Netflix is the king of video channels. The app is on nearly every video steaming platform and was the first channel available on Roku. The app features thousands of movies, TV shows and documentaries. For less than $8.00 a month Netflix adds a days of entertainment and power/binge watching
Hulu Plus has the largest collection of legal first run TV Show content on the net and this app brings the service to Roku. Hulu Plus also offers an extensive collection of movies from multiple studios. Important note, while Hulu has a free Internet based service available via computers Hulu Plus is the only version available for Roku users without using a separate server. For an article on how to add access to the free version of Hulu click here.
Amazon Instant Video
Amazon Instant video is a strong entry for Roku owners especially those who are Amazon Prime members. Prime membership which costs $79.00 offers numerous perks for members including free shipping, use of the Amazon E-Book lending library and in the case of connected device users access to thousands of movies, TV Shows and documentaries. The channel also offers on demand viewing options for access to more first run content.
Plex is a channel that utilizes a separate server that must be downloaded on to a computer in order to run in concert with the Roku channel. The Plex channel offers a separate menu of audio and visual apps in that some cases mirrors channels from the official Roku channel store. Other stations available for Plex cannot be found anywhere else. Plex is also one of few channels that will allow users to play their own digital content on the streaming box.
Watch ESPN is the official app from the most well-known sports network in the United States. In order to utilize the channel you must have access to an ESPN account through a participating provider. The channel features live feeds from all of ESPN’s channels but in order to view them the user must have access via subscription. Also included is ESPN 3 the Internet based service from ESPN which features major college football and basketball along with a selection of international sports from Olympic style sports to soccer, international basketball, and others. A great addition that can make any Roku connected TV in to an outright sports hub.
Roku users can use Flixter to see movie trailers from upcoming movies as well as movies no longer in the theater. For years people have said that the previews were their favorite part of the movie theater experience along with popcorn of course. Flixter brings that experience to your home theater.
The official Roku Channel from The Public Broadcasting System features full length feature programming from TV shows airing on PBS and a large collection of classic PBS shows such as The Woodwright. Current programming is not available long term but the app is a great way to catch up on all of the top shows within a week or two of their air date. Don’t wait too long though to tune in for Downton Abbey or you will be stuck waiting till it is available on Amazon further down the line. The channel can also be linked to the local PBS station for a given area in order to access programming tailored for a given region.
HBO-Go is a digital offering from the Time Warner owned movie and television network that brings a huge library of its original television from Arliss to Oz as well as its original movies from throughout the years along with a large rotation of feature films from HBO’s studio partners. In order to access HBO-Go, users must have access to a cable subscription password.
Crackle is a free service owned by Sony Pictures that provides access to many well-known feature films, TV shows and original content. The selections are broken down by category and easy to search. Like a number of major free services the features are add supported.
If mainstream films and television shows begin to feel too predictable or stayed Snag Films may be just the solution. This free channel is graced by a large collection of independent and art house movies. It is a great alternative to the many louder Hollywood style movies available on other services.