Watch TV, Learn Korean: 6 Roku Korean Channels to Spice up Your Language Studies
If you own a Roku, you already know what a wondrous device it is.
This little black box uses your home’s Wi-Fi connection to access content from all over the web, from Netflix to YouTube to Hulu, with incredible ease.
Roku may be your main stop for wasting time, but it can actually be an incredible tool for learning Korean, as well. You can find some seriously entertaining Korean dramas, television series and films via Roku.
Finding Korean-friendly Roku channels can be tricky, but don’t worry! We found them all, reviewed them and put them in a nice little list for you. Your fluency is definitely going to improve after a few hours of South Korean cinema binge-watching.
Before we kick off our list, let’s look at how Korean channels on Roku can take your linguistic skills up a notch.
Why Should I Care About Korean Roku Channels?
- Roku channels contain a ton of content for very low prices. For many of Roku’s channels, you simply need to purchase the Roku device and cruise through the channel store for free content. Many of the channels we’ll be covering are free to add to your Roku or very low in price.
Besides, a ton of content is key to finding a Korean TV show that you like and making sure it’ll keep you engaged enough that you’ll learn. In fact, the Korean TV show landscape is so varied that there’s something for everyone as shown in this video from FluentU’s YouTube channel.
Whether you like dramas, fantasy shows, comedies or shows set in interesting locations like Korean hospitals, there is sure to be a Korean show that meets your tastes. Besides, you don’t even have to choose just one: you can decide to keep up with multiple Korean shows at once. That way, you can learn Korean from the various topics explored in each show and have a lot of fun along the way.
Check out this channel and many more like it on FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel.
- Watching Korean television and films will only improve your Korean fluency. How else are you going to amp up your fluency? To perfect your skills in any language, you need to listen, listen, listen! Not everybody has the luxury of moving to South Korea to improve their language skills, so watching television and films in Korean is the next best thing.
- Many of these channels have subtitles, so any level of learner can enjoy Korean cinema. Watching media in Korea with 한글 (hangeul) — Korean characters can help you improve your ability to connect spoken Korean to written Korean. Watching media in Korean with English subtitles can help your live translation and comprehension skills.
Korean Movie Marathon! Add These 6 Korean Channels to Your Roku ASAP
KORTV Best Korean & Chinese TV
KORTV is a network that’s known for providing excellent live streaming Korean broadcasting services, as well as Chinese channels. Through KORTV, you can access movies, clips, television series, dramas… and that’s just the beginning.
This is a premium service that will cost a fee, which varies depending on which channels you’d like to subscribe to through KORTV. Prices are typically between $6.99 and $19.99 per month. However, you can access the Free Live channels for ad-sponsored Korean programming.
The only downside to this Roku channel is that very few of the films and shows available have English subtitles. This means advanced learners would probably benefit the most from this channel.
We suggesting checking out:
- BTN World – A Seoul-based channel that broadcasts Buddhist news, events and other digital media.
- Danbi TV – A Korean-based world news channel featuring 24-hour coverage.
iFood.tv’s Korean Food Channel
Do you love Korean food like 비빔밥 (bibimbab) — bibimbap or 김치 (gimchi) — kimchi? Do you want to learn more about Korean cuisine while improving your language skills at the same time? Korean Food by iFood.tv is definitely worth checking out. You can learn how to prepare traditional Korean meals with staples like rice, meats and vegetables.
There’s a mix of Korean and English spoken on this channel, so beginners would benefit from it the most.
We don’t have a suggestion for a particular segment or show to watching through this channel because it’s essentially a revolving door of various cooking videos. Start whenever and wherever you want! Plus, it’s a totally free channel.
Innovative Korean is a great channel to add to Roku if you’re interested in formal video lessons rather than pure Korean entertainment.
Here’s how it works: Listen to Korean conversations, see the words and grammar structures broken down on the screen and practice what you learn. Real native speakers provide the audio, so you know you’re getting an authentic learning experience. The lessons are ideal for beginner and intermediate learners.
The Roku channel for Innovative Language is free to download, and there’s some free content available. You can utilize a brief free trial to access premium content but afterwards it will cost a monthly fee.
If you like Innovative Korean, then FluentU is a great Korean-learning resource to accompany it.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Just like Innovative Korean, FluentU is filled with authentic material for Korean learners. FluentU is more than just videos: Each video comes with subtitles, interactive flashcards, exercises and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn. And just like Interactive Korean, there’s a free trial!
You can access FluentU on your web browser or, better yet, download the app for your iOS or Android device to learn on the go.
OnDemandKorea is one of the best sources for finding addictive Korean dramas to binge. You can also find Korean variety shows, movies and other content. Their library of content is surprisingly huge. They provide both English and Korean subtitles for just about everything on the site, so all levels of learners will love binge-watching series on this channel.
Most of their content is available at a pay-per-view rate, most of which are between $1.99 and $5.99. You can join ODK Plus for $6.99 per month to enjoy most of the streaming site’s content without ads.
We suggest checking out:
- 하나뿐인 내편 (Hanabbunin Naepyeon) — “My Only One” – A family drama about a woman who finally meets her biological father and discovers secrets about her family.
- 해치 (Haechi) — “Haechi” – A historical period drama about a ragtag group of people who helps a prince claim the throne and reform the Korean government.
Any drama addict is likely aware of Viki, one of the top drama sources for Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese shows and films. Viki takes a firm stance on providing drama series to fans for free, so you can access all the awesome content Viki has to offer without spending a penny! If you want an ad-free and high-definition experience, they also offer a premium subscription service.
Viki is a bit jumbled up when it comes to subtitles, though you shouldn’t let that deter you from using this awesome service. Some series have English or Korean subtitles, some don’t and some aren’t exactly accurate. Still, just about any level of learner could find watchable content through Viki.
We suggest checking out:
- 황후의 품격 (Hwanghuui Pumgyeok) — “The Last Empress” or “Empress’s Dignity” – A lovely and visually stunning historical drama about a young musician who marries the Emperor of the Korean Empire.
- 진심이 닿다 (Jinsimi Data) — “Touch Your Heart” a.k.a. “Reach of Sincerity” – A funny and interesting love story about a failing actress and stingy lawyer.
Netflix has a surprising amount of Korean content available, including movies and dramas. Most of the content you’ll find has both Korean and English subtitles, making Netflix a great place for all levels of learners to enjoy Korean content through their Roku.
Netflix is free to add to your Roku, and you can enjoy a free two-week trial initially. Premium access costs between $7.99 and $13.99 per month.
We suggest checking out:
- 밥 잘 사주는 예쁜 누나 (Bap Jal Sajuneun Yeppeun Nuna) — “Something in the Rain” – A sweet Korean series about the beginnings of friendship and romantic relationships.
- 오 나의 귀신님 (O Naui Gwisinnim) — “Oh My Ghost” – The ghost of a virgin is determined to romance men and finds the perfect host in one particularly timid, self-conscious young woman.
The Roku entertainment system is pretty incredible!
Not only can you enjoy Korean dramas, shows and films for fun, but you also get to brush up on your Korean language skills through a binge-watching sesh.
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.