As if the Roku didn’t have enough channels already, there’s a decent selection of “private” channels you won’t find in the channel store. Here are some of the best private channels worth checking out.
Technically, private channels and apps are part of the Roku channel store, but not displayed publicly. A channel can be private for a number of reasons: maybe it has adult content, maybe it’s still in beta, or maybe it’s just an unofficial third-party channel for a service without any official app. You won’t find them when you browse the channel store with your remote, and to install them you’ll need a secret code or link.
The Best Private Channels
There are hundreds of private channels out there, but you can find most the best channels in a few places. For example, at The Nowhere Man web site, you can gain access to:
- Bloomberg News Live
- John Green’s Crash Course
- NBC Nightly News and CBS News archives
- NASA TV and Hubblecast HD
- Khan Academy learning videos
- Government-focused channels like C-SPAN, The Pentagon Channel, and White House Press Briefings
- International news from Al Jazeera (English, American, and Arabic), BBC, and CNN International
- TED Talks
- Adult Swim shows
- Universal Sports Network
- Live local news for most major areas
You can watch all of those in one place when you download this cool channel called Nowhere TV (code: H9DWC). The channel acts like a channel hub of sorts with a little bit of everything. There’s even some home & garden, cooking, and spirituality sub-channels. Some of the content is audio-only podcasts, but there is plenty of video. If you still want more, here are some of the other more interesting private channels and apps out there:
- Nowhere Bullet: a Roku screensaver that shows your Pushbullet notifications (code: nowherebullet).
- Nowhere Tweet: a Twitter reader and screensaver (code: V8MRS).
- Nowhere Vine: an app that plays Vines on your Roku (code: nowherevine).
- Unofficial Twitch: Let’s you watch all of Twitch.tv’s streams on your Roku (code: TwitchTV)
- Great Chefs: A cooking show originally on PBS, but now is a collection of episodes available to view whenever you like (code: great-chefs).
- The Internet Archive: A massive collection of old films, cartoons, and TV shows (code: NMJS5).
- Amateurlogic: A video podcast channel that covers amateur radio, photography, computers, raspberry pi, and other electronics projects (code: Alogic).
- Relax TV: Nothing but hours of tropical lagoons, rain storms, fireplaces, and waterfalls to relax to (code: vrqhq).
- Wilderness Channel: A full on TV channel dedicated to hunting, fishing, survival training, and nature (code: fl821095).
- Ace TV: B-movie action, horror, sci-fi, and kung-fu movies streamed 24/7. May contain mature content (code: acetv).
Keep in mind, these channels are either in beta form or developed by third parties, so bugs are a reality you may have to cope with every once in a while—a small price to pay for channels that are free. You can find more private channels at sites like Roku-Channels.com, RokuGuide.com, StreamFree.tv, and RokuChannels.tv.
How to Install Private Channels
Once you’ve picked some channels you want to add, installing them is quick and easy. There are two ways to do it:
- Go to the Roku web site, sign in to your account you used when you set it up, and head to the My Account page.
- Then click Add a Channel under Manage Account. Once there, enter the channel’s code and click Add Channel.
Or, you can find a link that automatically sends you to the Add Channel page and enters the code for you. It will have the same URL as the Add Channel page, but the the code will be at the end. Either way works just fine as long as the code is right.
Once you’ve installed the channel or app, you’ll need to update your Roku so it will actually appear. They will show up normally within 24 hours, but you can speed up the process by going to Settings > System > System Update. In a few moments your new channels will appear on the Home screen. Know of any interesting, non-adult private channels? Tell us in the comments below.
Image remixed from cluckva (Shutterstock).