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How to Add Channels to Roku (Install Roku Apps)

How to Add Channels to Roku (Install Roku Apps)

Whether you’re a seasoned cord-cutter or just starting on your streaming journey, understanding how to add channels to Roku is a must.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the process. We’ll cover how you can use various methods to add channels, including exploring the Roku Channel Store, using the Roku app, and browsing through a web browser.

Note: This post is about adding channels to Roku… however, Roku also offers a range of ‘non-certified’ or “hidden”, private channels that aren’t displayed in the Roku Channel Store, but can be added with access codes.

We aim to provide a detailed tutorial for Roku users, whether they are beginners or advanced tech enthusiasts. By the end of this article, you will know how to get any channel added to your Roku device or Roku TV.

Also see: How to move, Remove & organize a Roku app from your Roku Device

Key Takeaways

Many get confused why Roku Channels are also known as Roku apps and the details. Let’s clear this up for you…

Roku Channels are commonly referred to as Roku Apps

What are Roku Channels? Roku Channels are commonly referred to as Roku Apps because you can download them to your Roku player or Roku TV and watch TV, shows, movies, and even music. Examples include Netflix, HBO Max, Fubo TV, Sling TV, and even Spotify.

(See entire list of Roku Channels in list format)

There is also an app called “The Roku Channel”, which is Roku’s free selection of over 350 entertainment options, including, but not limited to: movies, tv shows, Roku originals (like Netflix originals), and much more.

See: 43+ Best channels on Roku where we discuss the top free and paid channels

There are 3 Different Ways to get Roku channels

How can you get Roku channels? You can add Roku channels through the following methods:

  • Download channels via Roku streaming player or Roku TV by navigating to ‘Streaming channels’ and selecting or searching for a Roku, then selecting “Add Channel”
  • Install Roku channel apps via the Roku Mobile app by going to Channels, then Add Channel, then selecting “Ok”
  • Get channels added through your Roku Account by visiting the official Roku website from your Smartphone or PC and logging in. Once logged in visit “Channel store”, choose your channel/app, then select “Add Channel”.

Also see: Get familiar with your Roku with our detailed Roku Account Guide.

How to Get Roku Channels (Adding & Installing Channels)

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Entertainment has become more accessible than ever, and streaming devices like Roku play a pivotal role in that. So, if you’ve got this fantastic piece of tech in your hand, here’s how you can make it more functional.

One advantage is, Roku players and Roku TVs provide a plethora of channels ranging from paid to free and from common to some extremely niche ones.

Download Channels via Roku Streaming Player or Roku TV

3 Download Channels via Roku Streaming Player or Roku TV

To start off, let’s take a look at how you can add channels using your Roku streaming device or Roku TV directly.

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  1. First and foremost, make sure your Roku device is connected to your TV and you are logged into your Roku account. Begin by heading over to your Roku home screen, courtesy of the ‘Home‘ button on your Roku remote.
  2. Navigate to the ‘Streaming Channels’ option and find yourself amidst a plethora of channels waiting for you to explore.
  3. Follow these instructions and search or browse through genres and featured channels.
  4. Once you’ve found the channel you want, click on ‘Add Channel’.
How to add channels on Roku App 3

Within a short while, your selected channel will be added to your Roku device’s home screen.

If you’re setting up your Roku for the first time, you might find our guide on how to set Roku up for installation useful.

Install Roku Channel Apps via the Roku Mobile App

4 Install Roku Channel Apps via the Roku Mobile App

The Roku mobile app is a one-stop shop for managing your device and channels. To install a channel via this app, you first need to download and install the app on your smartphone.

Upon opening the app, you’ll see a ‘Channels’ option in the navigation bar at the bottom. Tap on it and then on ‘Channel Store’. Here, you’ll find a multitude of channels categorized under various heads.

Choose the one you desire, select ‘Add Channel’, and voila! The channel is ready for streaming on your Roku device. The advantage here is the ease with which you can add channels without the need for a television screen.

In case you’re having trouble with your Roku remote, you might want to read about the free Roku remote to control your Roku without the remote.

Get Channels Added Through Your Roku Account

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Here’s a third method to add channels – through your Roku account on the web. Beginning this process requires you to first navigate to the official Roku website.

There, you’ll find the ‘Channel Store’ option at the menu on top of the page. After clicking on it, you’ll see an assortment of channels.

Select your preferred one and on its page, click ‘Add Channel’. Keep in mind to sign in to your Roku account before trying to add a channel. As soon as you do this, the channel will be added to your Roku device.

To understand more about the variety of channels available on Roku, check out our post on the entire list of Roku Channels in list format.

How to Remove Roku Channel Apps or Re-Install Them

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Sometimes we end up adding channels to our Roku device that we don’t really need or want. Luckily, Roku also makes it possible for you to remove unwanted channels. Here’s how you can delete & remove a channel or app from Roku & Roku TV.

  1. On your Roku device, go to the ‘My Channels’ option.
  2. Here, choose the channel you’d rather not watch any more, click the asterisk (*) button on your remote.
  3. Next, select ‘Remove Channel’.

Remember this: you should remove the channel from all devices if you remove it from your Roku account.

However, if you ended up removing a channel unintentionally or regret removing it, you can always reinstall it. The process to install a channel is as outlined above.

There’s a world of entertainment waiting for you on your Roku device, so go ahead and explore it!

Facing difficulties in managing your Roku channels? Our post on how you can install the Roku app might be of help.

Adding Other Types of Channels

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When you think about diversifying your Roku channel library, you might be considering adding other types of channels beyond just streaming platforms. Roku makes it easy to explore channels that suit a wide array of interests, from music and gaming channels to lifestyle or fitness channels.

To do this, you simply need to navigate to the “Add Channels” section of your Roku account and explore the different categories available. For instance, if you’re interested in adding a new music channel like Vevo, simply search for “Vevo,” select it from the search results, and follow the prompts to add it to your Roku account.

Another possibility to consider when beefing up your channel selection on Roku is exploring international channels.

With a variety of channels from around the world available on Roku, such as ITV Hub from the United Kingdom or ARTE from France and Germany, Roku users can dive into international content for a more diverse viewing experience. Be aware that streaming rules and availability may vary based on your location.

Other channel types that you can add are Private and antenna channels, lets discuss how to do that…

Interested in exploring more content? Here’s our post on the best free Channels on Roku.

Adding Private Channels to Roku

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Roku also allows for the addition of private channels, which are typically channels not listed in the Roku Channel Store. Private channels are often developed by third-party developers and offer niche content that’s not available on the mainstream channels. To add a private channel to your Roku device, you will need the unique channel code or access key.

Remember that these codes must be obtained directly from the channel developer and then entered on the Roku website under your account settings. A side note here: As these channels are not veted by Roku, proceed with caution when adding these channels to your account, taking into account the channel’s content, origins, and user reviews.

The process of adding these channels is straightforward. After logging into your Roku account on the website, navigate to “Add channel with a code” under Manage Account, enter your code, confirm that you want to add the channel, and voila – the private channel will be added to your channel line-up.

Know more about the different types of Roku channels in our post, What is the difference between Roku Private channels and standard Roku Channels?

Adding Antenna Channels to Roku

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If you’re interested in watching over-the-air channels on your Roku device, you might consider adding an antenna channel option like “Antenna TV”. This allows you to access broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, and FOX, among many others.

To add these channels, you’ll need an antenna connected to your TV, a tuner (in some cases), and the Antenna TV Roku channel. After setting up and scanning channels using your antenna according to its instructions, you can add the Antenna TV app through the channel store on Roku, which will incorporate the local channels detected by your antenna into your Roku interface. This way, you can seamlessly shift from your streaming channels to live, local broadcasts.

For a detailed guide on how to access local channels, read our post on How to watch Local channels on Roku.

What is the difference between Roku Private channels and standard Roku Channels?

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Navigating the world of Roku channels can be a little confusing, especially when it comes to understanding the distinction between standard Roku channels and private channels. Standard Roku channels are those that appear in Roku’s official channel store. These include popular options like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. These channels follow Roku’s guidelines, ensuring they provide certain standards of content and functionality.

On the other hand, private channels don’t appear in Roku’s official channel store. These channels, also known as “non-certified” channels are developed by third-party developers and must be added manually via a code. These channels vary widely in content, from streaming rarities to homebrew games, to channels made for very specific niches.

One advantage of private channels is that they allow for a broader range of content. However, given that they are not directly supervised by Roku, they may carry risks, such as unstable performance or questionable content.

To better understand your Roku device, you can read our comprehensive review on the best Roku devices.

How much do Roku channels cost?

There is a diverse range of Roku channels, each with its own cost structure. Many channels on Roku are free, yet they may have advertisements. Free channels can include options like YouTube, Pluto TV, or Tubi. On the plus side, these free channels often offer vast content libraries, but keep in mind that you’ll likely have to sit through ads.

That said, some of the most popular channels on Roku, like Hulu, Netflix, or Disney+, are subscription-based. These platforms require a monthly or yearly subscription fee which can vary depending on the service. There are also channels on Roku that offer some content for free, but premium content requires a subscription like Peacock.

Lastly, channels like Google Play Movies & TV allow you to rent or purchase individual movies or TV episodes. This offers a cost-effective way to watch individual pieces of content without committing to a monthly subscription. As the consumer, you have an array of options when it comes to expanding your Roku channel line-up, whether you’re looking to avoid subscriptions entirely, willing to pay for vast content libraries, or something in between.

To explore free options on Roku, read our post on What do you get free with Roku?’

Roku Pin and why its Important in Adding Channels

When it comes to managing your Roku account, one crucial element, that continually emerges vital, is the Roku Pin. A Roku Pin, a four-digit number, acts as a safeguard to your account, particularly when adding channels, making purchases, or controlling access to age-restricted content. This layer of security makes sure that only you, or those with your permission, can make changes to your account or purchase paid channels.

As Roku offers both free and paid channels, having a Roku Pin safeguards your account from any unauthorized purchases or alterations. Validating an action on your Roku device using a Pin ensures you affirm the legitimacy of a purchase or installation. Keep in mind, this feature depends on your setting preferences on whether a Pin is a requirement for every channel addition or only for purchases.

One advantage of the Roku Pin is that it provides you control over your Roku account, whether you’re safeguarding against unintentional purchases by children or unwarranted access by guests. To set your Pin preference, visit the Roku account page, select ‘Update,’ under ‘Pin Preference,’ and choose an option that suits your requirements. Ultimately, a Roku Pin is a fundamental factor in managing and securing your Roku account.

Also see: Interested in the Roku streaming stick? Check out our detailed review of the Roku streaming stick 4k.

Recognizing the difference between paid and free channels on Roku can significantly optimize your streaming experience. A simple distinction is this – while free channels present no monetary charges for accessing their content, paid channels necessitate a subscription fee, either monthly or annually.

An array of free channels is available on Roku, including Roku’s very own channel, The Roku Channel, that provides a mix of movies, TV shows, and news. YouTube and Tubi are other examples that offer free content, although it’s quite often supplemented by ad viewing. PBS and Crackle also provide diverse selections of series and movies at no cost.

On the other side, paid channels, also known as subscription channels, charge fees for content viewing. Popular paid channels include Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, which require monthly or yearly subscriptions. Amazon Prime Video, albeit requiring a subscription, also offers the option to rent or purchase specific films or shows.

When opting for paid channels, users typically gain access to higher quality content, exclusive releases, or ad-free viewing. Side note: Always compare the subscription costs and content offerings before committing to a paid channel.

Adding Channels via the Roku Device

Supplementing your Roku viewing options with new channels couldn’t be simpler, thanks to the device’s user-friendly interface. Adding channels through the Roku device is effortlessly accomplished in a few easy steps. Firstly, make sure your Roku device is connected to the internet and switched on.

From the Roku home screen, navigate and select ‘Streaming Channels,’ which opens up the Roku Channel Store, home to thousands of available Roku channels. Here, you can either search for a particular channel using the search function or stroll through the various categories featuring free, new, and popular channels.

Once you find a channel of interest, select it for further information, user ratings, and clicking ‘Add channel’ will install it onto your Roku device. For any paid channels, follow additional prompts for payment details. The newly added channel will now appear at the end of your channel list on the Roku home screen ready for streaming enjoyment.

Examples of Roku Channels

The beauty of Roku lies in its vast selection of channel offerings catering to diverse viewer tastes. There’s something for everyone, from sports enthusiasts and news buffs to movie lovers or educational supporters. HBO Max, for instance, offers a wide range of award-winning series, documentaries, and blockbuster movies, perfect for avid film and series fans.

For lovers of sports and live TV, ESPN provides comprehensive sports coverage, while Sling offers a flexible solution for live TV viewing. Music devotees can relish in streaming Spotify or Pandora right on their televisions. Additionally, free channels such as YouTube or Peacock provide various content, often ad-supported.

Also, some notable educational and kid-friendly channels include NatGeo, PBS Kids, and Cartoon Network. Keep in mind, each channel’s content is subject to change, so it’s worth regularly exploring new options within the Roku Channel Store.


Why can’t I add Roku channel apps to my Roku device or Roku TV?

Let’s start by acknowledging that Roku is a vast universe of entertainment. Yet sometimes, getting new channels or apps onto your Roku device might prove a bit challenging.

The reasons are often straightforward, with straightforward solutions.

One of the common issues is to do with your Roku account’s region setting. Roku, like other streaming services, tailors its content to specific regions. If you’re trying to add a channel not available in your region, your Roku simply won’t allow it. In such circumstances, using a VPN could be a viable solution.

It’s also worth noting that not all channels are available directly on the Roku Channel Store. Some channels, often called “hidden” or “private” channels, need a special code to be installed.

So, if you can’t find that channel you’re reading about in a blog or heard about from a friend, it’s likely you’ll need a special invite or a code to add it to your Roku. A simple web search for “Roku private channels” will open up a whole new world for you to explore.

Another potential issue that may hinder your Roku channel installation process could be software-related. If your Roku device doesn’t have the latest software updates installed, you might run into problems when trying to add new channels. It’s important to make sure your Roku device is updated regularly. Typically, Roku devices update automatically. You can always check the status and manually update if necessary, by navigating to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Systems update’ on your Roku.

Is there a full list of Roku channels?

In the sprawling landscape of Roku entertainment, having a full channel list can definitely be a boon. Trust me, screening through Roku’s library of over 5000 channels can be a bit daunting.

Luckily, you’re in the right place. We have a well-crafted, exhaustive post dedicated precisely to the Roku channel list, categorized for easy navigation.

Our Roku channel list which includes the Roku live TV channel list, is a great resource to keep up-to-date with the latest offerings.

This post covers some of the most popular paid subscriptions and free channels. That includes all the big names like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, alongside a wide range of genre-specific channels like cooking, travel, fitness, and many more.

Even better, our list includes a solid lineup of hidden or private channels! That’s right, beyond the Roku Channel Store lurks a realm of fascinating, off-beat channels that you can unlock with the right codes. So, make sure to check out our post for a full, detailed Roku channels list that’ll help you optimize your Roku experience.

What is the Roku Channel Store and how do I access it

The Roku Channel Store is essentially a marketplace for all things Roku. It’s where you explore, select, and add preferred channels to your Roku device, enhancing your streaming experience with a customized selection of content.

Accessing the Roku Channel Store can be done directly from your Roku device. On your remote control, press the home button to navigate to the Roku’s home screen. From there, scroll down and select ‘Streaming Channels.’ This action leads you directly to the massive channel repository that is the Roku Channel Store.

Within the Roku Channel Store, you can peruse ‘Featured,’ ‘Top Free,’ ‘Most Popular,’ or ‘Genres’ to discover more channels. If there’s a specific channel you’re searching for, you can utilize the search bar for faster results. Each time you add a channel from the Roku Channel Store, it’s then available for viewing from your Roku home screen. Remember that while some channels in the Roku Channel Store may be free, others require separate subscriptions.

Can I install Themes or screensavers to my Roku?

You bet, you can! One big advantage of Roku is the ability to customize. Roku Themes and screensavers are fun ways to tweak the look and feel of your Roku interface.

They let you change the background image of the home screen and the style of the channel tiles. Roku Themes operate on a carousel, allowing you to shuffle between them every time you start your Roku device. Steps to install a Roku Theme are quite simple. First select ‘Streaming Channels’ from the home screen, then choose ‘Themes’ from the list of options. The rest is just a matter of picking a theme and following the prompts.

One thing to keep in mind, though. While Roku has a fair selection of free themes, there are also paid ones. Roku even has theme packs for sale. These collections of themes generally follow a setting, event or motif, like Seasons, Kids & Cartoons or Holidays & Events. It’s the same procedure for screensavers. Just like themes, Roku has both free and paid screensavers, although the selection is far more limited. They can be found in the ‘Screensavers’ category in the ‘Streaming Channels’ Store.

Side note: Be aware that some screen savers use up more system resources or consume more power than others. So, you might want to keep it simple if you’re trying to save on electricity costs or have an older Roku model.

How can I manage my subscriptions for Paid Roku channels?

Paid Roku channels or subscription-based channels add a dynamic touch to your entertainment mix. Whether it’s Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu, managing such subscriptions becomes a routine part of your Roku experience. Understanding how to manage these, particularly when you want to add or cancel a channel can save you not only time but also unnecessary spends.

By navigating to the ‘My subscriptions’ section of your Roku account page on Roku’s website, you can view all your active subscriptions, along with their renewal dates and prices. If you wish to cancel a subscription, you simply click the ‘unsubscribe’ option next to the corresponding channel.

One key point of advantage to note is that Roku’s system will remember each channel you’ve added, even if you’ve cancelled your subscription. That means, if you resubscribe, the system may have retained your preferences and viewing history. However, it’s always smart to double-check that you’re not being billed for channels you no longer want! Regularly monitoring your subscriptions eliminates the possibility of unwanted charges.

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