No more cable TV.
People are ditching cable at rapid rates while streaming TV services become more and more popular.
If you’re one of those people, you might already have a streaming device like a Roku or are thinking about getting one. You probably already have your reasons—whether you love a good Netflix binge or you just hate channel surfing.
We’ve got another great reason to add to your list: streamable Spanish learning.
Your Roku is a key to a whole world of Spanish media and language lessons. You can get them straight to your TV, on your schedule.
We’ll show you how, with 10 diverse Roku channels and apps for all kinds of learners.
What Spanish Learners Should Know About Roku
Besides English, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S. You might think that cable TV would have an endless supply of Spanish channels to view, but most subscriptions don’t unless you want an extra charge on your bill.
Many people are switching over to streaming devices and using services that include Amazon Prime, PBS, Netflix and Hulu. Roku is particularly useful to Spanish learners due to the number of Spanish-speaking channels and apps that it hosts.
But hold on. What’s a Roku, anyways?
A Roku is a streaming device that connects to your TV and allows you to access all your streaming services in one place. Just open Roku, log into your streaming services and then you can flip easily from a sitcom binge on Hulu, to a Spanish learning session with one of the channels below, to a movie night on Netflix, all from your TV.
The Roku device has a one-time purchase price, then the only thing you need to pay for are the streaming services or channels you select.
How Watching TV Can Help You Learn Spanish
¡Apaga la televisión! Un exceso de televisión es malo para su cabeza. (Turn off the TV! Too much TV is bad for your brain.)
Hear something like that over and over while you were growing up?
The thing is, common sense tells us that watching TV won’t really rot our brains. Good TV can make you think and open you up to new perspectives. Better yet, watching TV in Spanish puts your brain through a mental workout that’s great for your language skills.
- Augments language lessons: Practice makes perfect when it comes to foreign language, but so does relaxing and allowing yourself to absorb your lessons. One of the best ways to unwind is watching TV. What better way is there to reinforce a language lesson than relaxing and watching an enjoyable program in Spanish?
- Provides real-world context: Classroom mastery of a foreign language is much different than real-world experience. That’s why it’s important to watch real Spanish media, where you’ll absorb everything from slang to native cadences and intonation.
This is the same concept behind FluentU, an innovative app providing authentic Spanish videos like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks and more. Better yet, each FluentU video is transformed into a Spanish-language experience with interactive captions, flashcards and exercises. You can click any word for an instant definition and native pronunciation, to build your vocabulary while you watch.
The videos are organized by genre and learning level, and FluentU also suggests new ones based on what you’ve learned for a truly personalized experience. It’s an entertaining way to learn Spanish the way native speakers really use it. Check out a free trial to build your skills even when you’re away from your TV and Roku.
- Boosts learning with subtitles: Native speakers talk fast and with accents that can be difficult to understand. By turning on Spanish subtitles, you’ll not only be able to read what the people are saying on TV, but you’ll also understand and pick up words quicker.
10 Roku Channels to Learn Spanish with Instant Streaming
You may already be familiar with Sling TV, a live TV streaming service where you can pick-and-choose your channels. Sling TV Latino allows users to customize their channels by language (Spanish or English) or region (Mexico, South America, the Caribbean or Spain).
Not only does Sling TV Latino stream popular Spanish channels, but it also streams English channels in Spanish.
Sling TV Latino is available for $10 a month or you can test it out with a free seven-day trial.
Spanish Roku isn’t an alternative Roku device. Similar to Sling TV, it’s an app you can install on your Roku and then stream live Spanish TV from tons of channels across the Spanish-speaking world.
Spanish Roku is specifically designed to stream content from Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Puerto Rico with over 150 channels. These include news, sports, drama and comedy channels, even Animal Planet.
There are three different subscription plans for Spanish Roku. You can get one month for $9.99, two months for $17.99 or three months for $24.99.
While many of the channels in this list connect you with authentic Spanish media, Innovative Language is designed specifically for Spanish language learners. This channel provides Spanish lessons that are intended to get you speaking right from the start.
You’ll hear native speakers and learn everyday phrases, conversations, culture notes, vocabulary and more. You’ll also see concepts broken down on screen so they’re easy to understand and remember.
You can even extend your practice away from your TV with SpanishPod101, Innovative Language's popular video and audio podcast lessons. SpanishPod101 is built on the same principles as the Roku channel, helping your absorb native Spanish speech and designing lessons that are effective but fun and manageable.
There are nearly 2,000 SpanishPod101 lessons available and more are added all the time!
Your Spanish skills are going to be blazing after installing the Hot Spanish channel on your Roku. Self-described as “un canal caliente en espanol en un mundo gringo!” (“a hot Spanish channel in an American world!”), Hot Spanish is a comedy channel featuring pranks committed in the name of laughter.
This is a good option to learn quick, informal Spanish. Plus, laughter is a universal language, so if you don’t understand all of the conversation you can still laugh at the pranks.
Note: According to RokuGuide, Hot Spanish has mature content, so it’s not a family-friendly channel.
Reading and listening to the Bible in Spanish not only has language learning benefits, but also cultural benefits. Spanish-speaking countries are predominantly Christian and religious holidays and traditions play an important part in their cultures. (One of the best examples is Pixar’s 2017 film “Coco” about Mexico’s Day of the Dead!)
Bible.is lets you listen to the Bible in Spanish, along with many other languages you might be interested in. There’s even dramatized audio to bring the stories to life. Listen to the Bible in Spanish to pick up religious phrases while improving your overall listening comprehension skills.
Buzz60 Latino is a news channel dedicated to stories from around the U.S., Latin America and Mexico, all in Spanish. It’s a great place to catch up on current events with a global perspective.
And as with most news sources, it’s a great place to hear clear, formal Spanish at an easy pace.
Before you think this is the Spanish version of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), RokuGuide explains that it’s not. Instead, TVC+ created Latino PBS and it combines programming from six Mexican networks into one channel, primarily for Mexican and U.S. viewers.
Latino PBS has diverse programming options ranging from news to movies to sports.
This channel also has bilingual programming on a range of subjects, so this is a great channel to start learning Spanish.
BIGSTAR Latino is a goldmine for movies and TV shows in Spanish. BIGSTAR Latino plays award-winning films from independent studios as well as international movies.
The best thing, other than being in Spanish, is that it’s free! The only downside is that commercials interrupt your viewing pleasure, but for $3.99/month you can get commercial-free access, HD quality and the entire BIGSTAR Latino library.
While Spanish TV shows and movies intended for adult audiences are very beneficial, they can be difficult to understand. Spanish kids’ TV is made specifically to grow their vocabularies, teach them life lessons and be entertaining. Plus they tend to sing fun, ear-catching songs.
Kids TV Español Latino features videos from the popular YouTube creators behind Kids TV and Kids Channel, and bills itself as “tu destino ideal por videos de ‘edutenimiento’” (“your ideal destination for ‘edutainment'”). Kids TV Español Latino will teach you the basics about numbers, colors, animals and some very cute songs.
Busy Beavers is another Roku channel targeted at teaching children Spanish. Unlike Kids TV Español Latino, Busy Beavers is geared towards teaching Spanish to native English-speaking children.
It features content appropriate for preschoolers and kindergarteners, but these language lessons are the basic fundamentals. The content includes rhyming songs, vocabulary building and fun cartoons to grow your Spanish fluency.
Roku is an awesome way to augment your Spanish language and culture education. Grab your Roku remote and get streaming!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.