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TV & streaming

Roku is cracking down on private channels (and banning porn streams)

Roku has been in a bitter tussle with Google over rights regarding YouTube TV being available to its users. If negotiations fail by December, it could see the disappearance of 85 channels from Roku.

But the platform is now bringing down the hammer on private channels. As part of the Independent Developer Kit (IDK) launch, Roku adds a beta channel to the list of available options.

This will effectively replace the private channels that have been available for many years. These channels aren’t sanctioned, and content providers have seen it as an unofficial way to reach more viewers.

Here’s the backstory

Roku calls these channels non-certified, and through the years, plenty of adult content has been loaded onto it. This will come to an end with the launch of the IDK and the beta channel. The platform explained that the beta channel would be an avenue for developers to test up to 10 of their channels and content.

“With the release of the IDK and beta channels, Roku will remove non-certified channels from the platform by March 2022. The Roku IDK and beta channel feature will facilitate broader innovation, improve beta testing, and offer a better development experience and a more standardized development process across streaming platforms,” Roku explained in a blog post.

While it didn’t say so much, the move from Roku effectively bans adult content from its platform. To get official certification, channels need to be vetted by Roku’s policies and procedures. That’s something that adult channels will fail.

The private channels have also led to Roku’s inclusion in the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s (NCOSE) Dirty Dozen list for two years in a row.

How to boost Roku Parental Controls

The private channels were somewhat tricky to get to. But there are other ways in which you can safeguard children from viewing inappropriate content. Here’s how:

  • Always download apps or content from official channels or sources, whether for Roku, iOS, Android or your computer.
  • Set up parental controls on your device by pressing the Home button, select Settings and then Parental Controls. Select Enable Parental Controls and you should be ready to go.
  • Prevent users from adding new channels or watching adult content by blocking it with a PIN. You can do so by logging in to your Roku account, under PIN Preference select Update, and entering a 4-digit number.

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