How to Configure Automatic Playback

Automatic Playback, also known as AutoPlay, allows Roku channel developers to play back multiple video and/or audio content items sequentially without any distracting Springboard screens. Optionally, the on-screen position and transport (Fast-Forward, Rewind, Pause) control indicators can be removed. Any Horizontal List, Vertical List, Series, or MRSS feed can be converted to AutoPlay with only a few mouse clicks. An entire channel can be converted to AutoPlay too.

This Instant TV Channel help article only applies to Developer SDK Roku channels. Roku does not support these features in Direct Publisher channels. Your Instant TV Channel account Developer Mode must be set to Advanced in order to view or change AutoPlay settings. You can change the Developer Mode from the Instant TV Channel Account page by clicking the "Account" link on the left side of the page.

There are three Content Editor parameters that control AutoPlay: AutomaticPlay, AutomaticPlayBookmark, and AutomaticPlayControls. There are also several BufferText parameters that control text which is optionally displayed while the video is buffering (loading).

Directions for configuring AutoPlay for selected content within a Roku channel:

  1. From the Content Editor, select an existing Horizontal List, Vertical List, Series, or MRSS Feed by clicking on the yellow folder or orange RSS icon in the upper left hand window.
  2. Scroll down the parameter list until you see the AutomaticPlay parameters.
  3. Choose an AutomaticPlay setting:
    • Off - Do not enable Automatic Play. This is the default setting.
    • Once - Play all items in the list once, then stop. A single blue arrow is overlayed onto the folder icon .
    • Repeat - Continuously play all items in the list. After the last item in the list is played, start over at the first item. A double blue arrow is overlayed onto the folder icon .
    • Repeat No Exit - Continuously play all items in the list. After the last item in the list is played, start over at the first item. The BACK key is disabled. The list can only be exited if the remote HOME key is pressed. A double blue arrow is overlayed onto the folder icon . (Roku may not certify public channels that do not allow the BACK key to exit the channel.)
    • Schedule - Play all items in the list according to a schedule. The folder icon is replaced with a clock icon . For more information please see the Automated Linear Playout Scheduling walk-through.
  4. Choose an AutomaticPlayBookmark setting:
    • True - When the list is selected playback will start with the item that was being played when the list was last exited.
    • False - When the list is selected playback will start with the first item in the list. If the list is exited and then re-entered, playback will again start with the first item in the list.
  5. Choose an AutomaticPlayControls setting:
    • full - All remote control transport functions are enabled, including pause, fast-forward and rewind. The directional-pad UP button skips ahead to the next video. If search is not used, the directional-pad DOWN button skips back to the previous video.
    • pause - The remote control pause button is enabled. The fast-forward and rewind buttons are disabled. The directional-pad UP and DOWN skip functions are disabled.
    • none - The remote control pause, fast-forward and rewind buttons are disabled. The directional-pad UP and DOWN skip functions are disabled.
  6. Choose a BufferTextSource setting:
    • Theme - Use the setting in the Theme BufferTextSource parameter.
    • no text - Do not show any text while the videos are buffering.
    • content Title - Show the Title text while the videos are buffering. This is the default setting.
    • content ShortDescriptionLine1 - Show the ShortDescriptionLine1 text while the videos are buffering.
    • content ShortDescriptionLine2 - Show the ShortDescriptionLine2 text while the videos are buffering.
    • BufferText - Show the text of the BufferText parameter while the videos are buffering.
  7. Optionally change the BufferText parameter text. The default text is "Please wait, buffering...". This text is displayed while the video is buffering when BufferTextSource is set to BufferText.
  8. Several additional buffering message parameters are available in each list and on the Theme page which determine how the optional buffering message is displayed.
    • BufferTextPrefix - A sequence of characters that is added to the beginning of the text selected by the BufferText parameter. The special character sequence %0A (linefeed) can be used to adjust the vertical text position on the screen.
    • BufferTextSuffix - A sequence of characters that is appended to the text selected by the BufferText parameter. The special character sequence %0A (linefeed) can be used to adjust the vertical text position on the screen.
    • BufferTextColor - The color of the buffering message text.
    • BufferTextSize - The font size of the buffering message text.
    • BufferTextHAlign - The horizontal position of the buffering message text.
    • BufferTextVAlign - The vertical position of the buffering message text. This parameter is often used along with BufferTextPrefix and BufferTextSuffix to adjust the vertical position of a line of text on the screen.

An entire channel can be configured to start playing immediately when it is selected from the main Roku channel list. No button clicks are required after the channel is started.

Directions for configuring AutoPlay for an entire Roku channel:

  1. From the Content Editor, select the top-most yellow folder.
  2. In the parameter list, set AutomaticPlay to once to play the channel content once then exit to the main Roku channel list Home screen. Or, set AutomaticPlay to repeat to continuously loop through the channel content.
  3. Set the remaining AutomaticPlay parameters as desired. The default settings will be satisfactory for most situations.

AutoPlay items can be mixed with non-AutoPlay items. For example, assume that a Horizontal List with AutomaticPlay enabled contains several individual video content items as well as a child Horizontal List:

  • If the child Horizontal List also has AutomaticPlay enabled, then its contents will be played along with the parent list's video content items.
  • If the child Horizontal List has AutomaticPlay off, then it will be displayed as a regular list for the viewer to select from.
  • When the viewer exits the child Horizontal List then the AutoPlay of the parent list will resume.

AutoPlay lists can be randomized by setting the Theme AutomaticPlayRandomize parameter to "True".

  • Randomized lists play out each video in the list in a random order.
  • Randomization occurs within the Roku device (not within the Instant TV Channel Content page) when the list is first played.
  • The random order is saved when the channel is exited.
  • A list's randomization order is changed each time the first item in the list is played.
  • AutoPlay lists containing greater than 2000 items are not randomized due to hardware limitations.

Roku Remote Control Button Functions for AutoPlay (Controls = AutomaticPlayControls)
Remote Button Video Items
Controls="Full"
Video Items
Controls="Pause"
Video Items
Controls="None"
Picture Items Text Items
Play/Pause Pause Video. Pause Video. No function. Pause and restart PictureTimer. No function.
OK No function. No function. No function. Skip to the next autoplay item. Skip to the next autoplay item if onscreen OK button is present.
Rewind Rewind the video. No function. No function. Back up to the previous autoplay item. No function.
Fast-Forward Fast-forward the video. No function. No function. Skip to the next autoplay item. No function.
Left Step back and pause. No function. No function. Back up to the previous autoplay item. No function.
Right Step forward and pause. No function. No function. Skip to the next autoplay item. No function.
Up Skip forward to the next autoplay item. No function. No function. Exit autoplay to previous level. No function.
Down Skip back to previous autoplay item or display the Search screen. No function or display the Search screen. No function or display the Search screen. No function. No function.
Instant Replay Rewind several seconds. No function. No function. Reload the current picture. No function.
Back Arrow Exit autoplay to previous level. Exit autoplay to previous level. Exit autoplay to previous level. Exit autoplay to previous level. Exit autoplay to previous level.


Please see this Quick Walk-Through for more information about how to build a Roku channel using Instant TV Channel.

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