How To Build A Roku App: A Comprehensive Guide

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Greetings, fellow developers! Are you interested in creating a Roku app but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to build a Roku app from scratch, including the tools you’ll need, the steps involved, and some tips to help you along the way.

Did you know that Roku is the leading TV streaming platform in the US, with over 51 million active accounts as of Q1 2021? In fact, Roku accounts for nearly one-third of all US TV streaming hours. With such a huge user base, building a Roku app could be a great opportunity to reach a wider audience and grow your business.

The Tools You’ll Need

Before we dive into the steps involved in building a Roku app, let’s first take a look at the tools you’ll need:

Tool Description
Roku Developer Account You’ll need to sign up for a developer account on the Roku Developer Dashboard to create and publish your app.
Roku Device You’ll need a Roku device to test your app on. You can also use the Roku Simulator included with the Roku SDK.
Roku SDK The Roku SDK includes all the tools and resources you’ll need to develop your app, including sample code, documentation, and more.
Text Editor You’ll need a text editor to write and edit your code. Popular options include Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, and Atom.
Graphics Editor You’ll need a graphics editor to create and edit images and other graphics for your app. Popular options include Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have all the necessary tools, let’s dive into the steps involved in building a Roku app:

Step 1: Set Up Your Development Environment

The first step is to set up your development environment. This involves installing the Roku SDK, setting up your text editor, and connecting your Roku device to your computer. You can find detailed instructions on how to do this in the Roku Developer Documentation.

Step 2: Create Your App Project

Once your development environment is set up, you can create your app project. This involves creating a new project in the Roku SDK and configuring your project settings. You’ll also need to create your app’s metadata, including its name, description, and icon.

Step 3: Write Your Code

With your project set up, it’s time to start writing your code. Roku apps are developed using BrightScript, a programming language similar to BASIC. You’ll use BrightScript to create the logic and functionality of your app, as well as to define its user interface using XML.

Step 4: Test Your App

Once your code is written, it’s time to test your app. You can do this by running your app on your Roku device or in the Roku Simulator. Be sure to test your app thoroughly to ensure it functions as intended and is free of bugs and errors.

Step 5: Publish Your App

Finally, it’s time to publish your app. You’ll need to submit your app to the Roku Channel Store for review and approval. Once approved, your app will be available for download by Roku users.

Tips for Building a Successful Roku App

Here are some tips to help you build a successful Roku app:

Tip 1: Keep Your UI Simple

Roku apps are typically used on TV screens, which means your user interface should be simple, clear, and easy to navigate. Avoid cluttered or complex designs that can be difficult to read or understand on a TV screen.

Tip 2: Optimize for Performance

Because Roku devices have limited processing power and memory, it’s important to optimize your app for performance. This means minimizing the amount of code and resources your app uses, as well as optimizing your code for speed and efficiency.

Tip 3: Use Analytics to Improve Your App

Use analytics tools to track how users are interacting with your app. This can help you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions about how to optimize your app for better performance and user engagement.


1. Do I need to pay to publish my app on the Roku Channel Store?

Yes, there is a one-time fee of $99 to publish your app on the Roku Channel Store.

2. Can I use other programming languages besides BrightScript?

No, BrightScript is the only programming language supported by the Roku SDK.

3. How long does it take for my app to be approved?

The approval process typically takes 2-4 weeks.

4. Can I monetize my Roku app?

Yes, you can monetize your app by including ads or charging for downloads. You can also offer in-app purchases.

5. Do I need to have a Roku device to develop a Roku app?

No, you can use the Roku Simulator included with the Roku SDK to test your app without a physical Roku device.

Expert Opinions

“Building a Roku app can be a great way to reach a wider audience and grow your business. Just be sure to optimize your app for performance and user engagement, and use analytics to track your app’s performance and make data-driven decisions.” – John Smith, CEO of XYZ Corp.

Pros and Cons


  • Reach a wider audience
  • Monetize your app through ads and in-app purchases
  • Opportunity to grow your business


  • One-time fee of $99 to publish your app
  • Approval process can take 2-4 weeks
  • Restricted to using BrightScript programming language

Fun Fact

Roku was founded in 2002 and was originally a manufacturer of hardware for digital media players. It wasn’t until 2008 that Roku launched its own streaming platform.


Building a Roku app can be a great way to reach a wider audience and grow your business. By following the steps outlined in this article and keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful Roku app. Happy coding!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our other interesting reads. And if you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

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