Apple AirPlay heads to Roku 4K streamers and TVs with free software update

Roku 4K TVs and streamers will be capable to faucet into AirPlay later this yr. 

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Roku 4K TVs and streaming players will quickly turn out to be extra helpful to individuals who personal Apple gadgets. Earlier than the top of the yr, 1000’s of media gamers and sensible TVs powered by Roku will obtain a free software program improve that provides help for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. The catch? Solely 4K-compatible Roku gadgets will work with AirPlay, which leaves out the most affordable gamers. 

The improve marks the primary time that any standalone streamer — except for Apple’s personal Apple TV box — will work with AirPlay. It immediately makes Apple’s common wi-fi casting system out there on TV screens at a extra accessible worth. The Apple TV starts at $150 (£150, AU$249) whereas the least-expensive present Roku Participant to obtain the improve would be the Roku Premiere, which prices $40. 

Merchandise that will not be out there on embody the $30 Roku Express and smaller TVs such because the 32-inch, $130 TCL 32S325

The addition of AirPlay help additionally brings Roku sensible TVs from TCL, Hisense and others consistent with these from Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio, which started adding AirPlay support last year

Apple’s AirPlay system permits folks with an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac laptop to solid and mirror content material — together with photographs, streaming video, music apps and video games — from their Apple gadgets onto their TV screens over a house Wi-Fi community. HomeKit, in the meantime, permits for management of the TV or participant with the Dwelling app or Siri on a cell machine or Apple’s HomePod speaker. Be aware that Roku already helps voice management by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant gadgets. 

Learn extra: Apple AirPlay 2: Everything you need to know


Each Fireplace TV (left) and Roku have the Apple TV app, however solely Roku has introduced AirPlay help

David Katzmaier/PJDM

Along with a recent deal with Peacock, AirPlay provides Roku one other benefit over its chief rival amongst cheap streaming gadgets, Amazon Fireplace TV. Amazon held a press event on Sept. 24 the place it introduced new Fire TV devices, nevertheless it nonetheless does not help AirPlay or have a Peacock app. Each platforms provide Apple’s TV app, which incorporates the Apple TV Plus streaming service in addition to TV and film purchases, and each continue to lack support for HBO Max.

Roku mentioned almost all of its 4K TVs and streaming gamers (except for its oldest fashions) will get the AirPlay and HomeKit upgrades. The one participant that will not is the Roku 4 (participant mannequin 4400X) from 2015. 

Any Roku TV from the final three years doubtless qualifies for the improve. The exceptions have mannequin numbers that start with a “6” (so 6XXXX), which usually date from 2016 and earlier. If in case you have an older 4K Roku TV, you’ll be able to examine the mannequin quantity by going to Settings, System after which About. The model you could have can be listed by “Roku TV.”

TCL 6-Series 2020 Roku TV 65R635

Quite a few Roku TVs together with the 6-Collection will quickly work with AirPlay.

David Katzmaier/PJDM

In comparison with different TV makers with AirPlay, Roku’s help for older fashions is spectacular and on par with Vizio, which has added AirPlay to a few of its TVs courting again to 2016. In the meantime the oldest Samsung and Sony TVs with AirPlay date from 2018 and LG has restricted AirPlay help solely to a few of its 2019 and 2020 TVs. 

The software program replace, often called Roku OS 9.4, may also add new themes that now embody sound results, together with nautical noises to go along with a fish-centric theme. There’s additionally a brand new “Reside TV” enter tile on Roku TV house screens that results in 115 stay channels from The Roku Channel in a grid guide form. In the event you join an antenna, you will see a information that mixes these streaming channels with over-the-air channels. Different tweaks embody voice hints and the power to regulate encompass sound ranges with connected speakers

OS 9.Four will start “rolling out to pick out Roku players this month” and be absolutely out there to its streaming gamers in “the approaching weeks,” Roku mentioned. Roku TV fashions can count on to see the replace in “phases over the approaching months,” the corporate added. 


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Eli Blumenthal