How To Import Videos into Instant TV Channel

Why Import a Feed or Playlist?

Various types of video feeds and playlists can be used in Instant TV Channel without modification. But because of the way that MRSS feeds and playlists are assembled, it may not be possible to use all of the features within Instant TV Channel for videos contained in feeds or playlists. Additionally, because each individual Roku device performs the work of deciphering each MRSS feed or playlist, larger feeds and playlists may perform slowly on older or less powerful Roku devices. In order to eliminate these disadvantages you can import videos from certain types of feeds and playlists into Instant TV Channel to use as individual video items.

When a video feed or playlist is imported into Instant TV Channel, the videos contained in the feed or playlist are copied into the "native" Instant TV Channel format which has many more features and options available than the feed or playlist. The imported videos and metadata can be modified or re-arranged as desired. After the videos have been imported, the feed or playlist is no longer needed and can be deleted from the channel.

What can be Imported?

  1. Roku Direct Publisher JSON feeds. Roku Direct Publisher JSON feeds import into one or more rows of a Grid .
  2. MRSS XML feeds using Instant TV Channel elements. This type of feed imports into a single Horizontal List , Vertical List , Series , or Grid Row .
  3. MRSS XML feeds using Roku Direct Publisher elements. This type of feed imports into a single Horizontal List , Vertical List , Series , or Grid Row .
  4. Other MRSS XML feeds. Some elements may not be supported. This type of feed imports into a single Horizontal List , Vertical List , Series , or Grid Row .
  5. Vimeo Showcase/Album playlists and individual Vimeo videos. Vimeo playlists import into a single Horizontal List , Vertical List , Series , or Grid Row . Individual Vimeo videos import directly into the video item that specifies the Vimeo video.
Important! Only the feed and playlist types listed above can be imported. Even though other types of feeds and playlists may work correctly when used as Instant TV Channel MRSS or Playlist items, it is not possible to import them.

How To Import a Roku Direct Publisher JSON Feed

  1. Go to the "Content" page for the channel.
  2. Right-click on any folder and select "New Grid". This will create a New Grid to use as the import target. An existing grid can also be used, the new videos will be added into new rows at the top of the grid, immediately after the first row.
  3. Left-click on the + (plus) symbol to the left of the import target grid to open it, then left-click the default New Grid Row item to select it. For an existing grid select the first row. This will be the template row for each imported category.
  4. Configure the parameters in the template row . These parameters will be used for each newly-created category row during the import process. The parameters for each imported category row can also be modified after the import is complete. (The row's GridRowTitle parameter can be set to something like "TEMPLATE", as it will be replaced by each category name contained in the Direct Publisher feed.)
  5. Left-click on the + (plus) symbol to the left of the template row to open it, then left-click the default New Video or Audio item to select it. For existing grids this must be the first item in the first row. This video item will be the template.
  6. Configure the parameters in the template video item. These parameters will be used for each imported video if the corresponding parameters do not exist in the Direct Publisher feed. The parameters for each imported video can also be modified after the import is complete.

The import target grid and templates.
  1. Right click on the import target grid and select Import DP JSON Feed.
  2. Enter the complete JSON feed URL into the box, then click OK.
  3. A message about the import will be displayed. Click OK to proceed.
  4. The channel will be locked so that no edits can occur until after the import has been completed. Most imports take less than a minute to complete.
   Channel locked, import in progress... 
This is the channel-locked indicator.
  1. After the import is complete you may continue editing the channel. The template row and the template video it contains may be deleted, they are no longer necessary.

Import Rules for Direct Publisher

  • The first row of the import target grid is used as the row template. If the first item under the grid is not a Grid Row then a set of default parameters (parameters from a fresh Grid Row) are used as the template.
  • The video item in the first position of the first row of the import target grid is used as the template. If the first item is not a video then a set of default parameters (parameters from a fresh video item) are used as the template.
  • Parameters in the template have the lowest priority, and are used for the imported videos if the corresponding parameters do not exist in the Direct Publisher JSON feed.
  • Parameters in the Direct Publisher feed have the highest priority, and if present they are always used for the imported videos.
  • Category names contained in the Direct Publisher JSON feed are used for the Grid Row GridRowName parameters. All other Grid Row parameters are copied from the template row .

How To Import an MRSS XML Feed

  1. Go to the "Content" page for the channel.
  2. Right-click on any folder and select an option to create a New Horizontal List , New Vertical List , New Series , or New Grid Row to use as the import target. An existing list or row can be used also.
  3. Left-click on the + (plus) symbol to the left of the import target to open it, then left-click the default New Video or Audio item to select it. For existing lists or rows this must be the first item in the list or row. This video item will be the template.
  4. Configure the parameters in the template video item. These parameters will be used for each imported video if the corresponding parameters do not exist in the import source or the XML feed/playlist. The parameters for each imported video can also be modified after the import is complete.
  5. Right-click on any folder and select the "New MRSS or Playlist" option. This will create a New MRSS or Playlist to use as the import source.
  6. Configure the parameters in the New MRSS or Playlist import source. At a minimum you must provide a URL that points to a valid XML MRSS feed or a Vimeo showcase/album to be imported.
  7. If you are unsure of the feed/playlist contents, you can test the feed/playlist by viewing the channel on the TV screen before performing the import.
  8. Drag and drop the import source so that it is directly above the import target.

The import source must be located directly above the import target.
  1. Right-click on the import source and select "Import".
  2. A message about the import will be displayed. Click OK to proceed.
  3. The channel will be locked so that no edits can occur until after the import has been completed. Most imports take less than a minute to complete.
   Channel locked, import in progress... 
This is the channel-locked indicator.
  1. After the import is complete you may continue editing the channel. The template video and the import source feed or playlist may be deleted, they are no longer necessary.

Theme Parameters for MRSS XML Import

The following Theme parameters are available if the channel is at Update #478 or higher
  • MrssImportDestination - Determines where in the list to insert the imported videos. Choices are "beginning of list" and "end of list". Channels prior to Update #478 always use "beginning of list".
  • MrssImportDirection - Determines the order in which the imported videos are added. Choices are "forward" and "reverse". Channels prior to Update #478 always use "forward".
  • MrssShortDescriptionLine2 - Determines the source used for the ShortDescriptionLine2 parameter if ShortDescriptionLine2 is not provided in the MRSS feed.

Import Rules for MRSS XML

  • The video item in the first position of the import target is used as the template. If the first item is not a video then a set of default parameters (parameters from a fresh video item) are used as the template.
  • Parameters in the template have the lowest priority, and are used for the imported videos if the corresponding parameters do not exist in the import source or the XML feed/playlist.
  • Parameters in the import source have the second highest priority, and are used for the imported videos if there is no corresponding parameter in the XML feed/playlist.
  • Parameters in the XML feed/playlist have the highest priority, and if present they are always used for the imported videos.
  • Each video item's Title parameter uses the following sources, in order of priority:
    1. MRSS irc:title element
    2. MRSS media:title element
    3. MRSS title element
    4. Template Title
  • Each video item's ShortDescriptionLine1 parameter uses the following sources, in order of priority:
    1. MRSS irc:shortdescriptionline1 element
    2. Template ShortDescriptionLine1 (if not blank)
    3. MRSS irc:title element
    4. MRSS media:title element
    5. MRSS title element
    6. Template Title
  • Each video item's ShortDescriptionLine2 parameter uses the following sources, in order of priority:
    1. MRSS irc:shortdescriptionline2 element
    2. MRSS irc:artist element (if Theme MrssShortDescriptionLine2 is set to "artist")
    3. Template artist (if Theme MrssShortDescriptionLine2 is set to "artist")
    4. MRSS irc:description element (if Theme MrssShortDescriptionLine2 is set to "description")
    5. MRSS media:description element (if Theme MrssShortDescriptionLine2 is set to "description")
    6. MRSS synopsis element (if Theme MrssShortDescriptionLine2 is set to "description")
    7. Template Description (if Theme MrssShortDescriptionLine2 is set to "description")
    8. Template ShortDescriptionLine2 (if Theme MrssShortDescriptionLine2 is set to "blank")

How To Import a Vimeo Showcase or Album Playlist

  1. Configure and test a Vimeo Access Token and a Vimeo Showcase or Album as described here.
  2. If the Vimeo Showcase or Album does not stream correctly within the Roku channel, it will not import correctly either.
  3. Proceed as described above in How to Import an MRSS XML Feed, using the tested Vimeo Album or Showcase in place of the MRSS XML feed.

How To Import a Single Vimeo Video

  1. Configure and test a Vimeo Access Token and a Vimeo video as described here.
  2. Click the Vimeo Import button on the content item to import the Vimeo video into the item. The vm:// URI is replaced by one or more Vimeo file URLs, along with other Vimeo metadata.

The Vimeo Import button.

The Roku Developer Forum is a useful resource for Roku channel developers, and is a great place to ask questions.

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