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Roku is adding subscription services to its free movie and TV channel

The channels should arrive by the end of January.

roku streaming stick and remote on table
Image: Digital Trends

If you own a Roku, you’re probably familiar with the Roku Channel. This channel offers various movies and TV shows for the wonderful cost of free. Granted, the titles can be pretty hit-or-miss, but c’mon, free is free.

Now, the company has announced 25 providers will begin offering premium subscription options for channels like Showtime, Starz, EPIX, and the Smithsonian Channel Plus. The new feature is slated to roll out “late January.”

If you’re familiar with how Amazon Prime Video does subscriptions, the process is pretty similar.

More about the subscription services

Like Amazon Prime Video, Roku premium subscription services can be purchased within the Roku app, which can be nice to keeping everything nice and consolidated. In addition, Roku has stated that all the channels that will be available will offer, at a minimum, one week free trials for customers.

To access the Roku Channel (and premium services), you’ll need a compatible device. This includes, obviously, Roku devices, certain Samsung Smart TVs, and mobile and web applications. At this time, the Roku Channel is not available through the Roku iOS and Android apps, but that could soon change, according to The Verge.

Many of the other channels are going to be for more specific audiences, including CuriosityStream, Magnolia Selects, NOGGIN, and Tastemade.

The one major downside to the service

It’s not a huge issue, but one thing should be noted about the service. If you already subscribe to any of the channels that are available, there is no way to log in or transfer your account to stay under the Roku Channel umbrella.

But honestly, apps like Showtime are already available on Roku devices, so you can continue to stream as normal, but it is a bit of a letdown that you can’t consolidate your current, on-going subscriptions.

What do you think? Will you check out the features coming to the Roku Channel? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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