Roku gets WatchESPN and Watch Disney channels

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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.

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