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How to install a web browser on Roku

How to install a web browser on Roku: image shows Roku on TV
(Image credit: Roku)

Would you like to know how to install a web browser on Roku, the popular media streaming service? Primarily designed for, well, streaming content, it is possible to expand the functionality and versatility of your Roku service and device by using a web browser within the media player’s own interface.  

While it's unlikely your experience will rival that of using one of the best web browsers (opens in new tab), it can be convenient to be able to browse the internet with your Roku device, especially if you enjoy the best TV streaming services (opens in new tab) and the best movie streaming sites (opens in new tab). After all, you still get a big-screen experience thanks to it being hooked up to your TV. Here's what you need to know to view the internet on your Roku. 

How to use a web browser on Roku via your smartphone

It's not possible to install Android apps onto your Roku device, even though that functionality would be very useful. There is also no dedicated web browser app already installed on your Roku as it’s designed to be used solely for streaming purposes. 

However, it is possible to 'cast' a web browser across, with Roku able to mirror that content from a different source. By doing so, you see what is already on your smartphone or PC, but on the screen that your Roku is connected to. The best way is to use an app called Web Video Cast on your smartphone. It’s a very easy-to-use app that takes moments to set up. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and search for Web Video Cast. 
  2. Install the app to begin setup and connect your devices. 
  3. From there, you can use the browser just like you would with a usual web browser on your phone.  
  4. Once you've found the website you wish to browse on your Roku, tap the cast icon at the top of the screen.  
  5. Choose Roku from the list of options. 
  6. You are now able to view the internet browser on your Roku unit and the big screen of your TV.

If you'd prefer to cast the content across from your computer, you can use a similar method which we explain below.  

How to use a web browser on Roku via your computer

Got one of the best home computers (opens in new tab) and keen to use it to assist other devices? You can use it to cast a web browser to your Roku device fairly easily. 

All you need to do is make sure that both your Roku and computer are on the same Wi-Fi network, and that you have Google Chrome installed on your computer.

Once you have done that, open Google Chrome and find the website you wish to view. When you're on the site, click the three vertical dotted buttons on your browser. It's to the right of the address bar.

Click Cast from the dropdown menu then wait for Roku to appear and select your Roku device. You can now view the internet on your Roku device.

In both cases, to change anything on the website, you'll need to use either your smartphone or your computer to change what is viewed on-screen on your Roku. However, it's the best method to view content on the big screen. 

Using a Roku web browser via Windows

Another method for streaming content is to use a built-in Windows tool called Windows MiraCast to mirror your screen to your Roku. All you need is a PC running Windows 10 or above to follow this method. 

  1. On your Roku, go to its system settings and select 'always-on' next to screen mirroring to get things set up.  
  2. Also, make sure that both your PC and Roku device are connected on the same network.  
  3. On your PC, look at your notifications on the bottom right of your taskbar. 
  4. Select Connect to a Wireless Display.  
  5. From there, Windows will scan all devices on your network. 
  6. Once it detects the Roku device, click Connect. 
  7. Your screen is now mirrored on your Roku device. 

How to install a web browser on Roku: image shows women watching a laptop

(Image credit: Getty)

Using the internet on your Roku device

Each of these methods effectively mirror content from somewhere else. There isn't a dedicated browser to install on Roku devices unless you 'hack' it to do so which is not recommended. Even if there was a web browser on Roku, it would be hard to use without a keyboard and mouse. 

Instead, by casting across a web browser from your computer or smartphone, you can enjoy being able to view the website on the big screen of your TV with none of the drawbacks. Any time you want to change sites or type something into a search bar, you can do so by using your smartphone or computer keyboard rather than needing to use an awkward remote instead. 

Read more: 

Best TVs (opens in new tab)

Best Blu-ray players (opens in new tab)

Best web browsers (opens in new tab)

Jennifer has been freelancing for over 10 years. In the past, she's written about all things tech and gaming wise for outlets as varied as The Independent, Playboy, Eurogamer, and TechRadar. In her spare time, she spends far too much time watching films, attempting to train her pet guinea pigs, and mastering making the perfect burrito.  She's a full time freelancer, but a regular tech news contributor to Top Ten Reviews.