Roku SDK Documentation : Roku's Master UI

While developers have the ability to build and design their channel to meet nearly any aesthetics they prefer, users will still be experiencing your Channel within the Roku UI experience. This Roku Master UI has its own set of conventions and system controls. Creating a level of harmony between these two linked spaces will benefit the user. Below is a list of considerations. 

Pathways to your Channel

There are several ways users can launch into your Channel from the Roku UI. Not all pathways lead users to your Channel's home page. This means your Channel's overall navigation scheme must be flexible enough to enable users to effectively start at any layer of your UI and move around from there.

  • If your Channel is not already installed:
    • All pathways to your Channel will always lead to a sign-up/in flow first
  • Ads:
    • Can launch and deep-link to almost any level of your Channel
      • For example, launch and jump straight to a home page, a category or collection page, or a details page for a specific item
  • Search and Follow:
    • If launching the Channel takes the user to the sign-up/in flow first, then immediately afterward the Channel should still remember to take users to the specific content that was selected and kicked off this whole process.
    • Otherwise, Search and Follow can launch and deep-link to a specific piece of content.
      • For example, a movie or TV episode details page, or a TV show season/episode collection page
  • Channel store:
    • Can launch your Channel to its home page.
  • Partner buttons
    • Can launch your Channel to its home page.

Exiting your Channel

There are several ways users can exit your channel. Some are immediate and beyond your control, and a few are more controlled. All forms of exit fall into one of two categories:

  1. Exit and take me to a new place (E.g., Home button).
  2. Exit and return me to where I was prior to launching your Channel (E.g., Back button).

Some more specific information

  • RokuTVs may auto-power off after a certain amount of time of no user-activity.
  • Roku will launch a screensaver when there is no video playing and there is no user-activity.
  • Users can activate any of the following, which will immediately exit your Channel regardless of where the user was or what the user was doing:
    • Roku remote's Home button
    • Roku remote's Partner buttons (E.g., Netflix button)
    • Selection of any channel from Roku mobile app's My Channels
    • Selection of any Roku mobile app function that will take over the TV screen (E.g., Miracast, Play on Roku, selection of a movie trailer, etc.)
  • Users can take any explicit exits you offer through your Channel's own UI.
  • Users must also be able to implicitly signal a desire to exit your Channel via the Roku remote's Back button:
    • While Back is also a mechanism to navigate within your UI, there are specific conditions in which Back should exit
    • If users deep-link into your Channel, pressing Back could either exit your Channel back to the referring screen, or navigate them to your Home screen
    • From your Channel's home screen, pressing Back should either exit or offer a menu/opportunity for users to explicitly confirm and choose to exit
  • On occasion, it's quite possible that users may accidentally exit your channel. Hence, it's important for your Channel to save its state to make recovery easy for the returning user (E.g., Video-playback resume, recently watched, watchlist, etc.).


  • There are values within Roku's settings that should be queried and leveraged by your Channel. 
    • For example:
      • Closed Captions
      • Language/Localization

Star/Options button

Star/Options button is a great button to reveal menus and popup dialogs with contextual options. However, there is a restriction for this button:

  • Within your Channel, during full screen video playback, pressing the Roku remote's Star/Option button will reveal a Roku popup dialog offering users various standardized options (E.g, Closed captioning, audio tracks).
    • This is necessary in part to comply with various regulations.
  • Do not design your Channel to use the Star/Option button during video playback.