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Summary:

ESPN and Disney channel shows are coming to Roku – but to watch it, you’re going to need a pay TV subscription with the right TV provider.

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Roku owners just got another option to watch sports: Disney’s ESPN launched its WatchESPN channel on Roku Tuesday, offering sports fans access to live streams of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes and ESPNEWS as well as select on-demand content — with one significant caveat: The programming is only available to customers who have access to ESPN through their pay TV operator.

Roku owners will also get access to a Watch Disney channel later this month, which will include on-demand programming from the Disney Channel, including shows like Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.

This isn’t the first authenticated offering for Roku. The company has been making inroads with both pay TV operators and cable networks, and is now offering channels for HBO Go, Fox Now, SyFy and Time Warner Cable. But as always, there’s some fineprint to consider with these offerings, which often aren’t available across all operators.

That’s also true for WatchESPN and Watch Disney: Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are already on board, and Charter joined just in time for the announcement  — but Dish and DirecTV customers are completely out of luck. Roku said Tuesday that the Watch Disney channels are available to around 43 million pay TV subscribers, while WatchESPN has a reach of 55 million subscribers.

Updated at 1:36pm to clarify that Roku owners who are served by Charter can now make use of these channels as well.

  1. I just installed the ESPN App lastnight, but I only get the pre-recordered content from ESPN, 2 and 3. I don’t pay for ESPN through Xfinity Comcast, I just have basic expanded Comcast, so when you log in to register your Roku, it knows if you pay or not for the ESPN channel on Xfinity I’m not much of a sports fan, but it’s just cool to have it.

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  2. Why would anyone watch ESPN through the roku when they can watch it through their cable/satellite subscription?

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    1. I can take my Roku with me and watch it anywhere on somone else’s TV if I am on vacation for example.
      Plus You can watch events on ESPN3 that isn’t carried on cable.

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    2. Sarah get with the program. It is only time till cable and satellite will be a thing of the past. I have been stream lining for over 5 years. I can not handle the waste of time flipping channels or watching what some else has put on my screen. Streaming is way better and cost a lot less.

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