How to Watch Live TV on Roku

How to Watch Live TV on Roku

We recommend: Try Sling TV for free.

Roku devices are among the most popular cord cutting tools around, and that doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon. Roku is a great way to organize on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, but can it really replace live TV?

Sure it can – you just have to know how to use it. Whether you want a legitimate subscription service or are looking for a DIY live TV streaming solution, Roku has you covered. Here are 13 ways to watch live TV on your Roku, including both private channels and supported Roku channels.

 

CBS News Live 24/7

CBS News

What it is: CBS News Live 24/7 streams CBS’s news network, CBSN, around the clock.

Price: Free

How to get it: CBS News Live 24/7 is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and cons: This channel offers 24/7 streaming of CBSN, the dedicated news network from CBS. You can also stream on-demand content from CBS’s news programs, including the CBS Evening News. CBSN isn’t the most popular news channel around, but hey, it’s free! While other news services (such as FOX News) have Roku channels, few offer the live streaming that the CBS News channel does.

 

channel PEAR

channel PEAR

What it is: channel PEAR is a “media platform” that works sort of like Plex or Kodi, only within the framework of Roku. By installing channels within channel PEAR, you can access live TV.

Price: Free

How to get it: channel PEAR is a private Roku channel, so just follow our step-to-step guide to installing private Roku channels. The code for channel PEAR is channelpear.

Pros and cons: channel PEAR is free, but live channels have to be added individually through its interface. To do this, just navigate through their “Media Database” and select the channel you want to add to your personal channel listing. channel PEAR is not the most intuitive of these options, but it’s a powerful private channel.

 

CNNgo

CNNgo

What it is: CNN’s Roku app includes live news broadcasts for subscribers.

Price: You’ll need a cable login to access the 24/7 stream.

How to get it: CNNgo is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and cons: CNNgo is a good app, but like too many other live TV apps, it will want your cable login. There doesn’t seem to be a way to log in using your Sling TV credentials. If you’re a cord cutter who is not a password sharer, this one isn’t for you – but you can still stream CNN live through the Sling TV channel (more on that in a moment).

 

fuboTV

fuboTV

What it is: fuboTV was once a soccer streaming service, but now it offers live streaming of lots of different channels – not just those that air soccer. It works very similarly to Sling TV and the rest of the skinny bundles.

Price: $49.99/month

How to get it: fuboTV is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and cons: fuboTV is a solid service, but it’s fairly pricey for what it is. With that said, the service still holds a special appeal to soccer fans, as it offers the best combination of soccer-focused channels of any skinny bundle.

 

League Sports Packages

MLB.tv

What it is: MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, and NHL.TV let cord cutters watch live out-of-market MLB, NBA, and NHL games, respectively.

Price: Varies by league and package, but all full packages start north of $125/year. NBA League Pass and NHL.TV offer a cheaper one-team package, and reports say that MLB.TV will soon follow suit.

How to get it: Click to download MLB.TV, the NBA channel (NBA League Pass), and the NHL channel (NHL.TV) for Roku. You’ll have to set up a paid account to access the content.

Pros and cons: These packages are pricey, but they remain the best way to get live sports as a cord cutter. If you’re a fan of one league in particular, the league package is definitely the way to go. If you like a variety of sports and don’t want to pay the steep prices for these packages, check out some other ideas in our guide to cord cutting as a sports fan.

 

Livestream

Livestream

What it is: Livestream is a popular live streaming platform used by companies like Spotify as well as by local news networks, sports broadcasters, and others.

Price: Free

How to get it: Livestream is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and Cons: Livestream’s content isn’t overwhelming right now, but it’s a solid option and particularly great if your local news station uses the platform.

 

NewsON

NewsON

What it is: NewsON is a new service that aims to replace one live TV service that cord cutters previously had little access to: local news. It auto-locates the closest supported local news station and lets you play coverage on your Roku device.

Price: Free

How to get it: NewsON is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and cons: NewsON is a fairly new channel, and as we noted in our review, it is by no means perfect. Among its flaws are its somewhat annoying interface and its limited selection of local news networks. If your local news station is one of the participating providers, though, this channel is worth your time.

 

Nowhere TV

Nowhere TV

What it is: Nowhere TV is one of the best private channels available for Roku. It offers multiple live channels, including everything from C-SPAN to Adult Swim.

Price: Free

How to get it: Nowhere TV is a private Roku channel. The code is H9DWC. To install it, just follow our step-by-step guide to installing private Roku channels.

Pros and cons: Nowhere TV is free and works well, but it doesn’t have quite the channel selection that some of its competitors do.

 

Pluto TV

Pluto TV

What it is: Pluto TV is a service that assembles online videos and streams into cable-like channels.

Price: Free

How to get it: Pluto TV is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and cons: You might know Pluto TV more for its channels full of aggregated online videos, but it also has some live TV offerings. Pluto TV has Sky News, Newsmax TV, and MSNBC, among others. Unfortunately, news is the only live content on Pluto TV right now.

 

Sling TV

Sling TV

What it is: Sling TV is an à la carte channel subscription service.

Price: $20/month for the smallest of three basic packages, with additional packages available for around $5 each

How to get it: Sling TV is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and cons: Sling TV impressed us when we reviewed it, but its worth noting that its Roku app is still a little shaky. Your mileage may vary. Sling TV has the advantage of firm legal footing. Channels include ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, and TBS.

(We recommend: Try Sling TV’s free trial.)

 

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue

What it is: PlayStation Vue is Sling TV’s primary competitor and another great option for fans of OTT skinny bundles.

Price: $29.99 for the smallest of three basic packages.

How to get it: PlayStation Vue is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and Cons: PlayStation Vue is a little pricier than Sling TV, and doesn’t allow for as much customization in your channel lineup. However, it streams more smoothly and includes a DVR feature.

 

Tablo

Tablo

What it is: Tablo is an OTA (over-the-air) DVR. Its Tablo channel allows Roku users to watch live and recorded OTA TV through their Tablo device and antenna.

Price: The app is free, but you’ll need the $200 device itself and a $6/month subscription.

How to get it: Tablo is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and Cons: The Tablo device and app add DVR functionality to your OTA setup, but there’s no real difference in the live experience. You’ll still get whatever live channels you can pick up with your antenna, which will mean major networks, PBS, and Univision but no smaller network channels.

 

WatchESPN

WatchESPN

What it is: WatchESPN is ESPN’s own streaming service, featuring content from the ESPN family of channels.

Price: You’ll need a subscriber login to get access. Sling TV’s $20/month package is your cheapest option.

How to get it: WatchESPN is available in Roku’s channel store.

Pros and cons: WatchESPN is a top-notch streaming service, and ESPN has a ton of content. Unfortunately, you’ll need to be an ESPN subscriber to get access to the live content. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go crawling back to your cable company, though – Sling TV’s basic package includes ESPN and ESPN2, and therefore includes WatchESPN access.

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on Cordcutting.com and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

65 Comments on "How to Watch Live TV on Roku"

  1. I know a private Roku channel where you get all the live TV channels and more for a small monthly fee. Email me for details 1iptvguy@gmail.com.

  2. Will I be able to get these channels Own-We-MTV-Bravo???

    • You can get a Bravo addon for Kodi. Not for Roku, yet.

    • Add private channel XTV with code XTVIPTV to your Roku. Although it lags every once in a while and some channels just don’t work at all, you have a choice of about 20 working cable channels to stream. It’s all completely free. It’s my favorite channel by far. (It also has on demand and 24/7 channels available.)

  3. Sharon M Tetreau | April 16, 2016 at 3:25 am | Reply

    What I really want to know is can I get the local channels in my area.

  4. Sling TV is great but is very spotty lately. Service reloads a lot. Can’t watch a full program without reloading. Very unhappy. I canceled it after 1 year with them, as it’s gotten worse. Worst part is I turned on family to this service. They need to get it together.

    • I’ve decided, after two trials, that Sling TV isn’t worth it. The delays are ridiculous, especially on live TV, but also for on demand. I’ve just now dropped Sling TV for the second time. It suck via Roku 2 & 3 models, this much I know.

  5. The more that Sling TV improves, the worse the service is. You have to keep raising your internet speeds to keep up. Soon it will be cheaper just to go with satellite or cable because of the added internet charge!

  6. Every one I click is not in Canada.

  7. Friend just downloaded PS Vue and seems to love it! Gives you 3 plan options, highest one being $45, and you get 100 channels.

  8. I want TVA channel.

  9. Dominic Bisesi | July 21, 2016 at 2:17 am | Reply

    PlayStation Vue hands down over Sling TV except for ONE thing. Sling TV is portable, you can take it with you on vacation use on Roku Stick or equivalent in hotel or any TV anywhere with HDMI. Not so with PlayStation Vue. NOT portable and only one change of address and then they drop you. If they ever change that nonsense I’m in for life.

  10. I use a Leaf Mohu antenna & get all major network channels & about 30 other useless ones for free. But I am trying to figure out how to get A&E and a couple others with subscribing to anything. Any hints?

    • Randy Stevens | August 5, 2016 at 1:14 am | Reply

      Do you really watch “A&E and a couple others” or just a few shows on those networks? It may be cheaper to just buy the seasons of the shows from Vudu rather than subscribe to the mini-bundles. I have 2 shows I watch on BBC America and I just buy the full seasons on Vudu. The shows even come with behind-the-scenes bonus clips that I normally would not see on the network.

  11. I would like a add-on or app that would allow me to view Investigative ID.

  12. I love my Roku. For live TV, check out USTVnow and xTV. Free cable and other great channels. I livestream my local news every night.

  13. PlayStation Vue is much better than Sling, more premium stations and sports for $40 a month (the top package), it’s well worth it and we are cord cutter oldies. Of all the services we tried it’s the best content, great picture, reliable, has DVR function included, you will not be disappointed. It makes Sling look like a Dollar Store.

  14. Yes DO try XTV which also has some live cable TV, USTVnow is crap compared to even the cheap Vue package, and is based in Pennsylvania where you get all Penn news and broadcasting not to mention USTVnow crashes a lot for days.

  15. I just added Nowhere TV, and there was a notice that said it will no longer be carrying local TV. 🙁

    Great article! Thank you so much!

  16. Skitter TV seems to be another option with a lot of live TV channels offered on the Roku. Just thought I’d mention it as you didn’t list it as an option in your article.

  17. We are paying a fortune for DirecTV! Like, we could get a new car for what we’re paying!!! I can’t take it anymore. We do watch a lot of Live TV and we use our DVR a ton. We have Roku and I really need input. PLEASE HELP!!!

    • Channel Master offers local TV channels AND it’s a DVR with a 2-week channel guide… add a Roku… or Fire and you will have a complete package for free… add Netflix and Hulu (about $20) and it’s a lot of shows for little $$$.

  18. I’ve got PS Vue, and it’s great, but it doesn’t have BBC America. Sling has BBCA, but I don’t really want to pay another $20 a month for one channel.

  19. Been with PlayStation Vue for a while… I really really love it… Stay up to date with today’s TV… It asks your location so you can get local channels… Sling doesn’t do that.

  20. Betty Ann Burrell | September 29, 2016 at 11:50 pm | Reply

    Any service offer Fox News?

    • PlayStation Vue on a Roku offers Fox – that’s what made my decision to cut the cord. It works out great!

    • I said Fox and meant Fox News Channel.

      • Fox does not report real news.

      • Fox News (the only viable news) is available on XTV or Channel Pear.

        • CNN is also a viable news source, highly recommend you check it out.

        • Rainstormgal | March 1, 2017 at 12:12 am | Reply

          Fox News is on PlayStation Vue. I’m watching Fox News Channel live right now on my Roku via the free trial. I will more than likely order PlayStation Vue after my trial expires. PS Vue has 90% of the channels my family and I like to watch. Hopefully they’ll add more basic popular channels. If so it would be a winner winner chicken dinner IMHO. My fingers and toes are crossed.

  21. This needs to be updated. TWCTV does NOT work outside of the home where the account resides. I have tried using my parents login at my house and it won’t let me. So password sharing is out on this one.

    • Cordcutting.com | October 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Reply

      Thanks for pointing out! We updated the article and added a couple of new channels (Livestream and Tablo).

  22. New app called View Local just came up on my Roku… What is this?

  23. PS Vue does have great packages compared to Sling BUT using on Roku is pretty much out of the question. The response time is literally 3-4 minutes, so good luck using it without a PlayStation. I’ve been keeping my eye on when the issue has been addressed because I wouldn’t mind switching Sling TV for PS Vue programming but not at the cost of that response time when I’m watching or want to change channels.

    • Idk what Tnisha is talking about, I have PS Vue on my Roku 4, and I have zero issues with it. Response time is very little, maybe a second after I click a channel the stream starts. Maybe you’re using a Roku 1 or an older stick?

      The only complaint I have about PS Vue on Roku is the fast-forwarding option in the DVR is hard to use because it doesn’t have a preview. Fix that and everything would be golden.

    • Rainstormgal | March 3, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Reply

      I’ve added PlayStation Vue to my Roku this week. I don’t own a PlayStation. I just have an LG Smart TV and PSVue is working perfectly fine on my TV. The response time is instant (1 second). It’s super fast. Maybe you should test it out on a different TV at your house, or a friends house if you only have one TV set.

  24. IS THERE ANY WAY TO GET HALLMARK MOVIES AND MYSTERY CHANNEL ON ROKU?

  25. What about local channels 2,5,11, Hallmark, TBS, etc.? Please let me know.

  26. I have PlayStation Vue on my Roku and use it on 4 TVs – I believe Sling is $20 per TV unless they’ve changed their pricing since I inquired. For travel, you can use your phone or tablet as the 5th allowable device on PSV.

  27. Is Fox News live and offered live streaming?

    • Rainstormgal | March 3, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Reply

      Yes. I watch Fox News live on Roku via PlayStation Vue. I’m doing the PSVue trial and so far so good. My family and I really like it so we will more than likely keep it.

  28. Bought the new Roku Premiere. Can’t screen mirror from Android. Anyone have a fix for this? I understand older model Rokus have this option.

  29. You can get Hallmark show on Roku with the Feelin channel. It’s $23.00 a year.

  30. Hello, I’d like to know how to get Pi TV on my Roku 4. Thanks!

  31. You may try use Allavsoft to download CBS News video to MP4, WMV, MOV, FLV, AVI, etc.

  32. I have cable with my internet service and wondered if I can get all those channels if I hook up Roku. I only want Roku for Netflix.

  33. Can you get Heroes & Icons with Roku? WZME changed to Jimmy Swaggard and Optimum (cable in my area) does not air H&I now…

  34. Looking for live TV, email me for details (1iptvguy@gmail.com).

  35. Looking for free options for live TV channels, not having much success.

  36. I have a Roku Premier. How can I get free live and local channels on it? I would really appreciate some assistance.

  37. Sandy Ketzeback | January 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Reply

    I would like to get the TLC channel live, any suggestions?

  38. Karmell Harris | February 7, 2017 at 12:59 am | Reply

    Is it true that you can add (channels) networks (such as VH1, OWN, and Nickelodeon) to a jailbroken Fire Stick?

  39. Channel PEAR, Nowhere TV, and Pluto TV all suck on a Roku. Channel PEAR is almost unwatchable! The other two do not offer anything worth watching (Nowhere has almost no content). I would not recommend any of these!

  40. You can also watch FilmOn on the Roku device, and it’s free to install. Just use these codes to install and add these to the list.

    Channel code: NMEVA
    Channel code with guide: arteseafon

  41. Trying to locate the channel PEAR on my Roku but I can NOT find it. Help!

  42. I know of a private channel where you can get 200+ live USA channel, 80 Spanish channels, popular TV shows, and 800 + movies for a small monthly fee all you need is a Roku and internet connection if your interested email me at 1iptvguy@gmail.com. I’m not directing anyone to a website so I don’t get kicked off here so of you want to know email me.

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