Explained: Can You Use Roku Without Internet?

Key Takeaway

  • Roku can be used without the internet by mirroring content from mobile using mobile data. External drives like USB or SD card can also be connected to watch content without internet.
  • However Roku channels require internet access to stream video from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.

You may be considering getting a Roku TV so you can use video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Music. Well, why not! The arrival of Roku TV changed the landscape of smart entertainment. Roku is well-known for providing a diverse selection of streaming channels, and it has positioned itself as a platform that offers all of the most well-known streaming services. 

In fact, a Roku TV can run and provide access to over 500 channels, shows, and games with only an internet connection.

But have you ever considered what happens to your Roku TV if your internet connection goes down for whatever reason or your Roku does not connect to the WiFi

Do you need the internet for Roku? Does Roku work without WiFi? 

Recently, when my grandma was at my sister’s place, and the internet in her area went down, she called me hurriedly to ask if Roku operated without Wi-Fi and what it could do when it wasn’t connected to the internet. Well, I had to help her out to keep both the ladies calm. I read through a lot of literature to find relevant information, which I am gladly documenting for my readers.

In this article, we will discuss if Roku works without the internet and learn about how Roku does work without the internet.

Can You Use Roku Without the Internet? 

If you are looking for an answer to the question  ‘does Roku work without wifi,’ then I would answer it as YES but with limited capabilities.

If you wish to access content from streaming services like NetFlix, Hulu, Hotstar, HBO Max, etc., it is pertinent for you to have an internet connection. Even if you have pre-downloaded content on the apps, you may require the internet to launch them. 

But there are several other alternatives that help you use your Roku TV without the internet. Using the screen mirroring feature, USB drive, SD card, mobile hotspot, etc., are a few ways how your Roku TV can entertain you even without the WiFi.

How To Watch Roku TV Without Internet?

Now that you have the answer to your question, do you need internet for Roku,’ in this section of the article, we will discuss several ways to connect to a Roku tv without WiFi to watch your favorite content.

Try Screen Mirroring On Roku TV

Try Screen Mirroring On Roku TV

All of your devices stay connected to the local network if your router is wireless but has no internet access. They will have access to internal communication but not external internet. Thus, screen mirroring, which enables you to project material from your phone to the TV, is still an effective alternative.

Hence, if you are wondering, ‘does Roku work without WiFi,’ you should try this hack. Simply stream content on your smartphone using the mobile data and mirror the screen on your Roku TV. Apps like NetFlix will restrict you from doing so, but you may stream unprotected media like YouTube videos and wirelessly mirror them from your phone to the TV. 

Mirror Android Device To Roku

  • Step 1: Launch the YouTube app or another app of your choice on your Android device and play the video you wish to mirror.
  • Step 2: Open the YouTube app (or another app of your choice) on your Android device and start playing a video that you want to duplicate. Then, in the upper right-hand corner of the video, tap the Casting icon.
  • Step 3: In the list that opens, tap on your Roku device.
    Roku device

Once you select your Roku device,  the video you’re attempting to replicate should automatically begin playing on your smart TV.

Mirror iOS Device To Roku

  • Step 1: Swipe to access the Control Center on your iOS phone. If you are using an iPhone X or newer model, swipe down to see the same. Use the bottom of your screen to access the settings on an iPhone 8 or earlier. 
  • Step 2: Select Screen Mirroring.
  • Step 3: Select your Roku TV from the list that appears.
  • Step 4: Upon selecting your device, you should see a code display on your TV.
    code display
  • Step 5: Enter the code from your TV on your iPhone.
  • Step 6: Now hit OK to mirror your iPhone to your Roku TV.

Whenever you choose, you can halt mirroring by simply pushing the Home button on your Roku remote. Alternatively, you can return to your smartphone’s Control Center and stop mirroring.

Connect USB Device or SD Card To Roku TV

Connect USB Device or SD Card To Roku TV

Some Roku devices have a USB port or an SD card port for connecting an external drive to play locally stored photo, audio, and video files. The Roku device comparison chart on the Roku website will help you determine which current models have a USB or SD card port.

It is noteworthy that you may only be able to use an external drive on your Roku TV if Roku Media Player is pre-installed in the system.

Follow the steps given below to access the content on your external drive on the Roku Media Player. 

  • Step 1: Insert the USB device or SD card into the Roku device’s respective ports. 
  • Step 2: You will be prompted to launch Roku Media Player. Launch it.
  • Step 3: A Drive icon should appear in the media device selection screen.
  • Step 4: Press the Star star button on the Roku remote to access content on your Drive.

Click here to learn what to do if Roku Media Player does not recognize your USB device/SD card or if you do not see the icon.

Use Ethernet To Connect To Roku TV

Use Ethernet To Connect To Roku TV

If your internet services are not down, but your WiFi router is not able to accomplish a wireless connection with your Roku TV, you may consider using an Ethernet cable to connect your Roku TV to the internet using a wired connection. So technically you are using the internet in this fix but not the wi-fi.

Here are the step-by-step instructions to use an Ethernet cable to connect your Roku TV to the internet.

  • Step 1: Plugin one end of your Ethernet cable to your Roku TV ethernet port and the other end to the WiFi router.
  • Step 2: Press the Home button on your Roku remote to enter the Home Screen.
  • Step 3: Select the Settings tab to access the menu.
  • Step 4: Click on the Network
  • Step 5: Select the Set-up Connection option from the list.
  • Step 6: You will see two options: wired and wireless. Select the wired connection option. Upon selecting the option, your Roku will connect to your network automatically.

The above steps will help you connect your Roku TV to the internet using an Ethernet cable so you can watch content on your smart TV without any interruption. 

Connect To Roku TV Using Mobile Hotspot

Connect To Roku TV Using Mobile Hotspot

Given that a Roku can connect to a conventional WIFI connection, it should be able to connect to the hotspot in the same way since phone hotspots are fundamentally Wi-Fi routers. 

All you need to do is enable the hotspot on your smartphone and follow the steps given below.

  • Step 1: On your Roku remote control, press the Home button.
  • Step 2: Choose Settings.
  • Step 3: Select Network.
  • Step 4: Choose Set Up Connection.
  • Step 5: Opt for wireless.
  • Step 6: The name of your hotspot should now appear on the screen. Select it.
  • Step 7: Enter the password for your network.
  • Step 8: Allow Roku to verify the connection.

While this process will help you play content on your Roku Tv, it will consume a lot of your phone’s power; if you don’t leave your phone connected to the charger, the battery will run out rather soon. Also, using Roku with your hotspot will use up a lot of mobile data. If your mobile data plan does not include limitless data, you might discover that after watching one or two movies, all of your data has been consumed.

Lowering the resolution of the videos being played on the Roku TV will help you save some data. In order to do so, follow the specific sequence mentioned below on your Roku TV remote.

  • Step 1: Press the home key 5 times on your Roku TV remote.
  • Step 2: Now press the rewind button 3 times.
  • Step 3: Then double-click the forward button.

A menu will then show up on your screen, allowing you to reduce the resolution. The Roku will consume less data if you set it lower. However, doing this degrades the video quality and could cause buffering interruptions.

What Features Of Roku Require The Internet?

While there are several ways to use Roku without the WiFi, here are several common features that will necessitate an online connection on your device.

  • Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube will all require internet access. 
  • It is mandatory to have an internet connection to be able to download apps on your Roku TV.
  • Roku TVs are Alexa-compatible, but only if you have an internet connection. You won’t be able to issue Alexa commands or set up the device if you don’t have access to the internet.
  • Without the internet, you will not be able to carry out Firmware updates on your Roku TV or the apps, and it may eventually lead to your Roku restarting frequently or functioning improperly.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What channels can I watch on Roku without the internet?

Answer – Although you can use media from the internal storage of Roku or an external storage device like a hard drive or a USB drive, you cannot access Roku channels without the internet. 

Q2. Does Roku need WiFi for screen mirroring from a smartphone? Can you cast to Roku without WiFi?

Answer – If your router is wireless but has no internet access, all of your devices continue to be linked to the local network. This means they will have access to internal communication but not external internet. Hence, you can cast to Roku from your mobile device using mobile data.

Q3. My Roku TV is connected to the internet, but the apps are not working. Is there a way I can fix the issue?

Answer – If your Roku TV is connected to the internet but apps are not working, I recommend clearing caches on your Roku device using a Roku remote.

Here are the steps to do so.

  • Step 1: Press the Home button 5 times.
  • Step 2: Press Up
  • Step 3: Press the Rewind button 2 times.
  • Step 4: Press Fast Forward on your Roku remote two times.

Q4. Why is my Roku Express not connecting to WiFi?

Answer – Roku Express only supports 2.4 GHz connections because it is a single-band wireless device. The 5Ghz network will not be recognized by your Roku Express. Hence, ensure connecting your Roku Express to the 2.4 GHz network band.


We are a generation that is becoming increasingly reliant on smart TVs for entertainment. Most of us, if not all, enjoy snuggling on our beds to watch content on streaming apps. We can’t deny that Roku TVs played a role in this transition.

While Roku opens up a whole new world of entertainment with the help of the internet, it is crucial to understand how to use your Roku TV without the internet. I’m confident this post helped you acquire important information about the topic. If you have any further questions about Roku TVs or smart entertainment in general, please leave them in the comment section.

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