You Can Now Stream Pornhub On Your Roku

Pornhub launches an app on the set-top-box, securing its rep as the liberal counterpart to Apple TV

Apr 08, 2016 at 4:45 PM ET

Pornhub just launched a streaming app for the set-top box Roku, potentially launching the wildly popular adult tube site into the living rooms of millions of Americans. But it is perhaps bigger news for Roku, which is increasingly seeming like the liberal, fun-loving counterpart to buttoned-up Apple TV.

Now, Roku hasn’t exactly endorsed the Pornhub app. Adult content is banned from the Roku store, where users can add channels they’re interested in, and isn’t promoted by the company. But Roku does allow viewers to access adult content outside of official channels. “Roku is an open platform for streaming on TV, and welcomes content providers to distribute their entertainment to consumers,” said Tricia Mifsud, Roku’s vice president of communications.

Without being listed in the Roku store, channel owners like Pornhub have to promote their own channel and share a code so that viewers can access it. But access it they can. Websites and message board posts have popped up to help Roku users find adult channels (and some come with the helpful warning that if you add an adult channel to the Roku in your bedroom, it’ll also show up on the Roku in your family room, so long as they’re on the same account).

This is one way that Roku, which opened its platform to content providers in 2009, has distinguished itself from the notoriously prudish Apple, which strictly limits adult content. (Although it’s certainly not impossible, if you’re determined, to watch porn on Apple TV.) Roku gets the best of both worlds, maintaining family-friendly control over its store—and plausible perv deniability—while also allowing users to enjoy the Wild West of the Web.

Roku isn’t the first to allow adult content to exist on its platform. In fact, the now-defunct Google TV allowed X-rated third-party apps that were banned from its official store. And there have been exclusively adult-themed set-top boxes that have come before—to much fanfare and little success. (Also, see: PlayStation 4 and Xbox for porn-friendly gaming consoles.) But Roku is certainly the most mainstream porn-friendly set-top box on the market today—and if Pornhub’s position as the 66th most popular website in the world is any indication, that should be a boon for business.