How to enable subtitles on your Roku device

Roku streaming device against a white background
(Image credit: Shutterstock / oasisamuel)

Quick steps

  • Head to the settings menu on your Roku home dashboard
  • Scroll down to Subtitles and click the OK button on your remote
  • Browse and toggle settings like subtitle text size, color and opacity

Roku streaming sticks and devices are among the best around when it comes to offering an all-in-one collection of the best streaming subscription services out there.  Their low cost and relative ease of use makes them both available and accessible to an incredibly wide variety of audiences.

The best Roku streaming devices are also notable in their options for user accessibility, especially so when it comes to options for subtitles. If you need an all-encompassing subtitles solution when watching movies and shows on the best streaming services available on Roku, rest assured that your device has you covered in that regard.

But how do you enable subtitles on your Roku device, and what settings are available to you? That's what we're going to delve into in this Roku guide. Read on to find out how to enable subtitles on Roku, and how to tailor them to suit your needs.

Tools and requirements

  • A Roku streaming stick or device
  • Roku remote

How to enable subtitles on your Roku device

Boot up your Roku device on your TV. When you're at the home dashboard, use your remote to scroll down to the Settings menu, and click either OK or hit Right on your remote's directional pad.

Then, scroll on down to Subtitles, and once again click OK or Right on the directional pad, and you'll be taken to the rather robust Subtitles menu.

Before toggling the various subtitles settings, we'll first need to enable them. To do so, highlight Subtitles mode and click OK, then select the On always option. This will enable Roku's own subtitles mode across all streaming apps.

Once that's enabled, feel free to back out of the Settings menu and check out one of your favorite apps to see if the subtitles have appeared. It's worth noting, however, that some apps may override Roku's subtitles settings with their own. 

In cases like this, it's best to check subtitle settings on a per-app basis, which should hopefully allow you to tailor your subtitles as close to Roku's options as possible.

Roku subtitles menu

(Image credit: Future)

Roku subtitles – what settings can I adjust?

Roku's subtitles options are impressively robust, and offer a variety of different settings that allow you to tailor your subtitles just how you need them. Handily, all subtitle options within the settings menu feature a preview window, to show you exactly how you subtitles will appear on-screen. The following is a list of options available to you, and a brief description as to what each of them does:

  • Subtitles preferred language: This will set your preferred language by default. You can choose from a wide variety of languages, and your chosen option will be displayed in movies and shows should they support them.
  • Text style: This options allows you to change the subtitles' font. There's only a handful of options here, but most style settings are designed to be readable, with some including a decent amount of letter spacing should you need it.
  • Text edge effect: Adds an effect to the edge of subtitle text if you need the text to be more pronounced. Examples include options to raise or depress the subtitles, or add a drop shadow to make text stand out more.
  • Text size: A rather self-explanatory setting where you can increase or decrease the size of on-screen subtitles.
  • Text color: You can adjust the color of your subtitles here, in case you struggle with the visibility of the default white text setting.
  • Text opacity: Adjust the visibility of your subtitles at set percentage increments.
  • Background color: Choose to enable a background box for your subtitles, allowing them to stand out more from the content you're watching. Additionally, you can set a color for the background. This is especially handy if you've already changed the color of the text, and need a different background color to complement your setting.
  • Background opacity: Similarly to text opacity, you can adjust how visible this background box is. By default, it's set to 100% opacity, but we like to adjust this to 75% to allow for some slight transparency to the box.
  • Window opacity: Adds a colored window that wraps around both your subtitles and the background applied to them. This is off by default, but can be adjusted in percentage increments just like other opacity settings.
  • Window color: Adjust the color of the wraparound window. The same color options found for both text and background are available here, too.

More Roku guides

Just bought a Roku? Learn how to connect a Roku streaming stick to your TV for the first time.

Once that's done, consider reading up on how to connect a Roku streaming stick to your Wi-Fi.

Want to learn more about your Roku's secrets? Our guide on how to access 5 secret Roku menus is for you.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.