Roku Just Removed These Channels

Hot on the heels of the news that Roku is adding 25 new free channels, users learned that the streaming device is also removing some channels. Roku removed all non-certified channels from the platform on Wednesday, having previously announced its decision back in October. The initial announcement said that affected channels would disappear in March 2022, but a subsequent blog post from Roku updated that timeline to February.

The good news is that this change isn't anything that will affect the vast majority of Roku owners, as these non-certified channels are generally used by developers to test apps in development before they can be launched officially on the Roku Channel Store. These channels can be made available to select users so that developers can make sure they work correctly before being released to the broader audience. 

Developers will still be able to test their apps come Wednesday through Roku's new beta channels program, which is supposed to give these new apps more exposure over the 120-day beta testing period. The new Independent Developer Kit (IDK) is targeted towards developing non-traditional apps including games and smart home applications and will be available alongside Roku's Software Development Kit (SDK), which is for developing traditional streaming apps.

Apps developed using the IDK will, much like non-certified channels, not be available in the Roku Channel Store or supported by Roku TVs and streaming players. "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," the company explained, adding about how the IDK can be used, "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."

Developers are the majority of people who will be affected by this change, but Roku is also cracking down on people who build non-certified channels in order to stream illegal content. People have been using the non-certified channel process to make available pirated content and adult content on the service, which generally be prohibited, and by changing the process, the company expects to have more oversight over the apps being beta tested.