The worlds of computing and entertainment have been merging for years now, and it is becoming increasingly common to use your computer to watch television shows, and your TV to perform tasks that you would typically have used a computer for. One of the more common computer tasks that you might carry out on your computer is browsing the web. After all, browsing is often a very casual experience, and perfectly suited to laying back on your sofa and scrolling through web pages at your leisure.
But which internet browsers can you use on Roku to browse the web? You can use:
- Web Browser X( have to pay 4.99/month, but it is of decent quality)
- POPRISM Web Browser( free, but very basic, can’t see images)
- Any browser through casting( my top pick, highly recommended!)
Given that TVs don’t have the best track record with interfaces, applications, or general user-experience for anything more than watching content, the responsibility for activities like browsing often falls to external devices, and one very popular device in this area is Roku, which we will talk about in details today.
Is There a Web Browser on Roku?
There certainly is an Internet browser on Roku. In fact, there are two web browsers available for the popular media streaming sticks and set-top boxes. Neither of these options is provided by Roku itself, however. Instead, you’ll have to head into the Roku Channel Store to find them.
The two browsers in question are Web Browser X and POPRISM Web Browser. Only the latter of which is free; you will have to cough up $4.99 for Web Browser X. It is hard to say why the selection for web browsers on Roku is so limited, but with the enormous popularity of devices like Amazon’s Fire Stick, Google’s Chromecast, and Apple’s AppleTV, it is very possible that developers just don’t see Roku as a worthwhile platform to create software for. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of what you have.
Best Internet Browsers for Roku
When it comes to choosing the best browser for Roku, it is something of a false promise. As we just mentioned, there are only two options, and they are not exactly great options at that.
The only free offering, POPRISM Web Browser, is a text-only browser. It may do the job if you are just looking to read the latest news or spend an evening down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, but if you want to do any real web browsing, this won’t do the job.
Casting to Your Roku
Now that we’ve established that the options for browsing the web directly on your Roku aren’t exactly spectacular, what other options do you have? One feature that Roku does support is casting, which is the process of streaming content directly to your Roku from another device, such as a phone or computer. This is a great way to get additional content onto your television if you own a Roku because it is essentially streaming your browser to the device. That means that your Roku doesn’t need to support any particular standards or plugins for your content to work, since all of that is handled by your phone or computer.
If you want to know whether you need a separate Roku device for every TV in the house, click here.
How to Cast a Web Browser to Roku from Windows
Casting to your Roku from a Windows 10 device doesn’t just cast a browser window, but your whole desktop. That means that anything you are doing on your computer can, in theory, be cast to your Roku.
In practice, there are use-cases where it is not practical, such as gaming, as the latency will make it an unpleasant experience.
- The first thing to do when attempting to cast to your Roku from a Windows 10 device is to make sure that the Windows 10 device supports casting. The easiest way to do this is to pull up the Connect window, which can be accessed from the system tray, or by typing “connect” into Cortana.
- The Connect window will tell you if your device is “ready” to connect wirelessly. If it says your device doesn’t support it, that, unfortunately, means you cannot cast from that device. In this case, you could try updating your WiFi drivers, but if that doesn’t work, you may have to look at other options.
- The next step is to make sure screen mirroring is enabled on your Roku, which can be found in the settings. Finally, back on your Windows 10 device, you should now be able to open the Connect app and see a list of wireless displays and audio devices, which should include your Roku. Simply click on it and follow the on-screen instructions.
How to Cast a Web Browser to Roku from Android
- The process of casting to your Roku from an Android device is relatively simple. You will need to make sure your Roku has screen mirroring enabled in the settings.
- Once that is done, open up your Android device and head into the settings. In there, you need to find the “display” option, and from there, you want to select “enable wireless display.”
- If everything has been set up correctly, your Roku should appear in the list of available devices.
How to Cast a Web Browser to Roku from iPhone
- As with the above methods, you first need to ensure screen mirroring is enabled in your Roku’s settings.
- Next, from your iOS device, head over to the App Store, and install the Roku app.
- Once you in the app, you should be able to cast by clicking on the media button.
- For content outside of the Roku app, you should be able to cast by clicking on the cast icon that is in the top right-hand corner of videos that are castable. This icon looks like a screen with a wireless icon in the corner.
How to Cast a Web Browser to Roku From Safari
If you are using Safari on Windows 10, you can use the same method we outlined above for casting from Windows. Of course, if you’re using Safari, it’s more likely that you’re using it on an Apple computer. Unlike Windows, macOS does not use the same protocol as the other devices we have mentioned, so there is no native way to cast from your Mac to Roku.
However, certain third-party solutions are available. The exact process of getting things up and running will depend on the app you choose.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are naturally a lot of questions around things like this, so I’ve collected some of the more commonly asked of those questions and answered them in nice, bitesize chunks for you.
Is there a free web browser for Roku?
There is a free web browser for Roku called POPRISM Web Browser. This browser is one of only two browsers available on the platform, but it is the only one that is free. POPRISM is a text-only browser, so you will not be able to view multimedia content using it. This includes images, videos, games, and music players.
How do I get Google on my Roku?
Getting Google Play on your Roku is relatively simple. First, head over to the Ruku Channel Store and get the Google Play Movies app. Once you’ve done that, move over to a phone or computer and navigate to play.google.com/roku, where you will be prompted to enter the code that is being displayed on your Roku. From there, simply follow the instructions (you may need to add payment information), and you are good to go.
How do you stream the Internet on Roku?
If the incredibly limited selection of web browsers available on the Roku platform isn’t doing the trick, the only real option for getting the Internet on your Roku in any meaningful way is via casting. This can be done from a variety of devices, such as Windows computers and Android phones.
Are there alternatives to Roku?
Though Roku was something of a pioneer in this space, it has since been surpassed in functionality and market share by several other companies. Amazon’s Firestick is an incredibly popular option in this respect and is based on the Android operating system, which makes it an attractive prospect for many developers as they can write applications for a much wider audience.
Google’s Chromecast is another option, though it is not quite the same animal as a Firestick or Roku. Where those devices are similar to set-top boxes, a Chromecast is a device purely for casting and does not feature an app store as such. The other main option in this space is AppleTV, which is similar to the Firestick but in the Apple ecosystem, rather than Androids.
The sad reality of Roku is that it is not competing with the big boys of tech when it comes to a sector of the market that Roku essentially pioneered. The lack of support of intuitive ways of accessing the Internet through your Roku device makes it difficult to recommend one of these products if browsing the web is one of the things you want to do with it.
If, on the other hand, you just want to stream your favorite shows from services like Netflix, Roku is a solid option. Just bear in mind that you will have a little work ahead of you if you want to use it for anything more than that.