Getting YouTube on your Roku


The bigger question might be why doesn’t Roku have an official YouTube channel?  Well the official answer courtesy of Roku’s own support section, posted 9-21-2010:

No. Roku does not have a YouTube channel. At the request of YouTube, the previously available private YouTube channel is no longer available on Roku. (from a post dated Sep 21 2010)

Not too surprising that Google might want to maintain some control over one of their most valuable assets. But what is really interesting is that back in the early days of Roku there was a YouTube channel. Some users report that if you had it you were “grandfathered in” and  it continues to function.

CNET chic explaining how to get YouTube on Roku - on YouTube!

CNET chic explaining how to get YouTube on Roku – on YouTube!

More evidence of this YouTube vs Roku battle is seen in the case of VideoBuzz, a private Roku channel that was shut down specifically because it allowed YouTube streaming.

But of course there are still other  workarounds. Some of these are definitely in the advanced category:




1. Plex.

Plex is a free media server that runs on your PC and allows you to stream content to your Roku.

Add the official Roku Plex channel.

Download Plex.


2. PlayOn.

Similar to Plex but PlayOn is not free. Len’s site has a good review and explanation of PlayOn here.

Add the  PlayOn channel to Roku.

Download PlayOn.


3. Twonky.

Twonky is a free app that runs on iOS or Android. Janko Roettgers gives a good review of Twonky for YouTube here.

Add the Twonky Roku channel.

Download the Twonky app.


4.Connect your PC to your TV

The old stand by brute -force method of connecting your PC to your TV works and it will be hard for content providers to stop because your TV is simply acting as a monitor.


5. The easy way

Give up and give in. Get a ChromeCast. In this case Google wins, Roku loses.  But I can pull up YouTube on my iPhone and press one button and it streams smoothly to the big screen.

If you have another suggestion for streaming YouTube please let us know in the comments below.






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5 Responses to Getting YouTube on your Roku

  1. Bob says:

    I have YT on my Roku, but I never use the Roku anymore.

  2. Greg says:

    Were you grandfathered in? And why not?

  3. Len Mullen says:

    There actually is a YT channel on the Roku. All the MVCs use it and they share the ‘secret’ with people who complain — some people who complain. You expose the secret channel by entering ‘asecret’ as your zip code. Anyway, it’s a pretty poor channel all around.

    The best YT channel for the Roku is VideoBuzz. VB is head and shoulders above all the rest. You have to side load the channel, but, unless you are a developer, you probably won’t be side loading any other channel and they have made a script and instructions that make the process very easy…

  4. Len Mullen says:

    I just checked — the YT channel is What’s On

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