Rokus are entertainment devices that can open up a whole new world of streaming options. You can have all of your favorite paid streaming services in one place, but Roku also has a long list of free channels with top content.
From sci-fi classics like Battlestar Galactica to hair-raising horrors like Resident Evil to popular anime shows such as Attack on Titan, this quick guide will list some of the best Roku free channels and show you how to find them.
- After the initial cost of a Roku device, you can use it for free by adding only free channels.
- There are lots of free Roku channels available, and you can find them in the Roku Channel Store.
- Many of the best free Roku channels offer 4K content, so it’s worth investing in a Roku device that supports 4K streaming.
- Some channels, such as Netflix, can be added to your Roku for free, but you will need to sign up and pay for the service to use it.
This guide is aimed at U.S. viewers, so if you’re in a different country, your channel options may look a little different. With geoblocks playing their part — see our geoblocking guide — some of the channels in this list may not be available in your region. You can, however, use a VPN with Roku to bypass the restrictions. On top of that, your Roku’s menu may look slightly different, too. For instance, in the UK, there’s no menu option for “top free movies & TV.”
Many Roku channels are completely free to watch, such as The Roku Channel and Pluto TV. Some channels offer premium content alongside the free content, but there is no obligation to make a purchase. Also, keep in mind that some Roku channels can be added to your device for free, but require a paid subscription or valid cable subscription to stream content.
You can add the HBO Channel to your Roku for free, but you will need to have a paid subscription to use the service. You can simply log in if you already have an active subscription, or sign up to it and then log in if you don’t.
There is a free ABC Roku channel, but you will need a cable TV provider account or DirecTV subscription to activate it.
After the initial device cost, you can use Roku for free by adding just the free channels. You will only need to pay if you sign up to a paid service like Netflix or purchase content, such as a movie.
Step by Step: How to Find Roku Free Channels
There are lots of free channels in the Roku Channel Store, and it’s not too hard to find them. This step-by-step guide will show you how to find free Roku channels.
- Press the Home Button
Press the home button on your Roku remote to make sure you’re on the home screen.
- Go to “Streaming Channels”
Go to “streaming channels” and press “OK” on the remote. This is where you can browse all the Roku channels and filter them by genre.
- Select “Top Free Movies & TV”
Go to “top free movies & TV” and press “OK” on the remote.
- Browse Through Roku’s Free Channels
You’ll now see all the top free channels available on Roku.
You can browse through the free channels library using the arrow buttons on your remote; press the “OK” button to view more details about any channel. If you find a channel you like, you can add the channel to your Roku.
Top 20 Free Roku Channels to Watch
There are lots of popular free channels on Roku, and although that’s great, it can take a while to browse through the whole library. Plus, the “top free movies & TV” genre lists only the top free channels, so you’ll need to do some digging using Roku’s search function to find others.
We aren’t going to list all free Roku channels. However, to give you a helping hand finding your way, we’ll list the best free Roku channels here, in no particular order, starting off with Roku’s own offering, The Roku Channel.
1. The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is a complete entertainment channel that includes live TV channels, movies, documentaries and TV shows. It’s capable of pleasing the whole family and has a similar layout to Netflix. You can purchase premium content, but it’s not required. Tune in to series such as The Nanny, classic movies like Armageddon or keep the kids happy with Peppa Pig — there’s something for everyone.
2. Pluto TV
Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels and thousands of movies for free. You can also browse live TV; it’s like having a cable subscription, only it’s free. OK, so, you won’t get the latest content, but you can search by category and watch anything from drama, food and sports to kids’ TV and classics like Unsolved Mysteries, CSI and Hell’s Kitchen.
Tubi is another multi-content channel where you can find a range of movies and TV shows. You can find anything from Western drama True Grit to horror movie Resident Evil on Tubi. There are lots of genres to choose from — including kids, drama, comedy, horror and even some niche categories, such as anime and Korean dramas — so there’s something for everyone.
With Crackle, you can watch TV shows and big Hollywood movies. The selection rotates frequently, too, so you’ll never get bored with what the channel has to offer. You can watch classic movies, such as The Karate Kid, but you can get lost in Crackle’s own original content, too, such as the crime comedy-drama series, Snatch.
Xumo offers free live TV and on-demand streaming. There are more than 190 channels to surf through, including sports, local news, comedy, horror movies and much more. Laugh your socks off with the FailArmy channel or get in some family time with Family Feud. You can also catch up on sports highlights with FOX Sports, PGA Tour and more.
Fawesome — a combination of “free” and “awesome” — enables you to watch free and awesome movies, TV shows and more. This channel’s library consists of thousands of titles in genres ranging from rom-coms and family to action and horror, and it’s constantly updating and adding new content.
Aside from the usual genres you’d expect, Fawesome also includes an anime genre. Plus, the company behind it has created some separate niched, free streaming channels, such as Fawesome LGBTQ, Fawesome Black Cinema and Fawesome Bollymix, to name but a few.
NewsON provides in-depth news coverage for any U.S. state. You can enjoy local news programs by default, but you can also check out other states’ news easily. Newscasts come from more than 200 news stations across the U.S., and you can set favorites for easy future access to breaking news.
Stirr brings more than 100 channels to its viewers, along with live local news, movies, sports, TV shows, music and more. You can find classic series such as Knight Rider and comedy shows like Whose Line is it Anyway? Plus, there are dedicated channels like “Law & Crime” and “NASA,” as well as a fitness channel.
9. Cooking Guide TV
Cooking Guide TV is a great source for sprucing up your kitchen knowledge. It offers recipes, cooking tips, healthy cooking options and much more. Whether you’re a foodie, health-conscious or are just bored of your current home menu, Cooking Guide TV will help add variety to your diet — healthy or not.
Popcornflix offers a whole range of hit movies and television shows worthy of, well, getting the popcorn out. You’ll find classics like the 1934 movie Murder on the Orient Express and more recent blockbusters like Lord of the Rings. There are lots of genres to choose from and a decent menu of foreign films, stand-up comedy, documentaries, foreign films and more. There are also separate Popcornflix Kids and Popcornflix Comedy Roku channels.
11. CBS Sports Stream & Watch Live
If you’re a sports fan, then the CBS Sports Stream & Watch Live channel could be your ticket to staying up to date with the latest sports events. You can watch pre-game and post-game coverage, 24/7 live sports news and highlights, and more from all types of sports, including the NFL, PGA Tour events, National Women’s Soccer League and much more.
12. Comet TV
Science fiction fans will appreciate Comet TV’s effort in bringing viewers a free sci-fi streaming experience, loaded with popular favorites and classics. Its lineup includes movies and TV shows, such as the 1933 horror movie The Vampire Bat and 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1. Comet TV is a great substitute for anyone missing the SyFy channel in its early days.
What began in 1984 as a technology, design and entertainment conference, TED has now formed into its own Roku channel. It’s home to powerful talks from expert speakers on a range of different topics. Choose from business, science, finance, culture, medicine and much, much more. Thankfully, there’s a search function so you can narrow down what you’re interested in.
Newsy is a great source for keeping up to date with the latest news and top stories. It also lets you scale down to category-specific news, such as politics, tech, sports, world news and so on. You’ll also find documentaries for specific topics.
You’ll find everything you didn’t know you wanted about music on the Vevo channel. You can watch your favorite music videos, as well as artist interviews and behind-the-scenes videos. Find all sorts of singers, bands, etc., in genres such as pop, country, jazz, classical, rock, R&B, hip-hop and more.
The HappyKids.tv channel is aimed at infants and toddlers. Its content is categorized by age group, making it easy to find suitable show series such as Paw Patrol, Thomas & Friends and even game videos from Roblox and Minecraft. There’s also a learning section where you’ll find educational videos for the alphabet, colors, counting and more.
ChefsFeed is a free cooking channel with original content that includes a mix of dining and drinking guides, cultural cuisine, culinary tips and much more. You’ll also find everything from restaurant recommendations by top chefs to cooking classes to culinary events. It’s the perfect fix for any foodie and totally free.
If you’re after a channel dedicated to anime and manga, then Crunchyroll is the perfect Roku channel for you. You can watch hundreds of popular anime shows, such as One Piece and Attack on Titan, dramas like Akagi and Unriddle, and even read manga. Keep in mind that the free version of Crunchyroll will only stream in standard definition.
19. PBS & PBS Kids
PBS has thousands of popular, on-demand TV shows and documentaries within its library. You can catch up on the news headlines with PBS NewsHour or tune in to a show like Frontline or Endeavour. There’s also a PBS Kids channel with titles such as Sesame Street, Odd Squad and even Curious George. New content is added weekly, too.
If you’re partial to a bit of throwback daytime TV and enjoy the trash talk, paternity questions and marital issues that come with TV shows like The Jerry Springer Show, Sally Jessy Raphael or Maury Povich, then the Nosey channel is right up your street. It’s the perfect channel for getting your kicks off of other people’s misery.
What Is the Best Roku for Free Channels?
There’s a whole lineup of Roku players to choose from, but we’ll list some recommendations here to help you choose one. As a quick note, though, we won’t recommend the cheapest Roku, the Roku Express, because it doesn’t support 4K streaming. You can enjoy 4K streaming service with the Roku Premiere for just a few more bucks, and there is a fair bit of free 4K content.
For a more detailed look at all the Roku devices available, be sure to check out our dedicated Roku buyer’s guide.
- Roku Premiere — The best budget Roku for 4K streaming
The Roku Premiere is the cheapest Roku that supports 4K and HDR streaming
The Roku Streaming Stick+ plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port and includes a built-in long-range wireless receiver — perfect for travel or poor WiFi connections.
- Roku Ultra — The fastest and most powerful Roku in all areas
The Roku Ultra 2020 is Roku’s latest and most powerful model that includes better WiFi range and the option of connecting the Roku with an Ethernet cable.
Rokus allow you to combine all of your streaming services into one device, but having multiple paid services on Roku can become costly. Thankfully, there are free channels available, and you can find all of those channels through the Roku Channel Store menu. That said, it will only display the top free channels. Plus, not all channels are available in every region, so you may need to use a VPN.
We hope this guide has helped you find the best free Roku channels available, so you can start watching your favorite films, TV shows, news, documentaries and more. We also have a guide for if you want to cast to Roku from iOS, Android and Windows 10.
If you experience any issues with your Roku, our Roku troubleshooting guide may be able to help.
What’s your experience with free Roku channels? Do you have any free channel recommendations? Let us know in the comment section below and check out our list of the best Roku games, too. As always, thank you for reading.
Let us know if you liked the post. That’s the only way we can improve.
The best movies on The Roku Channel
Roku has become one of the most popular streaming devices in the U.S., available to consumers as a plug-in dongle or integrated directly into a smart TV. But it’s more than just an easy way to access other streamers, it has its own streaming service, The Roku Channel.
An ad-supported streaming service, The Roku Channel offers a slate of classic movies for free ranging across all different genres. Users can also sign-up for premium subscriptions to get access to movies on cable channels like Showtime, Starz, Epix and AMC+.
Get a look at some of the best movies on The Roku Channel right now.
American Animals (2018)
You have to love a good heist movie, which is why it was a little surprising that American Animals — despite strong reviews — didn’t do better during its initial release. But, that’s one of the benefits of streaming, getting the chance to catch up on something you may have missed the first time around.
American Animals tells the true story of college students who attempt to steal a book from the university library that is supposed to be worth millions. Director Bart Layton was known for documentaries (The Imposter), which likely inspired a unique choice to blend the narrative telling of the story featuring actors (Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson) with interviews of the real-life people the story is based on.
It’s a fun ride that fits right into the wheelhouse of anyone intrigued by true-crime stories.
Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes Films
The actors most associated with Sherlock Holmes today are either Robert Downey Jr., who played him on the big screen for Guy Ritchie, or Benedict Cumberbatch, who did so in the popular BBC series. Still, one of the most iconic portrayals of Sherlock Holmes belongs to Basil Rathbone, who played the master detective in 14 films between 1939 and 1946.
Five of Rathbone’s films are available to watch for free on The Roku Channel — Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, The Woman in Green, Terror by Night and Dressed to Kill.
See how the screen’s original Sherlock Holmes compares to our modern day versions of the sleuth.
The Big Short (2015)
Adam McKay, who prior to 2015 was best known as the director of Anchorman and Step Brothers, was not the most likeliest director to adapt Michael Lewis’ book on the U.S. mortgage crisis that spurred the great recession of the late 2000s. But the comedic director was able to bring a unique storytelling technique to this dense topic.
With complicated financial practices key to the plot of the film, McKay, who won an Oscar for the script with Charles Randolph, used celebrity cameos from Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez to try and simplify the material. It was a fun tool employed by the film.
Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Jeremy Strong, Brad Pitt, Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei, Rafe Spall and a lot more recognizable faces star.
Blood Diamond (2006)
Leonardo DiCaprio had himself quite the year in 2006. In addition to starring in Martin Scorsese’s Best Picture-winning The Departed, DiCaprio also earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in Blood Diamond.
The film, directed by Edward Zwick, takes place in the 1990s amid the civil war in Sierra Leone, as a smuggler and fisherman attempt to retrieve a rare diamond. Djimon Honsou (also Oscar nominated for his role) and Jennifer Connelly star in this social-political action film - giving a different perspective on a world topic and providing plenty of entertaining set pieces that keep the film lively.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Despite not taking place in the actual Star Trek universe, many Trekkies consider Galaxy Quest to be one of the best examples of what a Star Trek movie can be.
Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, the late, great Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell and Daryl Mitchell make up the group of actors from a now cancelled TV show that are mistaken as a real space crew by a group of aliens seeking their help.
Galaxy Quest is an homage to both the series it is spoofing and the fandom that surrounds it, but it also is just a fun space adventure with plenty of laughs that has amassed its own cohort of loving fans over the years.
No matter what time of year it is, horror fans always know it’s a good time to watch Halloween. Spawning a multitude of sequels and reboots, Halloween and its killer Michael Myers are among the most recognizable horror franchises around. Always hard to top the original, though.
John Carpenter’s original tale of teenager Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) first encounter with Michael Myers follows a style that you wish more horror films would adhere to — keep it simple. The scares come from the silent, unrelenting pursuit that Myers has for his victims, always lurking behind them eager to strike.
Plus, that William Shatner mask is just creepy.
The Hunger Games franchise (2012-2015)
The Hunger Games was one of the largest franchises of the 2010s, with its four films racking up big money and star Jennifer Lawrence seeing her celebrity status shoot up into the stratosphere. You can rewatch the entire Hunger Games series right on The Roku Channel.
Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, a girl from one of 12 subjugated districts in a dystopian world. Each year, a teenage boy and girl from each district is chosen to compete in a fight-to-the-death tournament called the Hunger Games, with Katniss ultimately forced to participate. However, as she competes she becomes a symbol of defiance to those in power, lighting the spark of revolution that the franchise uses as its base for all four films.
Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman and more star in the franchise.
Major League (1989)
Baseball has some of the best sports movies ever made, and among them is Major League about a loveable bunch of has-beens and never-was playing for the Cleveland Indians (this will admittedly be weird in a few years as Cleveland is changing its real-life team name to the Guardians).
The premise of Major League is that the new Cleveland owner wants to move the team, so she assembles a bunch of misfits with the goal of having them finish dead last to cause attendance to hit a level where she can relocate. However, the team — featuring Charlie Sheen’s Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, Wesley Snipes’ Willie Mays Hayes and Tom Berenger’s veteran catcher Jake Taylor — comes together and threatens to do something nobody saw coming, be good.
It’s a great ensemble cast, including legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker, that makes Major League such a winning film.
Before Christopher Nolan was one of the biggest filmmakers on the planet, he broke out with the smaller-scale film Memento. However, his love of distorting how a story unfolds for an audience was always present.
Memento stars Guy Pearce as a man who suffers from short-term memory loss attempting to find whoever killed his wife. As the story plays backwards, we learn, along with Leonard, just how dark this path has taken him.
While films like The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Dunkirk have proved Nolan to be a master filmmaker, the case can be made that Memento remains his best movie from top to bottom.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Zombies are just about everywhere nowadays, from prestige TV with The Walking Dead to an aspiring Netflix universe that got kick-started with Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead. It can all be traced back to a little film made in the woods of Pennsylvania in the late 1960s.
Night of the Living Dead was the creation of George Romero and was the jumping off point for where future filmmakers would take zombies — though Night of the Living Dead never actually calls its mindless ghouls zombies.
Even though it established many of the rules that would be used for most zombie stories going forward — i.e. zombies being slow-moving, people being bitten turning into zombies — Night of the Living Dead is more about the people trapped inside the central house for most of the film and the paranoia they experience while trying to survive.
Sometimes we all just need to remember the importance of being kind to one another, and few films do that better than Paddington. Based on the classic children novel, the film adaptation of the talking Peruvian bear who travels to London may be a children’s film, but it has the ability to warm the hearts of just about everybody.
Ben Whishaw voices Paddington, who after finding himself lost in London, is welcomed in by the kindly Brown family. Though of course some wild antics ensue with a talking bear living in their midst, Paddington helps the Brown’s better connect as a family.
The Paddington franchise, shepherded by director Paul King, has been universally praised for its first two films, with a third expected in the near future.
Raising Arizona (1987)
Raising Arizona was not the first time audiences were introduced to the Coen brothers — that would be Blood Simple a few years earlier — but is the first time we saw just how wonderfully weird they could be.
Nicolas Cage is an ex-con who marries Holly Hunter’s ex-cop. When they realize that they cannot have children, they decide to take one from a set of local quintuplets, assuring themselves that the family wouldn’t mind having one less mouth to feed. Of course that’s not the case, as a chase ensues to get the baby back.
Raising Arizona also served as the first time that the Coens would work with one of their greatest collaborators, John Goodman.
One of the “guy cry” films, Rudy is inspired by the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a diminutive Notre Dame die-hard who works endlessly to achieve his dream of playing for the Fighting Irish.
Sam Astin stars in the film, along with Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton, John Beasley, Ron Dean, Chelcie Ross and Vince Vaughn.
College football fan or not, if the sight of the tiny Rudy among the goliaths on the field and the film’s uplifting score don’t get you cheering I don’t know what to say, but you’d be among the few.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Ever since Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter met Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling, film and TV creators have been trying to recapture the magic that made The Silence of the Lambs so successful. There have been some varying degrees of success — the Mads Mikkelsen-led Hannibal was a good entry, the more recent CBS series Clarice less so — but nothing has been able to hold a candle to the 1991 Best Picture winner.
The Jonathan Demme-directed film is an expertly executed thriller (the final night-vision encounter scene is just one brilliant example) featuring two all-time performances from Hopkins and Foster, not to mention Scott Glenn, Ted Levine and Kasi Lemmons in support.
Don’t settle for the imitations or spinoffs when one of the greatest movies ever made is available right at your fingertips.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
I admittedly have a bias for Silver Linings Playbook because of my Philadelphia roots as a central part of the film is the characters’ love for Philly sports teams (I nearly stood up clapping seeing Jennifer Lawrence’s monologue listing off a particularly memorable stretch of Philadelphia victories when I first saw it in theaters). But there’s plenty to love for those not inclined to root for the Philadelphia teams.
The film, from director David O. Russell, has a frenetic energy as Bradley Cooper’s Pat tries to get his life under control following a stint in a mental hospital and forms a connection with Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany, who has problems of her own. Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, Shea Wigham, Chris Tucker and Anupam Kher also give memorable performances.
For all the craziness involved with Silver Linings Playbook, it ultimately is a heartwarming story about a family discovering the balance and support they all need.
When you think of westerns, John Wayne is probably the first person that pops into your head. He starred in countless stories from the back of a horse, many of them with director John Ford. Stagecoach was the first time the two worked together, and it still holds up as one of their best.
Stagecoach tells the story of a group of people forced to travel together via stagecoach through dangerous territory. Wayne gave a star-making turn as the Ringo Kid and Ford’s shooting of one particular action sequence is impressive even by today’s standards.
It may be more than 80 years old, but Stagecoach is just as thrilling today as it was when it was first released.
The Truman Show (1998)
The Truman Show is kind of a warning against the rise and scope of reality TV; we clearly didn’t listen. Even so, the film starring Jim Carrey (in one of his best roles) is a fantastic dramedy about one man’s attempt to break free from the fake world built around him to find something truly real.
The case could be made the Carrey deserved an Oscar nom for his performance, but his co-star Ed Harris did get one in his great performance as the creator and god-like presence of the show starring Carrey’s Truman. Peter Weir (also nominated) directs the rest of the cast that includes Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Holland Taylor, Natascha McElhone and more.
The Untouchables (1987)
One of Brian de Palma’s best films, The Untouchables is a classic crime story starring Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Bradford, Patricia Clarkson and Sean Connery, who won his only career Oscar for his supporting performance.
The Untouchables tells the story of Elliot Ness as he goes up against gangster Al Capone in Prohibition era Chicago. The script comes from David Mamet.
With The Untouchables you get an all-time performance from Connery, a fun turn from De Niro as Capone and some great cinematic shootouts (particularly the train station scene), which all combine for an enthralling crime saga.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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20 Best Movies on Roku Channel Right Now
Based on a true story, The Whistleblower is the biography of a once Nebraskan police officer who volunteers for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in post-war Bosnia. Once there, she uncovers a human trafficking scandal involving peacekeeping officials, and finds herself alone against a hostile system in a devastated country. Rachel Weisz plays the whistleblower in a powerful lead role, but the true star of the movie is its director, Larysa Kondracki, who thanks to near documentary-style film-making delivers a perfectly executed political thriller with utmost authenticity.(agoodmovietowatch)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Actor: Alexandru Potocean, Alin Panc, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danny John-Jules, David Hewlett, David Strathairn, Jeanette Hain, Liam Cunningham, Luke Treadaway, Monica Bellucci, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Paula Schramm, Pilou Asbæk, Rachel Weisz, Rayisa Kondracki, Sergej Trifunović, Stuart Graham, Vanessa Redgrave, Vlad Ivanov, William Hope
Director: Larysa Kondracki
Rating: RGo to Roku Channel
Rotten Tomatoes recommends 100 "fresh" movies that are free on Roku
The popular movie-review website Rotten Tomatoes has released their pick of the 100 best movies to watch online for free, and they are all available on streaming services found on Roku. All of the Rotten Tomato recommendations can be streamed through Crackle, IMDB TV (available on Roku in the Prime Video app), Tubi, Vudu, and/or YouTube.
Rotten Tomatoes is a film and television review-aggregation website that was launched in 1998 by a group of University of California, Berkeley, students and has since grown into one of the top 500 most-visited websites in the U.S. as ranked by Alexa. Currently owned by Flixster, which is now part of Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes collects online reviews from writers who are certified members of various writing guilds or film critic-associations and calculates the percentage of positive reviews . A film is considered "fresh" if 60% or more of the reviews are positive.
Below are Rotten Tomatoes' ten highest-rated movies available for free on Roku. The "Where to Stream" links take you that movie on each streaming service's website, but you can use your Roku's search function or go directly to the streaming services' Roku apps to find the titles on Roku. Some movies are available for free on other services like Pluto TV and The Roku Channel.
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Critics Consensus: Making excellent use of its period and setting, Peter Bogdanovich’s small town coming-of-age story is a sad but moving classic filled with impressive performances.
Where to Stream: Crackle
Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014)
Critics Consensus: Comprehensive yet brisk, Nas: Time Is Illmatic offers an absorbing look at a hip-hop classic and the life of the artist who made it.
Where to Stream: Vudu, Tubi
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
Critics Consensus: Warm, funny, and brilliantly animated, Shaun the Sheep is yet another stop-motion jewel in Aardman’s family-friendly crown.
Where to Stream: Tubi
The Conversation (1974)
Critics Consensus: This tense, paranoid thriller presents Francis Ford Coppola at his finest — and makes some remarkably advanced arguments about technology’s role in society that still resonate today.
Where to Stream: Crackle
Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Critics Consensus: Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.
Where to Stream: Crackle
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Critics Consensus: One of the best political allegories of the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.
Where to Stream: Crackle
It Happened One Night (1934) - Freshness - 98%
Critics Consensus: Capturing its stars and director at their finest, It Happened One Night remains unsurpassed by the countless romantic comedies it has inspired.
Where to Stream: Crackle
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Critics Consensus: The epic of all epics, Lawrence of Arabia cements director David Lean’s status in the filmmaking pantheon with nearly four hours of grand scope, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography.
Where to Stream: Crackle
On the Waterfront (1954)
Critics Consensus: With his electrifying performance in Elia Kazan’s thought-provoking, expertly constructed melodrama, Marlon Brando redefined the possibilities of acting for film and helped permanently alter the cinematic landscape.
Where to Stream: Crackle
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Critics Consensus: A landmark Sergio Leone spaghetti western masterpiece featuring a classic Morricone score.
Where to Stream: Crackle
The full list of all 100 fresh movies is available on RottenTomatoes.com
What's on Roku
What's on Roku - Free Sling TV, One World global special, Michael Jordan documentary, and more
What's on Roku - Ken Burns' Baseball documentary, kids TV and movies, tokusatsu shows, and more
What's on Roku - Classic album documentaries, binge-watchable channels, free movies and TV shows
What's on Roku - Frontline documentary, free hit movies, and popular TV series
What's on Roku - Crackle Originals, hit movies, popular children's shows, live webcams, and vintage video games
What's on Roku - Free movies on Vudu, PGA Tour Channel on Pluto, recent TV episodes on The CW, and more!
What's on Roku - Animated series from Adult Swim, sci-fi on Comet TV, nature and history series on Smithsonian, and more!
On roku free best movies
Roku has long been the leader in free video channels; however, with so many channels to choose from, finding the best can be difficult. With many new Roku Players and Roku TVs sold at the end of 2019 recently many have been asking for recommendations for the best free services on Roku. So here is my personal list in no particular order.
Do you have a Roku Channel from the official Roku Channel store you would like to suggest? Leave a comment and let us know what you think everyone should check out.
Check out our list of Best Roku Devices in 2020 here.
#1 Pluto TV
Download now to stream Pluto TV’s 100+ channels of news, sports, and the internet’s best, completely free on Roku. Also, get access to its Free On Demand library of over 1000 entire movies and full TV episodes.
Pluto TV is revolutionizing the streaming TV experience, with over a hundred channels of amazing programming.
You can add Pluto TV to your Roku HERE.
#2 The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is your home for free, live, and premium TV. Watch an ever-changing selection of hit movies, TV shows, 24/7 live news, sports, and popular kids’ movies and TV shows –all totally free. Want to watch even more? Easily add 30+ Premium Subscriptions from HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME®, STARZ, EPIX and more! It’s subscription streaming made easy with one login, one bill, and one place to stream the TV you love. Start watching on your Roku device at home and pick up where you left off with the free Roku mobile app. Enjoying your favorite entertainment has never been easier. Premium Subscriptions and Kids & Family on The Roku Channel are available in the US only.
You can add The Roku Channel to your Roku HERE.
Watch free TV channels on your Roku device. STIRR shouts to all kinds of people with a little bit of something for everyone — LIVE local news, TV series, LIVE sports, movies, the latest viral videos and much more. What’s the catch? There aren’t any! No hidden strings (or cords).
STIRR includes an exclusive new local channel featuring live news and programming based on where you live.
You can add Stirr to your Roku HERE.
Watch thousands of hit movies and TV series for free. Tubi is 100% legal unlimited streaming, with no credit cards and no subscription required. Choose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, with fewer ads than regular TV. Tubi is the largest free streaming service featuring award-winning movies and TV series. There is something for everybody; from comedy to drama, kids to classics, and niche favorites such as Korean dramas, anime, and British series. Download now and start streaming entertainment for free, today!
You can add Tubi to your Roku HERE.
XUMO is your destination for *free* LIVE and on-demand streaming entertainment. With over 160 different channels to choose from, you won’t get bored. Tune in for newly launched movie channels, breaking news, epic fails, stand-up comedy, sports, news coverage, and more. Share the latest from the guys at Funny or Die, or this week’s celebrity gossip from TMZ. Stay up to date, but most of all, stay entertained with XUMO. Download XUMO for free today.
You can add XUMO to your Roku HERE.
Stream free Hollywood movies, TV series and originals on your favorite devices. Wait, free? Yes, free, always and forever. Watch premium TV shows and movies from a full library of new and iconic hits. All on-demand, without a subscription.
Set up a free account to see fewer ads and to pick up where you left off on any device.
You can add Crackle to your Roku HERE.
hoopla is a groundbreaking digital media service offered by your local public library that allows you to stream movies and television episodes to your TV for free with no waiting. We have thousands of titles to choose from, with more being added daily.
hoopla is like having your public library at your fingertips. Anytime. Anywhere.
You can add Hoopla to your Roku HERE.
YouTube your way on the biggest screen in the house, from a playlist of music videos to your favorite comedy channels. Send videos from your phone to your TV when they’re sharing a Wi-Fi connection. Find a video on your YouTube app, click the TV icon that appears, and it instantly plays on your TV.
You can add YouTube TV to your Roku HERE.
FREE and Awesome HD Movies, TV shows and lifestyle content. 10,000 movies and shows from 25 genre including Action, Thriller, Horror, Comedy and more. No subscription, No fee. Content updated DAILY. Install and Watch NOW.
You can add Fawsome.TV to your Roku HERE.
Watch live, local TV newscasts for free. Stream newscasts from 200+ trusted local news stations across the U.S. with the NEW NewsON experience. Watch live news, previous newscasts (up to 48 hours for most stations), or local news clips now in a modern, approachable design. Set favorites for easy access to the stations you want to watch and tune in to local coverage of major breaking news. No cable subscription or login required. Enjoy local news with NewsON anytime, anywhere.
You can add NewsON to your Roku HERE.
Learn more about the Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Express, or Roku Ultra.
Check out the Best Roku Channels in 2020 here to see some of the top paid channels.
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Best Roku channels 2021
The best Roku channels make it easy so stream blockbuster movies and popular TV shows. Even better, many of them are free! Not only that, Roku is constantly adding more new channels. And the platform is making it easier to access live TV channels; users can now pin the guide to their home screen.
With one of the best Roku devices, you can check out a ton of Roku channels, both free and paid (some of the latter will offer a free trial for new members). These include power players like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock and HBO Max.
But the list of best Roku channels doesn't stop with the big-name streaming services. Try PBS Kids for children's programming, CuriosityStream for science content or Twitch for free streaming of video gamers playing games. There's even a Peloton channel on Roku.
A new Roku Live TV Guide is a great way to "channel surf." The grid-like feature allows users to browse free TV channels that are linear and live (linear means pre-programmed). The new Roku Live TV Guide is similar to the lineup you'd seen on a cable guide, with a list of channels down the side and the time slots across the top. It's an easy way to check out all the free live programming that Roku has to offer in addition to on-demand content.
The best Roku channels to add right now
Peacock (free and subscription)
Peacock is finally taking flight on Roku. NBCUniversal streaming platform launched in July on most major devices, excluding Roku. The companies have come to an agreement, though, and now Peacock is available as a Roku channel. Peacock comes in two tiers, Free (ad supported) and Premium. Both offer thousands of hours of movies and television shows drawn from NBCUniversal's iconic brands. Watch 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Battlestar Galactica and more with Peacock Free. If you want Peacock originals, you'll have to sign up for Premium ($4.99 with ads, $9.99 without).
Amazon Video (subscription and a la carte)
Whether or not you subscribe to Amazon Prime, the Amazon Video channel is a worthwhile addition to your Roku. Those who dish out the $99-per-year membership fee for Prime can stream a large selection of movies and TV shows. Amazon Video also offers a la carte purchases and rentals, as well as a growing number of original programs, including the acclaimed Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. For those who don't want a full Amazon Prime subscription, you can subscribe to Amazon Video only for $9 per month. Tom's Guide has also compiled an updated list of what to watch on Amazon Video, in case you're looking for recommendations.
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Crackle is one of the best Roku channels for watching free big-budget movies, provided you don't mind sitting through a few commercials. If you cut the cord on your cable subscription but still miss zoning out in front of cheesy action comedies, this app is for you. The selection at Crackle rotates frequently, but there are usually some memorable films, like Gattaca.
- Check out the best Roku VPN to access more content
Netflix pioneered the art of the marathon TV watching session, which earns it an easy inclusion in our list of best Roku channels. Whether you want to watch newer hits like Black Mirror, or classics like The A-Team, Netflix has something to suit your tastes. Netflix also boasts some of the best-made and well-received original programming, from Marvel tie-ins Daredevil and Jessica Jones, to revivals of popular nostalgic shows like Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and Fuller House. Check out our guide to the best Netflix shows for a comprehensive view on the best of big red.
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Disney Plus (subscription)
Disney Plus brings Disney's massive library of content to the streaming scene. You've got animated princess movies, original Star Wars series, a good chunk of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a whole lot of weird mid-budget live-action movies that you half-remember from your childhood. The service costs only $7 per month, which makes it a fair bit cheaper than other streaming services, too. Of course, if you prefer not to give Disney any more of your money or attention, that's fair, too; it's become a bit hegemonic in recent years.
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YouTube (free and a la carte)
YouTube is not a TV or movie channel in the strictest sense, but in terms of the raw amount of video it offers, this service is unsurpassed. You'll find a little bit of everything: original web shows, small clips from popular movies and TV shows, music videos, narrated playthroughs of popular video games and just about everything else, from paid movie rentals to much racier fare.
HBO Go/Now (subscription)
While there's no (legal) way around dishing out a lot of money for HBO programming, HBO Go and HBO Now help make the investment worthwhile. These channels let you watch both past and current seasons of popular HBO shows, such as Game of Thrones, in addition to comedy specials and hit movies. While HBO Go requires an existing cable subscription, HBO Now is stand-alone streaming channel. If you're wondering why HBO Max isn't on Roku, it's because the companies are still working out a deal to include the new app.
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Hulu is one of the best Roku channels thanks to deals with major networks, including Fox, NBC, The CW and ABC, and it uploads new episodes shortly after they air. The service has past seasons of popular shows on tap, and even hosts the entire runs of nostalgic series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Daria. A handful of decent Hulu originals, like Difficult People and Casual, sweeten the deal. Check out our guide to the best Hulu movies, shows and more.
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FandangoNOW (a la carte)
At first blush, FandangoNOW is extremely similar to Amazon Video. Roku's default movie and TV show streaming service is exactly what it claims to be: a way to buy and rent movies that's pre-installed on every Roku device. While the selection isn't drastically different from competing services, there's no reason not to try it, especially since it now provides a small selection of 4K films.
Apple TV Plus brings a bevy of original content for $5 per month — even if it's not all that good. Viewers will be able to tune into shows like Dickinson, See and The Morning Show, starring actors such as Hailee Steinfeld, Jason Momoa and Jennifer Aniston, respectively. And if the shows aren't to your taste (they very well may not be), the Apple TV app also lets you access TV shows and movies they've purchased through iTunes.
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Showtime has produced some of the most unusual and beloved shows on TV, including Shameless, Homeland, Billions and The Affair. If you get the channel as part of your cable or satellite package, Showtime Anytime allows you to watch the channel's TV shows, comedy specials, sports events and movies. Alternatively, you can subscribe to Showtime as a stand-alone service, with access to all of the same content.
Peloton fanatics don't need an actual Peloton bike to access the popular instructor-led classes; they can just download the app to their mobile device. Now, they can also fire up the Peloton Roku channel and select one of the cycling workouts to stream on a big-screen TV. There are also floor-based workouts available, including strength, yoga, HIIT, dance, and meditation.
If you already have a Peloton account, you can sign into the channel with your credentials. New users can take advantage of a 30-day free trial; after that, the app-only membership is $12.99 per month. (You can sign up on your TV with Roku Pay.)
Sky News (free)
Sky News provides live broadcasts for the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Although the organization originated in the U.K., it shares news that the whole English-speaking world can use, and it doesn't cost a dime. In addition to live reports, Sky News also offers cached feeds, allowing users to watch news highlights when it best suits their schedules. The channel provides live, 24/7 coverage.
CBS All Access (subscription)
CBS All Access gives users access to CBS programming in real time, as well as an on-demand library of more than 2,000 titles, from NCIS to Supergirl to The Twilight Zone. The main draw of the service, however, is Star Trek: Discovery, which is the first new serial adventure in the series since 2005. It's an excellent show, and at present, there's no other way to watch it in the United States. Thanks to the new Twilight Zone reboot also available on the service, CBS All Access merits a mention as one of the best Roku channels.
Sling TV (subscription)
Sling TV provides more than 20 beloved broadcast and cable channels, including ESPN, Cartoon Network, TBS and CNN. For those who want additional packages, from Spanish-language channels to additional kids' programming, Sling TV offers supplements a la carte. Sling TV is cheaper than a cable subscription and easy to access on a variety of devices, letting you watch your favorite shows in real time.
With games almost every night and 30 teams to follow, baseball is not a sport for the noncommittal. If you want to watch recorded home games, live away games, live broadcasts, replays and more stats than you can shake a bat at, MLB.TV delivers. MLB.TV is Major League Baseball's official streaming app, and will allow you to watch almost every regular season game from every team.
NBA Game Time for the NBA app streams live basketball games for subscribers, but also has a little something for more casual courtside warriors. Through this app, fans can access live scores, team and player stats, game recaps, video highlights and up-to-the-minute information on league standings. However, be warned that the app generally can't stream local games, due to media company broadcasting restrictions.
If you can't pick just one sport to follow, WatchESPN has you covered. Although WatchESPN requires a cable or satellite subscription, you'll get plenty of bang for your buck. The channel allows you to access ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, ESPNU, ESPNews and ESPN Deportes live, 24/7. You'll also be able to stream recorded games from professional football, baseball, basketball, tennis and more.
If you have both a Roku device and an obsession with American football, the NFL app is one of the best Roku channels for you. By default, the channel can play a number of free game highlights. With a Game Pass subscription and the NFL app, sports fans can watch every game from every team, all season long, right on their Rokus, from the opening skirmishes right up to the Super Bowl.
Pandora (free or subscription)
You've almost certainly used Pandora before. Whether you want background music for your household tasks or the soundtrack for a party, Pandora delivers. The concept is simple: enter a bunch of artists or songs that you like, then Pandora will analyze their commonalities and create a radio channel that suits your taste. You can even create multiple stations to suit various moods, tastes and events.
Spotify is fun way to listen to songs or entire albums from almost every major musical act of the last 100 years, from Mississippi John Hurt to the Rolling Stones to Katy Perry. Whether your tastes skew to classical, blues, rock, pop, punk, techno or show tunes, Spotify probably has what you're looking for. You can even supplement it with music from your own collection.
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Disney Channel (subscription)
Roku's Disney Channel won't do you much good unless you already have a cable or satellite subscription, but if you do, it's one of the best Roku channels for kids. Disney Channel offers both live programming and prerecorded shows, ranging from Elena of Avalor to Girl Meets World. The channel also provides original made-for-TV movies, such as Descendants. There's not much for adults, though.
PBS Kids (free)
PBS has always prided itself on supplying quality programming without advertisements or cable subscriptions, and PBS Kids is no exception. The shows on the PBS Kids Roku app definitely skew toward a younger audience, with titles like Curious George and Sesame Street. Parents may be pleased to discover that classic shows they grew up with, such as Arthur and The Electric Company, are also present and accounted for.
PlayOn uses your computer as a media server, and lets your Roku access more than 60 channels through it, including broadcast TV websites, such as ABC, Fox and CBS. This allows you to watch free primetime shows on your TV just a few days after they first air. PlayOn also lets you record videos online for later. Follow the link to install; it's a private channel.
If you'd rather watch your own content than the highly curated fare on the other best Roku channels, Plex is one of the simplest and prettiest ways to do it. Plex will organize all of your content and stream it to your Roku, complete with seasons, cover art, episode descriptions and even a snippet of the theme song for TV shows. The app makes watching your own content just as visually appealing as watching Netflix.
If you prefer watching video games to playing them, Twitch is the channel for you. The popular network is the Internet’s first stop for live streams of video games, and you’ll see everything from Overwatch to Dark Souls to Pokémon. Whether you want Let's Plays, tips and tricks or competitive play, Twitch has a streamer to appeal to both your skill level and your taste in personality.
While perhaps not as popular as HBO or Showtime, Starz still has a lot to offer. Whether you subscribe to it as a stand-alone service or activate it through your cable or subscription, you can access hit shows like Blunt Talk and Ash vs. Evil Dead. The biggest advantage of Starz, though, is that it's often the first service to get hit movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Imagine the informative, scientific entertainment of the Discovery Channel or National Geographic in their heydays; now imagine it in 4K. That's what CuriosityStream is, and it's absolutely worth the subscription cost. Whether you want to learn about nature, chemistry, geology or astrophysics, CuriosityStream has something to expand your mind. Deep Time History, which combines astronomy with world history, is particularly worth checking out.
The Weather Network (free)
While you're probably not going to get immersed in The Weather Network and watch it for hours on end, it's still pretty useful to know exactly what the weather is in your neighborhood, and how it's going to change over the course of the next few hours or days. The Weather Network is a free channel that shows you local weather, as well as conditions all around the world. You can check in with numerical information displayed up top, or watch full videos from meteorologists.
Vudu (a la carte)
Vudu may seem like just another a-la-carte service, selling you movies and TV shows that you can either rent or keep at premium prices. However, Vudu has a few major advantages that makes it one of the best channels on Roku. First of all, if you've bought any Blu-rays within the past few years, you may have redeemed your digital copies on Vudu, giving you a pretty respectable library to start with. Furthermore, the service offers 4K HDR content — something that not many other video streaming services do just yet.
The Roku Channel (free)
No discussion of the best Roku channels would be complete without the titular one. The Roku Channel may not have the largest selection of movies and TV shows — but said movies and TV shows won't cost you a penny, which seems like a fair trade-off. This channel offers a rotating selection of media, including popular films like Legally Blonde and Drunken Master, supported by periodic ads, as though you were watching a movie on basic cable. Roku has also added a Kids and Family section to the channel, providing friendlier fare for a younger crowd.
Google Play TV and Movies (a la carte)
If you have an Android phone or tablet, there's a good chance that you've bought some media on Google Play TV and Movies. (Even if you haven't, Google may have given you a few titles for free; it's worth checking out.) Google Play TV and Movies lets you buy or rent a la carte films and TV episodes, and in that respect, it's a lot like Amazon, Vudu and some other entries on this list. However, Google Play's big advantage is that it syncs extremely well with the Movies Anywhere program. This lets you access titles you've purchased from a variety of sources, including iTunes — which, of course, does not have a Roku app, and probably never will. You can also access titles you purchase here on any Android device, which is helpful if you want to take your content with you.
DC Universe (subscription)
DC Universe is worth checking out, if only because it offers something unique. At first blush, DC's streaming service is simply a way to showcase a few original video titles, such as Titans and Harley Quinn. Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll find that it's also a grand repository of beloved DC movies and TV shows, from Christopher Reeve's Superman to Batman: The Animated Series. What really sets DC Universe apart, though, is that it doesn't restrict itself to video; it also offers comic books. From nostalgic single issues of Wonder Woman to postmodern deconstructions like The Dark Knight Returns, DC Universe offers fans a way to see what inspired its new shows firsthand.
Kelly covers streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.
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In the hands of Nastka was a cool magazine, and at first I did not give it much importance, since she was our class leader. I calmly finished changing, but Nastya still did not leave the coach's closet. I got curious and headed there.