Roku streaming devices are getting extremely popular these days and as cable dies a slow death, many are wondering whether or not Roku charges a monthly fee too.
Does Roku charge a monthly fee?
No, Roku does not charge a monthly subscription or equipment fee. There is a one-time charge for your Roku device, which provides you with tons of free content. However, you might be charged monthly fees if you choose to add premium content from apps like Netflix or Disney+.
Roku will also NEVER charge you an “activation fee” or an “account creation fee”. In fact, if you get an email, call or notification asking you to pay one of these, don’t! These are known scams.
After you buy your Roku device, you can set it up and use it to access a library of free shows and movies. You can then optionally buy subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu or Showtime through Roku’s app store.
Roku Express 4k
Roku Streaming Stick
Roku Streaming Stick 4k
|Picture Quality||HD||HD, 4K, HDR10+||HD, 4K, HDR||HD, 4K, HDR10+, Dolby Vision||HD, 4K, HDR10+, Dolby Vision|
|Connects to TV via||HDMI Cable||Premium HDMI Cable||Built-in HDMI||Built-in HDMI||Premium HDMI Cable|
|Wi-Fi & connectivity||Standard Wi-Fi||Fast Wi-Fi||Long-range Wi-Fi||Fast, long-range Wi-Fi||Best Wi-Fi & Ethernet|
|Check price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is Roku’s own in-house streaming offering. Similar to a Netflix or Hulu, Roku Channel is simply a library of TV and movie content.
Roku Channel DOES offer premium subscriptions, but the majority of the content within this app is completely free! (But as we all know, nothing is really free. You will have to watch some ads, but I think it’s a pretty fair trade off).
The app offers thousands of free tv shows and movies, and over 150+ live streaming TV channels (like ABC news).
As mentioned, there are optional premium subscriptions that allows you to gain access to streaming services like Showtime and STARZ. But before you buy, check the Roku app to see if there are any free trial periods!
The nice thing is that if you do decide to sign-up for multiple premium services, you can manage and pay for them all with a single bill.
Note: if you already have access to premium services, those services will not be able to be accessed through the Roku Channel. You would have to sign up for them through Roku.
One last thing worth mentioning is that you can check out the Roku Channel on your smartphone, laptop or even on your Amazon Firestick – you don’t need a Roku device. Just search for Roku Channel in the respective app store.
Types of channels on Roku
Each and every channel on Roku offers something a bit different. Here are all the different Roku channel types…
- Free channels: These channels give you free access to shows, movies, news, music and more. We just covered an example of a free channel above, the Roku Channel, but there are plenty of others. Youtube, Pluto TV, CBS News…the list goes on.
- Subscription channels: We talked a bit about these too – you can optionally pay more for access to services like Netflix, Cinemax, STARZ, etc. Keep in mind that many of these services offer a 7-day free trial period that you should absolutely take advantage of.
- Authenticated channels: These are also known as your “TV Everywhere” channels (covered a bit more below). These channels give you access to additional, free content based on your existing cable or satellite subscription.
- Rent/buy channels: Just as the name implies, these channels allow you to incur a one-time charge to rent or buy a TV show or movie, without having to sign-up for yet another monthly subscription.
Roku App Store
Similar to Apple’s App store or the Google Play store, Roku offers their own app store on their Roku streaming devices.
This store allows you to install apps for your TV like the Roku Channel app, Netflix, Amazon Prime, VUDU, etc.
Some of these apps require an additional subscription with a monthly fee, but many others have completely free content (like the Roku Channel app, covered above!).
Here is how to find of all the latest free movies and TV shows on your Roku device.
In addition to TV shows and movies, the Roku app store has a ton of music streaming apps to choose from, like Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio.
New apps are added to this store all the time, so make sure you check in on it regularly. If you decide you don’t like an app after awhile, no worries, just uninstall it!
Why is Roku charging me?
If you received a bill from Roku, it’s for one of two reasons:
- You, or a family member, added a premium subscription (like Showtime or STARZ) through The Roku Channel app (this would be a recurring bill)
- You rented our bought a TV show or movie through Roku (this would be a one-time charge)
A lot of times, someone clicks on a 7-day free trial of a premium subscription app and then forgets to cancel it! Time goes by and then they get a bill, not knowing why.
And if you didn’t sign up for the free premium trial, I’m willing to be someone in your house did without you knowing.
How to view your Roku bill
Whether you knowingly, or unknowingly, bought Roku Channel premium, rented a movie through Roku, or opted in to a subscription channel like STARZ or Netflix through Roku, you will get an invoice from Roku that you can check.
All invoices include a description, date of the invoice, invoice number, and total price.
To view your Roku purchase history:
- Go to my.roku.com
- When prompted, sign in to your Roku account
- Scroll down to the bottom and choose “View your purchase history“
- Select Content or Products to see different invoice categories
- Select Details for more information about an invoice
Keep in mind that invoices billed directly by a service like STARZ or Netflix won’t appear in your Roku account purchase history. You’ll have to contact these companies separately.
The exception here being if you signed up for those services through Roku Channel premium! In that case your Roku bill will include those services.
How to cancel a Roku premium subscription
Hopefully you finally figured out which premium service on Roku is charging you each month. Here’s how to to cancel the subscription on Roku:
- Press the HOME button on your Roku remote.
- Use your Roku remote to hover on the premium app you which to cancel.
- Press the STAR button on your Roku remote. This will open up the options menu.
- Click on MANAGE SUBSCRIPTION. The renewal date and several other options will appear.
- Select CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION. You’ll be asked to confirm you wish to actually cancel.
- When prompted, select CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION again. Roku will confirm the cancellation and let you know your last day of access.
- Click DONE.
If there are other subscriptions you want to cancel just repeat the steps above! Check your next credit card statement to make sure the Roku charges were removed.
Do I need cable to use Roku?
No, you don’t need a cable or satellite subscription in order to use Roku streaming devices.
Actually, a lot of people decide to buy a Roku streaming device because they want to cut ties with their cable company altogether and save some money.
That said, if you have cable or satellite, you can still use Roku and you even have access to some additional channels that non-cable owners can’t get.
These channels are known as “TV Everywhere” channels. These channels simply grant cable users additional content based on the channels they already pay for.
So, for example, if a user pays for HGTV on their current cable plan, they might get additional HGTV content on their Roku device.
Contact Roku support
If you’re still having trouble figuring out where your Roku charges are coming from, you can reach out to Roku customer support.
Roku also has a great Account, payments & subscriptions support page that can help answer a lot of questions regarding your bill.
Roku does not charge a monthly subscription, or equipment rental fee. Once you buy a Roku streaming device, you don’t have to spend another dollar.
You can get access to ton of great free content through the Roku Channel app, or by installing similar free streaming apps within the Roku ecosystem (like VUDU).
That said, The Roku Channel app does offer access to premium streaming services like STARZ and Showtime. These apps do require a monthly subscription fee. You can also rent or buy various TV shows and movies through Roku. If you got a bill from Roku, it’s likely due to one of these two actions.
Log in to your Roku account and review your purchase history to get additional details.
If you discover that you are in fact subscribed to a premium channel through Roku, you can always cancel the subscription with a few clicks of your remote.
Were you able to figure out why Roku is charging you? Let me know down in the comments section below.