roTV is a Robloxian premium television service, similar to a cable or satellite television service in real life. The service is free of charge, and is run by the Roblox Television Networks Group. At launch, the service featured approximately twenty channels, and currently carries one hundred and twelve channels, making it, as of August 2017, the largest provider in Robloxia by channel count. roTV is more similar to an IPTV service than a cable or satellite service, in terms of platform and distribution. The original design of the platform had been influenced heavily by the design of the Freesat and Sky platforms in the United Kingdom, mainly the latter in terms of design; however, the design used at the service's launch used dark tones and minimal light effects to create a "slicker, more premium feel".
The idea of a Robloxian cable-style service began in late November 2012. Mocks were posted on December 8, 2012, and the service has been in development ever since. The rTV Networks, Roblox Networks Televison, Gavent Networks, and various other television companies and independent television channels have agreed to be broadcast on the system. Initially,
The service launched quietly on February 20, 2015, with a starting set of twenty channels. Early versions of the site fell into disrepair due to the web hosting services roTV used at the time; often shadier spam-laden, which led to long amounts of downtime and general site unavailability which hindered the service's early days. Version 1.01 of roTV was released on August 28, 2015, and includes simple updates and bug fixes to the original website. The first actual "update" to the service since the February launch came in version 1.1 on September 20, 2015, seven months to the day since the launch of the service. Due to issues updating to the new version, the roTV service was disabled for that week. Another update to the service, patching the previous update, moving to a new web host and adding some new features, was released on September 27, 2015 as version 1.11. The service went down for a period starting on October 11, 2016, due to issues arising from an attempt to implement a new format for the site's URLs. The service returned with an update, v1.12, on October 17, 2016. The v1.12 update also required another move to a different web host.
On April 14, 2017, the RTNG released an update to roTV that brought the total channel count to 53 television channels, making it by far the largest premium channel service on ROBLOX at the time, until Amicable reached 54 channels on May 11, 2017. The lead was speculated to change again when roTV launched its v1.4 update on May 13, 2017, which brought the number of channels roTV carried to 61. However, Amicable had reached the 64 channel mark the previous day, causing roTV to remain second place. Since this, both roTV and Amicable have been in heated competition with each other, for new channels, exclusives, and viewers.
On May 14, 2017, roTV announced the next update to the roTV service would be roTV v2.0, which will bring the first major redesign to the service since its launch. After over three months of development, during which many changes occured in premium television and the Robloxian TV industry in general (including, for much of the development period, sliding further behind Amicable in terms of the number of channels roTV carried once again), it was announced on August 19, 2017, that the service would be launching at midnight ET that night. The service was taken down for maintenance shortly before the new version launched officially at midnight ET. The new version features a totally redesigned website, including wider pages and streams, and improvements to live and on-demand viewing. Additionally, the new version of the service carried 112 channels, making it the first Robloxian premium television service to break triple-digits, long seen as a milestone for premium television, and finally pushing it back to carrying the most channels, a position they had enjoyed since launch until the development period of v2.0, when Amicable began to surpass them; roTV now carries over forty channels more than Amicable as of the launch of the new version.
On June 20, 2018, as the deadline of the 2018 Robloxian television transition quickly approached, roTV warned broadcasters that they would begin to refuse Original Livestream links, and stated they would remove Original Livestream channels which were not updated with new stream links on other services, beginning especially with an upcoming large update to the platform (rumored to be a new version of the premium television service).
- Main article: List of channels on RoTV
Initially, twenty channels were confirmed for the launch of the roTV slate. These were, at the time, the rTV Networks channels, the Roblox Networks Television channels, the channels owned by buddbudd222, the Gavent Television Group networks (later Gavent Networks, now Overtime Studios), the ROX Pictures channels, and some smaller independent channels. The number has been as low as fourteen in the past, but currently stands at 127, a record.
- Main article: roChannels
Originally scheduled to arrive after launch would have been nine exclusive channels featuring varying, mainly IRL, content. Channels 111-119 and 124 had been reserved for these channels; however on December 3, 2013, BenzBot had announced in his latest "rTV Networks Update" Roblox forum post that the roChannels had been shelved indefinitely, with the exception of the roPlay service and its channel (channel 119 as part of the original plan), which was moved to channel 110 (just before ro1's former position), where it remained on the service until v2.0, where it moved to channel 111 to free up an additional space in the top ten channel slots for major channels.