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Roku has a channel for just about everything: on-demand movies, live baseball, and even live feeds of pandas and other animals. There are channels for live TV on Roku, including skinny bundles like Sling TV. But what about local channels? Experienced cord cutters and longtime readers will remember that local channels are available for free over the air with the use of an OTA antenna, but is there any way to integrate this experience with the Roku interface? And what about other ways to watch local channels? Are there apps for this? We've got you covered. Here's how to get local channels on Roku devices.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream local channels on Roku:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$54.99 – $86.96 100+ 7 days

See Offer

How to Get Local Channels on Roku

Skinny bundles – slimmed-down packages of pay TV channels that stream over the internet – first arrived to fill the void left by live network TV. Over-the-air antennas could give cord cutters the major networks and other local stations, but we needed skinny bundles to get AMC, ESPN, and other network channels. Over time, though, skinny bundles began to recognize the importance of the major networks – which is why antennas no longer have the cord cutting monopoly on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. The bad news is that the major network feeds on each of these skinny bundles are limited to select markets only. The good news is that it's easy enough to find out if you're in one of the lucky markets, because each of the skinny bundles offers a free trial. Not bad, right? We'll list skinny bundles first below, followed by over-the-air TV and individual local TV apps you'll want to know about.

Stream local channels on Roku for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu's entry into the skinny bundle market offers a lot to Roku users. Among Hulu + Live TV's channels are live local networks and regional sports networks (RSNs). You can read more about Hulu + Live TV in our review of the service, or you can just click the link below to check out the free trial and see what you think yourself.

Stream local channels on Roku for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV initially focused entirely on live soccer coverage. These days, it's a more typical skinny bundle that includes a wide range of networks (though fuboTV still claims great sports coverage). In select markets, this bundle offers great local channels and RSNs. You can read our review of fuboTV to learn more. You could also make up your own mind by simply signing up for the service's free trial offer using the link in this section!

AT&T TV Now

AT&T TV Now is a skinny bundle offered by AT&T. This live TV streaming service includes tons of great channels, and among those are local networks and RSNs. To read more about this service, check out our review of AT&T TV Now.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is not the same thing as YouTube, Google's longstanding video streaming platform. No, this is a new(er) thing: a skinny bundle with Google's YouTube branding. That means live network television, of course, and YouTube TV boasts local channels and RSNs in select markets. YouTube TV offers a free trial to new customers.

Over-the-air broadcasts

The most affordable way to get local broadcasts is still to opt for an over-the-air antenna. Combining that with your Roku device can be easy or a little bit more involved, depending on what sort of device you have. If you're using one of Roku's several smart TV models, adding an antenna to the setup is as easy as plugging it in and scanning for channels. If you have an external Roku streaming device, however, you'll have to get more creative. You can use an OTA DVR and corresponding app like Tablo to pull it off, or you can set up a Plex server on a PC and use a PC TV tuner and Plex's live TV feature to stream live OTA TV on your Roku through the Plex app. For more, check out our coverage of free over-the-air TV, Plex, and Tablo

NewsON

NewsON is a unique app that offers live broadcasts of local news stations. It's for local news stations only, so it won't help you pick up things like CBS and Fox NFL broadcasts or NBC's national Nightly News program. Still, NewsON definitely has appeal. It offers a pretty wide range of local news networks streaming live. Way back when we reviewed it, NewsON's selection was pretty slim. It's grown since then, though, and now offers a solid selection of local news stations from all around the country. It's worth downloading NewsON on your Roku device and checking to see if your preferred local news station is one of the ones that participates in NewON's live broadcasts.

CBS All Access

One major network has a streaming service all its own. CBS All Access is a streaming service that targets CBS super-fans, and it includes live streaming in many of CBS's markets. Not everyone is eligible for live streaming, but it's easy enough to find out if you are by checking CBS's website or just starting a free trial of the service. Read our review of CBS All Access to learn more.

Your Local News Station's Channel

There's one last general type of method for watching local channels on Roku that we have not yet mentioned: standalone channels for individual stations. Your mileage may vary, but it's worth checking to see if your local news network offers any live streaming on their Roku channel. Some do, and it's an easy way to get some local channels on Roku – though, as with NewsON, you'll be limited to news broadcasts and won't get NFL games and network shows.

53 thoughts on “How to Get Local Channels on Roku

  1. Avatar Carol says:

    NBC and ABC both have apps on Roku that lets you watch some on demand shows without a login. PBS has a free app, I’m not sure about Fox, and CBS All Access is a paid subscription. There is a lot of major broadcast shows available on Roku. Only CBS All Access has a live stream in most locations.

    1. Avatar Mark Matthews says:

      All the major broadcast channels including ABC, NBC, FOX, and CW have their own channel apps on Roku where you can watch some recent content on there. Only the greedy CBS does not have a complimentary Roku channel, instead wanting to unilaterally set up a pay service for another revenue stream.

    2. Avatar Deborah Nordby says:

      We have Dish Network but I’d like to eliminate it. The TV in the living room doesn’t work with our outdoor antenna.
      I have a ROKU box & purchased the CBS All Access but I want to get the other two local networks. Can I do that with just my Roku box?

      1. Avatar Stephen Lovely says:

        Hi Deborah, thanks for reading! You can get local channels on Roku using using a skinny bundle like the ones listed in this article

      2. Avatar Craig says:

        Hey, Deborah!

        You can add ABC, FOXNOW, NBC, PBS, CW, CW Feed, Comet, and Bounce, all broadcast networks, and all FREE. These are all the _national_ networks, not necessarily your local network affiliate. You may not be able to stream episodes until the day after they originally air, though. You may be able to find your local affiliate’s news app in the Roku “channel store,” or in the FREE NewsOn or Haystack “channels”/apps.

        Also, be sure to add PlutoTV and Stirr. Both give you access to different cable and broadcast network programming, as well as a huge selection of other options, to include on demand movies, Nickelodeon, and even MTV, all for FREE!

        1. Avatar Michelle Frey says:

          what about CNN, Hallmark etc? And I really truly am happy with what I have but want to add Britbox and Acorn.. Can I do that with a ROKU box

          1. Avatar Stephen Lovely says:

            Hi Michelle, thanks for reading! A Roku device will support apps that include CNN, Hallmark Channel, and other networks. You’ll just need to subscribe to a skinny bundle that includes the channels you want.

      3. Avatar Bettah says:

        Just get an antenna and a Firestick. I live in a non metro area and receive 4 Spanish stations, 6 English speaking stations.the homemade stealth antenna Is hanging inside my window, facing the antenna farms. Instructions from YouTube. With a Firestick you can watch any movie, or series you want. Youtube is helpful. VPN slows down internet significantly. Don’t bother W/VPN unless you’re a downloader. I initially loved the Roku, but it’s very limited.
        If you live metro, use an antenna, inside, or attic. Free locals. Firestick is less $ and a better (IMO) entertainment option.

    3. Avatar Mona says:

      Can’t find any local channels such as channel10 abc or channel 12 nbc on roku

    4. Avatar Camellia Dell says:

      I have a Roku tv that is hooked up to cable. I was originally able to watch the news channels and now they have all disappeared?

    5. Avatar Donna says:

      How do you connect to NBC if you don’t have a cable provider

      1. Avatar Jerome says:

        Get a digital antenna, they don’t cost much maybe $20, it will pick up all local channels, and, cbs, nbc, fox and more.

        1. Avatar jerume says:

          what if you can’t have an anttena on the outside of the house, an internal ones are too weak to get signal?

  2. Avatar Bill says:

    If you are in the Tampa Bay area, the local ABC Action News has a channel on Roku.

    1. Avatar Kathy says:

      I have ruko in Howell Michigan how to get CBS soaps

      1. Avatar Mona says:

        I’m in sulphur. Oklahoma

        1. Avatar Nasreen Chaudhry says:

          No news channels, very disappointing

      2. Avatar Jerome says:

        Buy a digital antenna and connect to the back of your tv

  3. Avatar Dorothy says:

    I dropped DirecTV, tried Google Fiber TV for a year, loved it but can’t afford it. I am using an antenna, plus Sling TV. I’m managing with that combination. My problem is that now with the new season starting, I won’t be able to DVR local antenna shows.

    I can’t afford any expensive equipment and monthly fee. Do you have other suggestions?

    Thank you.

    1. Avatar Craig says:

      Hi, Dorothy!

      With your antenna and SlingTV, you’ve got a great combination! For less than $100, you can add an AirTV box (https://www.airtv.net/products/airtv/), and then add an external Hard Disk, for FREE DVR for your over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts. The best part about this solution? With the SlingTV app, your OTA broadcasts, as well as the OTA recordings are integrated into your SlingTV experience! Even if you decide to cancel your SlingTV service, you can continue to use the AirTV box and your external hard disk DVR with the SlingTV Roku “channel”/app… Better, still- you can watch your local channels on multiple TVs in your home, and even your smartphone, tablet, and computer, while at home, and away (limit of two AirTV streams, concurrently, including recordings)! Your OTA DVR capacity is limited only by the size of your hard disk (500 GB – 2 TB). Once you buy the equipment, and the hard disk, there are no other costs. Be sure to get the AirTV (black) box, and _NOT_ the AirTV Player (white) or dongle. Additionally, they often offer promotions in which you can get credit for your SlingTV service.

    2. Avatar Jerome says:

      Try Hulu. That’s what I use for all my “prime time” tv shows

  4. Avatar David S. says:

    You updated this article but didn’t mention the recently released ClearStream TV Over-The-Air Television Digital Tuner? It’s a less expensive but more limited alternative to Tablo for accessing your own antenna from any Roku.

    https://www.antennasdirect.com/store/Clearstream-TV-Over-the-Air-Television-Digital-Tuner.html

    Also Plex Live may make its way to Roku soon as well. But in the meantime there have been workarounds for watching a stream form a HDHomeRun on a Roku for some time now.

    https://github.com/computmaxer/roku-hdhomerun
    https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/101755/rel-hdhomerun-viewer/p1
    https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/83233/hdsurfer-plug-in-for-hdhomerun/p34

    1. Avatar Ville Salminen says:

      Thank you for your insights, David! We’ll check out the links immediately.

  5. Avatar Richard R Kirk says:

    I recently cut and reattached to the cord in rural Oregon. Charter/Spectrum has a local monopoly on high-speed internet. I tried a combo of Sling (Blue/Orange) with DVR and sports pack along with the Charter internet service. It was more cost-effective for me to go back to cable, as they gave me a deal for the same price, that also includes HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and a regional sports network with the rights to Portland Trailblazer games. It was a way better deal than Sling, I also found the customer support for Sling to be very weak with very long waits for rude staff. It reminded me of cable without the channels.

  6. Avatar Cynthia Wells says:

    Enjoy info received. I am retired with limited income and refuse to pay $130. Per month for TV! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    1. Avatar Dennis Barker says:

      I got fed up with the expense of Charter Cable and tried Sling but, no local channels and limited lineup. So, I now have YoutubeTV. And, we love it. I get 70+ channels, my local channels and can record my favorites, etc. It’s streaming TV and an APP on both Roku and Firestick. Also, you can have up to 6 devices all logged in under 1 account and 3 users can all watch at the same time. I sometimes watch live TV on my cell phone via the YouTubeTV app. All for all for around $50.

      1. Avatar JOYCE H CHRISTOPHER says:

        How much do you pay for WiFi ?

      2. Avatar DJ Smith says:

        We are getting ready to make that switch – I’m currently paying $135 for the silver tv package with a DVR and one digital box – by simply getting rid of my TV (keeping internet and phone, so I get the bundle discount, no other internet options in my area), my bill will drop to about $115 a month. I’m going to add youtube tv and may add a couple of add-ons through my Amazon prime account for channels that youtube tv doesn’t offer, like Reelz.

  7. Avatar Sheila Hunter says:

    What about XTV? I just heard about it and it sounds good. It’s a free app.

  8. Avatar S Mason says:

    How do I delete channels I do not want?

  9. Avatar J. hestand says:

    S. Mason – Just “highlight” the channel (make sure the white square is around it) and press the options button – the * button – and select delete.

  10. Avatar Walt Bemb says:

    The one problem I see is the Cable Co. will raise your Internet cost. They are still going to get your money!

    1. Avatar DJ Smith says:

      Actually, I avoided that – we have a tv, phone, internet bundle – by keeping my internet and phone, I still keep my $20 bundle discount : ))

  11. Avatar Kathy Romero says:

    I’ve been trying for years to figure out how to cut the cord in my area. I live about 90 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona, in a town that is surrounded by mountains. This prevents an antenna being used. We would only get 1 to 3 channels all in Spanish. How can we “cut the cord” here?

  12. Avatar Dale says:

    Get a Tivo, and a Roku, cut the cable, attach an OTA antennea, a wireless router. You now have it all. We are now saving about $200 a month. Got rid of AT&T, got Ooma phone service, got rid of AT&T slow DSL line, got Comcast high speed internet only, no packages. We stream almost everything. Get Amazon Prime, or Netflix. We have more now that when we had with cable.

  13. Avatar B.Wear says:

    Dale, my question is: would I be able to have ABC,NBC,CBS,Fox, Sports channels ( specially NHL hockey MSG,MSG2+, and Movie channel like HBO, Showtime ?

  14. Avatar Regeina Wright says:

    . Yes I have a HDTV antenna on my window currently I do catch about 45 channels however I am only 55 miles from the Dallas Fort Worth or Dallas antennas and I have a 70 mile HDTV antenna with a converter box I cannot pick up ABC or NBC I can pick up CVS but not clearly why is that

    1. Avatar Stephen Lovely says:

      A lot goes into antenna reception, so it’s hard to say what’s going wrong for you. Sometimes a building or hill in the way can mess with things, and antennas often don’t quite live up to their advertised ranges. Try some of these tips and hope for the best: https://cordcutting.com/how-to-get-clear-tv-antenna-reception-tips-and-troubleshooting-techniques/

  15. Avatar Tonia Elliott says:

    What is Firestick? Where are you located?

  16. Avatar Michael AZummo says:

    I am in NJ Iam 40miles away from NYC and I cannot get abc why is that??

  17. Avatar Sandi says:

    I live in up state NY, I’m trying to get our local Fox 23 or WXXA from Albany, I have a Roku Tv and don’t know how to get the local channel live, for Giants game and supper bowl. I have frontier for internet and Dish network for satellite. Dish won’t get fox their both saying the others trying to get them to pay more money. I just want to watch our shows and my husband the giant game and super bowl. Can you help. I also have Hulu. But can’t figure out how to get local channels.

    1. Avatar Stephen Lovely says:

      Hi Sandi, thanks for reading! Carriage disputes can be frustrating, but Fox and Dish will probably make peace pretty soon. In the meantime, you can try using an antenna. Depending on how far you are from Fox 23’s broadcast tower, you might be able to pick it up with a medium-sized indoor antenna. Fox 23 is also available through some live TV streaming services, so if you’ve had it with Dish, you might want to consider cutting the cord and switching to streaming.

  18. Avatar Jag39 says:

    So, to watch my local OTA PBS channels while Roku is connected to my TV is to switch between the TV and HDMI inputs on the TV remote? Is there a way to program the Roku remote to add the local OTA PBS channels?

    1. Avatar Stephen Lovely says:

      Not that I’m aware of, unfortunately. Roku TVs have the input controls built into the menus, but regular Roku boxes and sticks can’t do that.

  19. Avatar Mark York says:

    Best free Roku channels for news are NewsOn [live a.m.-noon-pm] for across the country stations by state (larger markets only) . Haystack TV for various US – International News. For international news -sports its Bel.tv for UK, EU, New Zealand, Caribbean, Africa etc..

  20. Avatar Sandra Clark says:

    Hi, I finally got rid of Dish and Direct Tv cause the price kept going up. I was tired of changing back and forth between them. I purchased a Roku tv and it’s ok but now I can only watch on 1 tv. I live in Indiana in a rural area so my internet still runs me $55. I have CBS All Access, Roku, Hulu, maybe 1 other. I pay $12 for these and only CBS is live. There is like roughly $70 and I have only 1 live streaming channel and can only use 1 tv. I was paying $120 and got dvr, hopper, and 4 tvs. If I was to purchase the live streaming on Fubo, Youtube Tv, Apple Tv, or any of the other live streaming channels I’d be paying just as much, even more depending on which one I chose, and only using 1 tv. I’m tired of living on re-runs. I’d like to stay on top of things. It seems like I should have just stayed with what I had. Don’t get me started on antennas. They are all different prices and getting just the right one for more tvs or what have you is really mind boggling. And yes I have checked on installation and that’s around $250 and up. Granite that’s a 1 time fee but hell I’m on a fixed income trying to pinch pennies and not really having any luck. I’m open for suggestions

  21. Avatar Heidi says:

    Hi how can i get abc channel with out paying for cable? is there a way i can see through using different antenna. Please help in order steps for me to understand.

    1. Avatar Stephen Lovely says:

      You should try using an antenna. You can read more here: https://cordcutting.com/devices/ota-tv/

      1. Avatar Pam Kesner says:

        I live in a rural area with mountains and can’t get any channels with an antenna.

  22. Avatar Maggie ssherman says:

    What about Chicago’s wgn,wttw,pbs,wjyn stations for my local news a d church services???

  23. Avatar Chris says:

    For large cities like Chicago. Get location for your Roku. Streams all Chicago stations for free. I too was looking for this.

    1. Avatar Chris says:

      Sorry I meant Locast for roku

  24. Avatar Chris says:

    Locast

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