How to enable Roku Developer Mode and Sideload Apps

What is Roku Developer Mode?

Before we discuss what is Roku TV Developer Mode, we need to identify why do we need to enable Roku Developer Mode. So if you are a developer and come across a new Roku Channel but you are unable to install it, here you need to enable the Developer Mode on Roku.

Roku is not like another Android streaming device because it runs on Roku OS, so you have to deal with it in a different manner. But once you enable Roku TV Developer Mode, you can do changes in UI or even Apps. or in other words, customizing as per your requirements.

Now let us see “What is Roku Developer Mode“, it is somehow the same as that Android’s developer mode allows you to test new apps, screen mirroring, and do many things. The main purpose of Roku TV Developer Mode is to debug apps, errors, and other features to make them work even more efficiently. 

Sometimes, you won’t find certain apps on the Roku Official Channel store, so sideloading is the only way to install that channel. If you have enabled Roku TV Developer Mode, you can install those Channels on your Roku. In this tutorial, we will show you “How to enable Roku Developer Mode“. Before starting with the article, let us first have a look at the requirement to enable Roku Development mode.

Requirement of Enabling Roku Developer Mode

If you are trying to Enable Roku TV Developer Mode, then make sure that the following items are already in place with you.

  • You should have a Roku Streaming Device
  • Within the device, you must have an account
  • You must have enrollment in Roku Development Program
  • Some sorts of code editor like Roku plug-in for Eclipse IDE or BrightScript extension for the Visual Studio Code IDE

How to Enable Roku Developer Mode?

There are four steps to set up the complete development environment on Roku.

Enable Roku Developer Mode

  • Turn on your Roku Streaming device.
  • Then follow the below-mentioned combinations of keys on your remote.
  1. Press the Home button 3 times and then the Up button 2 times
  2. Press the Right button 1 time and the Left button 1 time
  3. Press the Right button 1 time, the Left button 1 time, and finally the Right button 1 time
  • This combination of keys will take you to a secret menu. After reaching the secret menu, a dialogue window will appear.
  • Note down the IP address and Username for the developer setting description. Then click on the “Enable Installer and Restart” button.
How to enable Roku Developer Mode
  • After clicking on it, you will be taken to the next screen where you will be asked to confirm SDK License Agreement. Click on the “Agree” button.
How to enable Roku Developer Mode
  • After that enter the “Development Webserver” or “Web Developer Mode Password“. Create a password and try your best not to forget it.
  • Finally, click on “Set Password and Reboot“. Your Roku device will reboot and once it starts you will be in Roku Developer mode.
How to enable Roku Developer Mode

Access Roku Developer Mode

  • On your PC or smartphone browser, Visit the IP address that you had already noted.
  • Enter your Roku username and password.
How to enable Roku Developer Mode
  • Once you log in, you will find the Roku Development Application installer screen.
How to enable Roku Developer Mode

Install or Update Apps on Roku and Running Samples

Keep in mind that you have to save the file on your PC or smartphone is a zip file format. It doesn’t matter what software you use for zipping.

  • On the installer screen, click on the upload button.
  • Browse for the file that you have saved, and then select it for uploading.
  • Wait for a little while the file is uploaded completely. Once completely uploaded, the file name will appear near the upload button.
  • Now click on the install button but make sure that your PC or smartphone and Roku device are connected to the same Wifi network.
  • Now launch your Roku and you will be able to find the installed Channel under the tab of My Channels.
  • Open the app on the Roku device and test it.

Examine Channel with Developer Settings

Package Inspector

The basic function of the package is to authenticate the developer’s ID. Like it analyzes the developer’s ID and the date of creation just to ensure that the same ID is used while updating the pack. It helps channel registry data remain intact. In case you use a different developer ID, all the data of the channel won’t be available.

Check Out: How to Access Tumblr on Roku & How to Fix Double Screen Issue on Roku

Rekey Utility

The Rekey Utility is used to replace the signing key with a key from an existing pack on your Roku device. It is very helpful when you are trying to develop different channels on the same Roku Device.

Screenshot Utility

This utility is used to take screenshots of your app that you can upload to the Roku store along with your app. You only have to click on the screenshot button on your screen and that’s it. However, there is no recording option.

BrightScript Profiler

From a developer’s point of view, this is the most important utility because it collects important metrics like CPU usage, well-clock timer, number of times a function is called, and more.

All these utilities will help you publish your channel on the Roku store. The process is called “Packaging a Channel”, which uses cryptographic hardware to build into Roku devices and the resulting package is also an encrypted one. This is the reason that it can be securely distributed on Roku devices.

This is the whole process of “How to enable Roku Developer Mode” that might seem complex to laymen but will surely be helpful for developers.

Screenshots Courtesy: Techowns

Important Points

If you are using Roku TV Developer Mode, then keep the following points into your consideration.

  • You can only upload “Zip” files while sideloading your channel. To publish, the file should be in “.pkg” format.
  • Keep in mind that the maximum size of the channel should not exceed 4MB.
  • You can sideload one app at a time. If you try to sideload another one, the former will be replaced by the latter.

Final Words

This is the complete setup for enabling Roku TV Developer Mode and after this article, you should be able to answer “How to Enable Roku Developer Mode”. One thing that you should be very careful about is, that Roku is not as simple as Android so when you are playing around with tweaks like trying Roku Developer Mode Channels, make sure that you are not destroying the firmware of the device.

If you have any queries about “How to Enable Roku Developer Mode“, you can ask us via the comment section.

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