What Is Roku TV? 9 Tips for Using Your Roku

June 23, 2023 • Zachary Amos

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Today’s media landscape is expansive, sometimes even overwhelming. You have endless options when it comes to what to watch, where you can find it and when you want to watch it. Roku TVs are among the most popular way for people to consume their favorite shows, movies and more.

If you’re interested in getting into the smart TV game or want to get the most out of your current Roku TV setup, check out this guide. Learn how this tech works and the latest tips to ensure you’re enjoying its full potential at home.

What Are Smart TVs?

Smart televisions are TVs connected to the internet that offer unique online-based features. Like other smart devices, the only requirement is that the TV is part of a wireless network that can interact with other technologies.

When it comes to television, smart TVs enable users to stream shows from their favorite services, like Netflix and Hulu, surf videos on YouTube, connect to cable online and even use it as a console to play video games. Connectivity is clearly the future of entertainment and culture — smart TVs let you access everything you need from the comfort of your couch. 

How Does Roku TV Work?

In 2014, the Roku company released the first Roku TV, a smart device that allowed users to watch live television, stream online content and use certain applications. Subsequent upgrades and technology developments have made Roku among the most popular streaming devices in the U.S.

Roku TVs are easy to set up and navigate. If you have an actual Roku TV, everything is ready for you as soon as you turn it on. Just connect the device to your Wi-Fi or Ethernet and enjoy the built-in features that come with your internet-accessible smart TV. 

If you have another brand or model TV, you can still use a Roku streaming stick or player to access Roku’s offerings. Just plug the player into your TV’s HDMI port and follow the instructions to connect to your network.

Once you’re all set up, you can enjoy the many features Roku TV has to offer.

Why Choose a Roku TV?

With so many smart TV and streaming options on the market today, it can be difficult to decide on the right service for your home. Roku has become one of the most popular brands thanks to its simplicity and versatility. Navigating through the menu, you’ll see it’s clearly organized with your apps or channels, recommendations, live TV, particular media categories, the Roku store and a search function.

Roku apps are how you can enjoy streaming content from almost any provider — some are pre-installed while others are available to download for free or may require a subscription. For example, you can access all of the most popular television and movie services, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Max, Showtime and more. Just log in to your account with that service and you’ll be able to access it any time through your Roku TV — no need to switch between devices or get stuck on cable.

In addition to watching your favorite TV shows and films, Roku TV lets users enjoy music through their Spotify accounts, workout alongside virtual coaches on the Peloton channel, watch video game streamers on Twitch and even check the weather with meteorological channels.

9 Tips and Tricks for Roku TV Users

Roku TV has so many features, many users barely skim the surface of everything they can do with this smart TV. Get the most out of your Roku with these top tips.

1. Take Advantage of Free Channels

Run out of things to watch on your paid subscription apps? Check out any of Roku’s numerous free channels to find your next favorite movie or binge-watch. It’ll be worth sitting through a few commercials.

2. Search Every App at Once

If you can’t remember whether that new show you want to check out is on Hulu or Disney+, you don’t have to manually search each app to find what you’re looking for. Just use the Roku search to scan every app you have.

3. Save Your Entire Watchlist in One Place

Tired of opening each app to find your individual watchlist for that service? With Roku TV, you can create a universal watchlist that lets you easily access everything you want to watch, no matter where it is. 

4. Find Secret Roku Channels

Not all apps appear in the Roku Channel Store when you search for them. In some cases, you need to enter an access code to download these private or “hidden” apps. Explore hidden Roku apps to find anything you want to watch, from sci-fi channels to video game streaming apps, then enter the code in your Roku’s “Add Channel” section in your settings.

5. Use Your Phone as a Remote

You may lose the remote between couch cushions, but you’ve always got your phone by your side. Save some hassle by using your smartphone as a remote for your Roku TV. Just download the Roku app and you can control your TV with ease.

6. Include Your Virtual Assistant

Looking for an even more convenient way to navigate Roku TV? You can connect your favorite virtual assistant with your smart TV, like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, allowing your family to surf channels and watch shows with voice commands.

7. Get the Most Out of Your Audio Experience

Roku offers several ways to get the best audio from your smart TV. Private listening allows you to listen with headphones connected to your phone or tablet with the Roku app. Whether the baby is trying to sleep nearby or the rest of the house just wants some peace and quiet, you can enjoy your favorite shows or movies without disturbing anyone else.

You can also set different volume controls depending on your preferences. Go to “Volume Mode” in your settings and choose between Leveling, which equalizes volume across different scenes, commercials and content, or Night, which lowers the volume of loud scenes and raises the volume of quiet ones.

8. Livestream TV Channels

Using Roku instead of cable doesn’t mean you can’t watch live TV. Users can stream over 300 live television channels to enjoy the latest entertainment or most up-to-date sports, weather and news. While some channels require a paid subscription, many are free to all Roku users.

9. Activate Guest Mode

You love having guests over, but when they watch shows on your subscriptions and mess up your watchlist? Not so much. Fortunately, Roku offers Guest Mode, which lets your guests log into their own accounts and automatically logs them out after a set date.

Enjoy Your Roku TV

Smart TVs are gaining popularity and getting more accessible and advanced than ever. Get the most out of your Roku TV with these tips and tricks.