If you're a cord cutter, you know the number of streaming options continues to grow almost daily. It's getting to the point where there are just too many to keep track of.
And similar in some ways to cable and satellite, you can bundle streaming channels, free or premium, or choose to subscribe to single services. But sooner or later, it can become a chore to keep up with everything you're paying for.
So a few years back, some companies began offering customers the ability to subscribe to premium channels directly through their own services to simplify your bill. Now, Roku's throwing its hat in the ring to do the same, but with a few differences.
Go premium on the Roku Channel
The Roku Channel already has ad-supported, free-to-watch TV shows and movies, but now it's introducing premium subscriptions into the mix. You'll soon be able to add premium channels like Showtime, Starz and EPIX along with more than 20 others to the Roku Channel instead of having multiple, separate subscriptions to keep track of.
Roku's plan is to simplify things by consolidating everything to the same bill, calling it a "one-stop shop" for free and now premium content. It's similar to what Amazon Prime Video and Hulu have been doing since 2015.
These premium channels will being rolling out to select Roku devices later this month. For everyone else, the rollout is planned for early 2019.
How The Roku Channel compares
Roku is the latest company to try to move away from only offering streaming boxes and dongles, but it's fashionably late to the party. Amazon, Apple and Google already have their own hardware and have been working to offer more content for some time. But there are some key differences.
A plus for Roku is that if you want to add premium channels through Amazon, you have to be a Prime member. Through Roku, you just need to set up a free account to get started.
Then there are also a couple of downsides. If you choose to subscribe to Showtime or Starz, for example, you'll only be able to access that content through the Roku Channel. That means you won't be able to log in directly through those providers' standalone apps. On the upside though, the Roku Channel is being added to Roku's mobile app this month (iOS and Android), where before it was noticeably absent.
Although it's launching with 25 available channels, you might notice HBO is not on the list. You can subscribe directly through HBO, Prime Video and a number of other ways, but it's unclear if that option will eventually make its way to the Roku Channel, too.
Where you can get the Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is available first and foremost on Roku devices. That includes its add-on solutions as well as TVs with Roku already baked in. Some Samsung TVs will also have the channel, and you can also access it through an internet browser. Create a Roku account by clicking or tapping here
Below you'll find the initial list of some premium channels being offered:
- Baeble Music
- CollegeHumor's DROPOUT
- The Great Courses Signature Collection
- Magnolia Selects presented by Magnolia Pictures
- MHz Choice
- Smithsonian Channel Plus
- Viewster Anime
- And more (not currently listed)
Pricing for each premium channel is typically pretty standard no matter how you choose to subscribe. But free trials and other deals if you sign up vary by provider.
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