The best Roku web browsers as well as Roku TV browsers will have full compatibility with Roku and be able to provide a URL search bar in addition to a lag free web surfing experience.
The Web Video Caster App has proven to be a successful Roku web browser when tested on several different Roku devices.
First, view our guide on How to get a Roku web browser, because since Roku does not have their own built-in app, this can get difficult.
Important: You can see the full list of working browsers and their current status (working or not) as well as how to get an internet app on Roku in further depth in the article mentioned above.
You can also see how to install the Web Video Caster app, which is my favorite browser app on Roku & Roku TV. (I cover this app further in this post).
- Ease of installation and launching the browser is important
- Roku does not have their own app built-in for browsing purposes, but there are browser apps you can download or screen cast.
- You shouldn’t expect to get all the features you would get in a traditional web browser unless screen casting is an option for you
While Roku themselves haven’t spent effort on creating their own version of the best Roku internet browser, they do allow web browsing apps to be downloaded from the Roku channel store or screen casted from a iOS, Mac, Windows, or Android device.
In this post, we will review the 9 best Roku web browsers and compare the pros & cons of each browser in full detail.
At a Glance – Best Browsers for Roku
Through rigorous testing, here’s the best Roku browsers:
- Web Video Caster
- POPRISM Web browser
- Kraus & Karnath Browser
- Web Browser X
- Google Chrome
- Emby For Roku
- Safari Browser
Further in this post, we explain each of the above Roku browsers in detail.
We will be covering their advantages, disadvantages, comparisons to each other, previous model versions, as well as the final results after we tested each browser on Roku.
History of the Roku Web Browser
With a vast library of over 500,000 channels, it’s quite fascinating to note that Roku only supports 3 browsers capable of web surfing directly through the use of a Roku remote.
The alternative 11 require screen casting or mirroring from devices like laptops, tablets, or smartphones to function.
In the past, there were services available for a monthly fee of $5 that allowed users of Roku sticks and Roku TVs to input URLs directly with their Roku remote, experiencing only minimal delay and lag. Additionally, there were methods involving Roku private channels and various Roku Hacks.
- However, by 2021, Roku Private channels became obsolete, and Roku introduced beta channels instead.
- This shift led to the discontinuation of many browsers, notably POPRISM and Web Browser X, which were quite popular among users.
- In response, solutions like web video caster emerged to address the web browsing limitations on Roku devices.
- But more recently, downloadable Roku browser apps have emerged, offering compatibility with the Roku remote.
Essentially, Roku devices are not inherently built to navigate the diverse types, formats, and forms of content found on the web, as their primary function is to stream media.
Best Roku Browsers & Roku TV Internet Browsers
In our testing of the Roku Channel Store’s web browser offerings, we found fewer than 20 options that performed satisfactorily. The rest encountered various problems, such as slow response times, delays, and compatibility issues with both Roku sticks and Roku TVs.
Discover the steps to navigate a Roku browser in this guide.
We delve into the advantages provided by the top web browsers for Roku, but it’s crucial to consider each browser’s compatibility and potential drawbacks.
It’s worth mentioning that this compilation features a mix of paid and free options, along with several alternative browser applications.
Here are the premier web browsers available for Roku & Roku TV for your selection.
1. Web Video Cast
I’ve conducted hands-on tests with the Web Video Caster App across a variety of Roku devices, including Roku and Roku TV, and have found it to be an outstanding choice for a Roku web browser. Its effectiveness is not by chance; it’s because it operates seamlessly on both Roku platforms.
In a dedicated article and our comprehensive guide on obtaining a Roku web browser, we delve into the steps for installing the Web Video Cast app. This resource also offers additional strategies for exploring the internet on Roku.
This app is far from your average casting tool; it serves as a specialized Roku internet browser, presenting a remarkable solution for both web surfing and streaming at your convenience.
- The setup process is straightforward: download it from the Google Play or Apple Store and get started with your Roku Express, Roku TV, Roku Ultra, among other Roku devices for internet browsing.
- It’s available as a Roku channel, named Web Video Caster Receiver, enhancing its accessibility.
- The app excels in streaming TV shows, movies, live streams, Twitch, and more. It even supports viewing photos and playing videos from social media or websites focused on media.
- Considering its effectiveness and the hands-on positive experience we’ve had, the premium version of this Roku browser is reasonably priced.
- The premium version requires a one-time payment of $5, which is not based on a subscription model.
- This app/channel primarily functions as a receiver, enabling you to stream video content directly from your iOS or Android device.
- To cast videos from your web browser, you’ll need to download the app to your phone, which means it doesn’t operate as a traditional computer browser. However, it still supports streaming and allows you to use your phone for typing and web browsing on Roku.
A standout feature of the Web Video Caster app during my evaluation was its ability to create a home screen shortcut, allowing for easy access to recently visited websites, akin to the functionality seen in Google Chrome.
In both the Android Play Store and Apple iOS App Store, Web Video Caster frequently appears at the top of search results, cementing its status as the most formidable browser available on Roku.
It enables you to watch videos from your preferred websites on your TV, encompassing everything from Google Chrome and Safari to Plex, movies, and IPTV. Content stored on your laptop or iPad can also be streamed to Roku using this app.
Finding a browser app for Roku that supports not just web navigation but also browsing history is a rarity, yet Web Video Caster achieves this feat effortlessly.
2. POPRISM Web Browser
The description you’ve provided outlines the POPRISM web browser for Roku devices in detail, highlighting its unique position as a web browsing solution for Roku users. POPRISM, once a private channel on Roku, offered a simplistic web browsing experience directly from Roku devices, distinguishing itself as a practical alternative to more conventional browsers like Web Browser X, especially for users aiming to avoid the complexities of casting or mirroring from other devices.
- Alternative Option: It served as one of the few web browsing options available on the Roku Channel Store, providing a direct browsing experience without the need for additional devices.
- Ease of Navigation: Utilizing the Roku remote for navigation (using the directional keys) made web browsing straightforward, with the ability to return to the Roku home screen easily.
- Designed for Roku: The browser was tailored to work with Roku devices, leveraging the Roku remote for an optimized user experience.
- Compatibility Issues: POPRISM struggled with website compatibility, often rendering web pages in a basic, text-only format. This limited functionality affected the overall user experience, making websites appear outdated.
An important note is that POPRISM is currently not operational, as indicated by a status update on Roku web browser compatibility. This suggests that users looking for web browsing capabilities on their Roku devices might need to explore alternative solutions or await updates that might restore or enhance POPRISM’s functionality.
3. Kraus & Karnath Browser Mirror
The Kraus and Karnath browser enables web browsing on Roku devices and offers the capability to mirror a variety of content, including photos, videos, apps, and even your phone’s browser to most Roku TVs.
Discover the process of utilizing a browser on Roku here.
The Kraus Roku browser is not only compatible with Roku sticks but also boasts an average latency of less than 1 second in our tests, allowing for the smooth access of spreadsheets and games. This makes it one of the quickest browsers featured on this list.
The main advantage here is that this app works as a great roku web browser and is supported by the following Roku TVs:
Its intuitive IX design makes streaming the web much easier. A requirement is that you must be connected to a good Wi-Fi.
- No audio support, making the Roku Stream Bar incompatible for use with this browser.
- Expect interruptions and performance issues if a VPN or proxy is in use.
- This is not a built-in browser, rather it’s available for download from the Roku store.
- Key functionalities are only accessible through screen mirroring.Regarding quality, the lack of sound has been a source of frustration for users, particularly those hoping to use the Roku for streaming movies or TV shows via a web browser, which seems counterintuitive to the Roku’s primary function.Moreover, using a VPN or proxy can result in operational problems for this Roku web browser, including latency, lag, and delays.
4. Web Browser X
Web Browser X is a capable internet browser for Roku, offering a variety of useful features. You can easily navigate to any website by inputting its URL.
Update: The functionality of Web Browser X to browse the internet is now intermittent. Originally, it was a Roku private channel. For more details on the current state of Roku private channels, see our article: Why Roku Private Channels Are Not Functioning Anymore.
Roku devices such as the Roku sticks (Express), Roku Ultra LT, and Roku TV pair well with this browser app because it supports actual web surfing capabilities. The browser allows users to view fully rendered web pages, complete with clickable links, without any glitches. It also includes several shortcuts to streamline the browsing experience. However, users may encounter limitations, such as an inability to play videos or log into certain websites, including YouTube, where username and password fields are non-functional.
Furthermore, logging into social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok via this browser is not possible.
CNBC News and ABC are among the pre-loaded favorites, and you can personalize your favorite sites based on your browsing habits.
In our tests of Web Browser X’s previous iteration, we found it struggled with rendering and loading complex web pages.
An alternative mentioned previously is the Web Video Cast app. If the browser on your Roku device is laggy, you might consider using your phone’s browser in conjunction with your Roku remote.
However, the browser’s design feels dated, featuring an old-style font and navigation system that falls short of the sleek, modern aesthetics users have come to expect.
Web Browser X allows for the bookmarking of favorite sites and offers a search function for easy access. You can access websites on a computer or laptop, and create and save bookmarks. The browser provides numerous configuration options and includes a variety of shortcuts to enhance the browsing experience.
Update: The status of this browser has changed. For the latest information on how to browse the internet on Roku, refer to our updated post.
- The browser’s inability to handle media content is a significant drawback for users seeking a comprehensive web browsing experience similar to that offered by Google Chrome.
- It cannot play videos embedded on websites, including Vimeo and Google videos.
- The lack of a potential keyboard connection, even via casting, is felt, as smooth operation is often challenging without one.
- Compared to mainstream browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari, Web Browser X’s design is notably outdated, and its capabilities are limited for users accustomed to the functionalities of these browsers.
Previously, Web Browser X and Poprism were the two most favored browsers on Roku. Personally, I find using a phone and a casting app preferable to a built-in browser. Due to its limited functionalities, this browser doesn’t stack up against giants like Google Chrome or Safari.
Opera stands out as one of the premier internet browsers for Roku, offering a seamless browsing experience for both general and professional websites. Unlike Web Browser X, Opera facilitates access to a broader range of sites.
Installing Opera on Roku devices, such as the Roku Ultra, enables users to surf the internet and perform Google searches using the Roku remote. Although Opera is not a native Roku application and requires some additional steps to use, our testing showed it operates flawlessly on the platform, making it a top choice for Roku browsers. Opera’s privacy-enhancing features are especially notable when streamed to a Roku Ultra.
Opera supports VPN usage, allowing for the concealment of browsing activity. This feature, along with its ad-blocking functionality and support for multiple languages, makes Opera an appealing option for Roku users worldwide.
Furthermore, Opera can be mirrored from PCs and Android devices to Roku using screen mirroring and other techniques.
- Opera is utilized by millions globally and is recognized as one of the most secure browsers available, supporting unrestricted web access.
- It is compatible across a variety of devices, including mobile phones, iPads, laptops, and smart TVs (including Roku TV), and ensures that all links are interactable.
- It is not possible to directly download Opera to Roku Ultra, Roku TV, or Roku Express from the Roku Channel Store due to the absence of any standard web browsers in the store.
- Since the Roku device does not directly store the browser, it occupies minimal space.
To use Opera on Roku TV without directly installing it, follow these casting steps:
- Launch the Opera browser on your Windows or Mac computer.
- Right-click and select the “Cast” option.
- The browser will automatically search for and display available devices.
- Select your Roku device from the list.
- Follow any additional on-screen instructions as necessary.
Additionally, explore how to navigate Roku’s secret menu for more Roku tips.
Mira cast also doubles as a Roku web browser by using wireless technology to send a browser from a third-party device to your Roku. This means that you can use your keyboard on a third-party device to browse the Internet on Roku because the dedicated Roku remote simply does not work as well for typing and surfing the web.
You can mirror your screen using Miracast. The picture & sound from your windows based laptop or PC are sent wirelessly to your TV through a Roku stick, express, ultra, or Roku TV.
Any device that supports the same technology as miracast will be able to display your monitor and this knowledge can allow you to find alternative options outside of our list.
Learn how to use a Roku browser here.
What I liked about Mira cast when I tested it was that it was very instant to use, but what I didn’t enjoy was the fact that I had to use a laptop and that it is not a native, built in application from the Roku channel store.
Also see: Technology statistics for more on advanced information.
It is also possible to mirror Roku from Windows 10.
- If you want to use Miracast instead of the Roku web browser, it is one of the easiest options if you have windows on another device.
- There are various devices that you can use it on, such as Android phones and Windows PCs.
- Wireless mirroring is enabled by Miracast and Miracast screen projection is now built into all laptops or computers running Windows 10 or higher.
- Miracast requires a third party device as well as windows OS.
- It is not a built-in app for Roku, but it does work as a Roku web browser.
Here’s how to use Miracast on Roku to browse the web
- Connect your Roku device to Miracast and turn it on
- Tap on your Roku device and toggle Miracast to “on” in the top-right corner.
- Please select “Allow”
- You should now be able to view your Android device’s screen on your Roku. View the full screen by turning your device sideways.
- From here, you can now cast your Browser, which will show up on the Roku or Roku TV display so you can use it like you would on a laptop, tablet, phone, or PC.
- You can stop mirroring your screen by tapping the “Miracast” setting on your Roku device and then selecting “OK.”.
7. Google Chrome
Google Chrome stands out as a favored browser on devices like Roku, Windows computers, and smartphones. Although it isn’t available as a native Roku app, it can still be utilized on the platform. Its appeal lies in its cutting-edge features, user-friendly interface, swift navigation, and rapid load times.
The primary limitation with Google Chrome on Roku is its absence from Roku’s app store, necessitating casting from a computer, be it Windows or Mac. This method also works with iPads or tablets, enabling access to services like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Search.
When deciding whether to use an iPad or a laptop for casting to a Roku web browser, it’s helpful to compare the two. Once connected, initiating screencasting on Roku for web browsing is straightforward.
Google Chrome also offers protection against fraudulent sites through its extensions and security features.
To use Google Chrome on Roku, follow these steps:
- Download Google Chrome for your computer from the official site.
- Ensure your Roku device and computer are on the same WiFi network.
- Open Chrome, go to More > Cast, and choose your Roku device from the list.
Screencasting to Roku or Roku TV with Chrome operates similarly to Miracast or Web Video Caster. Chrome is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows, making it versatile for casting any media type as long as your device supports it, providing a seamless browsing and casting experience akin to using a Roku Chrome browser.
In comparison to other browsers like the Opera browser, Miracast, and Web Browser X, Google Chrome offers comparable efficiency when used on Roku. While it doesn’t match the dedicated Roku app experience of Web Video Caster, particularly in terms of typing directly from your phone to the TV, it remains a top choice for Roku, especially for those looking to screen mirror or cast.
8. Emby For Roku
The Emby Media Browser for Roku stands out due to its availability directly from the Roku Channel Store. Primarily utilized for streaming films and live TV, it doesn’t offer a traditional web browsing experience.
Instead, Emby delivers the content you’re seeking, similar to what you’d expect from a dedicated Roku web browser like Web Video Cast or a screen-mirrored Google Chrome. To utilize Emby, it’s essential to download and set up the Emby Media server on your Roku device first.
One notable feature of Emby is its capability to display your previously saved contacts and history, a functionality missing in some browsers on this platform.
The key advantages of Emby include its user-friendly interface, making movie watching, accessing Dish Anywhere, and retrieving saved content effortless.
Emby distinguishes itself by providing benefits not found in typical web browsers, such as the ability to access local storage media files, enjoy music, and stream videos live. Its modern, responsive interface enhances navigation ease, and it supports a broad range of features beyond web viewing, including compatibility with audio devices like a Vizio soundbar or subwoofer.
However, there are drawbacks. Utilizing Emby requires not just the download and setup of the Emby Media server on Roku but also configuration. Access to certain premium content necessitates a one-time payment of $5. Moreover, Emby does not serve as a genuine native internet browser for Roku and is considered by some as a third-party browser.
In summary, if your priority is seamless web surfing rather than accessing unique movies or TV channels, alternatives like Google Chrome, Opera, or screen casting through an app might be more suitable. However, if you’re seeking specific videos unavailable on Roku, Emby could be an effective solution.
9. Safari Browser
The Roku Safari browser is a distinct web browsing application available for download from the Roku Channel Store, not to be mistaken with Apple’s Safari browser designed for iOS and Mac devices, including iPhones and iPads. Despite sharing a name, the Roku Safari, developed by Adrianne, is a completely separate entity, engineered exclusively for use on Roku devices and does not operate on iOS or Mac platforms.
This browser stands out as one of the rare native applications on Roku that allows users to navigate the internet with ease, devoid of any complications commonly associated with web browsing on Roku. It enables direct Google searches from the Roku device itself, requiring nothing more than a Wi-Fi connection and a Roku account to access a wide array of websites swiftly.
Benefits of using the Roku Safari browser include its exclusivity as one of the few web browsers directly downloadable from the Roku Channel Store, the ability to stream content, and perform Google searches without the need for third-party devices.
Additionally, it offers a level of privacy and security sufficient for smooth browsing experiences and transitions, positioning it as a viable alternative to screen casting or mirroring solutions like Miracast or Web Video Caster.
However, the browser is not without its drawbacks. Users have reported challenges and complexities in its setup and usage. Furthermore, there is notable confusion regarding its branding, given its name similarity to Apple’s Safari browser, despite functioning entirely differently.
It’s also important to note that this browser does not support gaming, so those looking to access Twitch on Roku would need to explore other methods.