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How To Create a Roku Channel

So you want to create a Roku channel. You have a great idea for a channel and you know others will be eager to watch your channel if you create it. However, you are wondering where to begin.

This article will tell you what you need to know in order to get started.

Prepare your content

The first step in creating a Roku channel is to prepare your content. You need to ensure that you have your video content created and ready for broadcast.

Determine the resolution of your videos

The first decision to make is to determine the quality level of your videos. Are you going to create your videos in HD, or are videos lower quality in nature. Roku can work with both types of video. For best results make sure that your videos are formatted in a 16:9 format. It is good to have your videos obtain at least a 720p resolution if possible. Broadcasting extremely low resolution videos is not recommended.

Here’s something to remember, high resolution videos consume more bandwidth than lower resolution videos. Why is this important? The answer is how much your video hosting will cost you. The larger your video files, the higher the cost will be when users stream your videos.

We seldom recommend creating videos above a 720p resolution if you want to keep your streaming costs down. You can stream and host 1080p or higher videos, you will pay more for the streaming and that eats into your profits.

Find a video hosting platform

There are a number of options for hosting yoru videos. Some publishers host their videos on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Other publishers use Brightcove or Vimeo to host their videos. We however caution users who want to host videos on their own website. This idea is not a good option. Websites are not designed to stream video, and your viewers will have to wait long periods for videos to download.

Vimeo is the most cost effective platform for hosting videos. AWS is the next most effective video hosting platform. Although it is affordable, AWS does not host the video files on a video streaming server. Consequently AWS videos do not play as smoothly as Vimeo hosted videos.

Brightcove also hosts videos on a video server, however you need to finance a minimum of $1K per month in streaming cost in order to use them.

Decide how you will manage your channel

A number of channel building solutions are available to channel publishers. They range from simple to complex. IF you have strong technical skills, you may want to consider hand-coding a JSON data file with your video metadata. This file can then be stored on your website. Once you build your channel, you can control your channel content using this file.

While the hand-coding method works, it is tedious to maintain and is difficult to use. A better option is to identify channel management software like our own DirectCaster product. This software allows you to easily input your videos and their metadata in an easy-to-use system.

There are several companies who offer channel management software, however their costs vary greatly. Our DirectCaster product costs only $24.95 per month. Popular competitors like like Zype and Muvi offer quality software, but their prices start at $500 per month and up.

Build your channel

You can choose several methods of building a Roku channel. If you are seeking a channel that is ead supported or a channel that is free to watch and download you can build a basic Roku channel with our team for $1,500. If you want to build a channel that has paid memberships you will need to spend about $3,500 for a channel.

Submit your channel to Roku for approval

When Roku first started, it was fairly easy to build your own Roku channel. Someone with good technical skills could download a template from Roku and launch their own channel.

Today, Roku continuously modifies and changes the requirements to build channels. A professional Roku programmers we keep up with these changes. Unfortunately “self-help” Roku channel builders are no longer able to get Roku channels easily approved in the Roku channel store. The requirements for publishing Roku channels has become complex and requires expert assistance.

However if you want to try, you can download a sample Roku channel from Roku’s official Git repository and give it a try. One word of warning however. None of the Roku sample channels in the repository have all of the features that are required to gain channel approval. Several components simply do not exist in the templates and channels will not be approved without them.

Your channel is published on Roku

After your channel is approved, it will be published on Roku. This platform is like no other streaming device platform. The other streaming devices do give your channel automatic promotion once it is approved.  Roku does! You will pick up a number of new subscribers for several weeks to months following your channel launch. Please feel free to contact us, to inquire further about building a Roku channel.

Want to get started developing a Roku channel?

We create Roku apps for reasonable prices. Our Channel Server software allows you to manage maintain your app. In addition, our channel server powers our other great device apps like Android and iOS. If you are interested in a fully-branded Roku, iPad / iPhone and Android channel(s) all starting at $3,500, contact us to learn more!