Roku is Working on Making Streaming More Accessible to Those With Disabilities & Is Putting New Limits on Autoplay




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Image of the Roku Ultra.

Today, Roku informed app developers that later this year, there will be new certifications to make their devices more accessible to those with disabilities. Developers will have until October 1, 2024, to update their apps with these new features or not be able to be in the Roku app store.

Here is the new new requirements for streaming services with apps on Roku that will go into effect later this year:

4.8 Channels must comply with all applicable accessibility laws and global settings related to accessibility and user experience. Channels must provide closed captions and audio descriptions for content where required by law. If including closed captions, the channel must follow the user global settings for closed captioning, and support the following closed captioning settings in the Options menu: On, Off, On instant replay, and On mute (Roku TVs only). For VOD content, channels must synchronize the captions with the audio. Channels must adhere to Roku’s autoplay policy (Effective after October 1, 2024).

Roku will also require channels to honor a new autoplay rule that allows Roku owners to disable auto-play on all apps with a single click. This is something we learned about earlier this year but is now being required of app developers.

Certification Requirement: If autoplay is disabled on a device, channels may not begin video playback until the user navigates to a video or explicitly starts playback. Once playback begins, channels may continue playing the video until the user navigates away from it, pauses it, turns the device off, or a screensaver starts. Channels must adhere to this requirement to pass certification (Effective October 1, 2024).

Developers can use the roDeviceInfo.isAutoPlayEnabled() function to check whether auto-play video is enabled or disabled on a device. This function returns a flag indicating the current state of the auto-play setting. Developers can use this function to ensure that the auto-play device setting is respected when customers browse content in their apps.

Both of these changes are small, but developers need to follow them, or they won’t be able to be on Roku players or Roku TVs going forward.

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