About a year ago, Roku launched The Roku Channel, which is an ad-support collection of movies, TV shows, and live news that is available for free on Roku devices. The channel has been quite popular, so Roku made it available on the web a month ago. In doing so, they’ve inadvertently also made it available to all Amazon Fire TV devices thanks to the Silk Browser. The web interface for The Roku Channel works so well through the Silk Browser that I’ve released a Bookmarker app for The Roku Channel, to make accessing it through Fire TV devices that much easier.
To load The Roku Channel on a Fire TV device, you can either enter therokuchannel.roku.com manually into the Silk Browser or install my free Bookmarker for The Roku Channel app to get one-click access from the Fire TV home screen. The first time you load the page, you’ll need to allow protected content playback from a popup that appears. You’ll then be able to freely browse the available content.
Navigating the content library through the Fire TV isn’t as efficient as on a Roku device because you’ll need to make selections and scroll by moving around the Silk Browser’s pointing cursor. While it’s not ideal, it works surprisingly well and just takes a little getting used to.
Once you select to play something, you’ll be asked to log in with a Roku account. The accounts are free and do not require any kind of payment method, since all of the content is also free. If you don’t already have a Roku account, you’ll probably want to create it through a PC or phone, since it can get tedious to do so using the Fire TV remote.
After you log in, all content will be available to stream. Once a video is playing, the Play, Fast-Forward, and Rewind buttons on the Fire TV remote work perfectly to control media playback in The Roku Channel. You can even use Alexa voice commands to pause and play the video, thanks to Silk’s recently added support for Alexa. To jump far ahead or back, you’ll need to position the cursor on the progress bar, but that works as well.
It likely was not Roku’s intention to make their free content available through competing streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV, but that’s what they’ve done by releasing a website for the channel, since the Fire TV has a full-fledged web browser. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roku eventually ends up blocking access through Silk for the Fire TV, so enjoy it while it lasts.