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Roku owners streaming Super Bowl 2020 without Fox apps: Don't panic

Fox's sports apps may disappear from Roku devices before the Super Bowl, but there are plenty of alternatives.

YouTube TV, which like other such services offers a free seven-day trial, is one of the many ways Roku owners can stream the Super Bowl.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Update, Feb. 1, 11:58 a.m. PT: Fox and Roku have reached an agreement, and Fox apps will continue to appear on Roku devices. The original story, published Jan. 31, continues below.

If you depend on a Roku streamer or Roku TV and plan to use it to watch Super Bowl 2020 this Sunday, you might be worried. Maybe you received an email from Roku warning you that Fox's apps would be dropped from your Roku device by the end of the day Friday, just two days before the big game. That's bad news if you were planning on watching the game via the Fox Sports app.

The good news? You have plenty of options for watching the Super Bowl live (well, almost live) on Fox. Here they are.

If you want to watch the Super Bowl in HD on Roku

  • NFL app: The NFL's own app on Roku isn't going anywhere, and it offers a free HD stream of the game, no sign-in required.
  • Live TV streaming service: Any such service that carries your local Fox station, including YouTube TVHulu with Live TVAT&T TV Now and Fubo TV, will let you watch the Super Bowl live on the service's Roku app. Most local Fox stations are available but it pays to make sure if you're covered beforehand. They start at $50 a month, but all offer seven-day free trials, so you can sign up now and cancel after the game is over.
  • Antenna: Your Roku TV, just like every other TV, has an antenna input that you can use to watch the game over the air in HD via your local Fox station.

The NFL app on Roku will let you stream the Super Bowl live for free.

David Katzmaier/CNET

If you want to stream the Super Bowl in 4K

The Fox Sports app is the only way to stream the game in 4K for free without having to sign up for anything, so Roku owners with 4K TVs who were planning to enjoy the 4K HDR version might feel more panic than others. Relax, you have alternatives too.

  • Fubo TV: This is the only live TV streaming service that will carry the Super Bowl in 4K. If you don't mind signing up you can still watch in 4K via Fubo's Roku app. As with the other services above, you'll need to make sure it carries your local Fox station. You'll also need to be watching on one of FuboTV's list of 4K-compatible devices
  • Buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: If you don't want Fubo, your only option for streaming the Super Bowl in 4K, dear Roku owner, is to ditch your Roku. The cheapest non-Roku device with the Fox Sports app -- and its free 4K HDR stream -- is Amazon's stick. And while it may seem weird and stupidly redundant, you can plug the Fire TV 4K Stick into your 4K Roku TV and it'll work just fine.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

The Fire TV Stick 4K is available from Amazon and elsewhere, including stores such as Best Buy if you need one last-minute.

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Maybe Fox Sports won't disappear from Roku after all

This is basically a carriage dispute between Fox and Roku, and as usual customers lose and it all comes down to money. Each side wants you to blame the other to improve its negotiating position. Eventually they'll agree, because, in the end, Roku wants Fox apps and Fox wants to be on Roku devices. In other words, this dispute won't last forever and may wrap up soon -- maybe even before the end of the day.

It pays to have one of the contingency plans above in place now, especially if you're planning a big Super Bowl party, but don't be surprised if Fox's apps reappear quickly, or never drop off at all. 

As of press time, the Fox Sports app is still available on Roku.