Streaming is the newest craze that has hit the media entertainment world by storm. It is so rare now that people will use TV channels and bear the pain of adverts when, instead, they could simply stream the latest TV and Movies. Roku is one of the ways to do this.
Let’s take a look at Roku and how they come into play with streaming for TV.
Streaming for TV was actually pioneered by the Roku company. Streaming on Roku is also the most convenient and cost-effective way that you can watch TV now.
All that you have to do is plug it into your Smart TV, connect it to the internet, and then set up an account with Roku. There’s nothing more to it, after this is all done, you can start streaming your favorite shows in no time at all.
You can also use the internet on Roku, however, it is not a built-in one, it is only available as a third-party channel. They do not give you the privilege to directly browse the internet, but it does use some channels that will act like web browsers.
However, you should not expect to have all the functionality that you would get with a typical web browser. The truth is that there has not been a decent web browser around that you can use with Roku.
If you do want to get a web browser on Roku, then you are a bit short on options.
The overall quality of the web browsers that are available are not as robust as the choices you have when you use a Fire TV Stuck, or an Android TV box. So, another thing we will look at today are the options that you can choose from.
Roku and Android
The most ironic part about all of this is that there are more than 500,000 channels you can get on Roku, but the number of these that are browsers is pitiful.
You can also not install android apps on Roku either, because Roku has its own, unique operating system that is basically a highly modified Linux Version.
So, the operating system that Roku uses is actually pretty different from what Android uses, and they have different base kernel versions too. All of this makes it pretty impossible for you to install android apps on Roku.
This is also why Roku has their own SDK platform where you can actually develop your own apps, and these are closed devices. However, to do this, you will need to have some knowledge of coding to be able to work on it.
So, while the web browsers may not actually be the best option for you, you do have one other option, you could mirror your android or windows screen onto your TV!
What are the advantages?
We know the downfall in Roku is in the lack of web browsers, but let’s ignore that for just a second and look at the advantages of Roku.
- Free Content. When you use Roku, you will get access to channels such as YouTube, TV Player, Red Bull TV, Sky News, and BBC Sports, and many more, and it is all free! Woo!
- Accessing Catch-up TV. You will also gain access to channels such as STV Player, BBC iPlayer, and so many more. If you need to catch up, Roku has got you covered.
- Always have Access to Popular Music. With Roku you will get to watch popular music videos on channels such as Deezer, VEVO, YouTube, BoxPlus, and TuneIn. You never need to worry about missing out on those channels, Roku has them for you.
- Movies, Content, And TV Shows! What is better than having access to original content, the latest TV shows, and Blockbuster movies on channels like NOW TV, Rakuten TV, Netflix, Amazon Video, Sky, and even Google play. You can also use Media player pro to play audio and video combined, it supports a large number of media formats too. As well as having oodles of free channels for you to binge the latest shows, there are a few channels that will also require you to pay for their content, such as Netflix, of course. There are also some channels that may change their availability depending on where you live.
Do Roku have their own Internet Browser?
It is a shame to say that Roku have not developed their own internet browser that can work with their streaming devices yet, even though they have been around for quite a lengthy period of time.
The Roku sticks and set-up boxes are not the overall best option for you if you want to use your streaming devices as a web browser.
We won’t sugar coat it. There have been several Roku competitors that have been offering their own internet browsers on their own streaming devices. So this is something that you want to be aware of before you go all Roku.
The Roku channel store has only got two browsers that are available, neither of them developed by Roku. And chances are you will not have heard of these before either! But, that does not mean that they aren’t good!
The best internet browser to use for Roku
As we said, Roku only has two available web browsers in their channel store. So, if you want to have one of these they are; Web Browser X, and Poprism Web Browser. You can also use Chrome Via Screencast.
Let’s take a deeper look into both of these two options and Chrome screencast.
Option 1- Web Browser X
So, our first option is Web Browser X, this is probably the best web browser for Roku. There seems to be no other way around the internet that is better than this browser.
It is overall the best way to surf the web when it comes to Roku. However, on the downside, using this does come at a monthly cost.
Since Roku do not have their own browser, since they have not implemented this despite their lengthy existence.
This is probably the reason why the Roku web browser is not slick and up-to-date in its design, even when you use this paid browser option. That being said, Media player pro is another option you could use.
Some people would probably say that they are a bit disappointed after using this. Nowadays, people expect a slick and modern design and instead all you get is a 1990s style font and interface which makes you wonder when you got in a time machine.
However, this is something that Roku is working on, and they should hopefully be resolving this pretty soon, fingers crossed. But it does serve the basics of the purpose, just not to the expected standard.
There are also a few issues when you use it as well. While it does work pretty well, it may struggle to render and format pages that are more complex. This is something that Roku could rectify if they decided to have their own browser.
You can get some minor pre-saved favorites such as CNN, ABC News, and Google News though, so that is something. The best part of this browser is that you get to visit any site online just by using the URL.
You also have the option to add your favorite frequently visited sites as your favorites. Much like you would on a PC.
You can easily navigate through web pages pretty easily with this browser, simply use the left and right buttons on the remote to cycle through any links on pages. Up and down arrows are for scrolling through text, this gives you a decent user experience.
Of course the downside here is that you can’t play videos, and you also cannot fill out online forms either, such as password fields and usernames, so, no luck for you trying to log in to Facebook or Twitter. However, this is a change that may come in some years.
This browser option is something you can get for $4.99 per month in the US. That is not to say that in other countries, you may be able to get it for free. For example, in Mexico, it is $0.00. So there is a discrepancy in varying countries.
Option 2- Poprism Web Browser
Looking in the Roku channel store, the only other web browser option is Poprism. While you might hope that this will do you better than Web Browser X, it is not, it will do you worse.
No GIFs or Memes for you on this browser! It is just a mass of text that is not formatted at all either, which if we are honest, just sounds like a recipe for a headache.
This means that this web browser is not good for a vast majority of websites, and it may be the only suite if you are for text forums, RSS feeds and all other text-heavy forms of content.
You do get the basic Google research readable on here, though. Poprism will not charge you, there is no $4.99 fee, like there is for Web Browser X, so, that’s something.
Option 3- Chrome and Screencast
Neither of their web browser options are great, it’s all a bit ancient for most people, and so until Roku releases their own web browser, we are stuck with getting inventive with ways that we can browse the internet with Roku.
Most of us use browsers to stream videos and movies. There really is no point in having a browser if it can’t do this, it kind of defeats the whole modern concept.
This means that if you want to stream, the best way to do this through Roku is to use screen mirroring. This will allow you to cast or mirror your screen on your Android device and start streaming and surfing on that
You can also cast other browsers to Roku, and this will allow you to stream content this way. The only drawback by doing this is that it kind of depends on the other device, as it will need the help of this device so that you can cast the screen.
The best approach when using Roku is to simply mirror your screen and cast the browser to your computer or your phone and to your Roku device. It doesn’t really cost anything, and you get a good-looking browser that you can have full functionality on.
Casting a web browser to Roku via Android- How do you do it?
If you have never cast before, then the idea of doing so might be a bit overwhelming, but it is really simple, maybe more simple than other alternatives like using Roku’s two rather pitiful browsers.
So, if you would rather browse online on your Roku, by casting from your Android phone or tablet, then here are some simple steps and tips that you can follow to help you set this up.
- First off, open the android settings application.
- Then go into connected devices and then into ‘Pair new devices’.
- Let your android device find your Roku box or streaming stick.
- Tap on the name of your Roku device and wait for it to connect.
- Then, once done, open the web browser you want to use on Roku.
Not every Android device will support Miracast, so you should consult your manufacturer guides for more information on casting and mirroring.
Casting a web browser to Roku via Windows- How do you do it?
You can also cast a windows web browser to Roku. This is how you can do this, don’t worry, it is really easy.
- First of all, you need to check and ensure that your Roku is running the latest versions of the operating system. This should be at least version 7.7. You can do this by going into settings, then system, and about. If it is not updated, you can do this by going through the following steps; Settings> System> System Update> Check Now. Then wait patiently as the process completes for you.
- On Windows, you can open the action center by slick on the link that is in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.
- Simply slick on ‘Connect tile’ if you cannot see it directly, then you may need to expand your screen.
- Now you will need to allow windows to scan Roku, this will probably only take about half a minute.
- Next, click on the name of your Roku device, and it should connect automatically.
- Finally, you can open your web browser and start surfing the internet!
Getting Google on Roku: How to?
Google is without a doubt the best browser to have on any device, it is the fastest, most reliable, and the most used.
Roku devices are considered to be one of the best ways to help you stream content on your TV, although there are sometimes in which you cannot use Roku for things such as browsing the internet and sorting through photos, as we have previously discussed.
This is when you will want to have access to Google’s services on your Roku device.
Now, there are plenty of Google services you will want to get on your Roku, we will now take the time to talk to you about how you can get each of these services on your device, including Google Play Movies, Google Photos, Google TV, and of course, Google Search.
Google Play Movie and TV on Roku
Since Roku is meant to support all streaming services, there is no surprise that Google Play Movies and TV has a Roku channel that you can download and start to use.
Once you have installed the Google Play Movies Application on your Roku device, you will need to pair it with your Google Account by going to play.google.com/roku.
When you sign up you will need to provide a payment method, do not worry, they won’t actually charge you anything unless you order something.
There are some restrictions that exist, according to the Google official help page. You can only use this application if you are in Canada, Germany, The Republic of Ireland, The US, or the UK.
However, we can not tell you for sure just how accurate this statement is. Some unsupported countries may experience some issues when attempting to access this, but this is the most solid proof we have of this.
Play Movies and TV on Roku: Setting it up
- To start, go to the channel store on your Roku device and search for ‘Google Play Movies and TV’. Then you need to select the ‘Google Play Movies and TV’ app and add the channel.
- Now, click on ‘Go to Channel’, and sign in.
- Now you need to set up, go to play.google.com/roku on your PC or mobile device.
- There will be a code on your Roku screen, enter this and click on ‘continue’.
- Review the permissions screen that comes up, and confirm it, adding in a payment method, then continue to follow the instructions that show up on your web browser.
- Set up a ‘Google PIN’ by following the instructions on your screen, then return to Roku, and you are all done!
Connecting Roku to Google Home: Set it up.
If you want to connect your Roku device to your Google Home set up, this can easily be done too. This is how;
- Start off by launching your Google Home Application.
- Tap on the ‘Add’ button, and then tap on ‘Set up device’.
- Select the option ‘Have something already set up?’ and then search for your Roku from the available list.
- When you are prompted, sign into your Roku account, and select the Roku device you wish to control with your Google Assistant.
Can I get Google Play Music on Roku?
It is rather disappointing that there is no official Google Play Music for Roku devices.
However, there are some ways in which you can listen to Google Play Music on your Roku device with options such as the ‘Nowhere Music’ private Roku channel, or using a third-party plug in for Plex.
However, developments have stopped on both projects, so now we only really have one option.
This option is to cast Google Play Music from an Android or Windows device, to your Roku. You can use Miracast technology to do this, but remember that iOS Apple devices are not supported for this. This is how you can get Google Play Music on your Roku.
- Firstly, ensure that your Roku and Android devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, and then swipe down on your android notification bar then tap on ‘cast’.
- Now choose your Roku from the list of devices, and you can start casting.
- Ensure that your Roku and Windows computer use the same Wi-Fi.
- Open up your settings, and go to ‘System’ and then ‘Display’.
- Scroll down to ‘Multiple Displays’, and then click on ‘Connect to a Wireless Display’. From the list, select your Roku and you can start casting.
Can I get Google Chrome on Roku?
Sadly, there is no Google Chrome app for Roku. If you want to access Chrome on your TV, your best bet is to mirror your screen from another device.
Can I get Google Photos on Roku?
There is no official app for Google Photos on Roku. You can use third-party apps, such as PhotoView. This is the best way to do this, and you can give your Roku screen saver features. This app is easy to use and can be used simply. Find it on the Roku channel store.
Roku Mirror Screening; What’s good about it?
We have spoken about mirroring a bit, and it is good for getting the best out of your Roku. Roku is a closed device, so when you mirror, it is the only way you can link with other devices. These are the best advantages of using mirror screening.
- Android devices become like a wireless joystick.
- You can cast from your Windows PC to watch TV shows and Movies.
- Find Hidden Roku Channels.
- You can adjust playback on Netflix.
- You can play your favorite games on a big screen.
- You can go through 500 apps at once!
- Use your Roku private listening too!