What is Roku? How Roku Streaming Devices Work

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Judit Llordés
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Roku devices are a versatile option for streaming. Roku is a brand of digital media streaming devices that offer content from a variety of services and providers through downloadable channels.

Roku players connect to your TV or run as proprietary software inside a smart TV using a wired or wireless internet connection.

The rise of streaming platforms has made accessing your favorite shows and movies easy to access, allowing many people to ditch their cable subscription to view a huge library of online content via applications.

Roku, which surpassed 100 million users in the US in 2020, has steadily become one of the most popular streaming options for cable cutters.

What is Roku? 

Roku is a brand of digital media streaming devices manufactured by the company Roku Inc. Roku devices connect to your TV or exist as software within a smart TV and allow you to watch TV shows, news, movies and other content on Internet via downloadable channels.

Roku's name comes from the Japanese word "six", as it is the sixth company launched by its founder Anthony Wood. In 2008, the Roku DVP N1000 was the first product launched by the company, and Roku has continued to improve and iterate on its devices ever since.

Roku runs through its proprietary operating system and on hardware available in several variations. The most recognizable options come in the form of a streaming stick or a rounded square box. Roku also has a line of smart TVs, or Roku TVs, with an integrated operating system. The price range for Roku devices starts with Roku Express at $ 29,99 and extends to Roku TV models starting at $ 200. 

Some popular options of Roku devices include:

  • Roku Express
  • Roku Express 4K +
  • Roku Ultra
  • Roku Streaming Stick +
  • Roku Streambar
  • Roku Streambar Pro
  • Roku TV

If you want a more immersive experience, Roku offers additional products to increase the sound quality of your TV. Devices like the Roku Streambar connect directly to the TV and act as both a streaming device and a soundbar. There's also the option to add a Roku wireless subwoofer to add deeper bass or Roku wireless speakers for more immersive sound.

How Roku devices work

The design of Roku products is meant to be simplistic, with a single connection configuration that allows for immediate use. After setup, you can download, install, purchase or subscribe to streaming channels and remove them later at your discretion, as detailed in the following sections. 

Whether you have a Roku-enabled soundbar or a Roku player, the functionality of Roku devices is similar. All Roku devices require an internet connection to use. This can be done through the use of an Ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi connection.

Each Roku box contains an HDMI cable, a power adapter, a MicroUSB cable, and a Roku remote. You can insert a Roku Streaming Stick directly into your TV's USB port. For other Roku devices, you'll plug in the HDMI cable, plug in the power supply, and use the Roku remote to connect to a wireless or wired connection to your home network to complete the setup.

What you can watch with Roku

After initial setup, Roku gives you the opportunity to install a wide variety of content streaming applications. Among its thousands of channels, Roku gives you access to live local networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. All major streaming services have apps on Roku, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO Max. Alongside video apps like YouTube and Vimeo, Roku lets you download music streaming platforms like Spotify or Pandora.

Adding channels on Roku is a simple process. Log in to menu Home and scroll down until you reach Streaming channels, so do it click su OK you will be taken to the RokuStore channel where you can download most of the apps for free. You can manually search through apps using the Roku remote or voice commands. This feature allows you to search without closing the app you are watching.

How to connect to Roku with other devices

Roku is also available as an app for smartphone users. Its software allows you to view Roku programming at home and on the go. Not only can you watch content from your mobile device, it can also work as a remote control for your Roku player.

The integration between Roku hardware and mobile software gives you the ability to start, add and remove channels. Since it is connected to your phone, you can also cast photos and videos to your TV or phone screen mirroring.

How to connect Android phone to TV

How to mirror iPhone to PC or Laptop

The latest Roku models support Apple's AirPlay, a built-in feature on MacOS, iPadOS, and iOS devices, and enable seamless screen casting and mirroring.

Further Reading:

  • How to mirror iPhone screen to Mac and TV
  • Discovery Plus on LG TV: everything you need to know
  • How to download the YouTube app on Roku
  • How to enable HDR on Roku TV
  • How to remove the writing on the top left Netflix?

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