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Building a Roku app

By December 7, 2017December 11th, 2023Mobile Apps
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How To Create a Roku Channel?

Roku TV App Development is one of the leading streaming players available in the market. It allows users to stream audio/video content via the Internet.

Building a Roku app-BitCot

There are 3 main requirements to make a Roku channel:

  • Original and/or licensed video content (content publishers)
  • Hosted content available through the Internet (OVP, CDN, etc.)
  • Built using SDK (Brightscript programming language) / Direct Publisher (JSON/RSS feed)

We’re going to build the app using the SDK as it allows us to do tons of customization and incorporate our own workflow into the app, which cannot be done in the Direct published.

Roku channel Programming Language & IDE

Roku channels are built using Brightscript programming language, which is a proprietary language. We can use the plugin for Eclipse IDE (installation instruction), which is provided by Roku itself, so we don’t have to bother ourselves by using some other text-editor. The plugin has the ability to deploy your app from eclipse to your Roku TV App and check it directly.

hire roku developer

We can start creating a simple channel by modifying the code from the sample channels available here.

Studio SWEAT On-Demand Roku TV App

On-Demand Roku TV App Development-BitCot


The app is built on top of a simple grid screen with tons of customization like custom login screen and multiple categories, with each category added in the background without making the user wait for all the data to be available. With the help of Registry, we store the user’s information and provide a personalized experience.

To get started we thought of creating multiple scenes and switch among them if the user is already logged in. But we found that it’s complex to create multiple scenes. Instead, we went with a single scene that is built using SceneGraph.

The confusing part is when you have many views/dialog/keyboard dialog and you want to switch to a new view, then the older view’s focus and visibility must be set to false. Otherwise, the top view won’t be able to receive any action even though you would be able to view them.

Another quick fix is, when you’re deep into your component tree and want to show a dialog, for example, then might not work, instead try = dialog.

In Roku your HTTP requests cannot be made on the main thread, you need to create a TASK for it to perform the HTTP call and receive the data. The same applies when accessing roRegistrySection. The response obtained from the HTTP request can be structured with inbuilt functions, for JSON objects we use ParseJSON() and for XML objects you need to create roXMLElement variable. To learn more about HTTP requests check here.

Overall there were some challenges along the way and exciting to learn & try something new. You can install the StudioSWEATOnDemand channel from here.

If you’d like to chat about Roku development, we can schedule a meeting here at a time that suits you.


  1. What is Roku?
    Roku is a popular streaming platform that offers a range of streaming devices and smart TVs. It allows users to access various streaming services and channels, including movies, TV shows, live sports, and news.
  2. What is Roku App Development?
    Roku App Development is creating custom applications that can be installed on Roku devices or smart TVs. The applications can stream content from various providers or services, including movies, TV shows, live sports, and news.
  3. What are the benefits of developing a Roku App?
    Developing a Roku App can be a great way to reach a sizeable streaming audience and generate revenue. Roku is a popular streaming platform with millions of users, making it valuable for content providers and developers.
  4. What programming languages are used for Roku App Development?
    BrightScript is the primary programming language used for Roku App Development. A scene graph is also used for developing the application’s user interface.
  5. How long does it take to develop a Roku App?
    The time it takes to develop a Roku App depends on the app’s complexity and the developer’s experience. A simple app can be developed in a few weeks, while a more complex app may take several months.
  6. Do I need to have programming skills to develop a Roku App?
    Yes, you need programming skills to develop a Roku App. It would be best to have experience working with BrightScript and SceneGraph and knowledge of other programming languages, such as HTML5 and JavaScript.
  7. What is a Roku channel?
    A Roku channel is a streaming application that can be installed on a Roku device or smart TV. It allows users to access content from a specific provider or service, such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.
  8. How can I create a Roku channel?
    To create a Roku channel, you must develop a custom Roku app using the Roku Software Development Kit (SDK) and publish it on the Roku Channel Store. The process involves designing the user interface, developing the code, testing the app, and submitting it to Roku for review.
  9. How much does it cost to create a Roku channel?
    The cost of creating a Roku channel depends on the complexity of the app and the rates charged by the developer or development company. A simple app can cost a few thousand dollars, while a more complex app can cost tens of thousands.
  10. How can I promote my Roku channel?
    You can promote your Roku channel through social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, and online advertising. You can also use Roku’s advertising platform to promote your channel to Roku users.
  11. What are the requirements to publish a Roku App on the Roku Channel Store?
    To publish a Roku App on the Roku Channel Store, you need to have a Roku developer account, create a Roku channel, submit the app for review, and meet all of the requirements set by Roku, including content guidelines and technical specifications.
  12. Can I monetize my Roku App?
    Yes, you can monetize your Roku App by offering subscription-based content, displaying ads, or selling products or services through the app. Roku also offers a revenue-sharing program for developers who meet specific criteria.
Raj Sanghvi

Raj Sanghvi is a technologist and founder of BitCot, a full-service award-winning software development company. With over 15 years of innovative coding experience creating complex technology solutions for businesses like IBM, Sony, Nissan, Micron, Dicks Sporting Goods, HDSupply, Bombardier and more, Sanghvi helps build for both major brands and entrepreneurs to launch their own technologies platforms. Visit Raj Sanghvi on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter. View Full Bio

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