When it comes to paying the cable bills at the end of every month, most people consider it as an excess expense. You might be one of them too. isn’t it?
Given the cost of even the most basic provider is enough to give a second thought, no one likes paying for cable.
But is there an alternative? Technically, yes. With a Roku streaming device, you can combine all of your favorite streaming service apps under one podium.
But besides such on-demand content, what if you want to access local TV channels?
So, if you’ve got a Roku streaming device, or if you consider picking up one, the popular gadget offers many backdoor portals to some of the greatest local-area content.
This includes news, weather, sports, and much more. So, let’s walk you through this guide to show how you can unlock to enjoy the local channels on Roku.
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How to Watch Local Channels on Roku
While Cord cutting has several advantages, it lags when it comes to streaming local content.
So, there should be a perfect solution where you can stream both on-demand as well as local content with ease.
Roku brings ample local channel variations to your service. Check out the different ways you can stream these local channels on your Roku device:
- First, visit your local channel’s website and check if they’ve created a Roku channel for their viewers.
- This may be a “private” channel that prompts you to enter a code available on their website, or it may be visible to search on your Roku.
Note: Search using the call letters of your station, such as WGBH or WHYY, rather than searching for “Channel 5” or “Live on 5.”
- If there’s a Roku channel, don’t forget to closely read what the channel offers before installing it.
- You can also get content from other apps as well like NewsON, for example, which offers local news from 190 stations with at least one local news broadcast for 90% of the U.S. population.
Let’s dig in deeper to know more. . .
Official Local TV Roku Channels
To know how to stream local channels on Roku, your first stop should be the Roku Channel Store. Here, you can find both network-affiliated and third-party options.
Currently, there are more than 100 free local news channels in the store, including WSB-TV Channel 2, News 12, WBRC FOX 6 News, Boston 25, WTVF News Channel 5 FOX13 Memphis News, WPXI Channel 11 News, and KGTV 10 News San Diego.
To browse and access the best of the free local channels on Roku, head to the News and Weather section of the Roku Channel Store, either via the web or through your Roku device.
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Local Weather Channels on Roku
While a few news channels cover local weather, there are also dedicated weather channels for those who like to keep a consistent track of it.
Similar to the news channels, you can simply enter your zip code to get curated weather forecasts, reports and alerts for your local terrain.
Popular channels like The Weather Channel and The Weather Network will bring you the current weather reports you need.
Be it a general forecast or a weather alert or you want to watch WeatherNation’s 24/7 live feed, everything is accessible from the Roku Channel.
Local Radio Stations and Podcasts on Roku
Who wouldn’t love a single device streaming both visual as well as audio content?
Your Roku device isn’t just about watching content — you can also install local radio station channels.
If you’re looking for some entertainment from your local radio station, TuneIn and iHeart are what you need.
Besides, listening to these local radio channels, you can also tune in to podcasts, sports and more.
There are ample other available local radio channels. To view the whole section of radio stations available on Roku, look up the Music & Podcasts section of the store.
Local Sports Channels on Roku
Sports is one of the favourite contents that most viewers enjoy.
If you’re one of them looking for regional sports channels on Roku, unfortunately, no such freebies exist.
But you can always enjoy thousands of local Sports channels by subscribing to services like fuboTV or Sling TV.
Alternatively, there are some “game pass” subscriptions available for specific sports, such as MLB.TV.
Note, that blackout rules may be implied meaning you can’t watch a game in your local area.
In such cases, you can enjoy the games using a VPN on Roku to appear like you’re located in another area.
You can also watch local sports tournaments by connecting Roku to an antenna- a detailed description you’ll find below.
Also Read: How to Remove and Hide Roku Channel
Third-Party Local Channels on Roku
If your local TV stations don’t own their own Roku app, there are still different other avenues you have in hand. One of them is to check out the third-party apps.
NewsON is a joint conglomerate between five of the largest TV station groups in the United States: ABC, Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Media General, and Raycom Media. Since its launch, many more station groups have also come together on board.
Consequently, NewsON now offers more than 170 TV stations from 110+ American towns and cities for free. According to its records, almost 85% of the US population can now access at least one local channel.
Arguably as the best option for cord-cutters who want to watch the national and local news, Haystack TV is another of our local favorites.
From a local TV perspective, Haystack TV has partnered with more than 150 local stations. They include CBS Los Angeles KCAL, CBS Pittsburgh KDKA, CBS Chicago WBBM, CBS New York WCBS, NBC Nebraska, and many more.
Haystack is a customizable service. The more you stream the channel, the better it learns about your interests and preferences to show you the content of your preference.
Also, don’t forget to check out the Haystack Spotlight. It’s a channel, specific for documentaries and long-form content.
What’s even better if you get to enjoy a different form of content for free from the usual mix of news and comedy that you probably stick to most of the time.
Related Post: How to Add Roku Channels on Android, iPhone and Browser
Private Local Channels on Roku
One of the reasons behind Roku’s rising popularity among the available streaming services today is its ability to add private channels.
So, what’s the hype about private channels? Private channels are apps created by hobbyists and independent developers that haven’t been published in the official store.
There are many several private channels on Roku you can try. All you have to do is a bit of digging, to find if a private channel is available for your area.
However, just ensure that you’re legally allowed to stream the content before you add private channels to your Roku device.
Primary Network Apps for Roku
However, few local affiliates of the big networks often stream their content via the parent network’s app. Check directly with the service provider to find out whether your local channels are supported.
Local Channels via an HDTV Antenna on Roku
If you have a Roku TV (a television with an in-built Roku operating system), you can hook an HDTV antenna up and watch OTA TV through the Roku interface. All you have to do is simply follow the on-screen instructions to begin.
To your utter surprise, you’ll get to watch everything from the NFL to popular TV series using a TV antenna.
Modern antennas are budget-friendly. Depending on your terrain, a mid-range model should allow you to receive channels from more than 100 miles away. Mohu Leaf is one such popular antenna.
Local Channels on Roku via YouTube
YouTube is another way to watch local channels on your Roku device.
An ever-increasing number of 24/7 local networks are increasingly uploading and live streaming their broadcasts on the site, and Roku’s YouTube app air those streams for you.
Search for your local station’s YouTube page first and check what it offers. You should be able to find standalone clips, segments, and episodes to stay abreast of the local happenings.
However, you must download the official YouTube app first to access its services on your Roku device. Once you install and sign in with your Google Account, you’re good to go.
Local Channels Via Screen Mirroring on Roku
If you aren’t able to access the local channels you want with any of the methods above, you could mirror another device with local channels on your Roku device.
Now, that might not sound like the most convenient way of watching local channels.
But if you have an iOS, Android or Windows device, you can mirror the channel to your Roku and watch it on the big screen.
Say, for instance, you want to watch a specific local channel, but neither does it have a Roku app nor is it available on a third-party app or a streaming service.
But if the channel is available via an online stream, you can load it on your mobile device and then mirror your screen to Roku.
Local Channels via Live TV Apps on Roku
Another way to watch live and local TV channels on Roku is via a paid streaming service.
Unlike services like Netflix offering only on-demand content, a few other popular streaming platforms like Hulu + Live TV and Paramount Plus have both on-demand and live content.
They don’t come free but by combining them all in one place, you can easily browse through the many available local network channels.
Additionally, you can also benefit from one of the free trials to check if you like the service.
Also Read: How to Watch Monday Night Football
We hope you came a long way with us learning the different ways to watch live and local channels on Roku.
So, now whether you want to catch the latest news updates or weather forecasts, or tune to your favorite radio podcast, there are ample choices to pick from.
Installing a dedicated live TV Roku channel or using a live TV streaming service are the two best options, but you can also opt for alternatives like an antenna with a Roku TV or mirroring your screen to Roku.
If you liked reading the blog, don’t forget to share your views with us and within your network.
Q. Can I stream local channels with a cable subscription?
If you aren’t one of those who’ve already cut their cable cord, you have the benefit of viewing content from several local and national stations on Roku.
All you have to do is simply login to an on-demand channel using your cable account credentials.
Streaming channel access will depend on the type of cable subscription you have.
However, check with your cable provider for details as many cable channels offer free but limited access without the need for a cable provider login.
Q. Why can’t my Roku TV find local channels?
If your Roku is not loading or is unable to find the local channels first check if your remote is working properly.
Reasons may vary if you’re using an older version of Roku or you need to rescan your channels.
Updating your Roku app and rescanning the channels will fix the channels not appearing issue.
Q. Which are the most popularly known local channels
ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, etc are some of the popularly known Local government channels.
Q. Do I have to pay for local channels?
You don’t need a paid streaming service to watch local broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS.
You can also watch local broadcast channels for free using a TV antenna.
Q. How do I watch ABC without cable for free?
Depending on your location, you can watch your local ABC channel for free using a TV antenna.
You can also stream ABC live on Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV, and DIRECTV STREAM without needing a subscription to cable TV.