With hundreds of channels to choose from, the Roku Channel Store offers an excellent way to stream your favorite free and paid programming. But aside from the options you see in the Store, you can access even more content by installing Roku private channels. These private channels help you unlock the true potential of Roku as you get to discover hidden gems.
Although anyone with a Roku device can access these private channels, the process requires a specific code for the ones you want to add. So for that, you first need to decide on which of these private channels would be worth a try.
What are “private channels”?
Also known as hidden channels, these are just like the publicly-listed options you see in the Roku Channel Store. The only difference is that you need a code to find them, and Roku won’t provide support for them.
Usually, channels become private because they’re still in beta testing, and developers may want to collect user feedback on how to improve performance. But some private channels also remain that way because they’re targeting a very limited audience or they contain adult content.
How to add private channels
The best part about Roku private channels is that they’re accessible across all Roku devices. So you can use them with your Roku Express, Roku Streaming Stick Plus, or Roku Ultra. But for the initial installation, you need to do it through the official Roku website. Here’s what you need to do:
- Log in to your Roku account through the website.
- Go to the “Manage Account” section and select “Add channel with a code.”
- Enter the channel code in the given field and click on “Add Channel.”
- This will bring up a pop-up warning you about the channel being non-certified. Click on “OK.”
- Tap on “Yes, add channel” to confirm that you want to add it to your Roku channels list.
Best private Roku channels
1: Arirang TV and Radio (Free)
Arirang TV and Radio provides you with live access to South Korean TV and radio programming in English. This includes cultural features and documentaries as well as language programs so you can get a realistic view of Korean culture.
Channel code – ArirangTV
2: Home Movies (Free)
This channel features authentic, vintage home movies that showcase everyday life and family vacations. Originally filmed using 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8 cameras, these home movies give you a glimpse of family life and cityscapes from past generations. This is a must-add channel if you enjoy nostalgia-inducing content.
Channel code – HomeMovies
3: iTunes Podcasts (Free)
This private Roku channel lets you listen to free podcasts from the iTunes library. You don’t even need to have an iTunes account to run it. And since the channel streams podcasts straight from the iTunes directory, you won’t even need to install iTunes on your computer. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to know which podcast you want to listen to as it no longer gives you an option to browse through the listings.
Channel code – ITPC
4: RokuCast (Free)
The official Roku Channel Store offers an app to cast videos from your mobile device. But RokuCast is a private channel that you can use to cast HTML5 content from your computer browser. It comes in the form of a Chrome extension and uses Roku’s native video player. So you won’t have to install a companion channel to cast content on your Roku device.
Channel code – CL9D5D
5: Skitter TV (Varies)
To watch local over-the-air programming in select markets using your Roku device, you can install the Skitter TV channel. But you’ll need to pay for one of the local TV packages with prices varying by region. For instance, the BEK Sports package costs $11.99/mo. and gives you access to sports broadcasts from high schools in North Dakota.
Even for those who don’t live within the designated market areas, Skitter TV also offers a national package for $8.99/mo. The national package gives you access to 24 video and 41 music channels, including Blue Highways TV, Newsmax, One American News, and Outdoor Channel.
Channel code – skittertv
6: StreamNowTV Beta (Free)
For indie movie fans, the beta version of StreamNowTV is currently available as a Roku private channel. This provides you with free access to on-demand videos in various genres, including action, comedy, drama, horror, and kids/family. All of these videos come from independent contributors and explore original storylines through movie shorts and webisodes.
Channel code – sntvdemo
7: The Odeon Theater (Free)
The Odeon Theater is a private Roku channel that gives you access to classic, cult, and indie movies with a new title every Wednesday. All of these movies stream without any commercial breaks, and they begin with a short intro about the channel and fun facts about the film. This makes it an excellent private channel for cinephiles.
Channel code – odeon
8: The Silent Movie Channel (Free)
Another private Roku channel for cinephiles, The Silent Movie Channel is exactly as you’d expect. It gives you access to silent films from the early 20th century, spanning genres like adventure, comedy, drama, and fantasy/horror. It also has a decent selection of animation and science fiction. The channel’s developers regularly update it with new content, so it might be an excellent choice for the long run.
Channel code – rollem
9: The Space Opera Channel (Free)
For those who love indie fan films and sci-fi series, The Space Opera Channel is a must-add. This private channel provides access to both live and on-demand content in a wide variety of categories. So you can watch 24/7 space opera serial and independent fan films as well as sci-fi short films. Plus, you can also stream iconic titles like Captain Z-Ro, Flash Gordon, Malice, Space Angel, and Undersea Kingdom.
Channel code – soctv
10: What’s On? (Free)
This private channel lets you check local movie listings based on your location so you can see if there’s anything interesting coming up in theaters near you. It even lets you watch trailers for those listings and check showtimes. What’s On? also lets you check local TV listings to find out the programming schedules for your favorite channels.
Channel code – WhatsOnChannel
The final cut
Most of the Roku private channels cater to a highly niche audience such as cinephiles and sci-fi fans. Some of these even allow you to unlock more possibilities with your Roku device. For instance, RokuCast lets you cast content from your Chrome browser to your Roku. So make sure you explore all of these options to see which ones appeal most to you and your specific streaming needs.