Do Smart TVs Need Roku?

Do Smart TVs Need Roku?

I recently purchased a smart TV for my living room. While buying it, I also saw a Roku streaming device displayed alongside. 

So, I started contemplating whether I should buy the Roku as well.

I looked into all the built-in apps available in the smart TV. While it had all the popular ones, my needs were a little more than that. 

Additionally, the smart TV also didn’t offer any future compatibility. It may or may not support any latest streaming apps and services released in the future. 

At this point, Roku definitely looked lucrative. 

And so, after careful consideration of my needs and the features available in both, the smart TV and Roku, I finally decided to get a Roku.

You do not need a Roku with your smart TV for basic requirements like streaming popular apps and channels. However, if you need access to the latest streaming services, extended support, an easy-to-use interface, and wish to future-proof your streaming needs, getting a Roku is a better option.

Benefits of Roku Compared to Normal Smart TV

Your smart TV doesn’t have access to all the apps. They only have those apps for which your TV manufacturer has signed a contract. That’s where Roku benefits you. 

Some benefits of Roku include:

  • More content options: By using a Roku device, you may have access to more options for streaming movies, TV shows, and other content, including popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. 
  • Easy user interface: Roku’s user interface is simple and user-friendly, making it easy to navigate and find the content you want to watch.
  • Regular updates: Roku regularly updates its software to add new features and improve performance, ensuring that your device stays up-to-date and continues to work smoothly.
  • Voice control: Many Roku devices come with voice control, allowing you to control your device with simple voice commands and search for content using your voice.
  • Compatibility: Roku devices can be used with any TV with an HDMI port, regardless of whether it is a Smart TV or not.

Apart from this, one of the biggest advantages of Roku is that it allows you to pause, rewind, or fast-forward through the content as you wish.

There are several models of Roku devices available, each with its own set of features and capabilities. 

Roku ModelStandout Features
Roku ExpressHD streaming, simple remote control
Roku Express 4K4K streaming, premium HDMI cable
Roku Express 4K+4K HDR streaming, voice remote with TV controls
Roku Streaming Stick 4KDolby Vision, long-range Wi-Fi
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+Voice remote pro, built-in HDMI
Roku Ultra LTVoice remote with TV controls and private listening, best Wi-Fi and ethernet
Roku UltraPrivate listening via Bluetooth, local playback via USB
Roku StreambarBuilt-in speakers, four 1.9-inch full-range drivers
Roku Streambar ProVoice remote with personal shortcut buttons, built-in speakers with four 2.5-inch full-range premium drivers

In addition to streaming video and music, Roku devices also offer other features such as screen mirroring, private listening, and the ability to use a smartphone or tablet as a remote control. 

How Does Roku Streaming Work

Streaming content is delivered directly over the internet. This allows you to access and watch your favorite shows and movies from anywhere with an internet connection.

Roku streaming works by connecting a Roku device to your TV and the internet. 

Once connected, you can use the Roku software to access and stream content from a variety of sources.

When you select a show or movie to watch, the Roku device first communicates with the streaming service’s servers over the internet. Then it begins transmitting the audio and video content in real time. 

Streaming over Roku gives greater flexibility over what you want to watch and when.

Connect Roku to Your TV

Connecting a Roku device to a Smart TV is a straightforward process that can be completed in a few steps. 

To connect a Roku to your smart TV:

  1. Plug one end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI port on your Roku device.
  2. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI port on your TV.
  3. Connect the power adapter to your Roku device.
  4. Plug the adapter into a power outlet.
  5. Turn on your smart TV.
  6. Select the HDMI input that your Roku device is connected to.

Note: You can also connect a Roku device to a non-smart TV as long as the TV has an HDMI port.

Once plugged in, you can use the Roku remote to connect your Roku device to the internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable.

After connecting to the internet, you need to set up a Roku account if you haven’t already. 

To set up your Roku account:

  1. Note down the Roku’s unique code displayed on your TV screen.
  2. Open the Roku sign-in page on your computer or mobile device. 
  3. Click Create account.

Note: If you already have a Roku account, click on Sign in and log in to your account.

  1. Follow the prompts to create a new Roku account.
  2. Providing your name, email address, and a secure password.
  3. Enter the unique code displayed on your TV screen to link your Roku device to your account.
  4. Complete any additional prompts to finish setting up your account.

Once your Roku device is set up, you can download and install apps and channels from the Roku Channel Store.

You can then start streaming content directly to your Smart TV using your Roku device.

Alternatives to Roku

There are several alternatives to Roku devices for streaming TV shows, movies, and other content. 

Some of the popular alternatives to Roku include:

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV devices offer a wide range of streaming channels and apps, including Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu. Amazon Fire TV also offers Alexa voice control, which allows you to control your TV using voice commands.

Apple TV

Apple TV provides access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, as well as the Apple TV+ subscription service. It also supports AirPlay, which allows you to stream content from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your TV.

Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast is a small streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. It allows you to stream content from your smartphone, tablet, or computer to your TV.


Apart from access to popular streaming channels, NVIDIA Shield TV also has gaming capabilities. It also features Google Assistant voice control, which allows you to control your TV using voice commands.

Depending on what features you need with your smart TV, you can connect the streaming device of your choice. 

Your Smart TV is Enough on Most Days

When my friend was confused about whether to buy a Roku or not, I advised him to try using his smart TV first. And after a month if he feels the need for it, he can buy a Roku. 

During this month, he found out that his smart TV already had the channels and apps that he needed. The performance of the TV was also up to the mark.

In the end, he decided not to purchase a Roku and enjoy the content on his smart TV itself.

Unlike him, my streaming and feature needs were much more than what my smart TV could offer. That’s why, getting a Roku was a natural choice for me.

So, it is ultimately a personal preference whether you need the additional features of a Roku with your smart TV or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a Roku device on multiple TVs?

Yes, you can use a Roku device on multiple TVs as long as you have an HDMI port on each TV and a separate Roku device for each TV.

What internet speed do I need for Roku?

Roku recommends a minimum internet speed of 3 Mbps for standard-definition content and 8 Mbps for high-definition content.

What is a Roku Smart TV?

A Roku Smart TV is a television that has Roku’s streaming technology built in. It allows you to access the internet and stream TV shows, movies, and other content directly from the TV.

Do I need a separate Roku device if I have a Roku Smart TV?

No, you don’t need a separate Roku device if you have a Roku Smart TV. The Roku streaming technology is built directly into the TV, allowing you to access all the same channels and apps as a regular Roku device.

About the author

Maria Chan, or MC, as we call her, is the genius girl-boss who gave up on her cushy silicon-valley job to grind it out with us. Her undying pursuit of wanting Zeebox to the best makes it very clear that she has no interest in running a generic tech-site.

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