Activating a Roku is free, though channels may require a paid subscription
When you buy a Roku device — whether it's an inexpensive Roku stick or box, or the Roku Ultra, or a Roku TV — you'll need to activate it. That links the Roku device (again, it doesn't matter what you have), with Roku's services, which in turn let you subscribe to additional channels and do all kinds of other things.
That's all perfectly normal. It's also entirely free. There is no charge to activate any Roku device. Once you've purchased the hardware, that's all the money you're required to spend.
That's not to say that you can't (or won't) spend more money with your new Roku device. There are plenty of channels that require subscriptions. That includes things like Hulu and HBO and Sling TV and the like. But you do not have to — nor should you ever — pay anyone to simply "activate" your Roku.
Why is this even a thing?
Depending on who you ask, there either are bands of ne'er-do-wells out there looking to scam new Roku owners out of a few bucks — or there are just a bunch of websites like ours talking about them. Both probably are true, though there aren't any real numbers about just how prevalent Roku activation scams may be.
It's certainly possible that new Roku owners are simply typing "Activate Roku" or something similar into a browser bar instead of going to the proper Roku activate page — which is roku.com/link. Search engines can be finicky things, though. Depending on the search engine you're using — and whether you're logged in to it for more personalized results — you could get something entirely different.
For instance: My search results for "Activate Roku" on Google don't show anything untoward on the first page. (That's both logged in, and logged out.)
And to be clear, these are fairly obvious scam sites. The URLs contain Roku in places, but most certainly are not Roku. The design is not good — and more important it in no way looks like Roku's actual website.
So it's entirely possible you could run across one of these same sites for Roku activation. Or you may not ever see one. If you do accidentally click on one, however, definitely do not give them your activation code, or phone number, or address, or even your name. Don't let them call you.
And absolutely do not under any circumstances give any of them a credit card number.
Activating a Roku device — any Roku device — is 100 percent free.
How to activate a Roku device
Activating a new Roku device — any new Roku, from a stick to a box to a TV — takes just a couple minutes. Here's how to do it.
- Get the code from your Roku device's setup screen.
- Using a browser on your phone or a computer (either works fine), go to roku.com/link. (It actually resolves to https://my.roku.com/link)
- Enter the code that was on your TV screen.
You may need to log into your Roku account first. But after that it'll start syncing up your channels and anything you may have previously purchased.
What do Roku activation scam sites look like?
OK. You asked. Here are some examples of what scammy search results look like, and the websites the lead to. These are not legitimate sites.
You should only activate your Roku from roku.com/link.
All new for 2019
Roku Ultra was refreshed in 2019 with even faster support for 4K and Ethernet and external storage with a microSD card, and it's the one to get.
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