If you own Apple devices, you probably are intrigued to learn more about AirPlay and its use cases for streaming content on Roku devices. This guide will tell you everything about AirPlay on Roku.
With the new Roku OS 9.4 update, Roku introduces new features to its devices, such as surround level control for multi-channel audio, a new live TV channel guide on The Roku Channel, updated theme packs, additional hints for Roku Voice commands, etc. The software update also brings performance enhancements for select Roku devices.
However, one of the update’s highlights is support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, giving Apple device owners the ease of sharing content to the big screen and controlling their Roku devices using the Home app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
Introduction to AirPlay Roku
AirPlay on Apple devices is what Chromecast is to Android devices. It lets you share photos, videos, and music from your Apple devices to a compatible TV or speakers. One of the first devices to have proper AirPlay support was the Apple TV box, giving users the ability to send media files from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac device to it.
A few years later, Apple announced the AirPlay 2 protocol, which broke the exclusivity barrier and brought support to the latest TV models from Samsung, LG, Vizio, and more. Popular streaming apps now also show the AirPlay button when there’s a compatible screen nearby. Once connected, you can use your Apple device as a remote to control the video playback.
On AirPlay 2-enabled speakers, you can also cast music and podcasts from music streaming apps on an Apple device. All you have to do is tap the AirPlay Audio button in the app or the Control Center. AirPlay also lets you playback music on multiple speakers at the same time and control each of them individually.
Finally, you can use Apple’s Screen Mirroring feature to share your device’s display with your big screen without any wired adapters. You can access the option from the Control Center on your iPhone and iPad, or your Mac’s menu bar.
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How does AirPlay Feature Benefit Roku?
Having AirPlay on Roku brings a whole new world of possibilities and ease of use for Apple device owners. For example, you can now watch Prime Video content on your Roku device without adding the Prime Video Roku channel. All you need is the Prime Video app on your Apple Device and a subscription.
There are hundreds of apps on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even Apple Watch that offer the AirPlay functionality. Assuming that you own any of these devices, you can now forget about using the Roku Remote and use your Apple device instead to stream content on your Roku device. Now that they have AirPlay 2 support, the experience is much more seamless.
Once you make sure that your Roku device is powered on and connected to the internet, all you need to do is launch your favorite video streaming app on your Apple device, then choose something to play from the catalog. After that, tap the AirPlay (rectangle with an upward-pointing triangle at the bottom) in the player and select your Roku player or TV from the following context box.
If you have a Roku Soundbar, tap the AirPlay Audio (waves with the same bottom triangle) icon on your preferred music or podcast streaming app and select it from the list of devices. Once you do that, you will be able to listen to your favorite tunes and podcasts on the soundbar directly from your Apple device.
In case you are wondering, AirPlay 2 supports 4K HDR video and multi-channel surround sound playback.
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Can you Mirror iPhone or iPad Screen on Roku?
Now that select Roku devices have support for AirPlay 2, you will be able to mirror your iPhone, iPad, or Mac device’s screen seamlessly on your Roku player or TV without using an external solution.
If your device has received the Roku OS 9.4 update, you won’t have change any setting related to screen mirroring. Simply bring up the Control Center on your iPhone or iPad, and tap the Screen Mirroring option. Upon selecting your Roku device from the list, you should see your device’s screen mirrored to your big screen.
On the latest version of macOS, you can access the Screen Mirroring option from the menu bar at the top.
Airplay on Roku – Which Devices Currently Support AirPlay?
Devices that are eligible for the Roku OS 9.4 update are receiving support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit (smart home controls). The list of eligible devices includes most of the current-gen, 4K-capable Roku set-top boxes. The first devices to receive the update are the 2020 model of Roku Ultra and Roku Streambar.
Roku OS 9.4 is also compatible with most 4K Roku TV models from TCL, Sharp, Hisense, Insignia, Philips, etc. However, it should be noted that the update is being rolled out in phases over the coming months, so you might have to wait for a while to get the AirPlay functionality.
To check for updates on your Roku device, go to the Settings menu from the Home screen, and visit the System page. Once you are in the System update menu, click Check Now. If the latest Roku OS update is available, your device will download and install it automatically.
Bear in mind that your Roku device will reboot to install the update. Powering it off while it’s installing the update will result in system corruption and possibly brick it.
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This is where we conclude this informational guide to AirPlay on Roku. With the AirPlay 2 feature on your Roku device, you can now do what wasn’t previously possible, seamlessly casing videos and music to Roku from your Apple iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices.
Furthermore, you can take advantage of Roku’s screen mirroring feature on Apple devices with AirPlay as well. Controlling a Roku device hands-free with Siri is now also possible, thanks to the addition of Apple’s HomeKit protocol.