5 Best Roku Chinese Channels to Watch TV Shows, Movies and More
Roku has become a real game-changer.
It’s also a massively useful way to learn Mandarin.
For those who need to be brought into the loop, Roku (also known as Roku streaming player) is a streaming device, typically for hooking up to a television, that uses a Wi-Fi connection in order to stream video content.
Roku is unique in that it can adapt other streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, along with its own wide array of global channels, to create a sort of “ultimate” streaming experience with tons of options.
Since it’s a global service, there are some great Mandarin-language channels complete with subtitle options to help the beginner, intermediate or advanced learner practice Chinese listening and reading skills.
In this post, I’ll show you how Roku provides for the Chinese learner so well, and get you started learning Chinese with Roku today!
- How Can Roku Help Me Improve My Chinese?
- Innovative Language Chinese
- Mandarin TV
- Sling TV Mandarin
- And One More Thing...
How Can Roku Help Me Improve My Chinese?
- There are Roku channels that boast Chinese television shows with 汉字 (hàn zì) — Chinese characters, and/or English subtitles. Being able to listen to spoken Chinese and read its translations or Chinese characters can help you with your listening and reading skills.
- Learning about Chinese culture (or Taiwanese culture) is an important part of learning the language. Most of the content you can access through these channels comes in the form of television shows or movies that showcase what modern or historical Chinese culture is like. As with any language, learning more about the culture that birthed it can only help you improve in fluency.
- Most of these channels are 100% free or low-cost. What’s better than learning a language and enjoying some entertainment for an affordable price? Not much!
- If you own a Roku device, setting up new channels is an easy and legal way to watch Chinese television. It’s tough to find a legit way to watch Chinese television with subtitles. Luckily, Roku’s Mandarin channels are all 100% legal.
Price: $19.99 per month for full access
大麦中文电视, or Damai Chinese TV, boasts further individual channels, television series and films from mainland China. It’s a special channel to note for its wide range of content available—everything from drama to history to food to music streaming is offered by this Roku channel. Some content is available in 4K for you HD junkies out there as well.
A majority of the content available features hanzi subtitles as well as English subtitles.
We recommend CCTV-1, a popular mainland Chinese news channel, and 炫动卡通 (Xuandong Cartoon TV), which has tons of childrens’ shows that beginners can get down with as well as animated series and films.
Innovative Language Chinese
Price: $0.99 per month to subscribe
Innovative Language Chinese is a unique Roku channel because it’s actually like a virtual language course. While the other channels we’re covering are simply Chinese television channels, Innovative Language Chinese can provide the viewer with carefully crafted lessons.
Beginners will love the Innovative Language Chinese Roku channel for its direct simplicity, but intermediate and advanced learners may be able to benefit from it as well. This channel features individual lessons broken down into audio and video clips.
If you like this channel, you can also learn with more content while away from your Roku by subscribing to Innovative Language’s ChineseClass101 on their website.
Price: $2.99 per month
You can enjoy a ton of popular Chinese movies and series with Mandarin TV.
This channel has everything from dramas to history documentaries to popular Chinese and Taiwanese films. It’s an absolutely fantastic choice for beginner and intermediate learners as every piece of content on Mandarin TV boasts Chinese and English subtitles. Advanced learners can benefit from shutting off all subtitles and focusing on listening practice.
Mandarin TV is also special due to their very positive reviews and excellent customer service. If you decide Mandarin TV isn’t for you, cancellation is incredibly easy.
If you want an authentic Chinese television experience, the SinoVision channel on Roku may be the one for you. This Mandarin channel broadcasts local mainland Chinese television shows 24 hours a day, including everything from stock market updates to talk shows to news.
The only downside to SinoVision is that it’s just like any typical cable channel and you can’t pick and choose which show to watch. If you’re a fan of doing things old-school, though, this won’t be such a big issue.
Since SinoVision focuses so heavily on broadcasting news and unscripted content, learners can benefit from listening to spoken Mandarin in real time and with multiple people speaking. This is a fantastic choice for advanced learners out there or any learner who wants to master verbal fluency.
English and Chinese subtitles are available. Plus, it’s 100% free.
You can check out SinoVision’s programming schedule here.
Sling TV Mandarin
Price: $15 per month
Sling TV is one of the most popular international television services in the U.S., and for good reason. Sling TV Mandarin definitely has the most massive collection of Chinese and Taiwanese channels, with an endless streaming schedule of television series, chat shows and films to watch.
There are music channels available as well.
This fantastic channel is free for your first week, and then it costs $15 per month to access Sling TV Mandarin’s 45+ channels. If you purchase an annual subscription up front, you can access even more Mandarin television.
Great content to watch includes “爱情闯进门” (When Love Walked In), a heartwarming drama about an estranged family available through the Anhui TV channel, and Baeble Music, an awesome channel featuring music news and videos.
These five Mandarin channels and the potentially endless stream of Chinese films and television series they offer will have you busy for a while. For short, bite-sized lessons, you can also add FluentU into your video learning routine to accompany all the full-length movies and shows you’ll find on Roku.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Don’t forget to study hard and occasionally peel your eyes away from the screen for a bit to practice 写作 (xiě zuò) — writing!
And One More Thing...
If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)