Switching Between Roku and Cable TV

Switching Between Roku and Cable TV (Easy way to do)

More and more people are cutting their cable cords in favor of watching TV through Netflix or other streaming services, especially in light of smart TVs nowadays making it easy to access them. Even older TVs can become streamable Smart TVs using devices like Roku Streaming Stick, Ultra, or Express.

However, what if you want to have both cable and Roku? Is it even possible? Read on to learn more.

How Do You Switch Between Roku and Cable TV?

In order to switch between Roku and cable TV, here’s what you need to do. Click the “Home” button icon at the top of the screen. This takes you back to your Roku homepage or home screen. After landing there go select on the TV remote “Source”.

Afterwards, select between “Cable TV” and “TV”, whichever you prefer (TV is for terrestrial or antenna TV). After it’s set back to TV mode, turn off your TV.

To switch back to Roku, just click on “Source” and select Roku and then select whether you want to use Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, or whichever.

This is for Roku TV, mind you. If it’s the Roku Stick or Roku Express connected to a TV, switching from cable TV to Roku is as simple as setting the source from HDMI1 to HDMI2. Or switching between ports on an HDMI switcher.

Switching Between Roku and Cable TV
Switching Between Roku and Cable TV

How Do You Set Up Your Roku without a Cable Connection?

In order to set up your Roku without a cable connection, do the following.

  • Connect the Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Express, or Roku Box to your TV using the HDMI port.
  • Turn on your TV and choose the language as soon as the Roku prompt appears.
  • Get wireless or wired network access to the Internet. If you’ve chosen a Wi-Fi device, it will search for all available networks. Select your home Wi-Fi and input the Wi-Fi password.
  • Put in the activation code number to activate your Roku device via your PC or laptop. Go to the Roku.com website and type the code as recommended.
  • Generate your own username, password, address, and card info to create your new Roku account.
  • The card details are provided in case you wish to buy additional subscriptions.
  • Once your Roku unit is ready to be used, the homepage or home screen should pop up.

You may also like this post: How to Get to AV input on Roku TV?

Can You Have a Roku Unit and Cable Box on the Same TV?

Yes. As long as your TV has enough HDMI ports to spare, it should be okay to have one port occupied by the cable box and the other port occupied by the Roku Express, Streaming Stick, and so forth.

You can plug your cable box into HDMI1 and your Roku into HDMI2. Just switch your TV input to HDMI2 if you wish to watch Netflix using your Roku device. If you want to switch back to basic or premium cable then switch your TV input back to HDMI1.

You can do this using your TV remote’s input button, directional arrows, or some similar selection method.

How Does Roku Work with Cable?

The Roku TV has an HDMI connection to allow you to interface with cable TV boxes on top of its native ability to connect to online video streaming apps like Amazon Prime and Netflix as well as YouTube. If your TV isn’t a Roku TV, you can connect your Roku media player and cable box to separate HDMI ports.

Roku products are capable of connecting to the Internet through wireless Wi-Fi or wired connections to your home network router or modem. Roku downloads the video from the Internet so that you can watch the digital content on your TV.

This is different from how cable TV has a digital TV feed provided to you care of thick fiber-optic cables.

What Kind of HDMI Cable is Needed for Roku?

If you’re installing a Roku streaming device you need a premium high speed HDMI cable for HD audio and video transmission. These cables are available on the Roku Accessories store or any modern electronics store.

If you’re instead installing Roku TV or Streaming Stick, you don’t need cables to stream content. Roku TV has Roku built into the smart TV as one package. The Streaming Stick can be connected directly to the HDMI port like a USB stick or thumb drive.

Should You Cut Your Cable Cord in Favor of Roku?

Some people view Roku or smart devices as superior to watching basic or premium cable TV. This is because everything they’d watch on delay or on a time slot they could now easily access through services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime.

They also prefer to spend their time on social media or simply browsing through blogs, news sites, and Wikipedia articles. They might also play games online as well. There are others who can’t live without cable TV though, so they keep their connection.

How Do You Connect a Second TV to the Roku?

To use Roku on twin screens, an HDMI splitter is required. This will give you the HDMI ports needed for an extra monitor, projector, or HDTV that mirrors the feed on two displays instead of just one. The splitter splits the feed from one TV to two TVs.

Just connect your Roku streaming device to the splitter using an HDMI cable, hook it up to the splitter, and then link two HDMI cables to the other end of the splitter in order to split the signal to two displays.

If you’re using the Roku TV it’s more about daisy-chaining the TV to another TV since the media player of the smart TV is found inside the Roku TV itself, thus necessitating an extra TV or monitor input rather than hooking up a media source.

Things to Remember

People don’t watch TV as much as they used to mostly because it’s now competing with social media and browsing the Internet. In fact, you can even watch TV on-demand via the Internet using Netflix. In turn, you can watch Netflix on TV using Roku products as well.

This is why more and more people are cutting their cable cords in favor of connecting to the Internet instead. With that said, if you’re not interested in cord-cutting and wish to have the best of both worlds—online streaming and cable TV—this guide should show you how to switch between either.


  1. How do I switch between my cable TV and Roku device?“, Roku Community Support, March 21, 2020
  2. How Does Roku Work Without Cable?“, HowtoSetup.co, Retrieved August 14, 2021

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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