

Smart TV Vs Roku Streaming Player Vs Roku TV

Roku has you covered for streaming the best free and premium content, for a rock-bottom price. It’s best for TV buffs who don’t care much about fancy features.

Roku streamers can work with any TV with an HDMI port. These players can be used on any TV with an HDMI connection, but the biggest USP is that you don’t need a smart TV with its own internet connection to make it work. If your TV set is not too old and has an HDMI connection, don’t rush to buy one just yet unless you really need an upgrade.

However, if you don’t mind buying a new TV and adding some Roku smarts, then for a little pricey offering you can get The Roku TV. Roku licenses its OS that powers its streaming devices to multiple TV manufacturers. TCL, Hisense, Philips, Sanyo, Element, JVC, RCA, Hitachi, Magnavox, Westinghouse, Onn, and InFocus are the brands selling Roku TV.

There are hundreds of Roku OS-powered television sets, which are branded as Roku TVs. Each TV model varies in size, features, and functions but you are guaranteed an entire Roku entertainment experience.

The Roku TVs are everyone’s favorite because most of the TV models come equipped with a high dynamic range (HDR) video format and a Dolby Vision. So far the only Roku streaming player boasting these covetous features is the Roku Ultra.

Does Roku Require Internet to Work?

Roku is a streaming player. To stream any content, you need a high-speed internet connection. Roku does not come equipped with its own internal storage that stores movies and devices as well as other streaming devices like Chromecast, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV.

So if you had been eager to cut the cord, you can definitely do it with confetti and ribbons. However, you will still have to retain a high-speed internet contract with your Internet service provider. The good thing is that you would still be saving quite a lot on your monthly bill with an internet-only plan.

The problem is you need unlimited internet data or a higher data allowance to enjoy worry-free streaming. Most internet service providers place data caps on their internet service, and if you cross them, you are charged a data overage fee. Which may give you a setback on your savings.

So better go for a provider (there are not many) that offers unlimited internet data in their plans such as Spectrum Internet or AT&T Fiber. Or go for internet plans that have higher data caps i.e. around 1TB, which will be quite hard to cross even with copious streaming. AT&T Internet (IPBB), CenturyLink, Cox, and Xfinity offer a data allowance of 1TB or more every month.

As for internet speeds, you need the following to stream content:

  • Standard Definition – 2-3 Mbps
  • High Definition in 720p – 5 Mbps
  • High Definition in 1080p – 9 Mbps
  • Ultra High Definition 4K – 16 Mbps

How to Set Up Roku?

Roku streaming devices or streaming sticks are quite easy to set up. The process for setting up different models, sticks, or devices, is essentially the same. Your Roku device can be connected to any TV if it has an HDMI port. All Roku devices come with an HDMI cable and the Roku streaming sticks have an in-built HDMI connector. So follow the easy-peasy instructions below to set up your Roku device.

  1. Choosing HDMI

If your TV only supports 720p or 1080p, go for a High-Speed HDMI cable. If you want to take advantage of 4K Ultra HD or HDR, which your TV supports, go for the Premium High-Speed HDMI cable.

  1. Plugging the HDMI or Composite Cable

Plug the HDMI cable that arrived with your Roku player directly into the TV’s HDMI port. If it’s a Roku stick, plug it directly into the TV port.

If your TV does not have an HDMI port, you can connect your Roku player with a composite cable. Check if your Roku player has the composite audio/video connection with ports labeled "A/V" or "A/V OUT”. Or it can be a separate port labeled with ‘VIDEO’ and two ports labeled as ‘AUDIO’.

  1. Power on your Roku device

Insert the power adapter into a wall outlet. For the Roku streaming stick, use a USB power cable with an advanced wireless receiver to the USB power extender cable, which you can plug into the power adapter. If you are connecting your Roku player using USB power, insert the USB power cable into the USB port of your TV. The Roku sticks already support USB power along with a few Roku devices.

  1. Switch on the TV

Switch on your TV, and choose your TV input as Roku. Once you have the Roku device connected, you will see the Roku logo on your TV screen.

  1. Choose device language

The first screen will ask you to choose the language of your preference. Use the up and down buttons on your Roku remote to navigate the way, and press OK once to select the option.

  1. Connect Roku to the Internet

You can choose to connect your Roku device to a wired or wireless internet connection. If you prefer a wired connection, insert the Ethernet cable to your Roku device before switching on the power. For a wireless connection, go to the list of wireless networks in the menu. Choose your home network, enter your Wi-Fi password, and connect.

  1. Download or update Roku software

Once your Roku device is online, it will check for any software updates. And will automatically begin the download or update of the latest version, and then restart your device.

  1. Set up the display options

Roku automatically scans your HDMI connection and sets up the best available resolution. You can change the display type later in Settings > Display type.

For 4K UHD or HDR, make sure all your HDMI connections support HDCP 2.2 and your device is connected to a compatible 4K UHD or HDR TV. Check if your HDMI cables are firmly attached in case your Roku doesn’t show the 4K UHD or HDR support.

  1. Set up the Roku TV enhanced remote

This step is for if you are using the Roku enhanced remote with TV power and volume buttons. Go to Check remote settings to set up your enhanced remote settings automatically. You can change the remote settings later by going to Settings > Remotes & devices > Remote > Set up remote for TV control.

  1. Set up the Roku account and activate the device

You need a Roku account to activate your device. A prompt will appear where you will input your Roku account credentials. Then activate and link your Roku device through your smartphone or computer. Check your email for the Roku activation link. Check your spam or junk folder if you don’t see the activation email. It may take a few minutes for it to appear. Activate and you are done!

Get these Best Channels on Roku for FREE!

With Roku, you won’t have another “I can’t find my favorite show here!” rant as you can get almost every possible app on the Roku Channel Store.

Oozing with 4,000 free and paid channels that offer an awesome list of free movies, TV shows, specials, and original content— this streaming platform offers fun-packed entertainment that you can’t find anywhere else. Sure, such ecosystems are cluttered with the typical snobby fuzz i.e. channels that look cool on the outside but lack good content.

However, don’t fret as we’ve de-cluttered the list for you and picked some best free channels on Roku. Whether you’re looking for sports, entertainment, news or kids' shows, you will find something or the other to satisfy your entertainment needs. Here are some best free Roku apps you shouldn’t miss!

Tubi TV

Crunchyroll

YouTube

Sky News

PBS Kids

PBS

Cartoon Network

Crackle

Nosey

The Roku Channel

Al Jazeera

ChefsFeed

America’s Test Kitchen

Shout Factory TV

Hoopla

 

BuzzFeed Original Series

 

Viewster

 

Comet TV

 

Popcorn Flix

Tiny Desk Concerts from NPR

Download Free Spectrum TV App on Roku!

Want to bring Spectrum TV experience to your Roku? Sign up for Spectrum TV and Internet subscription and download the FREE Spectrum TV App on your Roku device to access a plethora of epic entertainment!

The Spectrum TV app on Roku will give you access to live TV, 80 network apps including CNN, STARZ, MAX GO along with many others and thousands of On Demand TV shows and movies to satisfy your unique taste clusters when you're connected to your power-packed Spectrum internet.

With the Spectrum TV App, you can access your full TV lineup in-home and plenty of On-Demand TV shows and movies not only on Roku but on your mobile, Xbox One, tablet, Samsung Smart TV, and other connected devices. To top it off, you can also binge watch while on-the-move by downloading TV channel apps you want and stream away anywhere and everywhere you like!

Spectrum TV is available across all Roku devices including—

  1. Roku Ultra
  2. Roku Premiere
  3. Roku Premiere
  4. Roku Express
  5. Roku Express
  6. Roku TVs
  7. Roku 4
  8. Roku 3
  9. Roku 2
  10. Roku Streaming Stick devices.

How to Install Spectrum TV app on Roku?

To install the Spectrum TV app on your Roku, sign-up on www.spectrum.net/login and create a username if you don’t have one. Once you’ve signed up you can surf through live TV categories and pick your favorite channels and create a bespoke guide through the setting favorite channels. However, the program lineup depends on your Spectrum TV subscription package and if you’re connected to the Spectrum Internet service at home.

To set up the Spectrum TV app on your Roku go to Roku.com and make a new account. Then, follow all the instructions and register your Roku player by using the given code.

To add Spectrum TV channel to Roku, connect your Roku player to the internet. Then, use your Roku remote control to access the Roku Channel Store and search for Spectrum TV to install it.

After the app is installed, you can sign in to it by using the virtual keypad with the arrow and OK buttons on the Roku remote. Once you reach the License Agreement select “I Agree” and it’s done!

Watch Live TV on Roku

Roku is hands down the best streaming device out there that comes with a slew of awesome features. Like any top-performing streamer, it supports Dolby Atmos audio, 4K, as well as HDR10.

Wait there’s more!

No doubt the à la carte streaming revolution is amazing. I mean, isn’t it mind-blowing to be wanting to watch your favorite TV show/movie and be able to find it and stream it in a snap! But don’t you think there’s still something special about live TV?

Like most of us, if channel surfing, watching sports and movies is still your jam, live TV stays very much in the equation, and Roku makes sure that you don’t miss a thing.

One of the best things about Roku streaming devices is they’re tailor-made for cord-cutters! While you can watch live TV with a feeler or on cable/satellite, there are also tons of live TV plans and bundles available on various Roku streaming channels.

From YouTube, Sling, and Haystack to ESPN, NBC and STIRR, you name it. It can get a little taxing on your internet connection though so make sure to have a rock-solid yet pocket-friendly high-speed internet and equipment like the Spectrum in-home Wi-Fi to enjoy glitch-free streaming.

All in All

Roku has made the brain-draining process of figuring streamer-for-your needs pretty easy. It is simply the best streaming box you’ll find on the market right now, and it’s affordable to boot.

You can give a total makeover to your frumpy TV set through Roku streamer and team it up with the Spectrum TV app to double your daily dose of entertainment. For further assistance, you can contact Spectrum Customer Service or visit the nearest Spectrum service store.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is Roku?

Roku are streaming devices that let you access video and audio content on a TV. You can watch thousands of channels along with streaming services like Netflix, Netflix, HBO Now, PBS, Apple TV , and Hulu through your Roku device. You can pick and choose which channel and streaming service to pay for while accessing certain channels for free. The devices are powered by the Roku software.

  1. Is Roku a device or software?

Roku is a solid combo of a streaming player and the Roku software. You can navigate the Roku software through your TV remote or the free smartphone app.

  1. What is the price of Roku?

The pricing for Roku starts at $29.99 for its basic streaming player and goes as high up as $179.99 with a few models in between.

  1. Do I have to pay for a subscription with Roku?

No. There is no monthly or annual subscription fee with Roku. You can access all the Roku features whether you purchase a Roku streaming player, Roku streaming stick, Roku soundbar, or the Roku TV. However, for additional streaming services access like HBO Now, Netflix, or Hulu, you do need a subscription.