Roku just got a new change for cord cutters — what you need to know

Roku TV with remote
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Roku's latest upgrade is all about live TV, because they know (just like we do) that cutting the cord is all the rage right now. And so Roku device home screens just got a new Live TV Zone, a section that compiles and organizes first-party and third-party live TV services. 

The Roku Live TV Zone promotes some of the best streaming services, such as Sling TV and fuboTV, but that's only half of the story. The first thing you'll see in the Live TV Zone is the "tile" for Roku's Live TV Channel Guide.


♬ FEEL THE GROOVE - Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

The Roku Live TV Channel Guide has been out since July 2020, and it's why the Roku Channel is one of our picks for the best free streaming services. This section presents more than 200 free live and linear TV channels — making it a lot like Pluto TV. These networks are ad-supported, and show a wide range of content, including news and sports, game shows, music and (of course) TV and movies.

The Live TV Zone should appear now (or very soon, these things sometimes roll out in staggered waves) in the left-hand navigation menu of your Roku, as seen below. 

Roku Live TV Zone: A good start, but we need more

We're looking for something different, though, when it comes to Roku and Live TV. Sure, this Live TV Zone is a good start, but the Live TV Zone sounds like it leaves something to be desired.

Currently, Amazon Fire TV devices and the Chromecast with Google TV enable integration with accounts from select live TV services. This means that YouTube TV and Sling channel guides both show up in the Live tab, and some of the best cable TV alternatives can be integrated into the channel guides on Fire TV's Live section.

The new Roku Live TV Zone

(Image credit: Roku)

And this kind of integration is what Roku's missing. While the Live TV Zone will promote those apps, it will only tie in content from The Roku Live TV Channel Guide. And that's great for those who love that feed of live free content.

But cord-cutting services are a big enough deal where we'd love for them to get equal placement into the Live TV channel guide. If Roku wants to keep that place to itself, that's fine. But it should know that it's still got work to do to catch up with Fire TV and Chromecast.

We love the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, our current pick for the best streaming device, but it would be even better if Roku was stronger about live TV. In other Roku news, by the way, Roku's new plan fights Netflix right where they're strongest.

Looking for something to watch on your Roku? Get ready for the finale of the week with our guide for how to watch Station Eleven episode 10 online, and we've also got all the details on Australian Open 2022 live steams, too!

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.