Roku is ending its use of private (aka “non-certified”) channels and announced that it will remove existing private channels from all Roku devices on February 23, 2022. Although this includes all Roku porn channels, you don’t to worry – there are other ways to stream adult content to your TV and we are updating our listings to tell you how to do so.
Private channels were meant to allow developers to test channels before publishing them in the Roku channel store, and also provided a way for developers to provide access to small audiences without being listed in the public channel store. For those unfamiliar with private channels, the only differences between public channels and private channels are that private channels are not listed in the channel store and private channels are not reviewed by Roku for compliance with technical requirements.
Private Roku channels also do not need to meet Roku’s terms of service that disallow adult content, and the number of adult streaming services has greatly increased since the first one appeared on a Roku private channel in December 2009. However, recent controversies over content on PornHub spurred a backlash against Roku by some activists. In March, a letter signed by survivors of sexual exploitation and activists was sent to CEO Anthony Wood demanding that Roku shut down the Pornhub channel.
Aside from the Pornhub controversy, piracy is probably the bigger concern for Roku than pornography. A court order in 2017 banned Roku devices from being sold in Mexico after Cablevisión claimed that “hackers would develop unsupported channels with access to pirated content on Roku and sell subscriptions to users over WhatsApp.” And many long-term Roku users may remember the shutdown of XTV, a popular private channel with live streams of cable networks and on-demand episodes of popular TV series, after claims of copyright infringement.
Roku, however, mentions neither adult content nor piracy as reasons for the removal of all private channels. Roku just states that it “is sunsetting non-certified channels to better align with industry standards on their two different use cases: developer QA testing of channels to be certified and published to the Roku Channel Store, and limiting distribution of channels to a small set of users.” Private/non-certified channels will be replaced by two new developer features: Beta channels and the Independent Developer Kit (IDK). Furthermore, The Washington Times reports that a Roku spokesperson sent them “a statement saying that the decision to eliminate ‘non-certified’ channels aligns the company’s screening of content with what Apple, Amazon, Samsung and Xbox already do with apps… The company said the fact that Pornhub and other adult entertainment platforms had found their way onto Roku televisions through private or non-certified channels was incidental to the decision, which intends to standardize the tools that app developers use to create channels.”
Beta channels won’t provide any practical method of large-scale distribution of adult channels like private channels do. Each developer account will be limited to 10 beta channels that can be installed by a maximum of 20 test users at a time. Beta channels will automatically expire 120 days after creation, at which time they will be disabled for all users who have installed them. The IDK lets individual developers and enthusiasts build and sideload applications on IDK-supported Roku devices for their own personal use, opening the door to the possibility of distributing Roku channels in this manner. Unfortunately, sideloading an IDK app requires a fair amount of effort on the part of the user, as well as a bit of technical savvy.
But the demise of porn on Roku shouldn’t lead you to immediately cancel your adult service subscriptions. Other streaming devices will let you watch videos from many of the most-popular porn providers. Although not as simple as adding and using private channels on Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV are among the options for streaming porn to your TV, so you won’t have to go back to watching adult videos on your computer monitor or smartphone. At AdultStreamingTV.com, we’re adding articles and updating adult service listings to give you the best information on how you can stream porn to your TV. This is a work in progress, so keep checking back for more updates.