Video Monetization

How to Create a Roku Channel (No-code Option Included)

By Aarushi Singh and Eden Metzler
10 Min Read

Learn More about Mobile & TV Apps

A woman sits on her couch with a remote control picking what to watch on Roku.

As a content creator with a membership base, you may find the idea of starting your own Roku channel both exciting and overwhelming. 

Questions about where to start, the costs involved, technical requirements, content licensing, and monetization strategies are common. You’re not alone in these concerns, and this guide is here to address them comprehensively.

Creating your own Roku channel allows you to have complete control over your content and how it is delivered.

Unlike platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, where you are subject to their rules and algorithms, a Roku channel gives you the freedom to design a user experience that aligns with your brand and meets the needs of your audience. 

Plus, it opens up multiple revenue streams, including subscriptions, ads, and pay-per-view options, enabling you to generate a stable and recurring income.

In this guide, we’ll explore three main methods to launch your Roku channel: using a dedicated platform, Roku Direct Publishing, and hiring a developer. Each approach has its unique benefits, costs, and timelines, and we’ll break down everything you need to know to choose the best option for your needs. 

How can a Roku channel help you as a creator? 

Roku is the most “no-brainer” OTT app you can launch for your video-on-demand business — it can increase your reach, user satisfaction, and revenue. 

We’ve seen Uscreen customers increase video streaming revenue and views by 30% after launching their Roku channels. 

A Roku channel will make your video business more accessible by letting you meet existing and potential viewers where they are (hint: Roku). By doing this you’ll:

Increase reach and capture new viewers

Roku TV apps dominate the streaming device market worldwide as the most used ‘big screen’ device, with 81.6 million active users. This massive user base means that you’re tapping into an extensive audience, allowing you to capture a brand-new subsection of potential customers. 

Plus, by having a presence on Roku, you also give your existing customers who already own a Roku device an easy way to interact with your content and offer a higher value for their money. 

Improve your viewers’ experience

Your audience wants to access your content hassle-free. And if it’s difficult for them to access your content at their convenience, they’ll find other brands that make it easier. 

By offering your content on a Roku channel, you provide a seamless, high-quality viewing experience that keeps your audience coming back for more. 

Tap into more monetization opportunities

Better still, a larger (and more satisfied) audience means more money! 

With more people watching your content on Roku, you can increase your ad revenue, subscription rates, and pay-per-view income. 

Because of the convenience and greater user satisfaction that comes with having a Roku channel, you’ll grow customer referrals. 

After all, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Have greater control over the distribution 

Having a Roku channel gives you full control over how your content is distributed and presented, freeing you from the whims of algorithms. 

You get to curate your content library, schedule releases to match your audience’s habits, and create a user experience that perfectly reflects your brand. 

Plus, with a custom Roku channel, you can communicate directly with your audience, building stronger relationships. 

Top 3 ways to create a Roku Channel at a glance 

Here’s a quick comparison of the top three ways to create a Roku channel, so you can choose the best fit for your needs. 

Whether you’re a creator looking for a simple solution, a large company with custom needs, or a DIY enthusiast, there’s an option for you.

Option Best for Rough timeline to launchProsCons
Dedicated platformVideo creators looking for an easy, cost-effective way to launch a Roku channel without needing technical expertise Approx 30 days Easy to use and quick to set up with built-in features for video creatorsCreators with complex needs may find it limiting
Direct publishingDIY creators with technical knowledge who can comfortably handle the setup and ongoing maintenance themselvesA few weeks to a few months No ongoing maintenance fees Extremely time consuming and requires technical knowledge
Custom developmentLarge companies with extensive budgets and complicated custom needs3 to 6 monthsExtensive customization possibleLonger development time and more collaboration required from your side as a creator

Top 3 ways to create a Roku Channel

1. A dedicated platform: the simple and affordable approach

Best for: Video creators looking for an easy, cost-effective way to launch a Roku channel without needing technical expertise 

Creating a Roku channel doesn’t have to be a complex, time-consuming process. Using a dedicated platform lets you launch your channel quickly and affordably, even if you have no technical skills.  

Is a dedicated platform the right option for you?

If you’re looking for a cost-friendly option, a technically hands-off solution, and a platform ready to go, then creating a Roku channel using a dedicated platform is the best choice. With a dedicated platform, you get a streamlined setup process that doesn’t require extensive technical knowledge, making it accessible for creators who may not have a tech background. 

Additionally, these platforms often come with customer support and resources to help you get started quickly and efficiently. Typically, you can launch your channel within a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the platform and the complexity of your content.

Out of all three options to create a Roku channel, using a dedicated platform is the fastest and most ideal for creators looking to get their content in front of viewers quickly.


  • Ease of use: No technical skills required, Uscreen handles the heavy lifting.
  • Speed: Launch your own Roku channel quickly with minimal setup time.
  • Built-in features: Comprehensive tools for community building, live streaming, membership management, and monetization.
  • Multi-platform support: Reach your audience on Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, and Android.
  • Cost-effective: Clear, predictable pricing helps you budget without unexpected expenses.


  • Limited customization: Might feel restrictive for those needing highly detailed website customization.
  • Integration needs: Extensive social media integrations or more robust content management might require additional tools.

Is Uscreen the right dedicated platform for you?


Uscreen is designed to help you reach a wider audience with minimal effort, making it the perfect platform to launch your own Roku channel and grow your video-on-demand business.

It’s worth pointing out though; Uscreen isn’t for everyone. If you have a larger budget and are willing to spend more time perfecting every nook and corner of your own Roku channel, you can consider other solutions. For example, you could hire a development agency that offers custom-built Roku channels, even if it means waiting longer to launch. 

Note that Uscreen offers a lot of built-in features that you won’t get with custom development, so you’d need to patchwork multiple tools to achieve the same level of functionality and control you’ll get with Uscreen. 

Overall, if you’re strapped for time and resources, and need an efficient way to create your Roku channel fast (in a reliable way), you’re better off using a dedicated platform like Uscreen with built-in features for video creators. 

Reach every platform:

And it doesn’t stop there. Uscreen allows you to launch your content on OTT platforms, including Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, and Android. This multi-platform support ensures you can reach your audience no matter what device they use, maximizing your content’s accessibility and engagement.

No coding needed:

 A dedicated platform streamlines the entire process of setting up a Roku channel, from uploading your content to managing memberships and monetization options. You don’t need to worry about coding, server management, or technical integration — the platform handles all the heavy lifting for you.

Community on-the-go:

Imagine engaging with your audience like never before. Built-in community tools let you create public and private channels where members can interact, share feedback, and build connections. Your viewers won’t just consume your content; they’ll discuss it, share insights, and feel part of a close-knit group.

Engage with live streams:

Live streaming on video-first membership platforms (like Uscreen) is a breeze, whether it’s a live event, a webinar, or a regular broadcast. The platform ensures a smooth, high-quality viewing experience that keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more. 

Limitless monetization:

Plus, with a variety of monetization options — from subscription packages to one-time purchases and pay-per-view events — Uscreen supports seamless global payments, making it easy for your audience to support your content.

Built-in marketing & analytics tools:

Uscreen also provides robust tools to manage and grow your membership. You can create customized membership tiers, offer free trials, and efficiently manage your members. The comprehensive analytics give you valuable insights into watch-time, video performance, and user engagement, helping you refine your content strategy to better meet your audience’s preferences.

How to launch your Roku channel with a platform like Uscreen

With Uscreen, you get more than just an app — you get a full OTT platform. For the duration of the lease, you’ll have the full support of our team for regular updates on your app to make sure it’s running optimally.

Better still, by going with Uscreen, creators can easily launch other OTT apps as part of a package, like Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Android, and more. 

Here’s how to create a Roku channel with Uscreen:

  1. Set up a Uscreen account and place an order for your app. You can also pop a message to us in the live chat and we’ll walk you through!
  2. Get your video website ready by adding content.
  3. Set up your Roku Developer account. (Our team will help you figure that out.)
  4. Provide us with your app requirements (the assets needed to build your app).
  5. We’ll review your submitted app requirements and ask for any incomplete assets.
  6. We’ll build your app, which you test and provide feedback on.
  7. We’ll submit your app for approval in the Roku Channel Store.
  8. After it’s published, you’ll launch it to your customers and celebrate!

If you’re looking for more OTT services that launched with Uscreen, check out this list of video platforms that successfully launched their Roku channels with Uscreen. 

How Abundance+ launched their Roku channel (and 5 more OTT apps) with Uscreen

Abundance Plus membership platform shown across mobile and TV devices.

Abundance+ expertly combines learning with entertainment, creating a special place in the streaming world for everyone from experts in homesteading to those just starting to explore self-reliant living.

Started by Justin Rhodes, a famous content creator with over 1 million YouTube subscribers, Abundance+ launched on Uscreen in 2021 to satisfy the growing interest in detailed homesteading information. 

It offers a variety of features and a strong community feel, making it an important tool for anyone wanting to get better at homesteading. The platform has everything from educational videos and masterclasses to documentaries and daily life vlogs, making it a go-to spot for fans of sustainable living.

Abundance+ is easy to use and engaging, available through branded apps on various devices. It includes features like downloadable content, customized playlists, and an active community for interactive learning.

With a range of monthly subscription plans from $6 to $29 and a 7-day free trial, Abundance+ lets users try out the platform before deciding to subscribe.

Case Study: How Abundance+ Doubled Their Revenue with Apps

An image showing Abundance Plus

2. Roku direct publishing: the DIY approach

Best for: Creators with technical knowledge who can comfortably handle the setup and ongoing maintenance themselves

Note: Creating a Roku channel on your own used to be possible with Roku Direct Publisher, but significant changes were made in 2023. Roku announced that they were sunsetting the Direct Publisher tool. As of July 2023, you can no longer create new channels using this tool, and by January 12, 2024, all existing Direct Publisher channels were to be removed from the Roku platform​.

Does this mean you can’t create a Roku channel on your own? 

Absolutely not. You still can, but the only caveat is, it will take a bit longer and require more technical know-how. 

Is direct publishing on Roku the right option for you?


Creating a Roku channel using the Roku SDK and SceneGraph is a viable option for those who are technically inclined and willing to invest time into learning and maintaining the platform. 

So, if you have a background in coding or technical development, direct publishing allows you to use your skills to create a highly customized channel. It’s also a good option for companies or creators with unique needs that cannot be met by standard platforms and will benefit from the flexibility offered by direct publishing. 

While the initial setup requires a significant time investment, eliminating ongoing platform fees can make this a cost-effective solution over time. However, if you prefer a simpler, more straightforward approach, other options like dedicated platforms or hiring a developer might be more suitable. 


  • Complete control: Using the Roku SDK allows you to have full control over the customization and functionality of your channel. This can be beneficial if you have specific requirements that other platforms may not support.
  • No ongoing platform fees: Once your channel is set up, you won’t have to pay platform fees, although there will be costs associated with hosting, CDNs, and maintenance.


  • Technical complexity: Setting up and maintaining a channel through the Roku SDK requires a good understanding of coding and technical management. This can be a barrier for creators without a technical background.
  • Time-consuming: The setup process is longer and requires ongoing maintenance, which can be time-consuming and may divert focus from content creation.

How to launch your Roku channel using direct publishing (SDK) 

To create a Roku channel now, you will need to use the Roku SDK (Software Development Kit) and SceneGraph. This approach is more technical and involves several steps:

  1. Set up your Roku account

You need to create a Roku developer account, Roku customer, and billing accounts. These accounts are necessary for accessing the Roku Developer Dashboard and managing your channel.

  1. Roku developer dashboard

Log in to the Roku Developer Dashboard and create a new channel. This involves specifying your channel’s details, such as the name, type of content, and branding elements.

  1. Technical tasks
  • Set Up a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN hosts your video content and delivers it to viewers via your channel. Popular CDNs include Cloudflare, Akamai, and Amazon CloudFront. Prices can range from $20 to $1,000+ per month, depending on your needs.
  • Create a “content feed”: This involves generating a feed file (JSON or MRSS) that lists all your video content and its metadata. You’ll need to maintain this feed so that Roku knows what content to display and stream.
  • Manage web hosting services: This step ensures your feed is accessible online. You can use traditional web hosting services or specialized video hosting platforms. Prices can range from $10 to $100 per month.

  1. Ongoing maintenance

Even after your channel is live, ongoing maintenance is required to update content, ensure feed accuracy, and manage technical aspects. This can be time-consuming and may require technical support.

3. Hire a developer: the completely custom approach

Best for: Large companies with extensive budgets and complicated custom needs

if your project is complex, needs custom features, or you have a huge content library that requires special handling, bringing in the pros can save you a lot of headaches. Plus, if you’re on a tight deadline and need everything running smoothly, agencies have the skills and resources to get your channel up and running efficiently.

They’re also great for ongoing support, making sure your channel stays updated and glitch-free. So, if you’ve got a decent budget and want to ensure your Roku channel stands out, hiring a development agency is definitely the way to go.

Is hiring a developer to build your Roku channel the right choice for you?

Publishers who opt to build a custom SDK channel focus on enhancing user experience and achieving long-term profitability, even if it means a slower development process. But this is a huge investment.

The development process usually takes between 3 to 6 months to complete and can cost anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000, depending on the complexity and features you require. These costs cover the initial design, development, testing, and deployment.

And that’s just the development fee. So, if you do go down this route remember you’ll still have the monthly expenses of running the app, maintenance, support, and hosting. 

It’s a great option for larger businesses or content creators with complex needs who can afford to wait longer for their channel to go live.

Note that with custom app development, the biggest mistake you can make is trying to cut corners. While it may save you a bit of money in the short term, it’ll leave you with a buggy app and end up costing you further down the line. So, it’s important to thoroughly vet the developer or agency you plan to hire to build your Roku channel. Refer to online reviews and testimonials, or rely on your network to find a seasoned developer with previous experience in building similar Roku channels as you desire.


  • Custom design and features: Full customization to meet your specific requirements, providing a unique user experience.
  • Expert guidance: Professional developers bring expertise, ensuring a high-quality, reliable channel.
  • Advanced functionality: Ability to integrate advanced features and complex functionalities that generalized platforms may not support.


  • High cost: Custom development is expensive, typically costing between $10K and $20K.
  • Longer development time: It takes between 3 to 6 months to complete, which is longer compared to using dedicated platforms.
  • Ongoing costs: Continuous expenses for maintenance, support, and hosting.

How to launch your Roku channel by hiring a developer

Step 1: Identify your needs
  • Define your goals: Clearly outline what you want to achieve with your Roku channel, including specific features, design elements, and functionality.
  • Set a budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on development, including initial setup and ongoing maintenance.
  • Create a timeline: Establish a realistic timeline for when you want your channel to be launched.
Step 2: Find the right developer
  • Research potential developers:
    • Freelance platforms: Use platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal to find experienced Roku developers.
    • Development agencies: Look for agencies that specialize in Roku channel development.
    • Referrals: Ask for recommendations from your network or industry contacts.
  • Evaluate portfolios:
    • Previous work: Review the developer’s past projects to assess their experience and quality of work.
    • Client reviews: Read testimonials and reviews from previous clients to gauge satisfaction and reliability.
  • Conduct interviews:
    • Technical expertise: Ask about their experience with Roku development, including specific technologies and tools they use.
    • Communication skills: Ensure they can clearly understand your requirements and communicate their process effectively.
    • Project management: Inquire about their approach to project management, timelines, and how they handle revisions and updates.
Step 3: Set clear expectations
  • Detailed brief: Provide the developer with a comprehensive brief that includes your goals, design preferences, functionality requirements, and any specific deadlines.
  • Contract agreement: Draft a contract outlining the scope of work, timelines, payment terms, and any other pertinent details. Ensure both parties sign and agree to the terms.
Step 4: Development process
  • Initial design and prototyping:
    • Wireframes: Review initial wireframes or prototypes to ensure the layout and design meet your expectations.
    • Feedback Loop: Provide feedback and request revisions as necessary.
  • Development phase:
    • Regular updates: Schedule regular check-ins with the developer to review progress and address any issues.
    • Testing: Conduct thorough testing of the channel to ensure all features work correctly and the user experience is smooth.
Step 5: Launch and post-launch
  • Final review: Perform a final review of the channel to ensure it meets all your requirements and is ready for launch.
  • Deployment: Work with the developer to deploy the channel to the Roku platform.
  • Promotion: Plan and execute a promotional strategy to attract viewers to your new channel.

Create your own Roku channel with Uscreen

There you have it: a full guide on how to create your own Roku channel. Whether you use a dedicated platform, go for direct publishing, or hire a developer, each option has its perks.

Think about your tech skills, budget, and what you need most. Pick the best method for you and get your Roku channel up and running. With the right approach, you’ll provide a top-notch viewing experience for your audience.

Start today and take your content to the next level with a Roku channel. The potential for growth and engagement is huge, and the right choice will help you succeed in the long run. At Uscreen, we help creators launch their video streaming service where they can upload, manage, and natively distribute their video content on all devices.

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

How to create a Roku channel FAQs

Still have questions about creating a Roku channel? We’ve got the answers. 

What is Roku? 

Roku is an over-the-top (OTT) streaming device that allows you to stream video content straight to your TV, both on-demand and live.

The device gives you access to a full catalog of streaming channels, called Roku apps or Roku channels.

And having your own Roku app means you can have your content look and feel like you have your own TV channel. 

The company sells its own hardware called Roku Players, which run anywhere between $29.99 and $249.99, depending on the model.

The most common Roku devices are:
– HDMI sticks that plug directly into your TV.
– Block boxes that connect via Wi-FI.
– Smart TVs.

Roku OS is the software that runs on these devices. It allows you to download and stream a wide range of Roku TV apps.

How Do You Get Your Own Channel on Roku?

There are 3 ways you can create your own Roku channel if you’re not a developer:

1. Use Roku Direct Publisher, Roku’s own service built to help you start and create a Roku channel of your own. 
2. Lease a Roku channel from an OTT platform provider, like Uscreen.
3. Hire a developer or agency to custom-build a Roku channel for you. 

How Much Does It Cost To Create a Roku Channel?

Depending on how you create your Roku channel, you’re looking to spend anywhere between $10 and $20K.

Roku Direct Publisher is free to set up, but you will have to pay for your own hosting, CDNs, and content feed, which can cost up to $1,000, not including developer fees.

Hiring a developer to custom-build your Roku channel will cost you between $10K and $20K, and may take up to 6 months to deliver.
If you’re leasing an app, depending on which provider you choose and the package you get, you’ll be spending a smaller lump sum of money spread out over time. 

Is the Roku Channel Really Free?

If you’re creating a Roku channel using Roku Direct Publisher, the service is free, but the prerequisites to create the channel can cost between $30 and $1,000+ per month not including developer fees.

As a viewer, there are no monthly fees to stream via Roku tv, but some channels do require a subscription, like Netflix. 

Which Is Better: Fire Stick or Roku?

As a creator, Roku is more widely used worldwide — its share of global viewing time is 30.5%, whereas Fire Stick is 16%. As a viewer, Roku has more channels (some of them free), works on Alexa and Google, and has more features. But Fire Stick is still a good choice for Amazon Prime video members and people who have Amazon smart devices.