As part of the Roku OS 9.4 update, Apple and Roku will bring AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support to "select 4K Roku devices" later this year.
Apple, Roku partnership
Besides its own Apple TV boxes, Apple has brought AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support to TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio. However, Roku will be the first to offer support in a non-Apple streaming box.
- "Later this year, we’re expecting to deliver Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on select 4K Roku devices," said Roku.
AirPlay 2 lets you push video, music and other media files from iPhone, iPad or Mac wirelessly to the TV screen. HomeKit is Apple's platform for the connected home. In TV devices, HomeKit lets you control certain aspects of the TV experience from the Home app on iPhone/iPad or via Siri voice commands to any Apple device.
Roku says that it will be supported on "select 4K Roku devices", including the new Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar devices. HD Roku devices will not receive the new Apple features. A full list of compatible devices has yet to be announced.
Also read: List: TVs with Apple TV app, Apple TV+, AirPlay 2 & HomeKit
Roku also offers access to the Apple TV app that offers access to Apple TV+ and the iTunes 4K HDR movie library.
Roku is not the first to offer Apple's TV features but it is still a significant development to see them arrive on the biggest TV platform in the US. It puts pressure on Amazon to offer the same features in its FireTV devices.
Also read: Apple TV app rumored for Xbox
AirPlay 2 and HomeKit will roll out on compatible 4K Roku devices later this year as part of the Roku OS 9.4 software update, which also includes a couple of other new features that are listed below.
Roku OS 9.4 update
Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit – Later this year, we’re expecting to deliver Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on select 4K Roku devices. With AirPlay 2, you can stream, control, and share your favorite content directly from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your Roku device and bring the experience to the big screen. HomeKit allows you to easily and securely control your Roku device using the Home app and Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or HomePod.
Live TV Channel Guide – Have a Roku TV? Now you can watch free live TV directly from your home screen by selecting the “Live TV” input tile. This gives you one-click access to an easy to use program guide with over 115 free live streaming TV channels. If you have an antenna connected, you’ll be able to view a combined program guide with free streaming channels and over-the-air broadcast channels. Additionally, you can choose between two program guide views, including recently watched channels.
Helpful Hints for Roku Voice – Helpful hints will appear directly on the TV screen to inform you of voice commands you can use on your Roku device. These hints are designed to help you enjoy quick, simple control of your Roku device using a wide variety of voice commands. Roku Voice is available on compatible voice remotes or via the free Roku mobile app.
Surround level control for multi-channel audio – If you own Roku audio products with a multi-channel speaker configuration, you’ll be able to adjust the volume of your rear surround speakers relative to the volume of your soundbar for sound levels that match your preference.
The Roku Channel free mobile app for iOS and Android smartphones – The all new dedicated mobile app delivers free and premium entertainment for all. You can now enjoy a wide variety of free on-demand entertainment, live TV, and news, as well as access to Premium Subscriptions.
More free linear channels – The Roku Channel is expanding its free live/linear channel lineup in the U.S. with new channels, including Bloody Disgusting TV, The Craftistry, Circle, HappyKids.tv, Hi-YAH! – The Martial Arts Channel, iFood.tv, The LEGO Channel, Maverick Black Cinema, MOVIESPHERE, Skills + Thrills, VENN, and Weatherspy, as well as a variety of Spanish-language entertainment including Sony Canal Comedias, Sony Canal Compentencias, Sony Canal Novelas from Sony Pictures Television and Tastemade en Espanol.