In this age of cord-cutting, every household is looking for cordless streaming options to power their TVs. In this process, IPTVs have evolved rapidly in the past few years. And Roku is a pioneer in this field. Even in the age of Fire TV and Apple TV, Roku TV, and streaming devices have succeeded in keeping 50% of the CTV market in North America. This number speaks of its popularity. Roku channels give you the flexibility to stream diverse types of content over the internet, including some of the most popular video streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max.
In this blog, we will simplify Roku TV and streaming devices for you! We will tell you what is Roku TV, what are Roku Channels, the market size, the future projection of Roku, and everything else you need to know!
What is Roku TV?
Roku TVs are those smart TVs that have a built-in Roku Streaming Platform. These smart TVs usually run on the Roku OS and are a part of the Roku TV and Streaming ecosystem. Many of these TVs are sold by Roku on their official website and are developed by TV developers like TCL.
To understand these Roku TVs better, you will need to know about the Roku streaming devices, Roku OS, and Roku TV ecosystem first. So, let’s begin by understanding what is Roku.
What is Roku?
Well, Roku is actually the name of a company that revolutionized video streaming through TVs in North America. Started in 2008, they are probably the fastest-growing streaming device manufacturers in the world.
Now what does Roku make? Over the years, Roku has manufactured some of the most popular media streaming devices that can work with any type of TV, provided your TV has an HDMI port in it. The devices developed by Roku, like the Roku streaming players, Roku smart home setups, and Roku audio setups run on Roku’s own operating system, called the Roku OS.
What is Roku OS?
Roku OS is an in-house operating system of Roku that was built specifically for the smart and connected TV setup. The main motto of this OS is to keep the UI of the Roku TV and streaming devices user-friendly so that you can search for your favorite shows and content rapidly and conveniently.
They also let you customize your home screen, as Roku OS has many built-in themes for the home screen, from which you can choose your own.
Most of the devices running on Roku OS are compatible with digital voice assistants like Alexa,
And Google Assistant. It is also compatible with Apple AirPlay and Apple HomeKit. Hence, these devices can be operated very easily.
Does Roku Offer Free Content?
Yes, you can stream a lot of Roku content for free. In fact, Roku streaming devices give you free access to 300+ live channels that are divided into different categories, including movies, news, sports, and more!
In addition to this, Roku OS has a separate Featured Free section, where you can get access to their specially curated selection of free in-season movies and episodes from some of the leading Roku Channels.
More on Roku Streaming Players
Roku streaming players are the series of streaming devices that Roku makes. These streaming devices are very easy to use and work with most of the TV models. You can use these streaming devices to stream content from the internet directly on your TV.
Some of the Roku Streaming players, along with their features and official prices are tabulated below.
Name of the Roku TV Device
Official Price (as per Roku’s Website)
High Definition Streaming, Fast Wi-Fi, Simple Remote
Roku Express 4K+
Supports 4K & HDR streaming, Fast Wi-Fi, Voice Remote with TV controls
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Supports 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision with Fast, long-range Wi-Fi and Voice Remote with TV controls
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
Supports 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision with Fast, long-range Wi-Fi, Rechargeable Voice Remote Pro, and Lost remote finder
Supports 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision, along with Roku’s best Wi-Fi & Ethernet, Rechargeable Voice Remote Pro, and Lost remote finder
Supports 4K, HDR, and premium audio with
Roku’s best Wi-Fi, Voice Remote with TV controls
Roku Streambar Pro
Supports 4K, HDR, and premium quality audio with the ultimate 2-in-1 upgrade, along with Roku’s best Wi-Fi, voice Remote with private listening
Roku OS and TV – Origin and History
Roku’s journey started in the mid-1990s when its founder Anthony Wood wanted to have a simpler process of recording his favorite TV shows. Some years later, he saw that connected TV and smart TVs can solve not only this problem but many other problems too. That is why, he started creating the world’s first TV OS, which is now known as the Roku OS.
In 2008, the first Roku streaming player (which was also the first device of the Roku TV ecosystem) was launched. And, it was operating on the Roku OS!
Within the next 6 years, Roku sold over 10 million devices, which inspired them to do more, as the viewers liked it a lot. And what happened in the next few years is history. Roku became the most popular connected TV ecosystem in the US.
We have tried to cover this fascinating journey of Roku through some major dates, which are tabulated below.
History of Roku TV and OS
May 20, 2008
Roku DVP N1000 (the first Roku device) was launched.
Roku SD and Roku HD-XR were launched
Launch of Roku 2 HD, XD, and XS
Roku streaming stick was launched
Launch of Roku 3
Launch of Roku 4
Roku Express, Roku Express+, high-end Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, and top-of-the-line Roku Ultra were launched
Streaming Stick+ was introduced
September 20, 2021
10th generation of Roku products was introduced
What is Roku TV Stick? How to Use It?
Roku Streaming Sticks, often called Roku TV Sticks, are HDMI streaming devices developed by Roku. These small pen-drive-shaped streaming devices get connected directly to the built-in HDMI port of your television and get hidden behind your TV.
Using it is extremely simple. You just need to plug it into your TV and connect it to wifi. It will start operating instantly. You can now choose your home screen, browse your favorite apps and channels, and start streaming your favorite content!
What are Roku TV Channels?
Roku channels are nothing but the streaming platforms available on Roku. Also, Roku offers over 300 free channels (which are also sometimes referred to as Roku channels), along with some other paid Roku channels.
And, this is not the only thing that comes under Roku Channels. Many of you might not know it, but Roku refers to the streaming apps available on Roku TV as Channels. You can download any of these “Channels” from the Channel Store of Roku OS.
We have prepared a Roku Channel list consisting of the most popular channels available on Roku’s Channel Store below.
The Roku Channel
Tubi (it offers free movies and TV)
Pluto TV (it offers free TV)
Sling TV (it offers live sports, news, and TV shows)
And much more…
What is “The Roku Channel”?
“The Roku Channel” is Roku’s in-house channel that gives you access to free and premium TV channels, shows, and content. You can download “The Roku Channel” from the channel store of Roku OS.
Some of the live TV channels that you can access through The Roku Channel are tabulated below.
Category of Channel
NBC News Now
ABC News Live
LiveNow by Fox
Movies and web series
Hallmark – movies and more
Filmrise Forensic Files
Filmrise Unsolved Mysteries
Arts, History, and Wildlife
There are many more channels too, which cater to almost all types of content.
What are Roku TV Apps?
Roku TV apps are apps that can be accessed through Roku streaming devices and TV ecosystems. Some of the popular Roku TV apps include:
Web Video Caster
Roku Media Player
iWeb TV Player
Spy Ninjas by Chad and Vy
PhotoView for Google Photos
And many more…
Are Roku TV Channels and Apps the Same Thing?
There is a lot of misconception regarding the Roku TV apps and channels. Some people think that both of these are the same, while others think that Roku TV App and Channel are two different things. Well, it’s now time to bust the myth.
If you are using any Roku Device, you must be aware of the Roku Channel Store. The name itself suggests that it is a store from which “Channels” can be added for your viewing. But this same store hosts “Apps” too, within it!
Actually, Roku TV Channels are a type of Roku TV app which stream on-demand or live content. However, there are some other apps too on Roku OS, like screencasting apps, photo viewing apps, and even some games. These are referred to as “Apps” only.
But, at the end of the day, if you are speaking from a streaming point of view, then Roku Channel and Roku TV App will mean the same thing to you.
Roku Smart TVs – Road to Future
Moving a step forward from its streaming device products, Roku has now launched Roku Smart TV – a smart TV that runs on Roku OS. It has Roku Streaming built-in, hence you don’t need to attach any separate Roku device to access Roku’s content on it.
So, it’s clear that Roku is now concentrating to diversify its device portfolio, and is not restricted to only streaming devices and IPTV boxes anymore. And it is clearly bringing in the results.
In the first quarter of 2023, Roku reported that they now have 71.6 million active accounts worldwide. This number is currently at its highest level to date. And in the coming years, this number is expected to grow by 20 million, to reach 90 million active users.
Navigating the Roku TV
Bought a new Roku TV and wondering how to use it? Let’s take you on a short trip to the Roku TV!
Add New Channels
Looking to add your favorite channels on Roku TV? You can do it easily by following the steps given below:
Go to the home screen.
Now click on “Streaming Channels”. It will open the Roku Channel Store.
Browse through the channels available on the channel store. You can also enter text input in “Search Channels” for easy browsing.
When you get the channel of your choice, click on “Add Channel”.
Your channel will be installed and added to your Roku TV!
Searching for Something to Watch on Roku
You can use Roku Search using your remote to search for any content on your Roku TV. If your remote has the search button, then directly click on the search button to go to the search screen. And if your remote has the voice command option, then “Go to Search” by using the voice prompt.
Once the search bar opens, type the channel or the content that you want to search. It’s as simple as that!
Using Voice Commands
Using voice commands is really easy on Roku TV. Especially if your Roku remote comes with a voice control button on it. You just need to click on that button and give the commands.
What Are the Differences Between Roku TV and Smart TV?
Though Roku TV is also a type of smart TV, the Roku OS makes it a bit different from the other smart TVs in the market. We have tabulated some of the major differences between Roku TV and other Smart TVs below.
Other Smart TVs
Intuitive UI that lets you operate through the OS only.
The UX of other smart TVs depends on their built-in OS and their interaction with the UI.
Casting, Mirroring, and Sharing
Roku TVs support screen sharing through Android and Windows devices.
It depends on the OS.
Roku supports 4K video quality
Video quality of smart TVs might vary from HD to 8K
Market and Growth Projection of Roku TV, Streaming Devices, and Ecosystem
In the US, the connected TV market is projected to touch US$ 100 billion by 2030. And if Roku keeps growing at the same CAGR as the overall connected TV market, which is 18.9%, then it will surely touch annual revenue of US$ 13 billion by 2030.
Currently, there are 36,589 apps and channels available on the Roku Channel Store, published by over 9900 app developers. Out of this, a whopping 94.64% comprise free channels, while only 5.63% are paid channels. This shows that viewers have surely loved the free ad-based streaming on Roku.
And this app ecosystem is growing at a rapid pace. On average, 16 new apps get published on the Channel Store every single day. Hence, the streaming market players are really interested in the Roku smart TV ecosystem.
Launch Your Roku TV Channel with Muvi One
If you are looking to leverage the immense potential of the Roku Streaming Ecosystem, it’s the right time to launch your own Roku Channel.
And, launching a Roku Channel won’t need any major effort from your side. In fact, you won’t even need any tech team or developers as you won’t have to write a single line of code!
Step 2- Once your account is created, log in to your CMS dashboard.
Step 3 – Go to the content library and add your content (both live and pre-recorded content are supported).
Step 4 – Now, go to the Apps section and choose the app you want to build. In this case, you will have to choose the Roku TV app (which means Roku Channel).
Step 5 – Choose the app design template and customize the look and feel of your app.
Step 6 – Setup monetization and payment gateways
Step 7 – Enable in-app purchases and payments
Step 8 – Configure your Roku TV App, and submit the app application form.
As soon as you submit the app application form, our developers will start working on it. Ideally, the preview version of your app should get delivered to your mailbox within a few hours.
To Sum Up
Roku TV, Roku Channels, and Roku streaming devices are already the most popular streaming ecosystems in the US, and in the next few years, it is set to grow even further. So, we hope we were able to explain what is Roku TV in this blog.
And for video streaming entrepreneurs, it is the right time to start your own Roku channel, and the easiest way to do so is by using Muvi One.
With Muvi One, you get 100+ industry-leading features, including a built-in CDN server, built-in multi-DRM security, unique and trendy design templates, and more! Sign-up to start your 14-day free trial today!
Roku TV is a smart TV that is powered by the Roku OS. It is manufactured by different smart TV manufacturers like TCL.
Roku channel is a streaming platform available on the Roku OS channel store, using which you can stream different movies, shows, news, sports, and more!
Yes, there are many Roku channels that offer free video, audio, and live content.
The Roku Channel includes different types of content, starting from movies and web series to news and sports.
Written by: Debarpita Banerjee
Debarpita is a Content Writer with Muvi. With around 2 years of experience in content creation, she has worked across industries like SaaS, EdTech, eLearning, AR-VR, and Metaverse. She believes in delivering content that can be of some value to the readers. In her free time, she likes to try her hand at website and app development.