How to Launch Your Own Roku Channel a Quick Step By Step Guide

Roku Application Development

Roku is among the popular media streaming boxes available in the market on today’s date. With more than thousands of devices sold, Roku is becoming one of the leading streaming devices on Earth. 

Creating your own Roku application or channel is the best possible way for Video On Demand providers in order to get into explosive growth.

This tutorial is about making you understand the complete process of launching your own Roku channel.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Launch the Roku Channel in First Place?
  2. What are the Two Models for developing a Roku Channel?
  3. What are the advantages of custom development with Roku’s SDK Developer?
  4. How You Can Create Your Own Roku Channel Using Roku Direct Publisher?
  5. Conclusion.

Why Launch the Roku Channel in First Place?

Even though Roku is still not that much popular in many European countries, it is a household brand in various countries across the globe. 

Roku is an open platform and allows most developers across the world to develop their own Roku channels or applications in order to grow their audiences. You can access a number of channels through several Roku streaming players, Roku Powered™ players, and Roku TV™ models that makes it much more convenient for monetizing the content. 

What are the Two Models for developing a Roku Channel?

Roku provides two different modes of channel development for Video On Demand providers: Customize Roku Application Development with the help of Roku’s SDK method and the Roku Direct Publisher method. 

The decision between these two largely determines the overall go-to-market timeline and cost of development of the Roku channel.

Now, let us understand further how the two development methods differ from each other for more clarity:

  • Roku SDK Custom Development

Roku is responsible for offering all the required APIs, developer tools, and libraries to the software developers in order to create channels for publishers. 

This approach needs expertise in the domain of software development but provides feature customization options and unlimited UI. 

The Roku channel takes longer to build significantly and is likely to have increased costs of maintenance over time. Those Publishers who select to develop their own channel have a top-notch cross-platform streaming strategy, vast development resources, and a large user-base, or have custom needs for their Roku channel, which cannot be achieved through Direct Publisher.

  • Direct Publisher

Creating a Roku channel using Direct Publisher is one of the cheapest, easiest, and less labor-intensive options available in the market. 

Roku does all the tough jobs for the publisher and generates a fully operational channel automatically, which is entirely free of cost. It needs no coding skills, which is a huge draw, and even though publishers going with the Direct Publisher might build applications at a fast speed and easily they lose a number of advanced features.

What are the advantages of custom development with Roku’s SDK Developer?

Roku SDK Developer is a perfect software developer for providers who have custom channel needs. 

They prioritize long-term profitability and user experience over development speed.

If you are looking to build a hybrid streaming strategy with an intuitive user experience on each device such as Roku stick, web, mobile, etc. Also, if you are monetizing the content with rentals or subscriptions – using the developer APIs of Roku is one of the best options for you.

Here are the following advantages of channel development with Roku SDK Developer:

  • Consistent Hybrid or Cross-Platform UI.

Creating your own Roku channel from the beginning allows you to take total control to mirror your application’s UI on several devices. It also designs a consistent experience for your users.

  • Enhanced Engagement

Allow your users to view the content through a recommended grid of content, a content carousel, or an EPG view.

  • DRM support 

You can also secure the content with the help of DRM encryption.

  • Billing 

By monetizing your users via a number of billing models: Subscriptions, a one-time pay-to-install fee, or in-app transactions…

  • User Authentication 

Allow your users to authenticate into the accounts in order to restore their bookmarked content, preferences, and better understand the streaming behaviors.

  • Third-Party Analytics 

All the Roku channels, which involve those built with Direct Publisher, get audience engagement reports from Roku in order to better understand the user engagement in their content. However, a custom-built channel only is capable of integrating third-party analytics providers into their channel like Brightcove or Google Analytics.

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.

How You Can Create Your Own Roku Channel Using Roku Direct Publisher?

With Roku Direct Publisher you can create your channel with the help of the following simple steps:

STEP 1: Setting Up Content Hosting Solution

First, you will be required to find an Online Video Platform (OVP) or Content Delivery Network (CDN). 

This is to host the content and deliver it to the Roku channel.

STEP 2: Creating a Content “feed”

The feed is a piece of code, which includes all the metadata required to play the content on your Roku device. It means the title, content description, and URLs. 

The feed should be generated in the form of an XML, JSON, or MRSS file.

STEP 3: Using Direct Publisher

After this, you might start getting acquainted with the interface of Direct Publisher. The tool guides you through various steps during the entire process of building the Roku channel and publishing content. But first, you might need to complete the following prerequisites:

Here are the three important steps in order to get started with Roku Direct Publisher:

  • The first step includes signing up at
  • The second step includes creating a Developer Account at
  • Now, you need to connect the Roku device to a TV. 
  • You can also use a TV with an in-built Roku.


We hope you will find this article helpful. After going through this step-by-step tutorial, we understand all the necessary steps involved in the entire process of launching your own Roku channel. So, get ready and hope into the environment of launching the Roku channel. Please provide your valuable feedback in the comment section below.


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