First testing of the Wisconsin Channel Roku Channel | WisCommunity

First testing of the Wisconsin Channel Roku Channel

March 6, 2017 - 11:54am

Hi - You have probably ended up on this page because you were invited to help kick the tires on the new Wisconsin Channel Roku Channel. Note that at the moment the app is barely hobbling but is at least nominally functional.  I am working out a few issues with the rather odd requirements for a feed to Roku, and some issues with file storage, so I'm going to at the moment only ask for a FEW uploads from each of you so that I have some actual content to deal with.  Note that this is working as far as I can tell, but it is not very thoroughly tested yet, so I am asking you to beat it up a little and find stuff that is broken.

SO -- here is the deal. You can now do some uploads that will show up on the Roku app, and that will help me seriously with debugging this.  So - for the time being those of you who have set up accounts for this purpose SHOULD  now be able to go to -- fill out the form there, upload your video file, and away you go, at least in theory.  Note that there are some other fields to fill out - the ones with a red asterisk are mandatory.  There is a field called thumbnail -- you can either upload a thumbnail (needs to be at least 800x450 in size and should preferably be in 16x9 aspect ratio.  Note that if it is BIGGER than that it should get re-scaled automatically by the server.)  If you do NOT feel like uploading a thumbnail image that's okay - the system will substitute a generic logo in its place (at least that is what is SUPPOSED to happen).  Note that the tags field currently has a very limited number of categories - if you upload a couple of videos it may give me a better idea about how to categorize the videos on the Roku player. 

Also--- note at the moment that the videos need to be mp4, mov, or m4v files and need to be under 100 megabytes in size -- the file size restriction will probably get fixed within the next couple of weeks --- the file TYPE restriction will probably stay a little longer. 

Anyway, it's been a REALLY interesting learning experience, which I am going to try to back off from for the rest of the day and get some actual paying work done.

A couple of you have asked about charges for this.  At the moment we're just kicking the tires.  I think in the long run I'm going to be asking for something like a $50/year fee to help pay for the bandwidth and storage costs, which could be considerable.

At the moment this is all running in sort of an awkward setup where I am hosting the video files on my own servers in Eau Claire.  In the long run the plan is to have them all in Amazon S3 (or maybe the equivalent in Google) but at the moment I'm having to write  a bunch of software patches to make that happen.  Some time later in the week I will post some instructions on how to add the test channel to your account at Roku so it will show up on your Roku player. I'm hoping to try to get this published some time in April in a considerably prettier and more stable form.  Note also that at some point the app will have some pre-roll ads put in place, unless we decide that that is too danged annoying. 

Questions? Problems? Send them off to and  I will do my best.

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Steve Hanson
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