As someone who’s set up probably around 50 TVs for family and friends who want to make their Dumb TV a Smart TV, I can safely say Roku is a very popular choice to do this, especially when the content could be frowned upon.
Roku is great because it works as a device that allows you to install third-party apps as well as a huge array of in-house apps. For example, there’s not just one web browser you can use on Roku.
Does Roku Have an Internet Browser?
No, by default Roku does not have an internet browser, that being said, you wouldn’t want to use a set-top box or streaming device to browse the internet on your television.
Roku may be one of the more popular streaming utilities for your Television, but it’s not one which caters for the more technically minded.
However, if you’re not fussed about adding another device into the mix, you can actually stream directly from your Windows 10 PC/Laptop to your Roku device.
Browsing the internet on your Roku
Poprism is a free web browser, however, it’s not a great app. Web Browser X isn’t much different but incurs a fee of $4.99 per month if you live in the US.
Poprism Web Browser
As such, it’s just a mess of text on every page you go to. At most, you’ll only use this for text based forums. I’ve seen other people mention that they use it for RSS Feeds as well, but honestly, that looks terrible and barely readable.
If you can find a reason to use this, kudos to you. But, it’s just awful.
Web Browser X
If you’re not casting, this is your best bet at possibly using a Web Browser on your Roku.
Web Browser X is very dated, it feels like the old AOL browser, it doesn’t handle images very well, responsiveness is hit and miss, the fonts are pixelated.
Another factor to take into consideration is that Web Browser X doesn’t keep up with Web Design standards, this means a lot of sites will struggle to render correctly.
I would say around 3/5 sites render correctly. I tried SmartHomeBit which is responsive, but that simply failed to load various elements.
Some major sites are pre-saved into your favourites like Google News, ABC News, CNN and BBC).
If you’ve ever used a portable device like the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP to navigate websites, it’s very like that.
You’re not given a cursor, but you will jump between hyperlinks using the arrow buttons. If you wish to scroll, you can use the up and down buttons on the D-Pad.
Given this is extremely dated, you cannot watch videos or load any Flash applications, even HTML5 elements don’t load. If you’re looking to watch YouTube etc, look for a specific app for that.
How to cast from Windows to Roku
You need to make sure you’re using at least version 7.7 of the Roku Operating System. You can do this by going to Settings > System > About.
If you can’t find that, you’re likely using a different model of Roku and it can be found by running a System Update Check: Settings > System > System Update > Check Now.
You can now follow these steps to cast to your Roku:
- On Your Windows machine, you need to open the Action Center. You can do this in the bottom right by clicking the notifications button
- From here you should see an array of choices, from there select “Connect” and wait for Windows to find your Roku stick.
- Once you select the Roku Stick, this will automatically stream whatever is on your screen to your Television.
How to cast a Web Browser from your Android to Roku
If you have an Android phone or tablet, you can also stream from there to your Roku device. It’s not great and can be fairly laggy even on a decent connection. To cast from your Android, follow these steps:
- Open your settings in your android (Gear Icon).
- Select “Connected Devices > Pair New Devices”.
- Your Android should take around 30 seconds to find the Roku Streaming Device
- Select the Roku and your Android should start streaming to your Television
Alternatives to the Roku for browsing the internet
If you’re looking to browse the web from your sofa, you’ll likely find another streaming platform that allows Android applications to be a much better choice. I personally recommend the Amazon Fire Stick.
Browse the internet on your Amazon Fire TV / Amazon Fire Stick
If you have an Amazon Firestick or Fire TV, you can follow these instructions to browse the internet easily on your Television:
- Press and hold the microphone button.
- Say “Silk Browser” loudly so that Alexa can hear you.
- You will now be shown the Silk Browser App, simply press install and accept the terms and conditions.
- You now have an internet browser on your TV.