Start your own TV channel
Do you stream live events? Or publish videos? If your content is not available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV (the two major streaming devices in the US), you are missing a potential audience of over 100 million users who regularly access digital content directly on TV. Over half (57%) of U.S. TV households now have a Roku or Fire TV set. Frontlayer provides you with your own channel app (development, hosting and content streaming included) available on Roku and Fire TV as part of our streaming plans.
Expand to the big screen
When you use Frontlayer to stream live or publish videos online, your audience can watch all of this content not only on your own website but also directly on TV, through your own custom branded Roku app channel, just like Netflix. You can have your own TV channel app, included as part of our streaming service.Launch your channel today
The typical lead time in order to create and publish your Roku channel is one week. You provide some basic branding details (i.e. logo, name, reference website, brief description), and Frontlayer builds your channel. Once published on the Roku Channel Store, the channel content can be managed entirely by you from our web portal.Launch your channel today
No coding required
There is absolutely no coding or technical knowledge required to create your Roku channel using Frontlayer. We handle all the necessary development and you simply need to publish the actual media content (i.e. videos or live streams). We can even help you import your media content from external sources to make the build process easier for you.Launch your channel today
Easy to manage
Each time you upload a video or stream live with your Frontlayer account, your content becomes automatically available in your Roku channel. There is no additional action required other than publishing new content in order for your audience to be able to watch it directly on TV.Launch your channel today
Your very own Roku app
Frontlayer provides you with your own Roku channel app. Your channel is built and hosted just for you, based on your own brand and design preferences. Your audience can search for it using your company name and there are no branding references to Frontlayer at all.Launch your channel today
Our Pseudolive technology allows you to simulate an "always-on" 24x7 live broadcast based on a list of previously uploaded videos, without having to actually stream live. This is also a great way of providing your audience access to a permanent linear broadcast, just like traditional TV channels do with pre-recorded content.Launch your channel today
Live streaming integration
In addition to pre-recorded videos (VOD), your channel includes support for both Live and Pseudolive streaming by default. As soon as you begin streaming a live event with your Frontlayer account, the stream is also made available through your Roku channel. Your audience will be able to watch your event directly on TV.Launch your channel today
Combine Live and Pseudolive
Easily combine and mix live and pre-recorded content in your channel. When you are streaming an actual live event, your audience can watch it in real time. When you are not streaming live, your audience can access all of your pre-recorded videos and you can also create a linear 24/7 broadcast based on our Pseudolive technology.Launch your channel today
What is Roku?
Roku is the company that pioneered TV streaming over 10 years ago with their video streaming players. It's currently the most popular streaming device in the US, with over 70 million active accounts, a number which is constantly growing as traditional cable TV continues to shift towards streaming.
Roku devices range from basic "streaming sticks", which are small HDMI sticks that plug into any TV, to streaming players or even Roku-powered full Smart TVs. They allow you to stream video content from different providers (i.e. Netflix, Amazon, HBO) directly on your TV. Content from each provider is displayed inside their corresponding channels, often referred to as "Roku Channels" or "Roku Apps".
All Roku devices run their own operating system called Roku OS.
How do Roku Channels work?
Roku devices allow users to download and install channels. Each channel is basically an app from a company or organization looking to make its own media content available on TV. Content can be pre-recorded, such as videos, live, such as ongoing real time events, or a combination of both. The channel acts as a link between the actual media content (i.e. video files, live streams) and your TV, allowing you to easily browse, search and play the content directly on the big screen. Popular examples or Roku channels include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, HBO, Disney.
Why launch a Roku channel?
Roku channels offer a unique opportunity for any company, organization or person interested in publishing video content and making this content available directly on TV.
As an open platform, anyone can create and publish a channel as long as it meets Roku's terms and complies with the corresponding requirements.
This in turn means you can reach the same type of audience that watches other popular channels such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, ESPN, HBO, Disney, and many others, but with a custom channel showing your own content.
Considering how streaming to connected TVs is starting to take over traditional cable, having your own Roku channel allows you to position your organization at the same level as traditional broadcast networks, but at a tiny fraction of the cost it would imply negotiating this positioning with cable companies.
And unlike web streaming, where users are typically more inclined to constantly hop between different sources, Roku channels are downloaded as apps which remain installed in end-users' TVs, creating a different type of audience engagement. This is particularly benefitial for broadcasters looking to create or increase audience loyalty, such as local or regional news agencies, original content producers, or churches and faith-based organizations in general.
How to make a Roku Channel
Wondering how to create a Roku channel? A Roku channel can be created in several ways. The channel itself is an app which allows external content to be displayed directly on TV, which means you must consider not only how the Roku channel is created, but also how the actual media content (i.e. videos or live streams) is delivered to your audience.
For the channel app, there are basically three options:
- DIY approach where you handle all the development. This requires advanced technical knowledge of the underlying technologies, including the propietary frameworks that Roku uses for running its apps (Brightscript language).
- Hiring a software development company or a developer directly. This typically requires a significant upfront investment (in the range of several thousand dollars) because everything must be created from zero, specifically for your project. Additionally, this approach only covers the initial Roku channel development, but it usually doesn't include any future updates (i.e. bug fixes, framework updates, channel redesign), and it doesn't consider the costs associated with the actual media content streaming.
- Launching your channel through a video platform. This approach combines both the channel development, hosting and updates, and also the media content streaming, all as part of the same service. Since your published content will need to be hosted specifically for your Roku channel (i.e. it cannot be "pulled" from existing sources such as YouTube), this method is usually the best option for most customers. Everything is included as one single service, there is no coding or technical knowledge required, no upfront investment, no long term contracts to sign, and no unexpected charges. You always know what you will pay per month and your channel can be launched in just a few days. This is precisely what Frontlayer offers, and detailed pricing information is available in our main pricing page.
Roku Channel Development costs
Roku does not charge any fees for having your channel published on their platform. However, you must consider two important variables:
- Roku does not host or publish your media content such as videos or live streams. While your Roku channel runs on Roku devices, the actual media content must be streamed from an external host. This workflow may not be obvious for the end-user, since videos appear to be "inside" your channel, but they are actually streamed from a third-party host.
- Even the most basic channel setup based on Direct Publisher still requires you to create the branding items, configure the channel, process your media content and maintain a Content Feed always updated.
If handling all of these variables directly is something you would prefer to avoid, either to save time, costs, or both, Frontlayer provides an all-in-one solution for creating, hosting and managing your Roku channel. Since everything is already covered as part of the service, including streaming, it allows you to focus exclusively on your media content and nothing else. More importantly, it has a fixed cost, without surprises or unexpected charges, based on a clear, transparent pricing model which is easy to understand. For detailed information on pricing and features, you can visit the following link
Can I create Roku channel apps directly?
Roku is an open platform that allows anyone to create Roku Channels as long as the channel and its content comply with Roku's terms and meet the following requirements:
- Original and/or licensed video content.
- A place to host the video content on the web (i.e. CDN or OVP).
- A Content Feed, which references the video content.
However, and since Roku Channels are basically apps developed specifically for the Roku OS (Roku Operating System), the process does require technical knowledge of the platform and all associated variables. You will need to take care of several variables before starting this process:
- Optimize your video content for online distribution to Roku devices. In the case of pre-recorded content, this basically implies re-encoding your videos following the required format and specifications to ensure compatibility with Roku. In the case of live content, you will need to ensure the same compatibility but in real time.
- Host your own video content and set up a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for it. This is required to make sure your video content can be distributed globally and at scale.
- Create a Content Feed following Roku's specifications. The feed must reference each of your media items (like videos or live streams), providing all the required metadata variables. You will also need to make sure that the feed is updated each time you update any of your media items.
There are two ways in which Frontlayer can create your Roku Channel:
- Developer SDK: Using this method, your channel can be created as a full-on app development project using Roku's proprietary languages and frameworks: BrightScript and SceneGraph. It basically means that every component of the channel, from the UI (User Interface) to the backend logic and overall operation workflow is coded from zero.
- Direct Publisher*: This is a tool for creating a Roku channel without coding. It leverages an online interface allowing you to generate a basic Roku channel by providing the branding variables and a working content feed. Most of the channel variables are predefined, which means they are always based on the same reference template used by Roku specifically for the Direct Publisher tool. * Direct Publisher is being sunset by Roku. If you have an existing channel built with Direct Publisher, it will need to be migrated to SceneGraph/SDK before the end of 2023. Frontlayer can provide a solution to migrate your channel and keep it active on Roku at no additional cost other than the video streaming fee of our monthly plans. Reach out to us if you are interested in learning more about this.
Is there an easier method to get your own Roku channel?
Being able to create a Roku channel directly, either using the Direct Publisher tool or the Developer SDK method, is an essential part of what makes Roku an open platform.
Frontlayer combines all of these benefits by integrating them as part of its video streaming service. Instead of selling standalone development, customization, hosting, CDN or channel updates services, we integrate all of the required variables natively in our video platform.
After years of working with this approach, we've found that it provides several benefits for customers of all sizes:
- Roku does not host your media content. Since creating a Roku channel still requires you to process, host and distribute your media content using third-party services, we make it easier to have these services already integrated with the channel creation process. Instead of having to purchase these services separately, we combine them into one single monthly package which already includes the channel creation.
- It frees you from having to deal with technical aspects, which are always part of the process both at the initial setup and also for maintaining your channel online. This allows you to focus exclusively on publishing and promoting your content.
- It combines all of the required variables into one single service, eliminating separate costs for each one of them, and also providing you with a single point of contact for all aspects related to your channel.
- It guarantees that there will be no unexpected charges for any reason. You will only pay for the monthly video streaming package, which already includes the Roku channel feature.
I'm interested in launching my channel on Roku. How can I start?
If you're wondering how to start your own Roku channel, Frontlayer offers a proven all-in-one solution covering the entire process. All you need is to simply provide us with a few branding references to customize the layout of your Roku channel app. For instance, the channel name you would like to use, the logo, a brief text description, and if possible, a reference website. Once your channel is activated, you can publish and manage your own content including videos and live streams directly from our web-based portal.
Interested in creating a Roku channel for your Church or Ministry?
Creating a Roku channel for your Church is actually one of the best methods for further engaging your congregation in worship and for expanding the reach of your message directly to the living room of every family. Frontlayer can help you build and host a Roku channel for your Church covering your ceremonies, services, prayers, practices, both based on pre-recorded videos and also live streams for ongoing events. Feel free to reach out to us if you would like more information about this option.
How long does it take?
Counting from the day your account is activated, and considering you can provide the required basic branding references, Frontlayer can create your own Roku channel in one week. This includes the initial design, customization and publishing process.
Is there a setup fee to build Roku channel apps?
No, there are no setup, activation or "channel development" fees in order to build your Roku app when using Frontlayer. Our pricing model is designed to be simple, predictable, and easy to understand. We only charge for the streaming service package, which has a fixed monthly cost, and includes everything you need. The integration with Roku and your own Roku channel app are provided at no extra cost, as part of the mentioned streaming service. All our pricing information is clearly outlined in our main Pricing page.
Is a contract required to make Roku channel apps?
No, a contract is not required to make your own Roku app with Frontlayer. No contracts, no obligations. You can sign-up for any of our service packages online and keep the service for as long as you want. You can also cancel at any time.
How does this compare with online Roku channel builder services?
Unlike DIY online Roku app builder services or a generic Roku channel creator, Frontlayer is a video streaming platform covering everything you need to not only create and launch your Roku channel, but also to host, manage and distribute your media content including pre-recorded and live through our global CDN. Our team will handle the entire process for creating your Roku channel and you won't need to deal with any of the technical aspects at all.
Can I publish videos?
Yes, any video you publish using your Frontlayer account is automatically made available in your Roku channel too. This means your audience can watch all your videos directly on TV. In addition to your Roku channel, your videos can also be embedded in your own website or mobile app using our white-label player, or shared across social media platforms.
What format should my videos be in?
You can upload any MP4 as long as it uses standard codecs (i.e. H264/AAC). Frontlayer handles all the necessary re-encoding of your source files into the corresponding output formats and variables for each destination (i.e. web, mobile, TV).
Can I stream live events in my Roku channel?
Yes, any live event that is streamed in real time using your Frontlayer account is also automatically replicated to your Roku channel. This means your audience can watch all your live events directly on TV. In addition to your Roku channel, your live events can also be embedded in your own website or mobile app using our white-label player, or shared across social media platforms.
What is Pseudolive?
Besides pre-recorded videos and live events, you can also broadcast on a permanent basis (24x7) in your Roku channel based on a list of previously defined videos from your Frontlayer account. Unlike traditional playlist, where your audience always starts watching the beginning of the list, Pseudolive simulates an actual live broadcast happening at the platform level, streaming your videos in real time and in linear mode. Your audience will always start watching different content each time they access your Roku channel, with the content appearing to be live even if it's based on pre-recorded videos.
Can I further customize my Roku channel?
Roku channels are apps that combine two different visual components: the UI (User Interface) with variables such as the logo, the background colors, overall design, and the actual media content with variables such as videos or streams. You can request any number of customizations for the UI at no extra charge, and our development team will work with you in order to review and publish these in the form of channel updates. For the actual media content, you can manage it entirely from our web-based portal, without requiring a channel update each time something changes.
Is my Roku channel public?
Yes, you get your own custom Roku channel app dedicated entirely to you, based on your own brand, with your own content only, and you have full control over it. It's published globally in the Roku Channel Store and any Roku user can add it and begin watching your content.