Perusing the Roku Fanboy Forum this morning, I stumbled across a discussion of top ten channels. The top channels were obvious, but some of the others warrant investigation. Either way, I thought this would be a useful list to share.
Logon to your Roku account then click the app name to navigate to the installation link.
- Netflix (27) This is the app Roku was designed to run. For $9/month, subscribers get unlimited access to premium television and movies.
- YouTube (19) People love their Rokus and people love YouTube. For some reason, people have always had problems with YouTube on the Roku. One of the popular alternatives to the ‘official’ app is VideoBuzz.
- Amazon Instant (17) Amazon is a lot of things. You can buy or rent episodes, seasons, or movies. You can get unlimited access to a large library via Amazon’s Prime service.
- Hulu+ (17) Hulu+ is another monthly subscription ($8). This one offers unlimited instant streaming of current and library TV shows and hit movies. Watch current-season episodes of hit TV shows.
- Pandora (14) Pandora is a music service. I’m not running my 60″ plasma to listen to music, but, apparently, some people are OK with that. If you have a Roku with analog out, you can use your TV to tune a station then pass the analog out to aux in on an AVR or even powered speakers.
- NowhereTV (12) This app is from one of the early Roku developers. It aggregates streams that may or may not be of interest to you. List of current apps can be found here.
- Plex (10) Plex is a collaborative application. You install a Roku app which requires a Plex server to operate. The server streams internet services and local media to the Roku app. The Plex server is free, but you pay for the app. RarFlix is a fork of the Plex app which is free.
- Crackle (8) Free full-length Hollywood movies, TV series and original programming uncut and unedited.
- Vudu (8) Wamart’s buy or rent service. Supports Digital Copy redemptions, Walmart’s Disc-to-Digital service, and lots of library sharing (Ultraviolet) and promotional opportunities.
- PBS (7) Free access to PBS original and featured programs.
More than one vote…
- PlayOn (6) Pricewise, PlayOn is the opposite of Plex — you pay for the server and get the clients for free. Plex blocked Free Hulu on the Roku, but PlayOn did not. PlayOn has a DVR option called PlayLater. Plex does not. In my experience PlayOn is more reliable than Plex, but Plex has a slicker interface. Either product is a great companion to broadcast television. PlayOn is better for streamed content, but Plex is better for local media. No reason not to get both as they can be run off the same server (PC). PlayLater is the gem. Use it to capture virtually anything that can be streamed with PlayOn.
- WatchESPN (6) Sports news, discussion, and events. Requires subscription to supported partner/provider (click installation link for list of supported partners and providers).
- Channel Pear (5) Channel PEAR is a collaborative, cloud-based media library that lets you instantly add, manage, and watch content across your favorite devices from free-to-air channels. Create an account, login, pair your device, and watch! Channel Pear is new and most of the streams do not work. A lot of the ones that do work are SD or have captions.
- Fox News (5) Basically, the Fox News web site formatted for your television. ‘Play All’ option lets you enjoy continuous feed of news stories.
- iTunes Podcasts (5) Allows you to browse, search, listen, and watch podcasts from the entire iTunes Podcast library on your Roku Streaming Player.
- MLB.tv (5) Live and on-demand MLB games. Blackout restrictions mean you will not watch your team live.
- Bloomberg (4) Extensive collection of videos covering the biggest and most important stories in the business world and Bloomberg TV, a live 24 hour global business and financial news TV channel.
- Cnet (4) CNET brings tech shows, gadget reviews, and tech event coverage to the Roku. Brian Cooley, Brian Tong, and Sharon Vaknin share tech secrets. From specially curated content, to advice and exclusive deals for Roku members, CNET helps you need buy and get the most out of tech.
- Flixster (4) Use Flixster to discover the best movies, find theaters, showtimes & buy tickets, get DVD and digital release information and check Audience and critic ratings & reviews. Rent or buy thousands of digital movies in HD (powered by UltraViolet).
- Sling TV (4) ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey, and Galavision for one stream for $20 per month. Dish has announced that they will be adding AMC channels to their base offering, so look forward to AMC, BBC AMERICA, BBC World News, IFC, SundanceTV, and WE tv.
- TED (4) Nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. On this channel, you’ll find TEDTalks video to inspire, intrigue and stir the imagination from some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers, speaking from the stage at TED conferences, TEDx events and partner events around the world.
- TuneIn (4) Internet radio on your Roku.
- Twit (4) The TWiT.tv Netcast Network with Leo Laporte features the #1 ranked technology podcast This Week in Tech, along with over 20 other top-ranked online shows.
- History (3) Clips and episodes from the history channel. Some content requires validation with a paid cable subscription.
- MOG (3) $12/month music service.
- Revision3 (3) All-original weekly and daily episodic community driven programs. 100% HD, and run from under a minute to close to an hour.
- Smithsonian (3) Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of Showtime Networks with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian Institution. We create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as: air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture.
- TheBlaze TV (3) Home of The Glenn Beck Program plus live news, info & entertainment.
- USTV Now (3) This content is intended for use outside the United States of America and the content owner uses ip geoblocking to enforce that.
- Weather4US (3) US weather including extended forecasts, animated Doppler radar, satellite, alerts and warnings, national weather. Free with a premium purchase option.
- WeatherNation (3) 24/7 local, regional and national television weather news service. The WeatherNation TV service features a 24/7 television broadcast, including live severe coverage, but also a wide variety of weather news segments and forecasts on demand.
- What’s On Channel (3) Ostensibly a TV guide app, this app includes a hidden YouTube app. The fanboys handed out the ‘secret’ to people who complained about the much better but banned VideoBuzz. Enter asecret as your zip code and restart to reveal YT content. Then set the zip to your actual zip code for local listings.
- A&E (2) Clips and episodes from A&E TV. Some content requires validation through a paid cable subscription.
- Break (2) Entertainment and humor website that features comedy videos, flash games, movies, and pictures.
- BYU TV (2) Live stream of BYUtv and archive of shows.
- CBS News (2) Features CBSN, the 24/7 digital streaming news network from CBS News, as well as on demand video from CBS’s awarding winning news programs, including CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, 60 Minutes, 48 Hours,Sunday Morning and Face the Nation, and CBSNews.com.
- Fox Business (2) The Willis Report, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Stossel, Cavuto, Money with Melissa Francis, Varney & Company, and Imus.
- HBO Go (2) Every episode of every season of the best HBO shows, including HBO original programming, hit movies, sports, documentaries, comedy specials and more in HD. Requires validation through a paid subscription.
- NBC News (2) Breaking news, original journalism and world-class video from NBC News on NBC News Digital. Get the best business, political, health and entertainment reporting from Nightly News, TODAY, Meet the Press, Morning Joe and The Rachel Maddow Show.
- MyMedia (2) The piece of PlayOn that Roku allows in their store. Get the PlayOn private channel.
- Newscaster (2) Quick and easy access to free content from a variety of news outlets.
- PBS Kids (2) More than 1,000 videos from over a dozen top PBS KID television series, including Curious George, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train, SUPER WHY!, Wild Kratts, and Sesame Street.
- Radio Paradise (2) A blend of many styles and genres of music, carefully selected and mixed by two real human beings. You’ll hear modern and classic rock, world music, electronica, even a bit of classical and jazz.
- Spotify (2) Spotify gives you instant access to millions of tracks, any time you like. Choose the music you love or find new music by browsing artists, tracks and albums. A Premium subscription is required.
- Weather Underground (2) Weather information for any location including current conditions, forecast, satellite, radar, weather warnings, and web cams.
These apps got only one vote, but are worth a look:
- OVGuide Pretty good selection of pretty good movies for free. Worth a look.
- Simple TV Simple is a DVR that lets you watch, pause and record free OTA TV on your Roku. No cable or satellite subscription required, but you need an internet service provider, an antenna, a Simple DVR, and a subscription to Simple’s service (for the best experience).
- Tablo Tablo is a DVR that lets you watch, pause and record free OTA TV on your Roku. No cable or satellite subscription required, but you need an internet service provider, an antenna, a Tablo DVR, and a subscription to Tablo’s service (for the best experience).
- Vevo Very high quality music videos plus continuous/linear Vevo TV channel.