Introducing the BrightScript 2D API

In many of our recent articles, we have looked at how to use the screen and other UI templates offered by the BrightScript SDK. These components are great for getting your channels developed quickly and for giving them the standard Roku look and feel.

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Communicating with Web Services from BrightScript

In the last few blog posts, we’ve been looking at implementing fundamental functionality in BrightScript channels.  This trend continues in this installment.  This time around, we will be exploring how to communicate with web services from BrightScript.  Continue reading

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Getting Started with BrightScript Screen Navigation

A common task for BrightScript developers is implementing the screen navigation that underlies the user interface flow in their Roku channels.  In this article we will explore some basic BrightScript screen navigation techniques.

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Localizing Your Roku Channels

It is likely that most of the channels you’ve used on your Roku player use English in their user interfaces. However, support for other languages on Roku devices has been steadily improving.

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Using the Enhanced List Screen

Now that you’ve had some time to write some BrightScript code with the recent 4.8 software release for Roku 2, Roku LT and Roku HD players, it’s time to look at some other new features in the platform.  This time around, let’s look at what’s new in the list screen component. Continue reading

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JSON Support Comes to Roku

With the 4.8 software release for Roku 2, Roku LT and Roku HD players, developers now have access to native JSON parsing support from BrightScript.  Roku channel developers no longer need to integrate third party solutions or worse, roll their own parsing solutions anymore.  Developers can easily consume JSON based feeds or REST API response payloads with one simple API call. Continue reading

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Startup Splash Screens

Starting with the forthcoming 4.3 software release, we will support (and strongly encourage) splash screens for Roku Channels. These splash screens are shown immediately when you channel launches, before any code is executed, so the user gets immediate feedback.

To add the splash screen, add three new lines into your manifest file:

splash_screen_hd=pkg:/images/<hd splash screen image>
splash_screen_sd=pkg:/images/<sd splash screen image>

The images you specify will be centered in the screen over the background color specified by splash_color. An easy way to get going is to simply use your current homescreen icons, so these lines might look like this:


A couple of considerations for creating and using splash screen images:

  • images must be in your channel package, they can’t be remotely hosted.
  • consider using fairly small images to keep your package size down. Larger packages may not fit on some user’s Roku players if they have a large number of channels installed, and if your package is over 750kb, it may be limited to Roku 2 units only.

While this requires version 4.3 or later, earlier software releases will ignore these new items in the manifest and function correctly, though without the splash screen.

Let us know if you have any questions

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International Channel Stores

This week, we began shipping Roku 2 XS and Roku LT units in the UK and Republic of Ireland. To support this international launch, we’ve created separate Channel Stores for each region. What was before the only Channel Store is now shown as the US Channel Store on our developer site. We’ve also added UK, Ireland and Rest of World (RoW) Channel Stores. Users will be assigned to the appropriate channel store based on their location at the time of account setup. Developers must to opt-in to each region in which they want their channels available. All channels that were available original Channel Store have been automatically placed in the US Channel Store, so there is nothing you need to do if you want your channel to continue to appear only in the United States. If you wish your channels to be available in additional regions, you’ll need to log into your developer account and submit a new version of the channel that adds the additional regions (Instructions below).

There are some important considerations for making your channel available in the international Channel Stores:

  • Do you have rights to your content for distribution in that region? Many licenses restrict the geographies and delivery methods for the content.
  • Do you have an addressable audience in the region? You will have to pay for delivery of this content, even if it’s not your ideal audience.
  • Are you able to monetize your content in the region?
  • Is your channel geographically aware? Roku doesn’t do any geographic IP filtering except for directing users to the appropriate channel store. If you need to filter your content based on geography, this functionality will need to be added to your channel.
  • Do you have appropriate and sufficient delivery capabilities in the region? Depending on usage, you may need in-region CDNs or datacenters to serve these international users.

While we want the widest selection of content available in each region, we urge developers and publishers to consider carefully the impact to their business when deciding to submit their channels for additional regions. It should be noted that Roku reserves the right to choose which channels it publishes in which regions and may not publish a channel in each region the developer chooses.

How to Make Your Channel Available in other Regions
If your channel is an existing channel, you’ll need to log into your developer account, create a new version (by clicking “Edit Channel”), add your channel package (it can be the same package currently published), then click edit to choose the appropriate channel stores from the drop-down list. Submit the channel update to start the publication process. For categories in the new regions, please choose the most appropriate ones. We will be reviewing and revising channel categorization before launch.

If your channel is a new channel, you’ll pick the Channel Store(s) at the time of channel creation.

Let us know if you have any questions.

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Back in the saddle

Apologies for the dearth of recent posts. As you may have heard, we have been pretty busy recently. We will be working on that. To recap recent Roku happenings:

  • We ended 2011 with more than 400 channels published in the Channel Store. This is up from 135 at the beginning of 2011.
  • We announced the forthcoming Streaming Stick just prior to CES. This product, due in the second half of this year, takes all the functionality of the Roku2 and places it in a package the size of a pack of chewing gum. The Streaming Stick will be compatible with all TV’s that implement the new MHL port, which is being added to a number of TV models this year . Our first announced partner is Best Buy’s Insignia brand. The Streaming Stick will automatically turn an MHL-enabled TV into a “Smart TV’”, and the in the future a user can upgrade their TV again just by buying a new Streaming Stick. From a developer standpoint, there should not be anything specific you will need to do to make your channel Streaming Stick compatible; if it runs on Roku2, it should run on the Streaming Stick. For more information, please see our press release.
  • We announced, and are now shipping in  the UK and Ireland. More on that in the next post.
We expect 2012 to be a busy year and look forward to seeing what developers continue to submit to the channel store.
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Welcome Joel Braverman

I wanted to take a minute to welcome the newest member of the Roku Developer Program, Joel Braverman.  Joel will be working with developers to help get channels published, provide useful feedback and guidance for best practices and improve our sample code.

Over the past year or so, Joel has been a prolific Roku developer, publishing a number of channels including, Musiclouds, and ScreenShades.  You’ll also see Joel active on our forums, lending a hand.


Welcome Joel.

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