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Roku to Remove Non-Certified Channels with Launch of Independent Developer Kit

Aubrey Chorpenning

If you’re currently using non-certified channels on your Roku device, a change is coming. The company revealed in an announcement that non-certified channels will be removed from the platform by March 2022. Until then, users can continue to download, install, and use non-certified channels on their Roku devices. It’s unclear how many non-certified channels currently exist and will be affected by this change. This is more a point of impact for developers than consumers.

Currently, developers use non-certified channels to test their apps prior to launch. Because they have not been certified by Roku, these channels aren’t available in the Roku Channel Store. Developers can make their non-certified channels available to a small group of users during this time as they ensure their apps are ready for launch.

Non-certified channels are being replaced by beta channels to test up to two channels at one time. The beta channel feature will give developers’ apps more exposure during the 120-day testing period. The new Independent Developer Kit (IDK) is for developing non-traditional apps such as games and smart home applications. Roku is offering it alongside the SDK, which is for developing traditional streaming apps.

Like non-certified channels, apps developed with the IDK will not be in the Roku Channel Store or supported by Roku TVs, streambars, and streaming players.

The company noted, “The Roku IDK and beta channel feature will facilitate broader innovation, improve beta testing, and offer a better development experience and a more standardized development process across streaming platforms.”

In an FAQ, Roku said that developers can use a variety of programming languages to code with the IDK. Also in the FAQ, Roku explained how the IDK might be used. The company said, “For example, developers can build applications in JavaScript that pull together data from various sources, effectively turning their TV monitor into a snapshot view of their daily news, weather, calendar appointments, and even traffic conditions for their office commute.”

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