How to connect your Roku device to a TV and set it up for streaming

Business Insider/Jeff DunnInstalling a Roku device is quick and easy.
  • No matter what Roku model you own, the setup process to connect it to your TV is essentially the same.
  • You need to attach the Roku to an input on your TV, usually via an HDMI cable (though some Rokus can use composite video cables for older TVs) and plug it into its AC adaptor.
  • After it’s attached to the TV, use the included Roku remote control to follow the setup instructions on the TV screen.
  • You’ll need to activate the Roku and set up your Roku account in a web browser, so have a computer or phone nearby.
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Roku sells a family of multimedia devices designed to deliver a vast number of streaming services to any TV or monitor. By connecting a Roku streaming box to your TV, you can either “cut the cord” – cancel your cable TV service – or augment your cable with channels like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, YouTube, and more.

In addition to these popular services, Roku’s streaming library includes literally thousands of other choices, like Crackle, Adult Swim, Vevo, and many niche offerings that appeal to very specific tastes, hobbies, and interests.

It’s worth pointing out that while some channels are free, others, like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now, to name some popular examples, require a monthly subscription, so streaming is not necessarily free (or, if you subscribe to too many channels, even cheaper than cable). Others, like streaming versions of certain TV channels, may require you to enter proof that you are a cable subscriber to get permission to watch that channel.

Roku offers many streaming devices, from the entry-level Roku Express to the USB flash drive-shaped all-in-one Streaming Stick, to the deluxe Roku Premiere+ and Roku Ultra – but the setup and connection process is virtually identical no matter which one you buy.

How to connect your Roku device to a TV

1. Connect the Roku to an HDMI cable and then plug that cable into an unused HDMI input on your TV or monitor. If you have a Roku Streaming Stick, there’s no need for the HDMI cable – insert the Streaming Stick directly into your TV’s HDMI port. If you have an older TV that lacks an HDMI cable, you will need to use a Roku model that works with old-style composite video cables.

Connect 1Dave Johnson/Business InsiderPlug your Roku to your TV’s HDMI port (or using composite video cables, if you have an old TV and an appropriate Roku model).

2. Connect your Roku to the included AC adaptor. Older models may use a round plug, while most newer models plug into a micro-USB connector.

3. Set the TV to the correct input for the Roku device. You should now see Roku’s welcome screen.

4. Insert batteries into the Roku remote.

5. You might need to pair the remote; if the on-screen instructions tell you to, press the reset button on the remote for several seconds.

Connect 2Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYou might need to pair the remote to your Roku. Press and hold the reset button for several seconds.

6. Using the remote, choose a language and then, on the next screen, set up your internet connection. Most Roku devices require a WiFi network, but if you have the option, you can plug your Roku device directly into an Ethernet cable and plug that into your router instead. If the router is near your TV, that’s a good option because it’s probably faster and more reliable than WiFi.

7. If you are using WiFi, choose “Set up a new wireless connection.”

Connect 3Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYour Roku won’t work until it’s connected to the internet.

8. On the next page, choose your WiFi network from the list and then enter the password.

Connect 4Dave Johnson/Business InsiderBe sure you have your WiFi password handy when you connect your Roku.

9. After connected to the internet, Roku may need to install some updates. Let it update and restart if needed.

10. Roku may ask to detect your TV’s display. Use the remote to start this brief test.

11. Follow the directions to open a web browser on your phone or computer and enter the code you’re provided at the Roku site.

12. If you already have a Roku account, log in. If not, create an account now.

Connect 5Dave Johnson/Business InsiderPart of the Roku setup requires opening a web browser on your computer or phone.

13. Give the Roku a nickname and indicate which room it’s in. This can be helpful if you have more than one Roku.

14. Roku may ask you to choose channels and log in to enable them. After you click “Continue,” the Roku device will automatically complete its setup and add channels. This might take some time.

When it’s done, your Roku is ready for use.

Connect 6Dave Johnson/Business InsiderWhen completely set up, you can start streaming video or add additional channels.

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