I wrote and have been using for years a truly private custom channel on my Roku devices. It only streams video from an appliance physically located on my private local network. There is nothing nefarious, embarrassing or illegal about the content, but it also is nobody's business but mine. Literally only myself and two other households in my family use the channel. The video content didn't come from the Internet, has never traversed public networks and never will. I'm only late noticing this policy change about private channels thanks to a nastygram today telling me my "beta channel" will expire in Feb.
I don't know anything about the new IDK alternative, but insofar as it doesn't even work on the Roku TVs I've invested in it is a complete non-starter. And I don't know how or if I can make my channel public. It won't function for anybody else without my customized on-premises appliance hosting the content, nor is it intended to. I don't need "the public" finding it, it isn't for them. Certification for publishing involves all kinds of unnecessary nonsense (for me) like deep linking which I don't even know how I could support or pass certification. So what is the answer to keep my own very private channel? Just republish and reinstall it every 3 months as a "beta" channel? What a sorry experience. Why isn't it enough to just limit beta channels to 20 users, why the 120 day expiration? This change is terrible.
I'm keeping the ranting portion of my reaction mostly to myself, because I'm sure nobody's cares about my choice words or what I really think. But I don't know why I can't continue to use my literal private property physical hardware that I fully own and paid for in the way that I want to.
IDK is most definitely not an alternative to private channels. Roku has a lot of nerve even suggesting such a thing. You can make beta channels that will expire in 120 days. I haven't looked into them yet. I don't know what happens at the end of 120 days - whether or not you can "renew" it or if you have to create a new beta channel.
IDK would not be able to use Roku Brightscript/scenegraph. You would need to create everything for the UI yourself. There may be some open source C++ video player projects out there but it would be a lot of work to implement with IDK. There are hooks to use the native Roku video player hardware, samples to do so are in the IDK setup project from Roku. At this time IDK channels can only be used as a side loaded project ( on supported devices) and at that point you might as well just build a standard Brightscript/scenegraph channel and sideload on all the Roku players that you would like the personal app to be used.
reference IDK getting started
supported Roku devices (only most recent Roku models)
Similar issue here but we've got a small but dedicated fan base. We run Private Channels of archived local TV Shows in the Greater Cleveland area. For fans to watch on their TVs we chose Roku as the platform for ease of publication and ease of access to those interested. The advanced Roku features are of no interest to our audience, and monetization isn't in our interests, what so ever. Access to archival content is. The wider general public has no interest in the content we carry and the channel(s) will never hit even 1,000 hours viewed per month, much less Roku's floor of 200,000 hours. IMHO elimination of the Private, Non-Certified Channels is a huge disservice to the many independent, niche channels, which bring customers to Roku in the first place. Unfortunately, 90% of my viewing, and that of our audience will be cancelled in February. The other unfortunate part is the Dashboard has no visible means to submit the channel for Certification. I see no reason Private Channels couldn't remain, even if a Monthly Fee we involved for publication access. Looking into Amazon Fire or Chromecast as alternatives since Roku's Developer instructions and tutorials are poor at best. 😞
Roku hardware has never been the best or most capable. I'm also not a big fan of Brightscript or the limitations of their APIs. And constant updates and buggy firmware, etc. But what has attracted a healthy homebrew scene was the relative ease of development and distribution, and people find the platform easy to use. I guess now they want to make it a glorified app store for the big players only and drive us all out, because they are effectively killing the hobbyists and homebrewers.
I'll see if I can limp along with beta channels for a while, but in my case unless Roku gives us a break or something I'm thinking I will just turn my channel into a streaming "device" a la Raspberry Pi. Initially it could just be a Kodi script or plugin, but longer term a fully custom UI experience using much more powerful libraries like SDL and ffmpeg or libvlc, will be able to make it do what I truly want it to and not have to put up with Roku's nonsense and limitations ever again. It's a project for sure, but not insurmountable. It will just plug into an HDMI and have its own remote. Slightly less convenient but more powerful and flexible and no need to necessarily buy any more Roku hardware.
For broader but still small-time channel distribution, I don't know what the answer is. Pound sand I guess, as far as Roku is concerned.
Bradsky, I'm right there with ya. I already have a Pi Media Server running. Now how to set one up as a Server for the folks that watch our, soon to be gone, Roku Channel. I already have Video Links on our website and video embedded in the website. I guess setting up a Pi might be a good solution for a Public Media Server via the website, possibly with a Plex or other intermediate server platform.
I've been a huge supporter of Roku since almost the beginning. I have gifted countless Roku's to friends and family members and encouraged there use, because I thought they were the best choice of streaming devices. That hasn't really changed, but this new time limited beta policy will be the reason I switch to another platform. I've had a few private channels for years that only make sense in my home, ie home movie collection, that I'm very happy with and don't want to have find a third party solution to replace. Making me find a solution to a problem that hasn't existed in a very long while because you want to time bomb beta channels is not acceptable, so I'll most likely be saying good bye to my Rokus over time.