Roku’s latest upgrade is about live TV, because they know (just like us) cutting the cord is all the rage right now. So the home screens of Roku devices just got a new Live TV area, a section that compiles and organizes both proprietary and third-party live TV services.
The Roku Live TV Zone promotes some of the best streaming services like Sling TV and fuboTV, but that’s only half the story. The first thing you’ll see in the Live TV area is the Roku Live TV Channel Guide “tile”.
The Roku Live TV Channel Guide has been available since July 2020, and that’s why the Roku Channel is one of our picks for the best free streaming services. This section features over 200 free live and linear TV channels which is a lot like Pluto TV. These networks are ad-supported and broadcast a wide range of content, including news and sports, game shows, music, and (of course) TV and movies.
The Live TV area should now appear (or very soon, these things sometimes happen in staggered waves) in your Roku’s left navigation menu, as shown below.
Roku Live TV Zone: A good start, but we need more
However, we’re looking for something different when it comes to Roku and Live TV. Of course, this live TV area is a good start, but the live TV area seems to leave something to be desired.
Currently, Amazon Fire TV devices and Chromecast with Google TV allow integration with accounts of some live television services. This means that both the YouTube TV and Sling channel guides appear in the Live tab, and some of the best cable TV alternatives can be integrated into the channel guides in the Live section of Fire TV.
And that kind of integration is what Roku lacks. Although the Live TV area promotes these apps, it will only link content from the Roku Live TV Channel Guide. And it’s great for anyone who enjoys this free live stream of content.
But cord cutting services are a pretty big deal that we would like them to get equal placement in the live TV channel guide. If Roku wants to keep this place to himself, that’s fine. But be aware that he still has work to catch up with Fire TV and Chromecast.
We love the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, our current pick for the best streaming device, but it would be even better if Roku were stronger when it comes to live TV.
Looking for something to watch on your Roku? Get ready for the week’s finale with our guide to how to watch Station Eleven episode 10 online.
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