How to Use a Web Browser on Roku: Our Definitive Guide

Multiple browser windows including one with the Roku logo
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Summary: How to Use a Roku Web Browser

If you have a Windows PC, you can open a web browser in Roku by following these steps:

  1. Make sure your PC and Roku device are both connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  2. Open the Windows notifications taskbar.
  3. Click on “Project”.
  4. Choose your desired screen layout.
  5. Choose the target to project on, which is your Roku device.
  6. Enjoy browser navigation on your Roku powered TV.

Need some extra instructions? Or do you have an Android phone or Apple device you’d like to broadcast on Roku? Read our full article for all the details.

Roku LogoRoku has a wide variety of apps (called channels) that let you enjoy high-quality streaming on platforms like Netflix and Disney+, as well as free content from the Roku Channel. But you can access even more content with a web browser.

If you want to open a browser on your TV with the help of Roku, you’ll need to use a Windows PC, an Android phone, or an Apple device. While a fully-fleshed browser is a request Roku users keep making, the company hasn’t yet released a Roku web browser that can help you navigate the world wide web – at least not while having an enjoyable experience. The web browsers available on Roku are outdated and hard to navigate, and the platform doesn’t support the installation of third-party web browsers.

So today we’re going to talk about how to add a web browser to Roku, and what you can do with it.

Why Use a Web Browser on Roku?

Most people want to access a web browser with their Roku device because:

  • They want to navigate the web from the comfort of their sofa.
  • They want access to video platforms that aren’t available on Roku.
  • They want to read the news. While Roku has news channels, those only support video.
  • They want to browse social media platforms, which Roku doesn’t have apps for.

Website Browser IconBasically, anything you can do with a classic web browser will become possible on Roku once you add a proper browser to the device’s software. Unfortunately, the built-in apps offered by Roku aren’t suitable for web navigation. Roku has two web browsers in its app store: the Web Browser X, and the POPRISM Web Browser. Unfortunately, both of these browsers are impractical and very hard to work with.

The Web Browser X has an outdated interface from the early 2000s, and it takes forever to load any pages. POPRISM is even worse: it can only load text content from the web, as it doesn’t support videos nor images.

Aside from these two browsers, Roku has a special Reddit Channel, which you can install to navigate Reddit from your TV, but that’s about it. If you want to use Roku for anything browser-related that it doesn’t offer a channel for, you’ll need to connect your PC or phone to Roku. We’re going to show you how to do that.

But first, a quick heads-up. If you have a Smart TV, you might not need to go through all the trouble of connecting either your PC or your phone to your Roku device. Most Smart TVs come with their own browser. Before you project screens with Roku, check your TV’s installed apps and app store. You might find a web browser there. If not, here’s how you add a browser to Roku.

How to Add a Web Browser to Roku

If you don’t own a Smart TV or yours doesn’t come with a built-in browser, you can use a browser on your Roku device instead. There are three ways to do this, all with the help of other devices:

  1. Projecting your Windows PC’s screen to Roku.
  2. Casting your Android browser to Roku.
  3. Sharing your Apple device’s screen on Roku.

Each of these methods might cause some lag, so it’s not the best option for gaming. For most other purposes, however, it’s a great and easy solution.

Adding a browser to Roku from your PC

To add a browser to Roku from your PC, you’ll have to project your PC’s screen to the Roku device. This way, whatever you do on your PC will be displayed on your TV’s screen.

Here’s the step-by-step process for Windows 10:

  1. Make sure your PC and Roku device are connected to the same Wi-Fi Network.
  2. Open the Windows notification taskbar on your PC. You can find this by clicking the little speech bubble in the lower left corner of your screen.
  3. Where to find the notification taskbar on Windows
  4. Select “Project” from the squares at the bottom.
  5. Choose the type of projection you want. Your options are:
    1. PC Screen Only: whatever you do will only be displayed on your PC. This is a good choice if you want to prepare a presentation to display on Roku, but don’t want to spoil anything before you start. Don’t forget to choose one of the other options after, so you can actually project your screen.
    2. Duplicate: whatever is shown on your PC will be displayed on your TV as well.
    3. Extend: you’ll use the Roku-powered device as an additional monitor. We recommend this option, as it allows you to browse the web on your PC to find the piece of content you’re looking for, then drag it to your TV screen with your mouse.
    4. Second Screen Only: you’ll only display content on your TV.
    5. Where to find the connect to a wireless display button
  6. Click on “Connect to a wireless display”.
  7. Choose your Roku device from the list.

Once you’ve finished setting up this connection, you can simply use the web browser on your Windows computer to search for what you wish to view. This will be displayed directly on your TV.

Adding a browser to Roku from your Android phone or tablet

Android PhoneUsing a PC probably defeats the purpose of having a Roku device. After all, if using a laptop or PC this way was convenient, you’d be using it with a HDMI cable instead of buying a Roku device.

That’s why adding a browser to Roku from your Android phone or tablet may be more convenient. To do this, you’ll need to connect your phone and Roku device to the same Wi-Fi network, and then install mirroring software from the Google Play app store. We used the SmartThings app from Samsung, which you can use even if you don’t own a Samsung device. All other mirroring apps should work similarly. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Install the SmartThings App on your Android phone or tablet.
  2. Open the app and sign in to your Samsung account. If you don’t have a Samsung account yet, you can create one even if you don’t own any Samsung devices.
  3. Open the left taskbar and click on “Devices”. You should see a list of compatible devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Android phone or tablet.
  4. Choose your Roku device and press “Connect”.

The connection process may last as long as two minutes, so be patient if it takes a while for the devices to pair. Once they’re paired successfully, you can cast your phone screen to your TV.

Sometimes, the SmartThings app will identify a TV or Roku device as soon as you open it, and prompt you with a notification. In this case, you can simply click “Connect” on that notification for the same results.

Adding a browser to Roku from an Apple device

If you have any kind of Apple device, you can easily use it to open a browser on Roku as well. That’s because Roku has a special app for Apple devices. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Install the Mirror For Roku app on your Roku device.
  2. Open the app. It’ll automatically scan for Apple devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku device.
  3. Choose the Apple device you want to mirror.

Once you’ve established this connection, Roku will display whatever content you open on your iPhone, iMac, iPad, or MacBook screen.

How to Get The Most Out of Roku

Adding a browser to your Roku device can broaden your entertainment options. However, you’ll still be limited by streaming platforms with regional blocks. That’s why, if you want to get the most out of a Roku device, we recommend installing a VPN on your router and using it to unblock regionally restricted content.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) will change your IP, making it look like you’re browsing from a different country. This way, you can access regionally locked content. For example, if you wanted to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix, but lived in Eastern Europe, you wouldn’t have access to the show. That’s because Netflix doesn’t currently have the rights to distribute the show there. With a VPN, you can connect to a US-based server, making it seem like you’re navigating from the US, and get access to this show as well as many others that would otherwise be unavailable to you.

But you can take it a step further. If you want to watch an American streaming service like Peacock, but live in a country where that platform hasn’t been released yet, you can set up an account and access it as if you were in the US. However, circumventing regional restrictions with Roku can be complicated sometimes. If you want to find out more, read our Best Roku VPN article, our tutorial on how to install a VPN on Roku, and check our streaming section to learn how to unblock regionally restricted content.

Roku Versus Other Streaming Devices

Roku makes brilliant devices that allow you to enjoy easy streaming regardless of your TV’s apps or features. However, its competitor Fire Stick may be a better option.

For starters, Fire Stick has a lot of web browsers in its app store. That means you won’t have to bother with other devices. Fire Stick also makes it easy to install a VPN on it, Fire Stick devices can be jail broken, and some Fire Stick products also feature Alexa for smoother navigation.

If that sounds interesting, you can find out more in our Roku vs Fire Stick comparison.

Google’s alternative to Amazon and Roku is Chromecast. The Chromecast is a streaming device, and it’s quite a decent option. It features the same amount of content as Roku or Fire Stick, and it has a very sleek interface, with a good search system for TV shows or movies. If Chromecast sounds like a good alternative, read our articles on installing a VPN on Chromecast, and the best VPN for Chromecast.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Use a Web Browser on Roku

If you still have questions about using a web browser on Roku, check out our frequently asked questions below. We’ll provide you with a swift answer. Still running into issues? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this article and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Roku has two web browser apps, but they’re barely usable. The Web Browser X has an extremely outdated interface, and it takes ages to load anything with it. POPRISM shares the same flaws, but doesn’t even support video or image codecs. However, you can still have a web browser on your Roku, with the help of other devices. Read our article to find out how.

With the launch of the Mirror for Roku app, it’s now possible to use an iPhone (or any other Apple device) with Roku. Just install that app on your Roku device, scan for your iPhone, connect the two devices, and you can mirror your iPhone screen on your TV screen.

You can do this to add a web browser to Roku, use your iPhone apps on your TV, and even play movies or TV shows that wouldn’t be available on Roku otherwise.

A web browser can be used on Roku, but not in the way you might think. If you want to open a browser on your TV using Roku, you’ll need to cast a device like a Windows PC, Android phone, or an Apple device to your Roku. Once you’ve done that, you can use your device to access a web browser and view it on your TV. For the step-by-step guide, read our article.

Tech writer
Theodor is a content writer passionate about the newest tech developments and content marketing strategies. He likes privacy-friendly software, SEO tools, and when he's not writing, he's trying to convince people they should uninstall TikTok.