How To Create Roku Application For Your Smart TV

Roku is one of the best OTT streaming platforms with all kinds of entertainment available for the viewers. It has millions of users across the world.

Roku is very popular in the United States and has quickly become a common household name. So let’s learn How to create Roku Application for your smart TV in this article

Reports suggest that Roku has around 54 million active users in 2021 and the revenues have grown by 80%. Businesses are taking the help of Roku app developers to get the best app for smart TVs.

Are you looking to develop an app for Roku streaming channels?

Roku SDK (Software Development Kit) and IDK (Independent Development Kit) are two ways to do app development.

Roku application development is the best way for enterprises to get the best functional apps. The applications that are streaming your media on the Roku platform are channels.

Roku SDK has been in the market since the beginning to develop apps, but it gets modified at regular intervals. With the launch of IDK, it has become possible to use personal-use applications that can run easily through IDK-supported streaming players.

Roku IDK developer kit is also enabling the developers to explore the platform’s capabilities. It also helps to personalize the Roku experience.

Use the Roku development kit to create games that work specifically with the Roku remote. Take the help of a Roku app developer so as to build both commercial and personal-use apps. Let us now discuss further Roku SDK and IDK for starting the app development process.

Why do Businesses Prefer Roku App Development?

How To Create Roku Application

Roku is one of the trusted platforms for developing applications for Roku TV! The development kits are allowing developers to extend the utility of the Roku OS. It is facilitating innovation across the platform and also allows personalization.

Roku is hoping that the IDK will introduce interesting aspects around internet-of-things applications. Take the help of Roku app development so as to build functional apps that serve business motives.

Businesses always look for ways to promote their business concerns and thus Roku apps became popular. It is one of the relevant ways to market your content on the OTT.

Also, it works by connecting to the internet with a wireless connection. Let us look at the top benefits of Roku app development for businesses.

It provides the opportunity for targeted advertisements

Roku is assisting in understanding its audience better than the ad-supported streamers. The channels on the OTT platform lead to further targeted advertisements and ad-supported services.

It also has an ad-buying platform for use by third-party streaming apps for advertisements. Thus, ads on the Roku channel are having higher average prices and the providers are able to generate a large amount of money.

Allows better recommendations for OTT content

Knowing about the viewing habits of the audience is among the top benefits of using OTT platforms. It is different from streaming devices that support different kinds of ads and ensures the easy creation of channels.

It becomes simple to track the viewing habits of the user within the channel and thus generate better recommendations.

Consumers remain engaged with Roku channels and businesses get proper details related to streaming hours for use.

Ensures efficiency to attract more traffic

The topmost advantage of using the Roku channel will be to drive relevant traffic toward it. Develop a Roku channel so as to bring in a larger audience.

Thus, it results in a better content recommendation to users for content use.

Get different methods to create the Roku app

Roku is one of the top-rated business platforms for content promotions and it aggregates content from other media channels.

Content owners are able to develop an app from the OTT platform in multiple ways so as to promote apps directly.

Roku is also offering a direct publishing method for app development and also supports custom development. You have Roku SDK and IDK for different kinds of app development needs.

Roku SDK (Software Development Kit) – Details to Get Started with Your Roku App Development

How To Create Roku Application

Roku TV apps are dynamic and listed among the top OTT market players. It assists easy streaming of audio and video content via the internet.

Take the help of Android channel developers so as to build something relevant for business. Roku is an open streaming platform allowing developers to grow their market share with relevant channels.

Use Roku SDK to create the apps and it also allows simple customizations when needed. Developers need to be comfortable with the BrightScript programming language to build Roku channels.

Take the help of Roku SDK so as to do tons of customizations and incorporate the workflows into the app. There is also the Eclipse IDE, provided by Roku so there is an uneasiness to using some of the text editor.

The plugin is having the ability to deploy the app from eclipse to the Roku TV app.

Development of a Custom Roku Channel

The creation of simple channels is possible with a publisher! But, you need the help of a Roku app developer to come up with a customized channel. Use BrightScript with SceneGraph and UI framework so as to implement a custom channel.

Customization of the audience and the media become simpler with the use of a powerful language like BrightScript. A list of things needed to get started with the development of a channel on a Roku platform is.

  • The supported web browser like Firefox or similar to it
  • Roku devise device with Software Release 2.7 or later
  • Relevant development workstation with a terminal application and a text editor
  • Developer Account with access to Roku’s Developed Dashboard

The Roku app development completes over a simple grid screen that allows simple customizations like multiple categories and a custom login screen. Developers can use the Registry to store user information and ensure a personalized experience.

Relevant Resources for the Development of a Channel

Businesses get multiple documents and samples with Roku so as to use the scripting language effectively.

The tutorial has some of the best tutorials on the creation of an effective channel. Developers get multiple sample channels like SceneGraph Developer Extensions to work with it. The development also gets easier with the Roku plug-in for Eclipse and other development tools.

Encouragement is given to the development teams so as to test the basic channel-building process.

There are also experts who are professionals in developing Roku channels using the Roku SDK. So, businesses can get functional apps instantly for regular use.

User Interface Elements/Object Model

The Roku app developers need to use BrightScript programming language so as to get their desired channel.

They get access to a set of interfaces through BrightScript Components for platform services. Such services include multiple capabilities, a user interface, data management, and video playback.

There are primarily two visions in Roku SDK components – Core Objects and Platform Objects. The former object exists on the Roku platforms and the latter is on a specific platform like Roku Streaming Player.

  • Video Player Screen – Video playback support with trick mode support and a progress bar.
  • Top-Level Menu – It includes the launch screen for applications along with logo art.
  • Poster Screen – It has a horizontally scrolling list of shows along with poster art.
  • Springboard – It includes a detailed screen with options for displaying the individual show.
  • PIN Entry Screen – It includes user entry of a PIN for purchase & rental verification.
  • Filter Widget – It includes a selection of widgets for filtering content that displays by type.
  • Rendezvous/Code Registration Screen – The display and validation of the registration codes.
  • Search Screen – It is a keyword-based search with progressive disclosure of the results.
  • Text Screen – It displays formatted text so as to allow users selection of options.

The development of the application for the Roku Streaming Player consists of writing apps in BrightScript.

It also includes the packaging of the app and associated resource file for simple deployment in the platform. The player is emulating the installed app at runtime and displays it on the menu.

Developer Environment Setup

The Roku channels under development can be easily loaded with help of a standard web browser.

Enable it for development modes so as to host the devices on a web page for installing the channel & also examine it.

Look into the tutorials for the creation of user and developer accounts on the Roku platform. It is important to test the Roku device for development.

It provides the details related to sideload of Roku’s Hello World channel, updates the displayed text on the screen, and then views its output.

Here are the steps to set up the development environment.

  • It needs to begin with enabling Developer Settings so as to set up the Roku device.
  • Now it is your turn to access the ‘Development Application Installer’ for uploading and installing the sample.
  • Run the sample channel on Roku to see how it works and functions.
  • Finally, it is time to examine the channel on the device with help of Developer Settings.

Understanding of SceneGraph Core Concepts

It is the framework for developing the Roku channels and it is incorporating two key concepts. The first is SceneGraph rendering of the channel screen and the second is SML configuration of the screens.

The framework fastens the development of channels by reducing procedural codes needed to render the screen display. It is possible to configure the appearance of the screen with sets of attributes in XML files.

The SceneGraph XML programming framework is including new capabilities to design the user interface.

It is in use for specific screen display resolutions and it also has the flexibility to allow rendering of the user interface. Developers can do it on Roku players that do not support the desired display resolution.

Roku Channel Designing for Devices

All the public channels in the Roku platform get certification by presently-supported Roku models before publishing. The list of supported devices can include a range of product classes, right from the entry-level set-box to 4K HDR TVs.

Roku app developers need to be mindful of all the multiple product capabilities while developing the channels. The best practice is to get dynamic channels that are conditional to product details or the model.

It is critical to be thinking strategically about data fetching on each screen of the app. Take of relevant developers so as to come up with the best solutions for Roku channels.

If you’re an old Roku app developer, consider rendering the content items on each browser. Use some of the optimization techniques like limiting the animations and number of overdraws for true results.

Roku IDK (Independent Development Kit) – Starting Guide for the Kit

How To Create Roku Application

The New Roku IDK refers to the non-commercial development platform for building an app for personal use. Features of the IDK include – real-time 3D graphics with OpenGL ES, low-level hooks into the Roku OS, small subsets of media APIs, OSS shared libraries, and a simplified build system.

The application can run only on the IDK-supported stream player and thus you need Roku OS 10.5 or later. Take the help of Roku app developers so as to build functional apps for the Roku OTT platform.

The new features of the Roku app development kit are in line with industry standards. It allows consumers to install application packages on their devices and use the IDK so as to code in their favorite programming language. Implement IDK apps to Roku streaming sticks that run Roku OS 10.5 or higher version.

Roku also informed us that the proprietary SDK will still be the main focus for commercial apps available via the app store. The blog post contains details so as to develop new aspects in the Roku IDK (Independent Development Kit).

The main focus of Roku is to build the best TV streaming platform for advertisers and consumers.

The new announcement of the IDK is facilitating innovation across different platforms. Let us now look at some of the new functionalities meant along the IDK –

Innovation & Personalization

The new Roku IDK is helping the developers to evaluate the capability of the platform & personalize the experience. IDK is expanding the developer platform so as to develop new possibilities.

It is the feature aligning with the industry practices for platform streamlining. Commercial businesses are installing the application package on their devices for quick use. Developers are using the IDK platform to innovate and customize the devices as per new innovations.

Creation of Apps, Games, and Utilities

Develop applications and games using reliable platforms like Roku IDK. Developers use the code in a suitable programming language so as to create apps outside the streaming channel.

Built applications can with JavaScript and it pulls data from different sources. Turn the TV monitor into snapshot views of daily news, calendars, and also traffic conditions so as to communicate regularly.

IDK is supporting C/C++ and other languages like Python or JavaScript for embedding the interpreter within the apps.

Roku provides a robust ecosystem for the creation of streaming and music video channels. The IDK runs on community-driven assistance so as to get support from a dedicated developer forum.

Testing Channels with New Tools

As far as the news travels, Roku has also announced the launching of a new beta channel feature. It is an industry-standard feature on the streaming platform allowing the developers to test applications.

You get new tools for testing the channels along with the IDK and thus it makes the task of Roku developer simple. Developers are getting increased visibility with help of Beta channels at the time of testing so as to get the best results.

Take the help of Roku developers so as to monitor the status of the test channels and also analyze the re-buffers. Use IDK so as to analyze the cash reports better before the official publishing of channels on the Roku store.

The developer accounts can have up to 10 beta channels at a time and each of them has a 120-days testing period.

Getting Rid of Non-Certified Channels

Roku has started removing the non-certified channels after the release of the IDK platform and beta channels. Use both of them so as to facilitate broader innovation and enhance the beta testing procedure.

It offers the development experience and standardizes the development process over various streaming platforms.

Directory Structure to Build IDK Applications

The creation of an IDK app involves the role of organizing the app code and resources so as to get into the directory structure.

Use the simplified build system so as to generate a binary file for the applications. Each of the IDK applications is having files & directories organized in the structure as follows –

sources: It is the folder containing the source code so as to get executable apps that complies with the binary squashfs image file.

makeflle: Build the executable apps with the help of a file that defines the instructions. It also supports libraries from the source directory.

Developers can also create the binary squashfs image file so as to get desired results. It mixes with the IDK-supported Roku streaming player.

assets: It is the folder containing the IDK application assets and it gets copied into the necessary zip file so as to mix in the directory.

maln.brs: It is the BrightScript file containing the main entry point for the SDK applications so as to develop apps.

manlfest: It is a file that declares attributes by describing the channel like its name & icon. Developers are able to use the perslst_quota attribute to specify the amount of non-volatile storage.

The Roku app developers use the IDK and the code in the language that helps app creation go beyond streaming channels.

IDK applications are not supported on legacy streaming players and the devices need to run on Roku OS 10.5 or higher. Along with the launch of the IDK channel, the company has announced the launch of new beta channel tools.

Final Thoughts!

There are multiple ways to build a Roku channel, but there is nothing better than a customized one. Take the help of a Roku app developer to get assistance on getting something suitable for your business promotion.

Roku SDK and IDK are providing the environment for creating relevant channels for the Roku platform at favorable prices.

The creation of the Roku channel or the entire development procedure needs to be part of the overall business strategy today. Create a Roku channel so as to stream your app content to relevant audiences.

It will help the developers to test the apps before making changes live on the platform. Take the help of Roku app developers so as to build a functional app that solves most of your business needs!

Use the IDK to create some excellent channels & apps that serve multiple purposes for business houses.

There are different kinds of developers in the market and you need to look for profound SDK developers. Create a Roku application today taking the assistance of Roku app developers so as to get productive channels.

The above-mentioned details lay out the groundwork to understand the technology better. Use any one of the frameworks so as to get the suitable type of app.


Rajib Is The Founder Of RiansTech. A Seasonal Blogger And A Full-Time Product Designer For Over Two Decades. A Technology Freak And Loves To Write About It. RiansTech Is A Online Home For Him Where He Documents His Experiences And Learnings So That Others Can Get Benefited From It.