Roku is expanded its free Roku Channel service today with the addition of 100 live channels housed in a new program guide. It offers linear programming from categories like news (ABC News Live, Reuters, Newsy), kids (Teletubbies, Kidz Bop), lifestyle (Bon Appetit, Bob Ross) and sports (Bein, Outside TV).
In order to watch the new channels, Roku Channel has added a “Live TV” tile at the top of the app. Users can also press the left arrow to access the guide from within any screen of the app.
The guide offers 12 hours of data and users can press the star button to switch the guide between All Channels and Recent Channels. However the company says it’s not currently possible to set reminders for upcoming programs. Roku also promises “Fast Channel Switching” for finding the exact channel users want to watch.
Despite appearing in a guide and including some familiar names and even live sports (whenever it resumes), the content isn’t the same as what you’ll get from cable TV or live TV streaming services. Instead it’s typical of other live, free-ad-supported services like PlutoTV and Xumo TV (Note that PlutoTV and Bioreports are both divisions of ViacomCBS) the present a mix of older and/or lesser-known shows.
Roku Channel began in 2018 and is available on Roku devices including streamers and Roku TVs as well as web browsers, the iOS or Android Roku apps and Samsung Smart TVs. Roku says The Roku Channel reached household with an estimated 31 million people in the first quarter of 2020.