We chat with different types of Roku customers every day – some cord cutters who strictly stream, others who have cable, and many cord shavers who fall somewhere in between. To share his perspective and expertise on cord cutting, we’ve invited Chris Brantner for a guest blog post series. 

Sure, the on-demand streaming revolution is amazing. It’s awesome to want to watch something and be able to find it and watch it immediately. Still, there is something magical about live TV.

Watching something as soon as it’s revealed can be great fun. Channel surfing is a great perk of cable or satellite, which involves being able to watch different live shows as well as finding new things to watch. Not to mention, who wants to watch sports or the news on demand?


So, even though on-demand streaming is awesome, there is still a case to be made for live TV. It’s just not going out of style.

That’s one of the best things about Roku streaming devices. While you can watch live TV with an antenna or on cable/satellite, there is also plenty of live TV available on various Roku streaming channels. And it’s not just for cord cutters. If you’re a cable subscriber, you can access a wide variety of cable content on your Roku streaming device.

If you’re looking for live TV, here are some of your best options when you’re using a Roku streaming device.

Live TV (channel bundles)

Sling TV – Sling TV was made for cord cutters. If you don’t have a pay TV subscription, Sling TV gives you access to a variety of live cable channels (anywhere from 25 channels to over 100). Depending on the Sling TV package you choose, it may be more affordable than a traditional pay TV subscription. You get channels like AMC, TBS, and TNT, starting at $20 per month. Sling TV even recently added NHL Network to its Sports Extra pack just in time for hockey season.

DIRECTV NOW – AT&T’s video streaming service, DIRECTV NOW, which offers live sports, on demand, premium channels, popular shows, and hit movies – is now available on select devices. See here for the complete list of supported Roku players and TVs.

PlayStation Vue – Vue is similar to Sling TV, though you pay a little more, while receiving more channels. Fans of channel surfing will like Vue. You get channels like Syfy, Bravo, FX and Food Network. The benefit here is that there is really something for everyone and a unique cloud DVR.


News (Free)

NewsOn – If you’re looking for live news, NewsOn offers live, local news from over 130 local news stations. It’s absolutely free and you can watch it live whenever you want.

Newsy – Newsy offers 24/7 news in livestream format. The service is absolutely free so you don’t need a subscription to watch. Rather than full news shows, Newsy is fun because you get short, unbiased videos from the day’s top news stories. It’s a whole new twist on the news.


WatchESPN – In order to watch the WatchESPN channel you need login information for one of the following: cable subscriber, ISP, Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. If you’re looking for a way to watch sports in real time, this is a great way to do it. With WatchESPN you’ll be able to watch whatever live sport happens to be on at the time on channels including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, SEC Network, and many others. Although it’s worth noting that which channels WatchESPN gives you access to depends on what’s included in your pay TV subscription.

FOX Sports GO – This channel also requires a pay TV or PlayStation Vue subscription to give you access to live content. Once you’ve logged in you’ll be able to watch a variety of sports based on your local area. FSN offers everything from NCAA and NFL to MLB and NASCAR.

WWE Network – Wrestling fans can’t get enough of the WWE Network channel. You just login with your subscriber info ($9.99 per month) and you’ll be able to watch every WWE pay-per-view event live. You even can watch WrestleMania! The channel also includes documentaries and reality shows all related to WWE.

Fubo.TV – If you’re looking for a way to watch soccer in live or on-demand, Fubo.TV is the channel for you. For $6.99 per month you can watch matches from La Liga, Capital One Cup, Copa del Rey, Copa America, and many others. You also get other live channels include beIN Sports, GolTV, and more.

NFL Sunday Ticket – With NFL Sunday Ticket you need a DirecTV login in order to watch live sports. You will be able to live stream any out-of-market NFL games all Sunday long! You also have access to DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE which gives you game analysis, real-time stats and much more. However, it’s only available to college students and those living in areas where you can’t get DirecTV satellite service (check eligibility here).

Live TV/Movies

Pluto TV (free)– Pluto TV is a channel like no other, broadcasting over 100 linear streaming channels in a TV guide-like interface. From live news to movies to YouTube videos, there really is something for everyone here.

HBO NOW – You need an HBO NOW subscription ($14.99 per month) to watch HBO. This isn’t technically live TV (with the exception of VICE News Tonight which is live at 7:30 pm ET weekdays), but the primetime shows arrive on the HBO NOW channel at the time they would air on TV, so it’s essentially the same thing in that regard. You get access to every HBO show and a wide variety of popular movies, too. Have cable? Then you can log into HBO GO, which offers the same content.

SHOWTIME – SHOWTIME’s standalone Roku channel features a live stream of what’s currently airing on Showtime, along with an on-demand library of Showtime’s original series, comedies, sports, movies, and more. After a 7-day free trial, SHOWTIME is $10.99 per month.

Crackle (free) – Crackle offers a live stream of movies in a linear fashion, which makes it feel more like a television station as opposed to a standard streaming channel. Crackle offers a mix of TV, originals, and movies. Best of all, they are completely free.

As you can see, there are a ton of live TV channels available on your Roku streaming device. I would like to make note that streaming live TV is a bit more taxing on your internet setup than streaming on demand content. So make sure you have a good Wi-Fi setup, and a fast internet connection for streaming.

Have a live Roku channel you think I missed? Share in the comments section below!

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About Chris Brantner

Posted in Roku tips, US, What to watch | Tagged , |
  • anne.kelly.91

    It’s been 1 year since I finally abandoned my previous work and I never felt better in my life… I started working from comfort of my home, for a company I stumbled upon online, for several hours a day, and I earn much more than i did on my last work… My check for last month was for Nine thousand bucks… The best thing about this is that now i have more time with my family… http://korta.nu/MDe

  • Jesse Dickson

    PlayStation Vue does not have Lifetime and they also dropped all the Viacom channels as of today. No MTV, Spike, Nickelodeon etc.

    • Mike B.

      No History Channel either, unfortunately.

    • Hi Jesse, we really appreciate the heads up on the Viacom channels. We updated the post!

  • Marc Minkin

    CNN go

  • Firebird7478

    Pluto is a horrible platform. Very difficult to navigate and most of what they offer is crap.

  • Karen MacEachron

    I like pluto

  • Jeff S

    Any word on the comcast/Xfinity app as Comcast has been very quiet about it lately?

    • april.clay.91

      One year ago I decided to leave my old job and i couldn’t be happier now… I started freelancing on-line, over a site I found online, several hrs daily, and I earn much more than i did on my last job… My last month payment was for $9k… Amazing thing about it is that i have more time for my family… http://secure38.com

    • gutierrez.annie

      1 year have passed since I finally resigned from my office job and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started working from my house, over a site I found over internet, few hrs every day, and I profit now much more than i did on my previous job… My pay-check for last month was for Nine thousand bucks… The best thing about this work is that i have more time with my family… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

    • holmes.tracey

      One yr ago I decided to leave my old work and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started to work from my house, for this company I found on-line, for a few hours each day, and I make much more than i did on my last work… Last check i got was for 9k… Awesome thing about this job is that now i have more time with my family… http://secure78.com

    • Corey Black

      I have it on my roku. But I was just reading about it. While it’s in the beta phase, there is no charge to use it as long as you currently subscribe to their tv and internet service. You have to maintain at least 1 set top box in your house. After the beta phase is complete and it’s actually launched, you still have to subscribe to tv/internet service and pay an “additional outlet” fee. So bottom line is you’re only saving the equipment rental fees

  • Jason

    Any chance whatsoever of getting Sky Sports News HQ for users in the US? I would be a lifetime loyalist if it happens before the holidays.


      SKY NEWs is on ROKU and its free and they have a live feed in the US

  • Lindsey W

    Any chance we can get CMT channel for rook??

    • Matthew Nugent

      There is a sling tv package that includes CMT. some CMT shows are on some of the other channels too

    • Gloria Corbit

      With your Ruku go to Hulu (free) click on TV and then go to Networks. From there you will find CMT. I watch Nashville every week on CMT (1 day after it plays live).

  • Jamie

    Fox 5. Why can’t we stream Fox 5? That is about the ONLY channel I watch and the ONLY channel you don’t stream at all.

    • Which Fox 5? There are at least 4: ATL, DC, LV, and SD. Why are you complaining to Roku anyway? The decision to make content available is up to the station and/or network, not Roku.

      • Tampammm

        Also a Fox 5 in NYC.


        Get an OTA antenna—its free—and there is a FOX channel in every market

  • I do enjoy Pluto, specifically for the MST3K Channel. But their service really needs work. Volume of content is often extremely low while inserted commercial breaks are painfully loud. And I also worry about their long-term viability. More and more the only ads I see are for Pluto itself. That has to mean they’re not selling actual ads and therefore not bringing in new revenue.

    • adamcrae

      After 5 yrs I decided to resign from my office work and i couldn’t be happier now… I started freelancing over internet, for this company I stumbled upon on-line, several hrs /a day, and I make much more than i did on my office job… My last month check was for 9k… The best thing about it is the more time i got for my loved ones… http://chilp.it/728813e

    • melindalundin

      It’s been one yr since I quit my old job and that decision changed everything for me… I started freelancing from comfort of my house, for a company I discovered on-line, few hours every day, and I make much more than i did on my last work… My paycheck for last month was for 9 thousand bucks… Amazing thing about this is that now i have more time with my kids… http://chilp.it/728813e

    • christina.griffin.90

      I’ve made $84 ,000 at this time this year working via internet however I am only a full time college student . I’m implementing a business online marketing opportunity I found out about and in addition I’ve generated this kind of decent earnings . It is actually really user-friendly and I am just very delightful that I found out about it . The possibility of success using this is unlimited . Here’s everything I do>>> http://secure90.weebly.com

    • Al Kalitta

      one of my favorite show .
      really funny

  • jenny

    I love the site……….
    Watch Live Carolina Panthers vs Washington Monday Night here:https://goo.gl/z5kHm3

  • Chris Hopkins

    I have the green box Roku (stick). There were some recomended channels online but they arent avail in my channel search. Does it matter which Roku device we have?

  • harriet

    If I have a cable TV provider, do I have to enter a new access code every day in order to watch a network like NBC or USA? Or do I enter it once and it remains active?

  • harriet

    I’m very new to the world of streaming… does anyone know if Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy is available on any subscription service? I know you’re all chuckling about this… 🙂

    • Jamey Crutchfield

      I use Ustvnow free channels to watch live broadcast of those shows


      GEt an OTA antenna for that—its free

  • Reelife11

    This article states sling offers channels like ‘AMC’, however, Sling doesn’t have many ‘current’ AMC shows. For instance, the Walking Dead is only available for season 6 of last year. The current season 7 is not offered, and neither is the ‘talking dead’ show that follows it. So when a lot of these paid services say they ‘offer’ all these channels, they never tell you that the content may be very limited!

    • Matthew Nugent

      It offers a live stream of it, it doesnt have all the on demand, but you can watch the live AMC channel and the talking dead afterwards. So they arent lying, there is a stream of AMC, therefore AMC is offered, they dont have to say the entire series of the walking dead is on demand….

  • Matthew Nugent

    There is an all COPS channel on the roku, i dont remember if its public or a private channel though (you can still add the private channels if you find a link with the code). If you have netflix/hulu you could get shows like greys anatomy too. Sure not all of them may be live but its better than nothing

  • Bill Harris

    How do I add channels to my library live tv? It’s hard to get to channel 310 one click at a time.

  • Gloria Corbit

    I have a Roku 3 and have no shortage of TV viewing. Not into sports so I have no comment on watching live sports. However, with my paid subscription to Netflix and my free Hulu account I can watch anything from the major networks – just a day later. I have T-mobile and use my hot spot for my internet connection. All I pay is $10 for netflix in addition to my phone account and I have everything I need. When I want to watch shows from ABC I just go into the ABC network via Hulu or Netflix, same with any other network. My favorite show is Nashville on CWT. I just go to CWT and watch the new season. I have more options to watch now without cable than I did paying $150 a month for internet and cable. It’s great that there are free news channels that you can watch live. Also, you can get a subscription to the major networks if you want to watch something in particular live (CBS, ABC, etc.). Also, if I miss an episode of a program that I am following, I can watch that anytime I want to before I watch the next episode. My TV watching no longer determines my schedule because I can watch my programs anytime I want. TV follows me, I don’t follow it. ROKU RULES – – I love it.

    P.S. I have enough power on my T-mobile hot spot to stream anything on Roku or watch something live while playing games on my phone at the same time. Love the combination of T-mobile and Roku for where I live. I realize not everyone would have as good of reception as I do with T-mobile.

    • K

      Nashville is on CMT!!

      • Gloria Corbit

        Yes it is. And if you haven’t been watching it – you are going to be blown away. Love this show.

  • Rose Pulido

    Discovery GO has live streaming. Yeah!

    • Jim Shields

      not if your provider hasn’t negotiated a deal with them. i.e. Charter and Verizon

  • Iptv Guy

    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.

    • silv55

      iptv Guy; yes you can watch all those Chan for a low fee of 25 bucks a month on these pirate tv sellers but that’s piracy and these channels are only resolution 480p not 720p/1080p, sop they are not HD and these are not stable and can disappear any minute and you loose your money,and it’s not only that you expose yourself to the Fads cause you giving your info credit card to these pirates which can be caught and all you info is there.

  • Macy’s Mom

    I am ditching my Roku TV and learned a great lesson by purchasing it in the first place. I simply wanted a 32 inch TV for our bedroom and let the salesman WHO TOLD A BIG LIE talk me into buying a Roku TV. He assured me that I would get a lot of “excellent channels” and I would also be able to get all of my local channels. I learned a valuable lesson and now realize that I should have just purchased a “regular” 32 inch TV which is what I went to purchase in the first place. It is not feasible for me to pay a monthly fee just to be able to get local channels on this TV. I just wish I could use my current Roku TV as a “regular” TV. All of the bells and whistles that are on this TV are on my cable channel anyway, and most of them I do not even use.

    • I hear you are upset, but I think there is a misunderstanding here. A Roku TV, like other kinds of smart TVs, can be connected to an antenna or a cable box, just like a regular, non-smart TV (in the US it’s one of the requirements for a device in order to be marketed and sold as a “television”). Did your cable TV provider “run” a cable connection into your bedroom?

    • Jim Shields

      you’re paying for cable tv? then hook the cable box to the roku tv via the hdmi cable. then switch the tv to that input.

  • Macy’s Mom

    Why would I pay an extra $20 a month for “Sling” just to get local TV stations on my Roku TV? I already pay for cable. I just made a big mistake by purchasing a Roku TV by not doing my research. If I had done research I would have learned that Roku does NOT offer local channels.

    • Donald Roberts

      This is the problem people think when they buy a roku tv it can replace cable. There is a lot a truth in it but it also requires a lot of research. First misconception is roku tv offer all the channels cable does for free, this is false. Network channels and a few others are free with an antenna. As for cable networks like ESPN require an outside purchase or a cable subscription. A roku tv can replace a cable box if your cable company has an app, this could drop your bill by $8 a month just in cable box fees. As for what channels you want the savings depends on your needs for me sling tv orange was the best fit with the sports pack I get 90% of the channels I watched on cable for $30 a month. If you really want to find out how powerful a roku is search youtube, there are plenty of good videos on apps that work on roku.

    • ncgmac

      Actually check your area. Our local news stations have Roku Channels. Also, I know CBS offers not only its all access Roku channel, but it includes live on the air shows that are local for your area. Personally, I like the PSVue option for now. It not only has live channels but allows me to DVR. I don’t like my day being dictated by my television, but that’s me. In any case, before returning do more research, you maybe surprised how much is offered.

    • Bigbadbootydaddyhaha

      I got an answer for you and it’s totally free go download the xtviptv on Roku it got local channels by state

      • Jennifer

        I have no clue what roku is about really all I knew w is I’m tired of paying 180for cable and wifi…..if I buy this roku and download what u said can I get some channels that my cable company offers?? And does roku come with hbo showtime etc???

  • Shirley Patrick

    Please someone make your answer simple!! HOW do I watch LIVE tv from local stations on my Roku? I want to watch Scandal LIVE when they broadcast it on my Roku and other ABC shows. I want to watch NBC LIVE so I can watch Law and Order LIVE when they broadcast it etc. HOW do I do that????

  • Georgia Garcia

    So can I watch the newest episode of Arrow on its release date including other CW shows? I have a cable provider and everything, but I do not have the ability to run cable through my room. Will the Roku let me continue to watch Tv live, or do I have to by a bundle?

    • T Spencer

      CW is available via antenna as a local channel so if you connect an antenna to your TV you should be able to watch local networks. It depends on the reception though. Anything else that you’re getting via cable, if you have a Roku, some channels have apps on the Roku and you can log in to them with your cable provider info.

  • Lois Mayo Pearce

    How do you access OWN? Do you need to have a basic package (with i.e. Dish or ATT ) just to have an account or password? Or do you need all the channels – if that is the case, why Hulu or Sling – it would seem to me that you are paying for the same things twice.

  • Dana

    I have a question. I am looking into roku and need to see about live streaming sports. I have read sling tv has espn or do I have to have a cable provider. If so what is the point with roku