The Best Roku Apps You Didn’t Know You Needed

Illustration of the top 5 must-have Roku apps for an enhanced streaming experience.

Roku has become a household name when it comes to streaming devices. While many users stick to popular apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, there are a plethora of other apps that developers have created to enhance the Roku experience. From entertainment to utility, these apps can transform how you use your Roku device. Let’s dive into some of the best Roku apps you didn’t know you needed.

Essential Roku Channels You Must Download

Entertainment Beyond the Mainstream

1. Plex

Plex is a versatile app that allows you to stream your personal media library to your Roku device. Whether you have movies, TV shows, music, or photos stored on your computer, Plex can stream them directly to your TV. Developers love Plex because it provides an opportunity to create custom media servers and explore how streaming protocols work. Plex’s open API allows developers to create unique plugins and enhance the user experience.

2. Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers free live TV and on-demand content. With over 250 channels, you can watch news, sports, movies, and more without a subscription. For developers, Pluto TV is an interesting case study in ad-supported streaming models and content licensing. Developers can explore how Pluto TV manages content delivery networks (CDNs) and ad-insertion technology to provide a seamless viewing experience.

3. Crunchyroll

For anime fans, Crunchyroll is a must-have app. It provides access to a vast library of anime series and movies. Developers can appreciate Crunchyroll’s efficient content delivery and user interface design, which keeps fans engaged and coming back for more. The app’s ability to handle high traffic volumes during new episode releases is also a point of interest for developers focusing on scalability.

Utility Apps to Enhance Your Roku Experience

4. Roku Media Player

Roku Media Player is an essential app for anyone looking to play their local media files. It supports various file formats and allows you to play content from USB drives or over your home network. This app is perfect for developers interested in file format compatibility and network streaming. The app’s source code, available through the Roku Developer Program, offers insights into handling diverse media types.

5. Weather Underground

Stay updated with the latest weather forecasts using the Weather Underground app. It offers hyper-local weather conditions and forecasts, which can be crucial for planning your day. Developers can explore how weather data APIs are integrated and presented in a user-friendly format. The app’s backend utilizes real-time data processing and geolocation services, providing valuable lessons in these areas.

6. Screen Mirroring

Screen Mirroring allows you to mirror your smartphone or tablet screen on your TV. This app is great for presentations, photo sharing, and more. Developers find this useful for understanding wireless display protocols and optimizing performance across different devices. The technology behind screen mirroring involves complex synchronization and latency reduction techniques.

Graphic showcasing the discovery of hidden gem Roku apps that are essential for an enriching streaming journey.

Niche Apps for Specialized Interests

7. Twitch

Twitch is the go-to app for video game streaming. Watch your favorite gamers live or catch up on recent broadcasts. Developers can delve into live streaming technology and community-building strategies through Twitch. The app’s implementation of low-latency streaming and interactive features like chat are excellent case studies for developers.

8. CuriosityStream

CuriosityStream is a documentary-focused streaming service with content on science, history, technology, and more. It’s an excellent resource for developers who want to learn about content curation and niche streaming services. The app’s use of metadata and recommendation algorithms helps tailor content to user preferences.

9. TuneIn Radio

TuneIn Radio offers access to thousands of radio stations and podcasts from around the world. This app is perfect for developers interested in audio streaming technologies and creating platforms for diverse content delivery. The app’s ability to manage a large number of live streams and provide a smooth user experience is noteworthy.

10. Kitchen Stories

For cooking enthusiasts, Kitchen Stories provides video recipes, cooking tips, and step-by-step instructions. Developers can explore how this app integrates multimedia content to create an engaging user experience. The app’s use of video compression and adaptive streaming ensures high-quality playback across various devices and internet speeds.

Apps for a Better Viewing Experience

11. Roku Remote

Roku Remote is a mobile app that transforms your smartphone into a remote control for your Roku device. It also offers features like voice search and private listening. Developers can investigate mobile app development and integration with hardware devices. The app’s use of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct for communication with the Roku device is particularly interesting.

12. JustWatch

JustWatch helps you find where to stream your favorite movies and TV shows across various platforms. It aggregates content availability and prices, making it easy to decide what to watch. For developers, JustWatch offers insights into data aggregation and user recommendation systems. The app’s ability to scrape data from multiple sources and present it in a user-friendly manner is a significant technical achievement.

13. AirPlay

With AirPlay, you can stream content from your Apple devices to your Roku. This app is ideal for developers looking to understand cross-platform streaming and compatibility. The integration of Apple’s AirPlay technology into the Roku ecosystem provides valuable lessons in interoperability and user experience design.


Roku offers a wide array of apps that go beyond the mainstream services. From enhancing entertainment options to providing utility functions, these apps can significantly improve your Roku experience. Developers can find inspiration and learning opportunities by exploring these diverse applications, understanding their functionalities, and seeing how they contribute to the overall streaming ecosystem. So, give these apps a try and see how they can elevate your Roku usage to new heights.

If you’re looking for easy smart tv development & deployment, CONTACT US TODAY!