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Roku devices come in a variety of different models and specifications, but at their core, they all operate in the same way: you add channels and watch the content you want.
There are two sources of Roku channels. One is the Roku Channel Store; it offers more than enough free Roku channels to keep you entertained. However, the Roku really comes into its own when you start adding private or hidden channels.
Keep reading to learn how to add private Roku channels and discover the best hidden Roku channels you can install right now.
How Do You Add Private or Hidden Channels to Roku?
Before you can add a private channel to your Roku box, you’ll need two things:
- The channel’s code (we have included the codes in our list below)
- A Roku account (set one up for free on the Roku website)
Once you have created an account and know the channel code, it’s easy to start adding channels.
To begin, head to your account portal and click Add a channel with a code. Insert the code, accept the on-screen confirmation, and you’re done.
The channel should immediately appear at the bottom of the channel list on your Roku’s home screen. If it doesn’t, you can force a refresh by going to Settings > System > System Update > Check Now on the device.
(NB: Some private Roku channels are restricted to certain countries or regions.)
1. RokuCast (CL9D5D)
RokuCast lets you stream HTML5 content from the Chrome browser on your computer to your Roku device. You’ll need the Chrome extension and this private Roku channel to make it work.
2. El Cartel TV (chibchombiatv)
El Cartel TV offers dozens of live TV channels from South America, with a particular focus on Colombian channels.
Popular channels such as TeleSUR, Canal Capital, and Canal Uno are all available.
3. AOL On (aol)
AOL On offers content from 17 TV networks, including BBC News, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, ET Online, Food Network, and HGTV.
It used to be in the regular channel store, but is now only available as a private channel.
4. EuroRoku (296XJKP)
EuroRoku is a paid private Roku channel that provides access to 24/7 streams of European TV stations.
The service costs $15/month and offers more than 300 channels, including networks from France, Germany, Bulgaria, Moldova, Spain, Holland, and Belgium.
5. Armchair Tourist (ArmchairTourist)
Branded as “Free HD Wallpaper for your Television,” Armchair Tourist is a live stream of tourist hotspots around the world. Each stream has a four-digit code that you can enter of the Armchair Tourist website for more information about the location in question.
6. FOX Business (FOXBIZ)
Along with Bloomberg and CNBC, FOX Business is one of the three big American news networks about finance, business, and global markets.
7. RokuMovies (zb34ac)
Not to be confused with the official The Roku Channel, RokuMovies focuses on bringing you the world’s strangest and most outlandish low-budget films.
Give it a try if you like giant monsters and forgotten kung-fu flicks with ridiculous storylines.
8. Video Games (T6PH2V)
If you love video game walkthroughs, give this channel a try. It includes complete playthroughs of nine classic video games from 1988 to 2004.
The games available include The Legend of Zelda; A Link to the Past, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Metroid.
9. DISHWorld (DISHWorld)
Owned by Sling, DISHWorld is an international TV service that lets you watch live TV in more than 15 languages. In addition to the private Roku channel, the app is also available as an APK for Android.
10. Pro Guitar Lessons TV (ProGuitar)
Feeling creative? It might be time to learn a musical instrument. Of course, the web has no shortage of free resources for musical beginners, but Pro Guitar Lessons TV is worth adding to your list.
11. Food Matters TV (foodmatterstv)
Foodies need to install Food Matters TV. It has a selection of videos covering cooking shows, recipes, diets, healthy eating, and more.
12. Happy Kids (HappyKids)
Happy Kids TV offers a broad mix of kids programming, including music, rhymes, activity guides, and some popular kids’ TV shows and movies.
13. Relaxation Channel (Relax)
Soothing sounds paired with stunning imagery, the Relaxation Channel is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a peaceful few hours to themselves.
14. Kinda Classics (GK9NH5Z)
Kinda Classics is one of the secret Roku channels that everyone needs to have on their device. It offers a wide range of classic shows and movies from around the world.
15. Emby (Emby)
Emby is an open-source alternative to media center apps such as Plex and Kodi.
If you’d like to learn more about how the app stacks up against its two rivals, check out our comparison of Emby, Plex, and Kodi.
16. Silent Night (SilentNight)
Silent Night is the first of two hidden Roku channels on our list that caters to silent movie fans. They both offer a different selection of films, so complement each other well.
17. Harvest Eating (harvest)
Another private channel for foodies, Harvest focuses on providing recipes using fruit and vegetables that are in-season during a particular time of year.
18. 5ik.TV (5ikTV)
5ik.TV lets you watch live TV channels from the Far East, including China, Japan, and South Korea. The channel’s interface isn’t in English, but if you can recognize the logos of TV networks in the region, it’s relatively easy to navigate to the content you want to watch.
19. Spanish Time (spanishtime)
If you speak Spanish and would like to keep abreast of the latest goings-on in Latin America, you could subscribe to Spanish Time for $9.99/month.
It offers more than 150 live streaming channels from across the region, including all of the biggest networks in Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia. There’s also a broad selection of miscellaneous Spanish-language sports and entertainment channels.
20. Silent Movies (RLQXKG)
French movie The Artist might have cleaned up at the 2012 Oscars, but the real heyday of silent film was back in the 1920s.
The Silent Movies channel lets you relive the glory days of Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton.
How to Install Even More Roku Channels
Private Roku channels have something for everyone. If you’re not using them, you’re going to restrict your enjoyment and limit the potential of your Roku device. But they are only one piece of the puzzle.
To learn more about how to get the most out of your Roku device, here’s how to watch local channels on Roku for free.
Read the full article: 20 Private and Hidden Roku Channels You Should Install Now
Slick, smooth, and speedy --- the Roku Premiere is an incredible device for such a low price. While it has minor niggles, with such a large choice of apps in such a compact package, this is an amazing media streamer with 4K capabilities at an unmissable price.
The media streamer market is at saturation point, with multiple devices available from all the big names. There’s Apple TV, Amazon Fire sticks and boxes, Android TV units, and Google Chromecast.
And then there’s Roku. With a couple of devices to choose from, their budget Roku Premiere is particularly interesting. It costs under $50, streams 4K video, and seems to have an app for every service you can think of, and quite a few you can’t.
But does the Roku Premiere deliver on the performance promised on the box?
We’ve teamed up with Plex to offer a fantastic giveaway bundle to one lucky reader, consisting of a Roku Premiere, HD HomeRun Connect Duo TV-tuner, indoor antenna, and LIFETIME Plex Pass! You’ll find the entry widget at the end of this review, and the bonus code in the video. Good luck!
Unboxing the Roku Premiere
In the box, you’ll find the Roku Premiere (3920 model), USB cable, power adapter, and a surprisingly short HDMI cable. Also in the box is an IR remote control (Wi-Fi fans can use the mobile app), featuring pre-set channel shortcut buttons (including Netflix) and two AAA batteries. Along with a brief set-up guide, an adhesive strip is also included.
All of this is wrapped up in an orange box that promises much: “4K & HDR streaming made easy” and a bunch of free and subscription services. If you have 4K content, a suitable internet connection, and a TV with the requisite HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI port, you’ll get 4K. Otherwise, the Roku Premiere is perfect for standard 1080p content, too.
Roku Premiere Specification
On the face of it, the Roku Premiere is incredibly unimpressive. It’s a small plastic slab, measuring 3.30 x 1.40 x 0.70 inches and weighing just 1.28 ounces. On the back is a single micro-USB power port and a single HDMI port. You’ll also find a small reset button, accessed using a pin.
For connecting the Roku Premiere to your network, there’s an 802.11bgn single-band wireless chip.
At the heart of the Roku is a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU with 1GB of RAM and 512MB channel storage. There is no microSD card slot with the Roku Premiere.
The device can handle 4K UHD up to 2160p at 60fps, and supports HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). Audiophiles can enjoy DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Audio, with Dolby ATMOS pass through over HDMI, and Digital stereo over HDMI.
Can you connect Roku to your TV? Well, if you have an HDTV or greater, you should be fine. The box can stream to standard HDTVs with 1080p, as well as upscaling 720p.
For 4K UHD TVs, the Roku streams up to 2160p at 60fps (3840×2160) with up-scaling from 720p and 1080p. For this, the 4K TV should have an HDMI input that supports HDCP 2.2. The Roku Premiere can also stream at HDR10 to 4K UHD HDR TVs, using the same HDCP 2.2 HDMI input.
Note: as most people own a 1080p HDTV, we’ve reviewed the Roku Premiere on such a device.
Setting Up the Roku Premiere
While easy to set up and install, the Roku Premiere comes with a couple of positional challenges.
- How should you power it?
- Where should you place it?
Both are straightforward. The device ships with its own USB power adapter, so if there is a mains electric connection nearby, use this. However, this isn’t always the case. Fortunately, most modern TVs offer a 5V USB power outlet which is ideal for the Roku Premiere.
With the power sorted out, positioning is the next challenge. The Roku Premiere is compact and light enough to be mounted on your TV. It comes with a double-sided adhesive strip to attach the device to the top or bottom of your television. If there is a consistent surface for the adhesive, the Roku Premiere can be reliably attached. Given the length of the HDMI cable, it makes sense to keep the device close to your TV.
Hooking up the Roku Premiere to Wi-Fi is straightforward, as is the entire set up process. You’ll need to set up your Roku account on a PC or tablet, however, in order to activate the device. This is a straightforward process that helps you initialize the Roku for your territory and download the relevant selection of apps. Once this is done you can switch back to the Roku Premiere itself to add channel apps, log in or create new accounts, and prepare for viewing.
It’s fair to say that everything about this unit, from the compact size and ergonomic remote control to the simplicity of the user interface, makes it suitable even for the most tech-averse person you know.
Another example: the fabric tab on the remote’s battery compartment. No more struggling with your remote’s battery cover—it literally pulls off to let you quickly change the batteries. The remote itself is light, easy to use, and sits nicely in your hand. The lack of volume control is a surprise, but a minor disappointment.
Everything about Roku is designed with usability in mind. It’s a wonderful philosophy that gets a big thumbs up.
Finding and Installing Apps on Roku Premiere
The Roku Premiere features a vast selection of channels that can be installed or removed like apps. Among these are big names such as Netflix, Google Play TV, and Apple TV. The selection depends on where you live, so some apps don’t appear or won’t work in particular territories.
Thousands of channels are available overall. You’ll even find things like Plex and HD Homerun for streaming video and TV from your own networked devices.
Other channel apps include Disney+, Prime, Apple TV, Now TV, and YouTube. Channels are divided by category, and the platform even supports basic games.
Managing apps on the Roku Premiere is easy, too.
You can and delete as necessary, and the settings screen opens a whole host of options. You can change the theme, the screensaver, enable network access for mobile apps, factory reset, system update, change the language, and even initiate a guest mode. This lets visitors to your home input their own credentials for a specific app. A useful option for borrowing Disney+ to catch the latest addition to the service with friends and family.
As noted, the Roku has 512MB of channel storage. I spent around 30 minutes finding and installing apps without running out of space, so unless you’re really indecisive you probably won’t hit that limit.
Missing Channels? Use Mirroring
Incredibly, despite having 100s of channels, the Roku Premiere might not feature a channel app you want to use. For example, in the UK there is no Britbox app (although the US version is listed). Similarly, there is no Kodi app for Roku.
So, what is the solution? Fortunately, Roku supports screen mirroring. All you need to do is open Settings > System > Screen Mirroring, then choose whether to allow all connections or issue a prompt.
On the device you’re mirroring from, use the mirroring option. So, on Android, use a mirroring app rather than Chromecast. We tried it out on Windows, Android, and iOS—the mobile devices worked whereas Windows 10 did not. Connection was made, but no streaming was established, despite several attempts and reboots.
Setting Up Roku Premiere with HD Homerun DUO and Plex
This review is all about the Roku Premiere, but thanks to Plex, our incredible prize bundle also includes an HD Homerun DUO, HDTV indoor UHF antenna, and a Lifetime Plex Pass.
But how well do these systems play together?
Well, we think you’ll be impressed. While the HD Homerun DUO requires a strong, consistent terrestrial HDTV signal, it’s easy to add to your network. Just plug it into your router using Ethernet, hook up the antenna (internal or external), and over the air TV can be viewed on any compatible device. The Roku Premiere features an HD Homerun app, so any TV you’re missing can be enjoyed that way.
Plex has expanded in recent years, now offering content only available with a Plex Pass along with your own media hosted on a network drive. The Plex app on Roku easily connects to your existing Plex server, giving access to every media file you need.
Roku: The Perfect Plex Partner
Over the years I’ve used several media streamers, from Apple TV and Chromecast to Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast Ultra. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but none are as easy to use and slick as Roku.
Of course, the Roku Premiere has some shortcomings. HDMI-CEC—the system that allows your TV remote to control a media streamer or vice versa—seems inconsistent. There is also a lack of volume control. Screen mirroring from Windows 10, meanwhile, appears fraught with pitfalls and is possibly best avoided. The lack of Kodi might be a deal-breaker, too.
However, these are minor. Overall, this is a great media streamer, at a surprisingly low price for 4K and HDR. It’s easy to set up, surprisingly simple to use, and you probably won’t use your standard TV decoder for days after installing the Roku Premiere.
Enter the Competition!Roku Premiere, HD Homerun Duo, and Plex Bundle
Read the full article: Roku Premiere Streams Netflix, Disney+ and More in HD, 4K, & HDR for Under $50
The Roku Channel now offers more than 100 channels for free. Which means cord-cutters and other fans of free stuff now have more content to choose from. And to help users navigate the free stuff, Roku has also launched a Live TV Channel Guide.
In 2017, Roku launched The Roku Channel. This was a free, ad-supported channel full of movies. It has since evolved into a hub full of channels showing a diverse range of content. Most of which is free to watch if you’re willing to put up with the occasional ad.
The Roku Channel Expands Yet Again
As of the start of June 2020, The Roku Channel boasts more than 100 channels in the US. This is thanks to an expansion adding another 40 channels. These include The Bob Ross Channel, Vanity Fair, Wired, XUMO Free Movies, Redbox Free Movies, and Reuters.
The channels offering free content include news, sports, kids, and lifestyle programming. And there’s also Spanish-language channels, including AFV Español, América TeVé, Latido Music, Love Nature Español, MOOVIEMEX by Pongalo, and Pongalo NovelaClub.
“Now more than ever it’s important for our users to have easy access to free content, such as news, and the ability to find it quickly. We’re excited to enhance the streaming experience through a Live Channel TV Guide and bring more free content from The Roku Channel to the forefront.”
— Ashley Hovey, Director, AVOD Growth, Roku.
With so many channels and so many thousands of hours of programming available on them, Roku has also launched a new Live TV Channel Guide. As the name suggests, this lets you see at a glance what’s playing on the live TV channels now and in the future.
The Live TV Channel Guide is accessible via a new Live TV tile on The Roku Channel. You can also press left on your Roku remote to open it when watching something. When you open it you’ll see a list of channels, plus what’s playing now and in the future.
The Best Streaming TV Services to Watch
The Roku Channel is one of the best streaming TV services. There are plenty of others, both free and paid, so don’t bother watching content that doesn’t interest you. With its broad range of channels and TV guide, The Roku Channel is a good place to start though.
Read the full article: You Can Now Watch More Free TV on The Roku Channel
The popularity of cord-cutting continues to gather pace. Collectively, cable TV companies are losing millions of subscribers every year, with no sign of that stopping.
If you have recently ditched your TV subscription, there’s a good chance you’re trying to decide between an Amazon Fire TV Stick and one of the many Roku devices.
In this article, we pit the Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku devices, determining which is best in order to help you decide.
A Complicated Comparison
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to make a like-for-like comparison between all Amazon Fire TV devices and Roku devices.
Instead, we need to focus on two Amazon products: The Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Stick 4K. On the Roku side, there are three devices that can be thought of as Fire TV Stick competitors: the Roku Express, Roku Premiere, and Roku Streaming Stick+.
NB: The Roku Ultra costs $100 and is more of an alternative to the Amazon Fire TV Cube, so we will not include it in this analysis of Fire Stick vs. Roku.
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Cost
Before we get into the features and the technical specifications, let’s deal with the elephant in the room—the cost of the devices.
Amazon’s entry-level Fire TV Stick costs $40. The 4K model will set you back a further $10, coming in at $50.
The cheapest Roku model is the Roku Express. At $30, it’s more affordable than the Fire TV Stick. At the other end of the scale, the top Roku model (Ultra excluded) is the Roku Streaming Stick+, which costs $50.
So, for the sake of simplicity we’re going to pit the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K vs. the Roku Express ($30), the Roku Premiere ($40), and the Roku Streaming Stick+ ($50)
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Specifications
This is where things get confusing. Let’s try and make sense of all the different models on offer from the two companies.
First, the Amazon devices. The basic Fire TV Stick has a Quad-core ARM 1.3 GHz processor, 8GB of internal memory, and support for Bluetooth 4.1. It plays videos in 720p or 1080p resolution at up to 60 frames-per-second (FPS).
The 4K model is a notable improvement. You’ll find a Quad-Core 1.7GHz processor, support for Bluetooth 5.0, and 2160p video resolution. The internal storage stays at 8GB and there’s 1.5GB of RAM.
The Roku Express only supports 1080p resolution. The other Roku options support 4K.
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Controls
All Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices ship with a dedicated remote control.
Both Amazon controllers support Alexa. If you want to control your Roku with your voice, you will need to buy a Streaming Stick+.
Roku and Amazon have both developed an accompanying remote control smartphone app.
And remember, if you have an Amazon Echo speaker, you can sync it with your Fire TV Stick and use it to control your content.
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Interface
Visually, the Amazon platform is more modern and feels more polished. However, critics have argued that it pushes Amazon’s own content too aggressively.
It’s a valid viewpoint. You’ll only see one row of your own apps at the top of the screen.
The rest of the homescreen is taken up by content from Amazon Prime Video. Even if you don’t subscribe to the service, you will still see it.
Roku’s interface is more customizable. All of your channels are displayed in a scrollable list and you can create shortcuts for your most-used channels. If you install third-party add-ons, you can even place your channels into groups for easier navigation.
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: TV Shows and Movies
If you’re looking for a provider-agnostic device, Roku offers the best streaming sticks on the market. They’re not only better than Amazon Fire TV sticks; they’re also better than Android TV, Apple TV, and Chromecasts.
You’ll find apps for just about every on-demand video and music streaming app, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Spotify, and TuneIn Radio. Roku also offers its own ad-supported streaming channel providing access to a large number of free movies and TV shows.
Roku also offers a vast library of private channels. You need to enter a code in the Roku web portal to install them on your device. Be warned—many of the private channels reside in a gray area of legality.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick run a highly modified version of Android. Which means you can sideload any app as long as you have its APK file. There are several safe and secure APK download sites you can use. Just remember that most Google Play Store apps are not designed for Fire Sticks, meaning you will also need to install a mouse app.
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Web Browsing
Only the Amazon products let you easily surf the web. Two Fire TV browsers are available—Amazon’s own Silk Browser and Firefox. You can control them both easily using the Fire TV remote. We’ve compared Silk and Firefox to find the best browser for the Amazon Fire TV Stick if you’d like to learn more.
There are web browsers that work on Roku devices, but they are not suitable for regular browsing.
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Gaming
Roku devices and Amazon Fire TV Sticks both offer games on their platform.
However, hardcore gamers might find Fire TV devices are more suitable for their needs. Generally speaking, Roku games are a bit “cutesy”. Sure, they’ll keep you entertained for half an hour, but they don’t offer longevity.
The games on Amazon’s devices are beefier. You’ll find titles such as Minecraft, Badland, and Star Wars.
Of course, if the ability to game on your streaming device is high on your list of priorities, neither a Roku or a Fire TV Stick can hold a candle to the Nvidia Shield. You can stream titles from your PC using Nvidia GameStream, download a host of local games from Nvidia and Google Play, and install emulators for classic consoles.
Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Screen Mirroring
Roku devices have Miracast technology built-in. If you’re not aware, Miracast is like a wireless version of an HDMI cable. Most Android and Windows devices are Miracast-compatible. Apple devices are not.
Some older Amazon Fire TV models also support screen mirroring. Oddly, it’s not available on the Amazon Fire Stick or Fire Stick 4K.
Roku vs. Fire TV Stick: Which Is Best?
It’s really difficult to choose a clear winner between the Roku and Fire Stick. Much depends on how you plan to use your device, which gadgets you already own, and which streaming service you subscribe to.
All else being equal, we’d recommend either the Amazon Fire Stick 4K or the Roku Streaming Stick+. And remember, you could even buy a Chromecast or Android TV.
Read the full article: Amazon Fire Stick vs. Roku: Which One Is Better?