The New Year is here and with it I feel its time to update the latest, greatest and generally the best Roku channels available for 2015!
There have been a few new offerings that make the Roku a much more appealing set-top box, some that have broken boundaries and others that are just plain awesome.
I have included a collection of private channels, plex ‘unsupported app store’ channels and official channels offered through the official Roku website.
I will give a brief description on each but ultimately the real tell for you will be to install and try these channels as experience and preference will vary.
Some of these channels can require some know-how to install successfully, but they are worth the learning curve.
Also to get the best these channels have to offer you should definitely consider a SmartDNS service if you are not in the US because the best content is almost always on the American version.
These services allow a user in say Canada, the UK, etc to appear as though they have an American address. This allows a Canadian Roku user to access the geo-blocked channels like Hulu Plus, Pandora, etc and allows you access to the far larger US Netflix movie and TV options.
If you want improved privacy also you can opt for a VPN package that allows added security and anonymity alongside the SmartDNS advantages. Either way if you are not located in the US then this service will take your Roku experience to a whole new level. Check out my guide on how to setup the Roku to take advantage of this service.
The Best Roku Channels of 2015 so far are:
This should be an obvious choice to a Roku user as it has become a well known service offering many movies, TV shows and documentaries as well as some exclusive content in all these departments as well as stand up comedy and the like. This service is a must have to anyone with a Roku and especially those who are ‘cutting the cord’ to their cable/satellite subscription.
2. Hulu Plus
TV shows live here! If you have a SmartDNS service or are located in the US this service offers the most up to date television content of the three top subscription services available on the Roku (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon). If TV is your thing and you can’t wait a whole season for the lastest Family Guy, The Flash or New Girl then you will likely want to check Hulu out, remember for non-American users you will likely need a SmartDNS or VPN service to access this channel on the Roku and the content as well. These services will make Hulu and others such as Netflix US available on other devices on your home network as well.
The YouTube Roku channel is an awesome channel! YouTube was a long time coming to the Roku and its only been there for about a year but already it has become a staple for the set-top box. This channel on the Roku 3 in particular is very cool. It allows you to play via your mobile devices and you can connect YouTube accounts to it. This allows you to create a playlist of awesome videos via your tablet/laptop/PC and then play them seamlessly through your big screen TV, think music video playlist for a party 😉
The Plex channel is my personal hub of awesome content! Now there are many characteristics to this channel and to be honest its sort of a media center all unto its self. There are sub-channels accessible through here and even an ‘UnSupported App Store‘ (download here) which allows the install of channels like ‘Let Me Watch This‘ and ‘iSho.ws‘ which are awesome resources for the Roku. Search YouTube for video tutorial, that’s how I learned.
This channel is best used to automatically and effectively display your media collection in a visually appealing library on your mobile devices, PC and Roku. So if you have a collection of TV series and movies on your main computer’s HD then this channel is your new best friend! It will play almost anything and that includes home videos uploaded from your smartphone or cameras.
The FilmOn Roku channel is a private channel and the top of my list of private channels, mostly because it is both free and loaded with content, the best content being the live streaming ones. To check out what FilmOn TV offers visit their site. If you like what is available on the website install the private Roku channel here. This is best known for its access to live channels from the UK, in particular live BBC News, Channel 4, etc. This channel has had some rough ups and downs in the past so it is possible the channel will not last forever. That being said while its working its worth a trial run.
This channel is unique in a number of cool ways. It offers live regular programming, a TV guide and a DVR service. This service has a free 45-day trial during which you can access 6 live channels (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, PBS). The paid subscriptions offer more than 25 channels. There are at least two subscription offers each are discounted for the first 3 months before raising about $10/month more. They are available for your consideration on their website. I personally have only used their free services and so far they work pretty good.
The Pandora channel is a classic service by this point and if you like music at all its an essential Roku channel. This is the sort of channel that requires a SmartDNS or VPN service, if you are living outside of the US.
SlingTV is a new comer to the Roku. This channel offers access to paid subscriptions that give you to access live television streaming straight to the Roku. The service starts at $20/month and offers in this basic package access to networks such as ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel. There are also add on packages for News, Kids and Sports. This service is expected to expand on its content in the coming year and unlike traditional TV there are no contracts and no exorbitant costs. Also the service offers other features such as VOD and controls such as pause, rewind, fast forward for some channels.
They offer a free 7-day trial
This channel and service also requires that you are located in the US so if you are not then you will need a SmartDNS or VPN service like Overplay, which I use.
DISHWorld has a Roku channel that offers access to live streaming of many channels in many different languages. This is a must look into channel if you or someone in your household wants entertainment content in another language. They also offer some English content and sports content. They also offer deals on Roku devices with sign-up.
10. CBS News
This channel is probably the best single channel for news on the Roku. The CBS News channel is the first major network to offer quality live streaming of their news content for free on the Roku. This live streaming comes with commercials but who’s going to complain when the price is right 😉
This list is absolutely not intended to be exhaustive and there are many more excellent Roku channels for your consideration. This is just my list of the best channels for the Roku either because of the quality they offer or that they are trying something new that brings new content to the Roku experience.
There are other channels out there such as NowhereTV, Huffington Post Live, Amazon, etc. They also offer an excellent experience to the decisive Roku user. You just have to explore your options and have fun!
If you think I’ve left out an especially awesome channel(s) let me know what you think by commenting below.