RokuCredit: Wikimedia Commons

As many of you with families have seen out there it is becoming more and more important to monitor what not only our kids have access to, but what we watch as a family.  Gone are the days where mom and dad could just sit down with their kids and watch some quality cable and network programming.

 The Problem

 Now, it seems as if cable offers us a thousand channels skewed heavily toward quantity and away from quality.  If you do find something you want to watch on cable or network television then you will most likely have to wade through many minutes of commercials both during breaks from your chosen show as well as endure on-screen advertisements during the action.  DVRs are nice, but they can only record content as often as it is on, you will still have to fast forward through commercials, and you will not be able to escape the on-screen advertising during your show.  Surely there is a better way, right?

 The Solution

 Set top boxes are nothing new, but where to begin to get the most bang for your buck might be.  Roku is my entertainment-hungry family’s choice of set top box since 2007.  It is extremely reliable and has a variety of channels to choose from.  Here are our top 5 favorite channels.  Hopefully, this will help you and your family.

 The List

FoxCredit: Gibson Images#5 Fox Television  Fox is the only major network to offer a Roku channel that gives you access to their non-news programming.  You can watch the last six episodes of Almost Human, The Mindy Project, or catch up on any of you favorite animated series that air on the channel.  Disclaimer: There are brief commercials that you will not be able to fast forward, but they are not as long as the ones you will be subjected to watching live.


Amazon InstantCredit: Wikimedia Commons#4 Amazon Instant  Amazon allows you to purchase or rent movies through a payment method you most likely already have set up through  This channel is especially valuable to Amazon Prime subscribers who will find an extensive library of free movies that is continually growing in quality.


VUDUCredit: Gibson Images#3 VUDU  Vudu is a channel that allows subscribers to watch their digital copies on their Roku or iPad.  With the growing acceptance and use of digital copies, this channel’s popularity is set to explode.



Roku Media PlayerCredit: Gibson Images#2 Roku Media Player  I admit that I wasn’t too excited about this channel at first, but they have continued to upgrade it to a point where it is very useful and is in high rotation at my house.  Sure this can run a slide show of your photos or play your music files, but the real value is in the video player.  About 2 years ago my family found itself with about 2,000 DVDs and a need for more room.  Our family was like many others that valued space more than creating a beautiful display of our DVD and Blu-Ray disks so we took the plunge and converted to digital.  So far we have converted about 700 disks to digital and they can all be played on the Roku Media Player by just plugging in a flash drive!


#1 Netflix  The only paid app on this list is, of course, Netflix.  It is a must have for all NetflixCredit: Wikimedia Commonsfamilies, especially ones with small kids.  The programs for children are extensive and the programming for adults is great as well with the added benefit of being able to “binge watch” so many TV series out there.  We use it so much on Roku and iPad that we recently upgraded to the 4 screen plan (primarily for bedtime viewing).  Still, Netflix is a fantastic bargain.


These are my family’s top 5 Roku Channels.  As always, parents are in control of what their children watch and should remain vigilant on this issue.  I hope this review was helpful to you and your family.