AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support coming to Roku in 2020

in General Discussion edited September 2020
Roku is adding support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit in its next operating system update, enabling a number of televisions and 4K-capable streaming set-top boxes to stream content from iOS and Mac hardware, as well as interact with Apple's smart home platform.

Roku OS
Roku OS

The software update to Roku OS 9.4 will bring a number of new features to the streaming set-top box producer's hardware lineup, with the main additions for Apple customers being support for both AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.

AirPlay 2 support will enable owners of iPhones, iPads, and Macs to stream, control, and share their content to a television via the software, in the same way as other AirPlay 2-supporting hardware. This can be in concert with other devices, such as speakers, to create a home cinema experience streamed from an iPhone, for example.

The addition of HomeKit compatibility will mean users will be able to directly control their Roku experience via the Home app, and verbally via Siri. Apple added two new product categories to HomeKit in iOS 14, covering set-top boxes and streaming sticks.

Other changes Roku is including in the update range from being able to access the Roku Channel's Live TV Channel Guide directly from the home screen, additional hints for the kinds of vocal commands users can use with the Roku Voice functionality, and surround level control for multi-channel audio.

Updated theme packs and other performance improvements are also anticipated.

Roku will start to roll out Roku OS 9.4 to select Roku devices before the end of September, and will eventually roll out to all supported set-top boxes, including the new Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar over the next few weeks. Televisions loaded with Roku's operating system will also receive the update, phased over the coming months.


  • Reply 1 of 10
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,874member
    Hope, AirPlay 2 is supported on Roku - Streaming Stick+ 4K Streaming Media Player. Though I love my AppleTV 4K box which has the best UI.

  • Reply 2 of 10
    Big win if this happens - Roku has a very large install base
  • Reply 3 of 10
    So is there any reason to buy an actual Apple TV anymore?
  • Reply 4 of 10
    rraburrabu Posts: 264member
    Not really. 
    - play local content like ripped dvds that I have in iTunes can be done better with Plex 
    - play DRM content purchased from Apple iTunes Store can be done with Apple TV app
    - play streamed content like Netflix/Hulu/etc already there
    - cast content from local devices has been shitty; adding airplay should hopefully solve that
  • Reply 5 of 10
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,723administrator
    tokyojimu said:
    So is there any reason to buy an actual Apple TV anymore?
    HomeKit support is not the same as the ability to operate as a HomeKit Hub.

    Otherwise, we'll see what a potential Apple TV refresh brings. When released, the A10X in the Apple TV 4K was heads and shoulders power-wise above competitor's streaming boxes. It has been some time, though.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    tokyojimu said:
    So is there any reason to buy an actual Apple TV anymore?

    The consolidation by user of shows from across multiple apps is still a big feature of the TV app on the AppleTV and is something I would hate to give up were I to switch to Roku or something else. The fact that there are a few streaming apps that still won't integrate with it is frustrating, but for all those that do, its a big user win from an ease of use perspective.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    tokyojimu said:
    So is there any reason to buy an actual Apple TV anymore?

    Apple being lazy with new Apple TV releases is causing them to appeal to 3rd parties who are not sleeping and eating their lunch. Had Apple updated their hardware more frequently and gave half a sh** about tvOS, most households would have an Apple TV and Homekit devices connected to it. 10 years ago the top 3 devices connected to a TV by brand were Sony, Nintendo and Apple. I'd hate to see what it is now.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    tokyojimu said:
    So is there any reason to buy an actual Apple TV anymore?

    Like lower cost iPhone SE, Apple can release lower cost Apple TV Stick for Streaming and capture share of Homekit hub.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 573member, editor
    tokyojimu said:
    So is there any reason to buy an actual Apple TV anymore?
    Many others already tossed their opinions out here, but I'll chime in as well.

    Is there a reason to buy an Apple TV any more? A resounding YES!

    First, there is the HomeKit ability it has. We aren't talking just the ability to control via HomeKit which is what Roku is able to do, but it is the ability to act as a Home Hub. Not to mention the ability to run HomeKit apps, such as HomeCam. Or the direct HomeKit integration for cameras which are able to be brought up right in Control Center. There is also HomeKit Secure Video doorbells that are able to show right on your TV with a live feed of who is there whenever they ring the bell.

    Moving on from HomeKit, Apple Arcade is becoming more and more popular and for those that subscribe, it is a compelling low-cost gaming device that immediately syncs to your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

    Then we have fitness. Apple Fitness+ is coming to the Apple TV with live and on-demand classes that will directly integrate your Apple Watch and show your rings on-screen while you are working out alongside your heart rate and other metrics.

    Finally, the hardware in general. I've used and tested many versions of Chromecast, FireTV, and Roku. While they have their place, the UI, speed, and ease of use on Apple TV is unparalleled. Roku is also full of ads that many will prefer to stay away from. But the app quality, the number of apps, Siri support, and much more make Apple TV the superior device. But I very much appreciate Apple opening up HomeKit to competing boxes, just as with the Apple TV app.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,061member
    tokyojimu said:
    So is there any reason to buy an actual Apple TV anymore?
    Absolutely yes. In addition to offering many more streaming services in the tvOS App Store than any TV maker or other streaming box offers, there's also the security and privacy issue. The Apple TV box doesn't collect and sell mass amounts of data about you and what you watch/click on/search for/etc, and the cheaper boxen do. That's why they're cheaper. 

    Oh, also things like Apple Arcade on your TV, game controller support (try that on your Roku), Apple Music, and the Apple Events app among other Apple and other apps that aren't offered on other systems.
    edited September 2020
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