The Roku Channel, which is home to more than 100,000 titles and over 115 live TV channels, is now available on Amazon Fire TV. The free, ad-supported service will be accessible on all Fire TV devices, including Fire TV Edition smart TVs, Fire TV Edition soundbars, and streaming devices, with support for Alexa voice commands.
Users can ask Amazon's digital assistant to find and download the Roku Channel app. Alexa will also be able to open the app once downloaded. You can also access the app's vast library by opening it through the Fire TV search menu.
Launched in 2017, the Roku Channel has steadily grown in popularity throughout the US. As of Q2 2020, the service has reached American households with an estimated 43 million people. Roku also recently launched a standalone mobile app for the service.
The Roku Channel is now available for Fire TV users
Amazon and Roku are direct competitors in the set-top-box hardware market. While Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Music have been available on Roku devices for years, Roku's free service was surprisingly missing on the former's Fire TV devices. That's finally changing.
Despite their competition, this move makes a lot of sense. Neither of the two companies solely rely on hardware sales. Amazon also offers several subscription services and its Fire TV lineup is primarily a gateway to those. Having more free content onboard may make its hardware offerings more appealing to potential customers.
On the other hand, the Roku Channel is all about advertising and subscription revenues. So it makes sense that Roku would want the service to be accessible to as many viewers as possible. The more viewers, the more ad revenues for the company.
Roku also offers premium channels but, unfortunately, you cannot subscribe to them directly from Fire TV. If you want to watch Showtime, Starz, Epix, or HBO (not HBO Max, which isn't officially available on Roku or Fire TV yet) on The Roku Channel on your Fire TV, you must first sign up directly through Roku and subscribe to those channels. You can then log in with the same Roku account on Fire TV and stream those channels.
As for the free content on the Roku Channel, you don't need a Roku account to access any of those. Just download the app and start streaming.
"We're building on our commitment to make The Roku Channel even more accessible by expanding onto streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV. We know how much customers crave free entertainment and we're thrilled to bring The Roku Channel to even more households," said Rob Holmes, VP of Programming and Engagement at Roku, in a press release on Thursday.