How to set up a Roku device and connect it to a TV

  • For Roku setup, you’ll need to plug it in, connect to WiFi, pair the remote, and activate the device.
  • You can pair an upgraded Roku by inserting the batteries or pressing the pairing button, and the standard Roku remote does not need to be paired at all.
  • You must create a free Roku account to activate your player, or you can use an existing account.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference Library for more stories.

Roku media players are among the most popular


devices thanks to their simple interface, simple remote control and extensive library of streaming service applications.

Every device in the Roku family works more or less the same. They’re all quick to install and set up, and only a few features set the entry-level Roku Express ($30) apart from the high-priced Roku Ultra ($100).

How to set up your Roku device

Setting up a Roku player is generally the same regardless of which model you have. Any difference is usually down to how you plug it in (some players connect to the TV via an HDMI cable, for example, while Streaming Stick models plug directly into the TV’s HDMI port).

Step 1: Connect the Roku device to your TV

1. Connect the Roku player to an HDMI cable, then plug that cable into an HDMI input on your TV. If you have a Roku Streaming Stick, you don’t need an HDMI cable. Instead, just insert the Streaming Stick directly into the HDMI port.

2. Plug the Roku power cable into the Roku device. Depending on the model you have, this power socket will either be a small round connector or a micro-USB connector. Plug the other end of the cable into one of the TV’s USB ports or into the included AC adapter, which you can then plug into an electrical outlet.

3. Make sure the TV is turned on and set to the correct input for the Roku player. After booting, you should see the Roku home screen.

Step 2: Pair your Roku remote

1. Open the battery cover on the back of the remote control and insert the batteries. Put the cover back on the remote.

2. If you have an enhanced remote you will need to pair the remote with the player – if you do this you should see a message on the screen asking you to press the reset button on the remote (it is located in the compartment battery operated) for 3-5 seconds. If your Roku includes a simple remote, it won’t need to be paired at all.

Roku remote battery compartment image

After installing the batteries, your voice remote should automatically pair, but there is a pairing button in the battery compartment in case it doesn’t.

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3. You should now be able to control the Roku with the remote. If you have a simple remote, remember to point it at the Roku player when sending commands.

Step 3: On-screen setup and Wi-Fi connection

Once the Roku screen appears on the TV (it should be on the language settings screen) and the remote works, you can complete the setup process.

Follow the instructions on each screen. On the remote, use the five-way control button to move around the screen and press OKAY in the center to make choices and change screens.

1. Start by choosing a language, then select your home WiFi network and enter the password. Remember to use the fastest tape available. For example, if you have a dual-band router, choose the 5 GHz band, which will result in much smoother and more reliable video streaming than the slower 2.4 GHz band.

Screenshot of the page to select a WiFi network on Roku

Choose your fastest WiFi band and enter the password.

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2. Continue to follow the setup instructions. The Roku is likely to download updates after connecting to the internet through your WiFi.

3. You may need to help Roku select the best settings for your TV. Let it automatically detect your TV format; usually you can allow it to make these selections automatically, but you can choose manual settings if you prefer.

Screenshot of Roku settings screen

Follow the instructions to let the Roku match your TV settings.

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4. Most Roku models come with a voice remote that can control your TV’s power and volume controls. The Roku setup should now configure the remote; follow the on-screen instructions to teach the Roku remote to use your TV’s remote settings.

Step 4: Activate your Roku device

Finally, it’s time to activate your Roku player.

1. Follow the onscreen instructions to enter an email address you want to use with your new Roku account. You must have a Roku account (it’s free) to activate the device. If you already have an existing account, like one from an older Roku device, you can use the email address associated with it.

Screenshot of screen to enter email address during Roku setup

Enter the email address you want associated with your Roku account or enter the email address of your existing Roku account.

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2. In a few minutes you will receive an activation email. Click the link in the email to go to Roku’s website. There, complete the process to complete your new account or sign in to your existing Roku account.

3. You can now finalize the setup on Roku’s website, including letting you choose which streaming channels you want to use. Here, you can personalize your Roku experience by choosing and tuning into your favorite channels, like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and any others you want to watch. You can always add more channels later using the Channel Store on the Roku player.

Screenshot of Roku website during setup

Complete the setup by choosing the channels you want to install.

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