I’ve lived with the Roku for a while now and find that it is really good for getting a minority opinion on news. (It is good for other things, too, but that’s the one that really works well for me).
You can get Netflix just about everywhere on anything, and it covers 90% of our “entertainment” needs, so the Roku is just ‘yet another method’ for it. The other needs divide into about 5% CBS shows (when the new Star Trek comes out we’ll be buying the CBS deluxe package, whatever it is called) and 5% of “misc. stuff”. Realistically, the rest of the “entertainment” on the Roku ranges from a ‘nice to have’ for things like old movies and some B&W TV Reruns, down to “OMG – delete that one” for things looking like a collection of old VHS Horror Movies turned into a ‘channel’ by someone. So that, for me, leaves the dozen or so news channels as the really special bit.
Where it shines, IMHO, is the news channels and minority interest channels. There are a dozen channels or so of “local communities” where someone has put up a set of the local kids ball games, local town council meetings, local parades, etc. Yeah, basically useless to me, but to folks in or from the community, a real treat. Out of town when your cousin is in the county fair parade? No problem, you can tune in. Similarly there’s a Vegan Food Show that would have a hard time finding a spot on a national network. There’s also a “Real News Network” with a fairly obvious left wing bias, and there’s Red State Radio that wears its POV on its name. Then there are Religious oriented channels for all comers. My spouse can now ‘attend mass’ at any of a half dozen churches should she not feel up to driving in. We even found that the church my son attends has a channel.
This got me thinking. Why not a Climate Skeptics Channel?
So that’s the question I’m asking folks: Do you think there would be any interest in, or benefit from, a Skeptics Channel?
FWIW, I’m not seeing me as they guy making one. I’m not equipped with the artistic talent needed for either the stage presence or the “production values” needed. Seeing me sitting in my living room reading web pages would not be compelling TV… This is more of an idea ‘for the community’. It would take a team, though IMHO it could be a small team of 3 or 4, to make this a success. Video tech skills, producer / director, stage talent, and content creators – both climate savvy and video / arts savvy. So it is more fishing for “others” to do…
Now you might ask “Why not just do YouTube?”. Well, that’s a fine way to go, but you get lost in the massive size of it, and Google is in command. Not thinking they would be that helpful with keeping you in the “suggested” list… The Roku does require buying their device, and that means a more limited audience; but I suspect it also would mean a lot less “trolls” to fend off as there isn’t a “comments” section to deal with. Having a classy collection (perhaps from many creators) of video content all in one place making the Skeptic Case could be a powerful communications tool.
From here on down are some links and text about how hard (or easy) it is to create a “channel”.
How To Build A Channel
So how hard is it to actually construct a channel? It can’t be too hard if you have Some Guy making a channel of his video collection or the town hall meetings. Looking into it, there seem to be two ways. (Or two main ways I’ve found so far ;-)
The Roku Process as listed on their web site, and InstantTVchannel.com has a service. (Many of the “minor” channels put up a banner for InstantTVchannel when they first are opened).
I’m going to look at the InstantTVchannel option first.
Instant TV Channel for Roku
Cloud-Based Roku Channel Production System
Create an Instant TV Channel account
You’ll need an account to begin using Instant TV Channel. Sign up for a free account now!
Three Roku channel types to choose from:
Free Channel @ $0.00/month
* 100% cloud-based, no server needed.
* Up to 10 videos per Roku channel.
* Stream from any public web server, hosting service, storage system, or content delivery network directly to Roku devices.
* Support for Brightcove, DaCast, Viddler, Vimeo, Vzaar, and other video hosting services.
* Playout “live” linear streams using scheduled VOD content.
* Track your Roku channel’s usage with Google Analytics.
* Design grid, horizontal, vertical, or combination channel layouts with unlimited nesting levels.
* Build feed-based Direct Publisher channels.
Unlimited Channel @ $4.95/month
* Includes all Free Channel features.
* Unlimited number of videos per Roku channel using your own AWS configuration storage.
* Up to 100 videos per Roku channel using included configuration storage.
* Optional RSS feeds and playlists can be used to automatically load content into your Roku channel.
* Support for Brightcove, Viddler, Vimeo, and Vzaar video playlists.
* Selected Roku channel areas can be password-protected.
* Create slideshows from image directories.
* Priority email support.
Commercial Channel @ $49.95/month
* Includes all Free Channel and Unlimited Channel features.
* Paid subscription Roku channels using In-Channel Purchasing, In-Channel Upgrades, and Registration & Linking.
* Built-in ad server for automatic preroll, midroll and postroll video advertisements.
* Support for Roku Advertising Framework (RAF), Vidillion, LiveRail, YuMe, and other VAST-compatible ad providers.
* Support for Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR).
* Fully brandable “white-label” Roku channel design.
* Priority telephone support.
So basically you can have a free channel if you have a ‘starter’ set of only 10 videos, and stream from some “public server”. For $5 / month you can have an unlimited number of videos using Amazon Web Services cloud servers (with their own charges) or 100 using their services. Private password protected channels are available, and you can do slideshows of directories.
At $50 / month you get to start charging for “subscriptions” to your channel and / or running advertising.
Clearly the intent is to let folks get started with a “the first one is always free” option, then work up to a commercial product if it takes off. Minor cost for special purpose channels with a non-commercial use, but active followers.
All very approachable.
They have an “about” page with a nice graphic of how it works at the server level:
Direct Through Roku
Roku calls their channel creators “developers” so you get to figure that out…
Join the Roku Publishing Platform
Build channels and monetize your content to millions of customers around the world
That has three buttons for exploring. “Direct Publisher”, “Guides”, and “Documentation”. Price not so much… One, the middle one, leads to “guides”. Each of these a link in the original:
HomeDeveloper SDKGuides & Tutorials
Developer Guides and Tutorials
Learn the details for building great Roku channels
We’ve pulled together standalone guides that show the core concepts for building Roku channels. Follow any of these guides to add core features to your channels.
Roku Ad Framework – The Roku Ad Framework (RAF) integrates advanced video ad functionality directly into the Roku Channels, and enables developers and publishers to monetize their audience.
Billing – Walk-through on setting up an in-channel product and how to purchase from within a sample Roku channel. For developers new to billing, make sure to review the sections on payments and purchases.
Roku Web Services – The Roku Web Services API enables publishers to verify purchases, issue refunds, cancel subscriptions, and more. Learn the basics of interacting with our cloud backend.
Remote Control APIs – To launch content from Roku Search or build custom remote interfaces, ECP (external control protocol) enables control of Roku devices over a local area network through a collection of commands.
Screensavers – Screensavers are basic channels designed to be customizable display screens that can be played in the background of channels and from the Roku homescreen.
Deep Linking – Launching channels and media content through Display ads, Roku search results, and Roku My Feed. The following guide details how to integrate deep linking in your Roku channel.
Authentication and Linking – Understanding a standard “rendezvous” pattern for account creation, this guide walks through registering and linking a device to an existing backend API service using a registration code.
Channel Packaging – Channels consist of source code, images, and fonts that are “packaged” to protect developer’s intellectual property on Roku devices. Learn about encrypted packages and how they are securely distributed on the Roku Platform.
Debugging – Testing Roku Channels involves using a telnet console access to a variety of ports. The debug console provides a window into the runtime environment and provides features such as crash logs, stack-traces and much more.
Private channels – Private channels are useful for testing and staging your channels before submitting to begin the Roku Channel Store certification process.
Performance – To ensure that your content can reach the entire Roku audience watching on the whole range of devices we offer, you should use this guide to help provide a smooth, lag-free experience for users on even the lowest end devices.
Sample channels and Roku SDK examples – We’ve pulled together all samples for building Roku channels in one repo collection. Upload them to your Roku device and test out fully working channels for learning how to develop specific types of apps.
It may simply be that it is all advertizing driven with their direct publish option and no cost to you, but that would imply some kind of ability for them to accept or reject channels (or they would be overrun with really crap SPAM channels in no time flat). Who knows, and I’m not digging into it more just yet.
Direct Publisher is the best way to publish your content in the Roku Channel Store. The tool quickly builds a branded best-in-class Roku channel that automatically integrates into Universal Search, My Feed, and future content merchandising/recommendation initiatives by Roku. All without writing any code.
Channels built using Direct Publisher are kept up-to-date by Roku, meaning there’s no additional maintenance costs for the publisher. You will benefit from Roku’s years of experience building streaming experiences that users love. The result is increased engagement and higher viewership for your content.
Direct Publisher also offers built in monetization options via the Roku Audience Network advertising platform, or you can integrate your own ads server.
Currently, Direct Publisher only supports ad monetization. SVOD and TVOD are not yet available.
To build a channel with Direct Publisher, you’ll need to:
Create a Roku customer account: my.roku.com/signup
Enroll in the Roku Developer Program: developer.roku.com/enrollment/standard
Enroll in the Roku Partner Payouts Program (required for ad monetization): developer.roku.com/developer/billing
Required content and assets:
A content feed
Marketing assets: Channel logo, poster, splash screen
Basic channel information: Name, description, category, etc.
There are several benefits for using the Direct Publisher tool to build a Roku channel, including:
No coding — Direct Publisher is a feed-based channel creation tool. This means there is no coding or programming knowledge required. Anyone with an MRSS or JSON feed can quickly and easily create a channel.
Automatic best-in-class channel — Channels built using Direct Publisher all share the same code base, which is maintained and updated by Roku. New features introduced to the Roku Platform are automatically added to Direct Publisher channels, ensuring your channel stays fully optimized. Publishers can focus on building their brand and creating quality content.
Monetization — Direct Publisher channels can be monetized by serving ads to their viewers. Publishers can choose to use their own ad servers, or they can request to have Roku serve ads for them.
Free content promotion & discovery — Automatic integration into Roku Search, My Feed, and future content merchandising.
Analytics — Our custom analytics dashboard highlights several key performance metrics, such as number of channel installations, hours streamed, etc.
Customizable — You’ll be able to organize and display your content in different categories by using tags and playlists. You can also customize your channel with your brand’s logo, assets, and colors.
Free — There are no fees for using the Roku Direct Publisher.
Resources for getting started
We have several guides to help you get started with Direct Publisher!
What is video hosting? How do I create a content feed? How is this all related?
If you’re brand new to the streaming world, we recommend you read our quick overview on how Roku Channels work.
How long is it going to take me to build a Direct Publisher channel?
Our Channel Tutorial provides a step-by-step walkthrough of how to create a Direct Publisher channel. If you already have everything you need, the process takes little time to complete. Otherwise you can use the sample feed URL and brand assets we provide for the purpose of the tutorial.
How do I create a content feed?
Publishers can configure their own content feeds by following our feed specifications. For professional help creating your feed, contact one of our preferred feed creation partners.
I’m looking to customize my content feed. Where can I find more technical guides?
The Direct Publisher Feed is a JSON feed format for all types of content, including Movies, Series and TV Specials that require detailed metadata. The guide provides detailed information on all supported objects and parameters, as well as examples.
The MRSS Specification has an extensive description of our MRSS support including all properties and examples.
Is there more in-depth information for a particular section of Direct Publisher?
Content Specifications — Overview of support media types, formats, and content categorization
Branding & Design Assets — Includes dimensions for required branding assets and details on color customization
Ad Monetization — Explains the ad options and features available to publishers looking to monetize their channel
Analytics & Metrics — Provides insights to Direct Publisher’s custom analytics dashboard and third-party plugin options
There are likely others
This seems to be a third option, but I’ve not looked into it as much:
It claims to have a YouTube to Roku method
Need an Affordable
We can develop and design a simple Video Roku channel according to your specifications.
And we can host it for you at a very affordable price!
Youtube to Roku
Sign me up!
Those last two are ‘radio button’ on the original. The bottom of the top page is a ribbon of giant ‘buttons’ that only quasi work on the browser I’m using to post this (FireFox ESR on a Raspberry Pi) and when I DID get one to pop, it put up a big photo with basically only slightly longer text. (I already new that “live video” would most likely let me ’embed live video on demand’ or whatever the slightly longer text was…) So folks might want to explore it with some other system / browser.