Content Types: What are Series, Grids, and Lists?

Instant TV Channel provides several different Content Types to use when constructing your Roku channel.

There are two broad categories of Content Types: Content Items and Lists.
  • Content Item - An audio or video stream, an individual image or picture, or a block of text.

    The Roku player and Instant TV Channel currently support the following file and stream types:

    • MP4 / MOV / M4V (H.264) video
    • HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) video
    • ISM (Microsoft Smooth Streaming) video
    • MP3 audio
    • PNG, JPG, and GIF images

    The following icons are used in the Content Editor to represent various Content Items:

             Video Content Item

             Audio Content Item

             Picture Screen Content Item

             Text Screen Content Item

    Picture and text Content Items are particularly useful for inserting notices or images between videos in Automatic Play enabled lists.

  • List - A collection of Content Items and/or other Lists. A List appears on a Roku player as a row or grid of Content Items. There are several different types of Lists supported by Instant TV Channel:
    • Horizontal List - A list of Content Items, Grids, Series, MRSS Feeds, Vertical Lists, and other Horizontal Lists displayed as a horizontal row on a Roku player screen. Multiple levels of nesting are possible. Content Items, Grids, Series, MRSS Feeds, Horizontal Lists, and Vertical Lists can exist together at the same level of a Horizontal List. In the Content Editor, a Horizontal List is represented by these icons:

      A Horizontal List is similar to the roPosterScreen component in the Roku SDK.


Horizontal List with Flat-style Posters
    

Horizontal List with Arced-style Posters
    • Vertical List - A list of Content Items, Grids, Series, MRSS Feeds, Horizontal Lists, and other Vertical Lists displayed as a vertical row on a Roku player screen. Multiple levels of nesting are possible. Content Items, Grids, Series, MRSS Feeds, Horizontal Lists, and Vertical Lists can exist together at the same level of a Vertical List. In the Content Editor, a Vertical List is represented by these icons:

      A Vertical List is similar to the roListScreen component in the Roku SDK.


Vertical List
    • Grid - A list of one or more Grid Rows displayed as a 2-dimensional grid on a Roku player screen. A well-known example of a Grid is the Netflix channel. In the Content Editor, a Grid is represented by these icons:

      A Grid is similar to the roGridScreen component in the Roku SDK.


Grid with Square-style Posters
    • Grid Row - Contained within a Grid, this is a list of video & audio Content Items, Series, and MRSS Feeds. In the Content Editor, a Grid Row is represented by these icons:
    • Series - A list of Content Items that is initially displayed as a single Content Item. Usually the Content Items are related, for example episodes of a TV series. A "Choose A Different Episode" button is provided to display a menu of the episodes or related items. In the Content Editor, a Series is represented by these icons:

      Just like the Horizontal List, a Series is similar to the roPosterScreen component in the Roku SDK.


Series List displayed as a Single Content Item
    

Series List displayed as Episodes
    • MRSS Feed - A Media RSS feed containing links to one or more audio or video content items. In the Content Editor, an MRSS Feed is represented by this icon:
      • When used outside of a Grid, an MRSS Feed can be configured as either a Horizontal List or a Series.
      • When used inside of a Grid, but not inside of a Grid Row, an MRSS Feed will be displayed as a complete Grid Row.
      • When used inside of a Grid Row, an MRSS Feed will be displayed as a Series.
A Top-Level Type is selected when you create a new channel. The Top-Level Type defines the top-level layout of the channel. After a Top-Level type has been selected for a channel it cannot be changed. There are currently three different Top-Level types:
  • Classic - The most flexible of the available channel types. A Classic channel type is essentially a Horizontal List, which consists of video & audio Content Items, Grids, Series, MRSS Feeds, Vertical Lists, and Horizontal Lists. A Classic channel can have Content Items nested many levels deep inside Horizontal or Vertical Lists, Grids, Series and MRSS Feeds. The outermost level of a Classic channel is always a Horizontal List.
  • Vertical - A Vertical channel type is essentially a Vertical List, which consists of video & audio Content Items, Grids, Series, MRSS Feeds, Vertical Lists, and Horizontal Lists. A Vertical channel can have Content Items nested many levels deep inside Horizontal or Vertical Lists, Grids, Series and MRSS Feeds. The outermost level of a Vertical channel is always a Vertical List. The outermost level of a Vertical channel has an additional "vertical-background" ListStyle option that can be used to change the screen background depending on which selection is highlighted. Amazon Instant Video is a well-known example of a Roku channel that uses a Top-Level Type of Vertical.
  • Grid - A 2-dimensional grid of video & audio Content Items, Series, and MRSS Feeds. It is organized into one or more Grid Rows. A Grid cannot contain Horizontal Lists, Vertical Lists, or other Grids. Netflix is a well-known example of a Roku channel that uses a Grid as its Top-Level Type.
  • Series - A list of episodes. A Series channel type contains only video & audio Content Items. It cannot contain Horizontal Lists, Vertical Lists, Grids, MRSS Feeds, or other Series.

For more information about how to quickly build a Roku channel using Instant TV Channel, please see this introductory guide.

Questions and comments about this Roku developer information 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.



Private Channel Code: ITVC
Check out Instant TV Channel by adding our demonstration channel to your Roku player, or watch the YouTube video.

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