When it comes to streaming devices, Chromecast and FireStick are two popular names in this domain. Along the same lines, Roku has also established itself as a worthy contender. With the availability of a plethora of channels and streaming services to choose from, users are usually spoilt for choices.
However, there’s one region where its shortcomings are totally evident- and that’s the browser segment. First off, there’s no native built-in browser for Roku. Moreover, you could only get hold of a couple of web browsers from its official store.
The ones that are present aren’t fully optimized either, they only come baked in with the basic features that would just about do their job. If you are looking to try out browsers outside of the store, then they would need to be sideloaded from third-party sources.
The irony is that the ones that aren’t officially available turn out to be a much better alternative than their counterpart. So keeping all these points in mind, this guide will make you aware of seven of the best browsers for your Roku platform. Without any further ado, let’s get started.
Web Browser X
If you have a Roku device at home, then you might probably be aware of this offering. Being one of the only two browsers officially available in the Roku Store comes with its own set of benefits.
The biggest of which is the fact that it is fully compatible with the Roku Remote. Hence you could easily navigate between various sites right from your remote itself.
Likewise, some of its other handy features include:
- Clean, simple, and easy-to-navigate user interface.
- There are also some pre-saved news and sports websites that you could directly access with just a single press of a button.
- Along the same lines, it gives you the option to bookmark your preferred sites as well.
However, the biggest drawback with this browser is its inability to handle media content. Let alone the videos embedded in websites, it isn’t even able to play YouTube videos.
Web Video Caster
It has differentiated itself from its competitors by incorporating tons of TV shows and movies. Well, in some instances, it seems to even give a tough competition to Roku itself!
On a serious note, Web Video Caster is more than just your everyday browser. The ability to binge-watch series, watch Live TV shows and movies are just the tip of the iceberg.
Some of its other noteworthy features include:
- It supports all the popular video formats.
- It can automatically get hold of the subtitles file of the corresponding movie being played.
- If that’s not enough, it also gives you an option to download the subtitles of your choice via the integrated OpenSubtitles website.
- You could also create bookmarks for your favorite sites, view your Watch History, create a Home Screen shortcut for easy access, etc.
- Well, you could even cast your videos stored on your Android device to this browser.
So where’s the catch? Well, every good thing comes at a cost, and this is the case here as well. You would have to shell out some bucks to try out most of its feature set.
In our testing, the Media Browser was right there at the top with Browser X when it came to handling large and resource-heavy websites.
Then, to justify its name tag, it has done full justice to media files. Be it any audio, video, or images, it is able to handle all of them with some ease.
Likewise, most of its features are also focused on providing a media-enriched browsing experience. These include the likes of
- A Photo Slideshow feature to relive all your memories.
- Live TV streaming functionality
- The ability to remotely control the Media Browser using other apps from the same publisher.
- And quite recently, it has made its way over to the Roku Store. So you could directly download it from the store without searching for any third-party trusted site.
However, before you could use this browser, you need to install the Media Browser Server on your network [download link]. This might prove to be a little bit challenging, especially for non-tech savvy users.
Xfinity provides a power-packed feature set, with its eyes mostly set on the entertainment industry.
So apart from being a decent web browser, it is also offering a truckload of other features, including but not limited to:
- The option to stream videos, songs, and movies of your choice, spread across varied genres.
- Likewise, you could add more channels to your collection by spending out a few bucks.
However, it has added so many features that one might even confuse it for a media streaming service first and a browser later. If only it focused more on its browsing interface, it could have probably gained a higher rank in this list.
The Roku Channel
Whether directly picking up the name of the device as your own branding will work or not, only time will tell. But one thing that seems to have worked out in its favor is its incorporation of various media services.
So be it for news, sports, music or live TV, you could view all of them under one root itself. Some of its other features that might prove to be useful includes:
- The ability to effortlessly stream all your favorite shows.
- The contents are directly taken from Yahoo, which gets regularly updated.
- As a result, you could expect the up-to-date provision of its services.
However, most of its offerings are behind a paywall. So you would have to empty your pockets in order to enjoy the full potential of this service.
Apart from Web Browser X and Media Browser, it is the only browser that you could directly get a hold of from the Roku store.
As a result, POPRISM automatically translates to a few goodies, such as:
- Easily navigable pages that could be browsed directly from the Remote itself.
- Also, the browser is among the most minimalist and barebone, therefore, you could expect an impressive performance score.
- Furthermore, it is entirely text-based, hence it proves to be among the fastest browsers for your Roku device.
All in all, the downsides of missing such important browser components seem to have outweighed the benefits accrued from its availability in the Roku store.
Screen Cast via Android
As you might have noticed, as opposed to smartphones, Roku doesn’t boast of good quality browsers. Most of them could only carry out a few basic tasks. This is why we decided to share this method with you.
This workaround of directly casting your smartphone’s screen comes with quite a few advantages, such as:
- You could try out any of your preferred browsers on Roku, be it Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.
- Moreover, you don’t have to go through the hassle of the installation process.
- Pairing is quite easy as well. Just pick up your Android device, go to Settings > Connected Devices > Pair New Device and select Roku from the list. That’s it.
However, the biggest drawback is the fact that you could only cast an Android device and not an iPhone. This is because Roku uses Miracast which is only supported on Google’s OS. Moreover, casting requires a strong internet connection, otherwise, you would notice lags and pairing issues.
Bottom Line: Web Browser for Roku
So with this, we come to the end of this list of the best internet browsers for Roku. We have shared seven different browsers in this write-up, each having its own USP and drawbacks.
If we keep our focus only on the browsers that you could get hold of from the Roku Store, then Web Browser X should be your go-to choice. This is because POPRISM is just text-based that doesn’t support most of today’s websites.
Then if we talk about sideloading from a third-party site, the Web Video Caster app should be enough for a decent browsing experience.
What are your views on the same? Do let us know which of the aforementioned browsers managed to tick mark your requirements.