Adding Subtitles to a Roku Channel

Subtitles are inexpensive to create and are easy to add to your videos. This walk-through will describe how. We'll start with a quick summary of the SRT subtitling process, and then we'll dive into a specific example.

How to Add Subtitles to a Video - A Quick Summary:

  1. Obtain an SRT format subtitle file for your video.
    • An SRT file is a text file that contains multiple lines.
    • Each line consists of starting and ending timestamps, and the subtitles to be displayed between the two times.
    • Here's a snippet from the SRT file used in the example below:
      00:00:23,820 --> 00:00:25,180
      Greetings, my friend.
      00:00:25,180 --> 00:00:29,960
      We are all interested in the future for that is where you and I are going to
      00:00:29,960 --> 00:00:36,300
      spend the rest of our lives and remember my friend future events such as these
  2. Store the SRT file at a CDN or hosting service, in exactly the same way that you would store a poster or thumbnail for your Roku channel.
  3. Enter the URL for the stored SRT file into your Instant TV Channel account.

That's all there is. Sounds pretty easy, right? Now let's try a specific example. We'll use the test channel with the Plan 9 From Outer Space movie from the Quick Start walk-through.

  1. Go the the website and create an account if you don't already have one.
  2. On the website, click the Account link on the left side of the page.
  3. On the Account page, click one of the green Credit buttons to fund your account.

    If you are an Instant TV Channel customer, email to request a free Credit Code.

    The pricing for subtitles is currently $0.02 per minute, with a $0.06 minimum per job.

  4. On the website, click the Subtitles link on the left side of the page.
  5. From the content item in your Instant TV Channel account, copy the Stream 1 Url, "" for this example, and paste it into the Source Filename box on the Subtitles page.

  6. Verify that the Source Type is set to "URL", the Destination Type is set to "Download", and the Subtitle File Formats "SRT" box is checked.

  7. Click the green Submit Job button and wait for the subtitles to be generated.
  8. You can monitor your job's progress in the Job Status window. It will take about 10 minutes to generate the subtitles for this 80 minute long movie. Multiple subtitle jobs can be submitted at the same time. You do not need to wait for one job to finish before submitting another job.
  9. When the job has completed, click on the link in the Download Results box to download the Zip file containing the subtitles.
  10. Extract the SRT file from the Zip file, and store the SRT file at your CDN or hosting service the same way that you would store a poster or thumbnail.
  11. Obtain the URL for the SRT file from your CDN or hosting service. Verify that the SRT file's URL works by pasting it into the address bar of a browser and confirming that the SRT file is either displayed or is downloadable.
  12. On the Instant TV Channel website, paste the URL for the SRT file into the video item's Subtitles 1 TrackId parameter on the Content page. Verify that the TrackLanguage is "en" (the ISO 639 code for English) and add a TrackDescription of "English".

You're done! When viewing the video on your Roku device, subtitles will now be available.

To enable subtitles on your Roku device, press the star key on your Roku remote while watching a video, or use the top-level Settings - Accessibility menu.

For a brief walk-through covering how to make a Roku channel, please see this developer guide.

Questions and comments about this Roku developer article, or about can be emailed to .

Instant TV Channel is a cloud-based tool for Roku developers and content providers that shortens development time and eases maintenance after deployment.


If you are considering subtitles for your Roku video content, our sister-site provides an easy-to-use and inexpensive solution. Click here for more information.

Access Code: ID1
Check out Instant TV Channel by adding our latest demonstration channel to your Roku player.

Instant TV Channel is not affiliated with nor endorsed by Roku Inc.