Older British TV available for non live streaming from various Roku channel apps in the UK, without needing license.
Latest stuff? not so much, especially not shows broadcast by BBC, who naturally get to have them for a year or two. No licence, no BBCiplayer app, so you miss those shows.
UK version of Roku channel has different content, less British as other channels have optioned it, obviously, often subscription Britbox or Acorn.
Also some sport is reserved for OTA channels and is live only, so needs a license even to watch on Roku. Watching anything that is currently live on an OTA channel needs license, but can watch non-live boxsets without.
The license thing is just different. Most UK households pay the license (monthly or annually) and hence have a minimum charge to watch TV, but I would say most UK households pay less than a typical US household for a wide range of quality OTA TV, no extra charge on top of license. (And less or no adverts, certainly not adverts for prescription medications!).
Cable/satellite is available but less essential for most, OTA has a dense repeater system for good coverage nationwide with small external UHF antenna or small Sat dish for free sat service.
Sports is the expensive add-on that historically has driven cable/satellite uptake through exclusive coverage of key sports (football i.e. soccer mainly).
@streaming_fan just filling in from a UK resident point of view, especially regarding access to British content, which is different between UK and elsewhere.
Similar differences regarding US content, which is mostly unavailable in the UK (no aggregators like Hulu, Sling, or they aggregate different content), no Peacock or other US major OTA channel apps.
Should have done it years ago. So many choices for free. Not a fan of the updates. I also don't like sharing control of my tv with Roku. Still, a good experience.
My tastes are a bit biased, over indexing on period drama
Discovery of Witches (my wife was professionally involved)
Looking forward to Becoming Elizabeth (my wife also involved)
His Dark Materials
Call the midwife
"Morse universe" (Morse, Lewis, Endeavour)
"Montalbano universe" (Inspector Montalbano, young Montalbano, Italian with subtitles, shown on BBC, well worth dealing with the subtitles, kind of the Italian version of "Morse")
Period dramas of most kinds
"Whoniverse" (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sarah Jane)
A touch of Frost (but not David Jason's other work)
Strike (Galbraith i.e. JK Rowling)
I'm told Peaky Blinders is good (kind of like Sopranos) but too violent for us.
Avenue 5 (Hugh Laurie)
Plebs (roman era sitcom)
Anything by Armando Ianucci (Thick of it, 2012, W1A, in the loop)
Ghosts (inspired by a true story, involving a former presenter of University challenge, and filmed on the property that inspired the comedy).
University Challenge (modelled on US College Bowl quizzes)
great model railway challenge
Steam train Britain
Sarah & duck
There are overlaps, but a lot of local production (and Netflix, Amazon, Disney etc. are investing lots in the UK to produce for their streaming services).
OTA TV in the UK tends to get the best and worst of US TV..lot of coproduction between BBC/ITV/Channel4/Five with HBO, Masterpiece, Starz, Scrips network etc. A bit of European coproduction (e.g. Versailles, the recent remake of "Das Boot").
Not so much US sitcom (only the best), not much US soap (more from Australia than US, some long running UK soap, plus a very long running soap on the radio "The Archers"), game shows are UK only (some American formats).
Try and find a UK TV guide website online to see the full difference..search for UK Freeview TV guide.
And we get less commercials in the UK. None on BBC, max 8 mins per hour on OTA channels (which means that US shows either need a longer UK edit or will start at an odd time in the hour, and UK shows playing in the US get a shorter edit). No adverts for prescription drugs, although some for gambling (at certain times of day).
BBC national radio is also very powerful, especially Radio 4 and 4 extra, world service, competing with TV.
@streaming_fan if you like British TV content then you may find paying for Britbox, Acorn worthwhile.
Britbox has series recently on OTA TV in the UK (and deep backcatlog from BBC, ITV, C4), unless it is a coproduction with another US streamer, and Acorn has other bits and pieces.