You’ve probably looked for a way to get VLC for Roku by visiting the Roku app channels. While it’s true that there is no official VLC media player app on Roku, there are still additional ways to get VLC for Roku that we’ll be covering thoroughly in this post.
Keep in mind: you can also use a Roku web browser to screen cast VLC from your MacBook, Windows laptop, iPhone or Android.
I’ll be covering all the ways you can use VLC on Roku, including alternative ways to get VLC on Roku without screen mirroring or casting.
How to get VLC Media Player on Roku
Just because VLC doesn’t have an official app on Roku, it doesn’t mean you can’t get VLC still. Here are instructions for how to get VLC on Roku:
- Power on a device such as PC or phone with VLC.
- Ensure Roku and device with VLC share the same WiFi.
- If PC: Locate VLC’s playback menu. Go to “renderer” and choose Roku.
- If phone: Download VLC app, “cast” is at the top.
- Enjoy VLC for Roku!
If you’re still having trouble, below is a video I made to show you visually how VLC can be accessed on Roku…
The issue with getting VLC for Roku this way is that it’s far less superior than using the Roku app called Plex to watch just released new movies and TV shows.
Plex is a no-cost app that plays your media like VLC for Roku (but far better) and is official on Roku. This means you won’t need a secondary device like VLC. (highly recommended). Alternatively, you could always check out how to jailbreak on our Roku hacks guide.
Can you get VLC for Roku?
Yes, you can get VLC for Roku but only indirectly and not through the official Roku app channel.
There are some casting and screen mirroring options we’ll go into detail with a bit later in this post.
These ways include, but are not limited to screen mirroring and casting from your Windows, Mac, Android or iPhone to your Roku.
But, first I’ve included many alternative ways to get VLC player on Roku without screen mirroring or casting.
I don’t want to screen mirror to get VLC player on Roku. What can I do instead?
If you’re anything like me, then you do not want to use a secondary device (like a computer or phone) to cast or mirror your display to Roku. Casting VLC on Roku this way feels feel clunky, unintuitive, and unenjoyable for the overall navigation of your videos.
There’s nothing more irritating than getting up in the middle of a movie, waking up your computer from sleep just to rewind or pause a scene. Sometimes my computer would even go into sleep mode and turn my movie off.
So, what are some alternate ways of watching VLC media player on Roku without screen mirroring?
Alternative #1: Simply use a Firestick (instead of VLC on Roku)
I replaced my Roku device with an inexpensive Firestick from Amazon and it changed my daily streaming entertainment forever, mostly because you can get VLC on it using the official app.
See: Roku vs Firestick (Fire TV): The Ultimate Comparison – for less than $30 bucks, you’d be surprised at how useful it is for those who consistently use VLC.
VLC on Roku just didn’t have the jailbreaking capability some of the Android streaming devices have. Meaning, you can’t sideload apps on Roku the same way.
Also Roku has several problems associated with it. So if running VLC on Roku is essential to you, the using an alternative is a very useful option.
Alternative #2: Here’s why you should look at Plex for Roku (instead of VLC)
If you aren’t looking to upgrade to a Firestick- then you’ll have to check out Plex on Roku.
Plex is a native app on Roku in the official channel store that allows almost any new movie or show to be played without ever using your computer (If you configure it the way we show you).
You can even configure the automation of torrents without using a secondary device… it’s almost as if it’s you have your own “personal jailbroken Netflix” instead of VLC on Roku.
Our guide on how to get New Movies on Plex will show you the ropes (VLC on Roku can’t do that!)
What about Smart TVs instead of VLC for Roku?
Samsung Smarthub or google play on Smart TVs may possibly have the VLC app (it’s rare). However, these are known to have repeated issues playing VLC files and is not the ideal route.
I’ve received on going crashes by using this method to get VLC on Roku. Also, the majority of TVs don’t have the VLC app.
This may be why so many are now using Firestick and Plex over Smart TV to replace VLC on Roku.
Screen mirroring (instead of casting) to get VLC for Roku?
You can also mirror your screen as Roku supports Windows 10 built-in wireless display functionality, though there is a very slight lag.
This is just another reason why we had recommended the Amazon Firestick instead earlier; because it can be tough to stream VLC to Roku compared to some other streaming devices like the Firestick or Nvidia Shield TV.
The below instructions are mainly for those that want more than just getting VLC on Roku. (Like Twitch on Roku)
This includes a full screen mirroring which will allow you to get additional non-Roku apps and basically anything on your computer screen. While this isn’t the standard solution, it works better than any other option tested thus far.
Here is an alternate way to use screen mirroring for VLC (as well as other non-Roku apps) on Roku:
- Ensure your Windows or Mac computer are on the same WiFi as your Roku
- Open the VLC app on your PC
- For Windows, click the notification button on the bottom right
- It will scan for your device. Once your Roku appears: hit connect.
- Congrats! You now have screen mirrored your VLC to Roku from your computer!
Note: This method is not possible for Macs as you’ll have to download something like Airserver to do this. Alternatively you can use parrallels or Bootcamp to grab Windows and launch VLC on Roku…
But… what about those who want to stream more than just VLC?
What if I want to cast my entire web browser from my iOS or Android device? (not just VLC)
You’re in luck! You can cast your entire browser display by downloading a Roku browser app called Web Video Cast on Google Play. This app is also on the Apple store as well for iPhone users.
Web Video Cast works for both Android and iPhone by simply installing and casting your phone’s display.
Even though it’s not as smooth as Plex or using another device like the Firestick; any video you can play in your phone browser you can now play on your Roku. (You may not even need VLC for Roku in this case)
Can Roku play AVI?
No, you cannot natively play a video that is in an AVI format on Roku. However, there are apps that allow AVI containers to be transcoded and display the Roku in the proper format, which will give you the same end result. For example, Plex, Emby, and Jellyfish are these types of apps which are available for download in the Roku channel store.
Typically someone would want to play an AVI file on Roku (or stream) it because the AVI file is stored on a laptop or another device and they want to use the Roku media player to view the video (which is typically a new release movie). These can sometimes be files that are very long, typically a hundred GB all the way up to 1TB or higher depending on the length and quality of the video you want to play.
This is considered an unconventional streaming method because Roku does not have an avi player built-in without downloading an additional app that allows a DLNA server or Nas to transcode the video. VLC Player does allow for AVI files in addition to apps like plex.
You’ll need to convert AVI to a valid Roku format because Roku is limited to certain codecs such as an MP4, an MKV, or a MOV container.
Can you play an MKV on Roku?
Yes, you can play an MKV on Roku, but only if the MKV container has the proper video and audio encoding.
On a Roku streaming stick, Roku Ultra or Roku TV, these are the following video encoding types of an MKV file that can be played:
- HEVC (H.265)
Here are the following audio encoding that can be played on Roku:
If your Roku player has the above supported video and audio encoding, it will play the MKV. The frame rate is compatible up to 60k fps. If the MKV file is corrupted an error message may or may not show on the Roku; so if this happens you’ll want to try another file before resorting to other troubleshooting methods.
Is there a media player for Roku?
Yes, there are multiple media players for Roku. This gets confusing for some because Roku itself should be able to play your media, right? Well, that’s not always the case. If you have an AVI or MKV file that is complicated you’ll need a third party media player such as VLC, Plex, Emby, or the Roku media player TV app that is downloadable on the Roku app store. You’re Roku device will need to have a USB port or be connected to one of the third party media players like Plex.
Can you install 3rd party apps on Roku?
No, you can not install 3rd party apps on Roku. In the past, you were able to install a roku private channel which had a secret code. However, now these have evolved and are called beta channels.
Third party apps on Roku will require sideloading, which on Roku is called “developer mode”; this can get extremely complex if you are not skilled in technology or don’t have prior experience jailbreaking devices.
Although it’s true that there is no official VLC media player on Roku there are still additional ways to get VLC for Roku.
So if you want to get VLC on Roku you’ll instead have to use the workarounds listed in this guide. As mentioned, these easy workarounds include taking any of the following routes: screen mirroring, casting, hooking up a firestick, and installing Plex.
For casting and screen mirroring you’ll need a second device such as Windows, Mac, Android, or iPhone. I personally use Firestick since it has all my favorite apps. If you’re looking to stick with Roku, you can use Plex, an official app on Roku, to get any new movie or show as mentioned in this article.
Related: Did you know you can get secret, hidden private channels on Roku? See our full guide on the best Roku private channels! (secret codes)
That’s it for learning how to get VLC for Roku! Happy streaming!