How to Jailbreak a Roku Express

Workarounds to add content to your Roku streaming experience


The Roku Express is an inexpensive Roku streaming stick that provides users with a wealth of channels and content. If you're wondering if you can jailbreak a Roku Express to sideload more apps, the short answer is no, because Roku devices use closed system software. Still, there are some workarounds that will allow you to watch additional content.

This article's information addresses Roku Express jailbreaking alternatives, including screen mirroring, casting, using the Roku mobile app, and playing content from a media server.

Roku Express Media Streamer

Screen Mirroring With an Android or Windows Device

With an Android or Windows device, screen mirroring allows you to see your device's content on your TV screen with a Roku Express.

Screen mirroring is compatible only with Roku Express models 3900 and later.

  1. From your Roku's main menu, select Settings.

    Roku's settings menu
  2. Select System > Screen mirroring.

    Roku's System Settings screen
  3. Select Screen mirroring mode.

    Roku's Screen mirroring Settings screen

    While screen mirroring is active, you can't perform other tasks on your smartphone. If you tap another app or icon, the content will stop playing.

  4. Select Prompt or Always Allow to enable screen mirroring.

    Roku's Screen Mirroring mode options
  5. From your Android or Windows device, go to Settings > Display.

    Android phone Settings with Display
  6. Select Wireless Display.

    Select Wireless Display from the Android Phone's settings
  7. Find and select your Roku Express.

    Select your Roku device from the Android Settings screen
  8. Your device's content is now displaying on your Roku Express-equipped TV.

    Traditional screen mirroring to a Roku isn't supported on iOS devices, but there are a number of apps to download on your Mac or iOS device, such as Mirror for Roku, that allow screen mirroring functionality.

Screen Casting

Another Roku Express jailbreaking alternative is casting. To cast content to your TV, you'll need an Android or iOS device and a casting-compatible app, such as Netflix or YouTube, installed on your Roku Express. Here's how it works:

The app you're trying to cast from your phone must be installed on your Roku, but it doesn't have to be open.

  1. On your mobile device, open the app you want to cast, and then tap the casting icon.

  2. Select your Roku Express.

  3. You'll see a connection message on your phone, and then the app will automatically begin playing on your Roku Express-equipped TV.

    Open the app you want to cast on your mobile device and then select the casting icon from within the app.
    Select your Roku Device
    Message about Connecting to your Roku appears on the bottom

Play on Roku

Another jailbreak workaround is the Play on Roku feature in the Roku mobile iOS or Android app. With Play on Roku, display your photos and videos or send music to your Roku Express-equipped TV. This feature is compatible with the JPG, PNG, MP4, MOV, M4V, MP3, and M4A formats.

Before you get started, make sure to download the Roku mobile app to your device and connect your Roku Express.

  1. Open the Roku mobile app and select Devices from the bottom menu.

  2. Select your Roku Express.

    Open the Roku mobile app.
    Select Devices from the bottom menu.
    Select your Roku device
  3. Tap the Media icon to launch Play on Roku.

  4. Tap Music, Photos, or Videos.

  5. Tap Give Access to permit Roku to access your photos and videos. When prompted, tap OK to give access to your photo library.

    Tap the Media icon to launch Play on Roku.
    Tap Give Access to let Roku access your media library
    Select Music, Photos, or Videos
  6. If you selected Photos, tap the album you want to display.

  7. Tap the Play button from the bottom. You'll see your photos or videos on your Roku Express-equipped TV.

    If you selected Photos, tap the album you want to display.
    You'll see the photos from your album
    Photos will be added to Play on Roku

Play Content From a PC or Media Server

Use a smartphone and your Roku Express to play content stored on a PC or media server with the Roku Media Player channel, which is preinstalled on your Roku streaming device. If you don't see it, install it from the Roku Channel Store.

This app plays music, photos, and videos from PCs and media servers on the same home network. Here's how it works:

Roku Media Player is compatible with many media server software platforms, including PlayOn, Plex, Serviio, Tversity, Twonky, and Windows Meda Player.

  1. Open the Roku Media Player channel.

    Roku Media Player Channel Icon
  2. On the Media Type Selection screen, select All, Video, Audio, or Photo.

    Roku Media Player Media Type Selection screen
  3. Select your media player.

    Roku Media Player App — Select Media Server Source
  4. In a folder, find the content you want to play.

    Media Server Folders as Displayed on Roku Media Player App

    If the content is in an unsupported file format, you won't see it.

  5. Press the OK or Play button on the Roku remote. Use the remote's controls to navigate your media, including play, pause, rewind, and fast-forward.

    Not all file types support all controls, however.

  6. To stop playback from the Roku Media Player, press the back button on the Roku remote.