Streaming platform and digital media player manufacturer Roku has become a household name in recent years. The company has sold an astounding 40 million devices in the US alone, and nearly one third of all smart TVs sold in the US in 2019 were based on its platform. Roku offers streaming sticks and smart TVs embedded with its own proprietary operating system, giving  viewers a simple way to access all their favorite over-the-top (OTT) services.

Following its runaway success, video on demand (VoD) platforms are scrambling to leverage its simplicity and access the homes of millions of users. In order to achieve this, though, TV brands and service operators need to engineer Roku channels. If you’re looking for a partner to help with Roku channel development, here are the top things to take into account to ensure that they have the right experience and expertise.

Knowledge of BrightScript

Overall, BrightScript is a simple and self-contained language to work with, especially when compared with other coding languages. However, you still need developers who have become experts in leveraging it to its full potential.

BrightScript is unique as it’s a bytecode-interpreted scripting language, which is different to languages like JavaScript. Engineers that have experience in front end development and modern platforms will be the ones that have mastered programming using BrightScript. 

“If developers don’t have an in-depth grasp of BrightScript, they risk building a badly-performing channel that may struggle to pass the Roku channel certification process,” explains Tomasz Wagner, a Project Manager that works on Roku channel development here at intive. 

“Ensuring that your development partner has a number of engineers on the team with multiple months or years of working with BrightScript under their belts is key to building solid Roku channels,” he adds.

A team with product experience

Knowledge-sharing is not yet a common practice for developers that work with Roku channels, making it more difficult for them to find information and leverage the rest of the community. That’s why it’s essential for your development partner to be made up of an experienced team that knows Roku and has enough collective expertise to ensure agile and quality programming.

Your development partner must have mastered the Roku Developer SDK and be capable of rapid custom channel implementation, as well as being comfortable with introducing any type of media content to the platform. 

“The team must also know how to deal with Roku’s tight technical limitations, while still being able to deliver the channel exactly as you requested it,” says Tomasz.

Digital media expertise

If your Roku channel development partner has experience working with other media platforms and providers, they are more likely to be able to overcome obstacles and challenges. For example, experience in building test automation frameworks for a different media platform could help when doing the same for a Roku channel.

Furthermore, experience with a variety of platforms also means that they have knowledge of different systems that the Roku channel might need to integrate with. “As Roku channels generally support similar digital media content types as other platforms, developers with digital media expertise are able to work more efficiently with similar content types on the Roku platform,” explains Tomasz.

Look for a development partner that has proven experience in building products for media and working on relevant projects to Roku channel development, and you’ll be guaranteed a more efficient team that is better equipped to resolve potential problems. 

The demand for quality Roku channel development is only going to go up, especially as the company sets its sights on expanding outside of the US and into European markets. intive specialize in Roku channel development, and has extensive experience in working with digital media platforms. If you’re an OTT provider and need a partner to help you leverage the far-reaching power of Roku’s platform and devices, we can help. Contact our team now.

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