Roku introduced the first streaming video player in 2008, in partnership with Netflix. In the first two years nearly a million units have been sold in the US, and there are now over 750 channels available in the Roku Channel Store. Roku is the most affordable product for consumers looking to stream video over the Internet to their TV, and the most open for developers and content owners looking to reach new audiences.
For content owners or distributors, Roku represents a very cost-effective means to deliver their content to a rapidly increasing number of households. Roku has relationships with leading Online Video Platforms and development partners to further simplify bringing your content to Roku.
An open platform, Roku’s Streaming Player enables content owners to bypass traditional distribution routes and reach views and consumers directly. Roku’s platform allows a wide variety of channels and monetization options.
- How do I get started?
Simply create a Roku developer account to gain access to the Roku SDK and developer administration tools. If you have a question, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Is there a cost to develop or publish my Channel?
There is no fee for joining the Roku Developer Program or for publishing a Roku Channel. You can review the terms of the Roku Developer Agreement during the sign-up process prior to completing your registration.
- Is there an approval process or restriction on certain types of content?
Roku reviews and approves all channels prior to publishing them to the Channel Store to ensure that they are of high quality and function properly. We try to make this process as streamlined as possible. The specific restrictions and terms for publishing content to the Channel Store can be found in the Roku Developer Agreement. If you have any questions about the acceptability of your channel, please contact us at email@example.com to discuss. If you wish to distribute international or foreign language content through Roku, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to starting development, as this content requires prior written approval.
- What kinds of Channels can I create with the Roku SDK?
Using the Roku SDK you can create everything from a basic free VOD channel utilizing an RSS feed to a full subscription movie service. Almost anything that is well suited to a TV experience can be created for Roku, including music channels, internet radio, photo sharing, social applications, as well as high-quality casual games.
- Does Roku host my content?
No, Roku does not host any content. Your Roku channel connects to your existing service and servers or CDN to locate and stream your content.
- What technologies does Roku use to create the channels?
Roku Channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript. BrightScript is a scripting language similar to VisualBasic and is quickly learned by experienced programmers. Communication with services and servers is done over HTTP using standard XML-based technologies like (M)RSS, RESTful APIs and JSON. For video, we recommend H.264 video with AAC-LC audio wrapped in a MP4 container. Roku also supports the VC-1 video codec, and the WMA and MP3 audio codecs.
- I have live or other linear content to distribute; can I distribute this through my Roku channel?
Yes, Roku supports the HTTP Live Streaming protocol (HLS) which is quickly becoming the standard across home entertainment and mobile devices. This technology provides adaptive streaming of either live or on-demand content. Additional information on support for HLS can be found in our SDK.
- I don’t have development resources available to create my channel. How can I get it developed?
Depending on the expectations for your channel and the current state of your content, you may be able to create a channel with little or no programming, though you’ll still need to be able to test, package and publish your channel. We recommend you sign up for the developer program and investigate the resources provided. If you have any further questions, please contact us at email@example.com. Additionally, if you lack internal resources for development, we maintain a list of third-party developers that you may find useful.
- How can I monetize my content?
The choice is up to you. Channel publishers can charge for their content as either a monthly/annual subscription, pay per view, video on demand or electronic sell through. Content partners can also insert advertising within their video. Roku's Billing Services Program offers the option to have Roku manage the billing for you.
- Does Roku offer in-store billing capabilities?
Yes. The Roku Billing Services Program provides a number of options for direct monetization of content. Developers can offer a channel for a one-time charge or recurring monthly/annual subscription, offer in-channel purchases, or upgrade a preview version of a channel to a full version. After enrolling in the Roku Developer Program developers can sign up for Roku Billing Services.
- Can Roku integrate with the Online Video Platform that I use?
Roku has relationships with many leading Online Video Platforms (OVPs) that make it easy for you to get up and running quickly on Roku. Our partners include Ooyala, Unicorn Media, Brightcove, Kaltura, Endavo, The Platform, and Castfire.
- Does Roku have an affiliate program?
Yes. Information on our affiliate program can be found at www.roku.com/about/affiliate.
- Can I sell Roku streaming players?
If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Does Roku sell outside the United States?
Yes, Roku is currently available in the US, UK, Republic of Ireland and Canada. Channels may be made available in any or all of those regions at the time of publishing.
- How do I develop games for Roku?
Roku has developed new API’s for 2D games as part of the 3.0 SDK. These Brightscript API’s are currently available on the new Roku 2, and will soon be released as an upgrade for the previous generation of players (Model 1000 and 2000 series). Games like Angry Birds that make use of the GPU (graphics processor) and OpenGL on the Roku 2 need to be developed using the Roku Native Development Kit (NDK). The Roku NDK allows a game developer to port their existing game to Roku, rather than develop the game in Brightscript. The NDK is not yet public so please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested.