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Roku Is Banning Pornhub And Other X-Rated Channels

George eating popcorn on Seinfeld
(Image credit: Netflix)

Roku's streaming devices Roku-ready smart TVs have become a popular buy in an era where many American households are cutting the cord to rely more on streaming than linear television. Cord-cutting allows consumers to pick and choose what services they want to pay for in a way traditional cable television hasn’t, even if it's sometimes more expensive, and it’s even allowed some popular websites to find a home on its platform. Well, perhaps not for long anymore, as Roku is set to ban Pornhub and other X-rated channels from all devices. 

The news came from a policy change announced during Roku’s annual developer conference (via Protocol). The streaming-focused company will restructure how it deals with channels that are unsuitable for its service, and this fix will arrive in the form of an Independent Developer Kit, which will allow developers to create channels freely without needing to rely solely on the software current development kit. The real kicker here is that Roku has created a beta channel system for said developers, who will be allowed to give around 20 users at a time access to the early versions. 

The bad news, at least for those who use Roku products to stream porn, is that beta channels will replace private channels, which is where such mature content thrives. If you've never see seen porn sites on the Channel Store, that's definitely intentional, as Pornhub, Adult Empire, and many other porn sites are available as private channels that can only be accessed in specific ways, but without a user cap. So, theoretically, a porn site owner could still craft a beta channel, but only if they want an extremely low number of streamers around at any given time. 

The change is not in effect yet, to be sure. The current plan is for Roku to implement the beta channel system on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022, though some changes could occur before then. It should be interesting to see if there's a sizeable boost in illicit channels being accessed during the countdown to sex-tinction, as it were. 

It’s not entirely clear if the policy change was explicitly created to prevent porn sites from using loopholes to spread adult content on Roku devices, but it’s effective all the same. It will be significantly harder to look at porn on a Roku just before spring 2022, which could create some viral moments on social media. Then again, I’m not too sure how many people have porn apps on their smart televisions, at least on the ones that would be accessed by others in the family. 

And just to clarify, just because Roku is losing porn apps, it doesn’t mean all smart televisions will be left high and dry. Amazon Fire TV and Google TV are both capable of loading Android apps from third-party sources, and if a smart television has a web browser installed, users can visit such sites that way. I’m not sure if anyone makes their smart television purchases based solely on the ease of downloading porn apps, but in case anyone does and plans on getting a television on sale after Thanksgiving, it might be something to keep in mind while that mind is in the gutter. 

Porn channels sing their swan song on Roku on Tuesday, March 1st in 2022, but will probably work as normal before then. 

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.