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How to watch Local channels on Roku & Roku TV

How to watch Local channels on Roku & Roku TV

If you’re trying to figure out how to get local TV channels on Roku, you’ve come to the right blog post. We’ll be addressing this common concern amongst Roku users and detailing the different approaches to accessing local channels.

You might be a fan of local news, a follower of meteorological events, or someone who enjoys regional sports broadcasts.

Related: Learn how to add channels to Roku

From exploiting Roku Channel Store applications to making use of an Over-The-Air antenna, this post has you covered. Stay tuned to learn everything you need to know about accessing your favorite local content right on your Roku device.

Also see: The best free Channels on Roku and expand your entertainment options without extra cost.

Different ways you can get local channels on Roku

1 Different ways you can get local channels on Roku

Roku has become one of the most popular streaming platforms, offering a wide range of entertainment options. While it provides access to countless streaming channels, you might wonder if you can also watch local channels on Roku.

Different ways to Watch Local channels on Roku

Fortunately, there are several ways to do so, ensuring you stay up-to-date with local news, weather, and more. Here’s a comprehensive list of how you can get local channels on your Roku device:

Ways to Get Local Channels on RokuDescription
Roku Antenna Input (OTA TV)Connect an Over-The-Air antenna to access local channels.
Roku Channel Store AppsLook for local TV stations’ apps in the Roku Channel Store.
News AppsSome news apps offer live streams of local news broadcasts.
Live TV Streaming ServicesCertain streaming services offer local channels as part of their lineup.
LocastNon-profit service providing local broadcast channels over the internet.
NewsOnFree app offering live and on-demand local news content.
Weather AppsSome weather apps include local news broadcasts.
Network AppsMajor broadcast network apps may have content from local affiliates.

Don’t forget, there are also Roku Private channels you can use.

How to Get Local TV Channels on Roku & Roku TV

2 How to Get Local TV Channels on Roku Roku TV

Getting local TV channels on your Roku or Roku TV isn’t as complex as it might seem. Since mainstream streaming services cater to a global audience, viewing localized content might seem challenging. However, with the right tools and steps, users can have access to their favorite local channels right on their Roku device.

One advantage with Roku is its user-friendly interface and extensive library of applications, making it possible to stay connected with local channels and their broadcasts. The content ranges from news and weather updates to unique programming tailored to your neighborhood.

Using an Antenna for Local Channels on Roku

3 Using an Antenna for Local Channels on Roku

To get local channels on your Roku device, consider integrating an Over-The-Air (OTA) antenna. An OTA antenna operates by capturing the broadcast signals from local TV stations. After you’ve secured an OTA antenna (which are often budget-friendly), you connect it to your Roku TV.

From there, it’s a simple matter of scanning for available channels through your television’s settings. This will detect the local channels available in your area. Side note: the channels you receive will depend on the strength of the broadcast signal and your geographic location.

If you’re using a Roku TV, there’s a live tv input, which is simple to set up.

A successful scan will reveal a list of local channels you access. All that’s left is to sit back, relax, and enjoy your local programming, news, and weather updates. The major advantage of using an OTA antenna is that it’s a one-time investment, allowing continuous access to local channels without any recurring subscription fees.

For a complete overview of how Roku devices work and how to get the best out of them, take a look at our post on what is Roku and how does it work?

How to get Local Channels on Roku without Antenna

4 How to get Local Channels on Roku without Antenna

If you’d prefer not to use an antenna or if one isn’t suitable for your location, there’s no need to fret. There are several other avenues to explore to get local channels on Roku.

To maximize your Roku usage, you might be interested in our Roku tips and tricks which would provide you with some extra insights.

Use Live TV Streaming Services

5 Use Live TV Streaming Services

Live TV streaming services primarily involve real-time telecasting of TV content across the internet, sidestepping the need for traditional television programming. These services behave much like cable or satellite broadcasting but are generally less costly and more flexible to user demands. Streaming your chosen channels on a Roku device via these services is straightforward, necessitating only a stable internet connection and a subscription to the respective streaming service.

Introduction to Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and AT&T TV

6 Introduction to Hulu Live TV YouTube TV Sling TV and ATT TV

There are several popular live TV streaming services compatible with Roku devices. Hulu + Live TV is a great option that affords its viewers the privilege of over 65 live and on-demand channels. YouTube TV also shines with more than 70 local channels, while Sling TV provides access to an impressive list of entertainment options at a comparatively lower cost. AT&T TV, previously known as DIRECTV NOW, impresses with its offering of leading sports channels to its customers.

Explore Local Station Apps

7 Explore Local Station Apps

The Roku Channel Store is a goldmine for access to a plethora of apps, available directly from the Roku interface. This shopfront-style library presents countless apps catering to almost every entertainment need. Notably, many local stations across the United States offer dedicated apps for viewers.

To install these local station apps, users simply need to use the search feature within the Roku Channel Store, inputting the name of their desired station. Upon finding the app, select “Add channel” to initiate installation. Once done, the app will appear on the home screen, ready for you to dive into local content. Keep in mind, the availability of specific local station apps may vary based on your geographic area.

As you explore different local station apps, you may find it helpful to refer to our post on the entire list of Roku Channels in list format.

ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox have their dedicated Roku apps. These typically provide a mix of live broadcasts and on-demand content. Other popular local station apps include PBS and Univision. One advantage of these apps is that they keep viewers connected and updated with news and events happening in their locality.

Access News Apps

8 Access News Apps

Staying updated with local news is a critical aspect of being part of a community. Recognizing this, Roku offers numerous apps specializing in delivering local, national, and international news coverage.

Numerous news apps are available on the Roku Channel Store that focus on delivering a variety of content – from global headlines to hyper-local stories. Some popular options include NewsON, Haystack News, and ABC News. NewsON, for instance, offers live and on-demand newscasts from over 200 local stations across the United States. So even if you’re in New York, but want to keep tabs on what’s happening in Seattle, this app makes it possible without any subscription fees.

When it comes to enjoying local channels on your Roku devices, Live TV streaming services might just be your ticket to enjoying a broad array of content. One significant advantage of these services is the inclusion of numerous local channels, thus offering a remarkable platform for Roku users. From news to your favorite shows, they provide a seamless platform that caters to your entertainment requirements.

In assessing the cost of these services, Hulu + Live TV begins at $64.99/month, while YouTube TV slightly trumps it with a starting price of $64.99/month. However, Sling TV wins the budget battle with its initial package beginning at a more economical $30/month, and AT&T TV’s entry-level package includes a monthly rate of $69.99.

The availability of these services is also an essential criterion, with most serving both urban and rural customers nationwide but regional disparities may still apply. So, always cross-check the coverage in your locality before making your streaming choice.

Rising Popularity of Locast: A Non-Profit Streaming Service

9 Rising Popularity of Locast A Non Profit Streaming Service

The rapidly growing fanbase of Locast distinguishes it as an intriguing choice for Roku users. This free, non-profit service is slowly cementing its foothold within the digital streaming realm, while it continues to flawlessly deliver local channels to its users.

Right off the bat, Locast is fundamentally a streaming service catering to a distinct, local level. Its function envelops taking over-the-air broadcast signals and retransmitting them over the internet. This live-streaming service thrives primarily in 31 select markets across the US, making it more niche in its scope.

Despite its localized approach, this non-profit entity serves approximately 42% of the US population as it continually expands across more US markets. It’s an attractive option for cord-cutters or viewers who encounter difficulties in receiving over-the-air antenna signals.

If you’re considering Locast, understanding the difference between Roku devices might come in handy.

HOW to Access Locast on Roku

10 HOW to Access Locast on Roku

The process of adding Locast to your Roku device is straightforward. Navigate to the ‘Home’ menu, head over to the ‘Streaming Channels’ option and type ‘Locast’ into the Search Channels bar. Once the logo appears in the results, click on it and select the ‘Add Channel’ option and you’ll have your favorite local channels readily available for live streaming.

Use NewsOn

NewsOn, a service expressly dedicated to providing local news, holds the promise of a handy tool for Roku users to stay on top of their local happenings.

NewsOn aims to deliver live and on-demand local news to viewers across the United States. It partners with over 200 local news stations, hence offering people the chance to tune into their favorite local news channels seamlessly from their Roku device.

First, download NewsOn from the Roku Channel Store. Then, by selecting your location, you can view the list of available local news stations within your region. Choose the one you prefer, and you can then experience both live and on-demand local news broadcasts directly from your Roku device.

Exploring Weather Apps

For people such as weather enthusiasts or for those of us who just like to stay informed about the climatic conditions, Roku has a neat stash of weather apps that offer valuable meteorological insights.

Weather apps on Roku provide real-time weather updates concerning your location, keeping you apprised of incoming weather changes. Understanding weather patterns is essential for daily planning, from picking the day’s outfit to organizing outdoor activities.

Several weather apps merge the functionality of delivering localized content with weather forecasts. This integration ensures users simultaneously receive a daily dose of both local updates and weather reports.

To better understand how to utilize Roku features, our guide on how to lower brightness and change other Roku settings could prove to be beneficial.

List of Reliable Weather Apps on Roku

Roku’s assortment of weather apps include WeatherNation, The Weather Network, and AccuWeather amongst others. While WeatherNation and The Weather Network offer comprehensive weather coverage, AccuWeather ups the ante with its MinuteCast, a feature providing minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts for the next two hours hyper-localized to your exact location.

A Look at Network Apps and Features

Network apps are individual applications by TV stations and networks which host on-demand content along with live broadcasts. In most scenarios, these apps also provide access to local programming such as news and weather reports. Unlike traditional broadcast television, network apps on your Roku device offer on-demand viewing, making sure you catch your favorite programs no matter your schedule.

These applications serve as a direct channel between the networks and the viewers, which means no need for middlemen like cable subscriptions. The catch? While these channels are increasingly becoming popular, not all local stations have adapted to the growing trend.

One advantage of using Roku devices is the ability to access major broadcast network applications such as ABC, Fox, CBS, and NBC. To get started, navigate to your Roku device’s “Channel Store,” search for the desired network, and add it to your channels.

The best part? These apps are available free of charge; all you need is an active internet connection. Keep in mind, while some services offer free access, others may require you to sign in using your cable subscription credentials.

After checking out network apps and features, it might be beneficial to review our guide on how to set Roku up for installation.

Content from These Apps

While the content offerings from network apps vary, they typically feature popular TV series, news coverage, and occasionally, live TV. For instance, you can comfortably binge-watch episodes of your favorite ABC show or get real-time news from CBS or Fox.

Side note: In some cases, access to some programs or live TV may be subject to geographical restrictions. However, overall, and considering they are free, these apps significantly enhance a Roku user’s viewing experience.

Screen Mirror Local Channels from another device

Screen mirroring is another method that lets you stream local channels onto a Roku device. It involves casting content from one device, such as your smartphone or laptop, directly onto your TV’s screen. This is particularly useful when the local channel you want to watch does not have a dedicated Roku app.

To make things clear, think of screen mirroring as turning your TV into an expanded version of your smartphone or tablet’s screen. This way, you can beam your favorite local channels directly from your phone onto your big screen.

See: Everything you need to know about screen mirroring on Roku

It’s worth noting that while screen mirroring is supported on most modern Android and Windows devices, Apple products require a third-party app to do the same. Also, make sure your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi for the feature to function well.

When trying to screen mirror local channels, our guides on how to screen cast to Roku TV from Android and how you can screen mirror or cast to Roku TV from an Android Smartphone or Tablet could prove to be useful.

Free Options to Access Local Channels on Roku

Roku offers a generous selection of free channels, providing options for various tastes and preferences. These include options like Pluto TV and Tubi, which feature hundreds of free TV shows and movies. For news, you often have CBS News and Sky News.

One of the standout free channels on Roku is its own – “The Roku Channel.” This hosts a wealth of TV shows, movies, sports, live news, and even kids’ content. For local broadcasts, check out the free NewsON app, which connects users to over 200 local news streams all over the country.

Looking for entertainment without a subscription? Check out the Best movies on Roku for Free.

When looking at free options to access local channels, take a moment to check out our post on the best free Channels on Roku.

Guiding on How to Access and Stream These Channels

Accessing and streaming free local channels on Roku is a straightforward process. Simply go to the Roku Channel Store, search for your desired channel (for instance, “NewsON” or “CBS”), select the channel, and hit “Add Channel” to load it onto your device’s home screen.

Once added, open the channel, and you are all set to stream the available programs. Some channels might insist you create an account, while others will just let you start watching right away.

Pros and cons of using Local channels on Roku

The biggest advantage of viewing local channels on your Roku device is free access to a plethora of channels. From news to weather forecasts to sports and TV shows, Roku offers a comprehensive selection of content that caters to a range of viewer demographics.

That said, there are drawbacks to consider. For starters, despite Roku’s extensive offerings, you might not find all local channels available in your region. Plus, the picture quality of channels depends on your internet connection.

For a better understanding of your Roku device, read our post on Roku streaming stick 4K review.

My Experience using Local Channels on my Roku

As a Roku user myself, I find the device’s ability to bring countless local channels to the comfort of my living room incredibly handy. With access to exclusive local content and the flexibility to view programs on-demand, I feel more connected to my locality and less dependent on a conventional cable subscription.

Yet, I have also faced limitations, such as geo-specific availability and buffering issues. Despite these minor issues, the advantages of using my Roku for local channel access outweigh any drawbacks.

Roku seeks to redefine the television viewing experience in ways that are more personalized and accessible. I’d say it is a step in the right direction!

You might find our post on my experience with best Roku devices helpful in understanding more about Roku usage.


You might be wondering about the common queries surrounding local channels on Roku. In this section, you’ll find answers to such questions.

How can I Overcome Regional Limitations on Roku?

One common concern with streaming platforms, including Roku, is regional limitations. Not all local channels or services are available in every region. I’m here to tell you that it’s not as tricky as you might think to overcome these regional limitations.

There are a few strategies that can be implemented. One of these solutions involves moving the home location in the device settings. By changing the device location, you may be able to access more local channels that were previously unavailable in your region.

Certain local channels may only be accessible via a subscription-based streaming service. Therefore, subscribing to platforms such as Sling TV, Hulu Live or FuboTV could also increase your access to local content. Please note that subscription costs and availability may vary.

Lastly, using a high-quality HDTV antenna could also make a significant difference in the number of local channels you can access. Although, the success of this method will be largely dependent on your geographical location.

Can I use a VPN for Location-Based Content on Roku

Another quick tip to bypass regional restrictions on streaming content is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This is a simple yet effective strategy to access geographically restricted local channels on Roku. A VPN masks your IP address and tricks your Roku device into thinking that you’re located in a different region. So, even if you’re physically in a different location, you can still access your favorite local channels.

Try to select a reputable VPN service that offers plentiful server choices and a strong reputation for bypassing geo-blocks. A few examples include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost. One advantage of using a VPN is that it also enhances the security and privacy of your internet connection, making it more difficult for third parties to track your online activities.

When you’ve chosen a VPN, connect to the necessary server, launch your Roku device, navigate to the channel store, and search for the required local channels. Please note that some services might detect VPN usage and block access. So it might require some trial and error to find a VPN that works seamlessly with your desired local channels.

Common Issues

At times, you may encounter issues when trying to access local channels on your Roku device. Don’t worry, as these issues are usually straightforward to resolve. If local channels aren’t displaying correctly, inspect the network connection of your Roku device first.

A stable internet connection is necessary for flawless streaming. Side note: don’t overlook the importance of updating your Roku device. Having the device running on the latest software can help avoid many common issues.

If a specific channel isn’t available, it might be worth removing it from the device and then re-adding it afterwards. This can sometimes solve any issues with that particular channel. And finally, performing a system restart might seem like a basic solution but can solve a myriad of common streaming issues.

Bottom Line

First off: does Roku support local channels? The simple answer is yes. Roku devices offer ways to watch local news, sports, weather broadcasts and other local programs.

Applications such as Locast, NewsON and Haystack News can help you stay current with your locality. Although the available coverage ranges greatly, with some areas having better accessibility than others.

Next, you might ask if these local channels are free. Well, while there may be some free options, accessing premium local channels may have fees attached. This all depends on the specific local stations and services you select (We cover all of them in this post)

Last, is there a way to get more local channels on Roku? Roku constantly adds new channels, so the number of local channels will likely increase over time. However, keep in mind that availability will depend on your geographic location and individual broadcasters.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ