Roku today announced that with the release of its latest operating system — Roku OS 9.4 — "with the Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support is now available on select 4K Roku devices." In other words, a feature Roku said was coming in a software update is now here.
Roku says that AirPlay 2 and HomeKit already have hit Roku Ultra, Roku Streambar, Roku Smart Soundbar, Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Premiere. It adds that the features "are expected to roll out to supported 4K Roku TV models with Roku OS 9.4 in the coming days."
(It's worth noting that I already have AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on my TCL 6-Series Roku TV, though that could be because Roku pushed it to me early. So your mileage may vary.)
AirPlay 2 allows those with an iOS or Mac OS device to easily share their screen or play content from said devices onto a third-party display. If you're familiar with Google's Chromecast feature, it's a lot like that. HomeKit is Apple's smart home ecosystem, and the addition will allow users to more easily control their Roku devices from an Apple device.
“With regular automatic software updates, the Roku OS enables consumers to easily get to the entertainment they want via the new features we add over time,” Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku said in a press release. “With Roku OS 9.4 now available on streaming players, we are adding all-new ways to navigate and control content-rich experiences on Roku devices as well as ensuring Roku devices provide a great entertainment experience for customers, regardless of what other technology products they prefer in their homes and particularly with the addition of Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.”
Roku does one major software update a year, usually in the latter months of the year. Along with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, Roku OS 9.4 introduces a new live channel guide on Roku TVs in conjunction with The Roku Channel (which is Roku's free, ad-supported channel), new voice hints for use with the voice remote, new volume adjustments for Roku speakers, a new Roku Channels mobile app, additional linear channels, updated theme packs — and perhaps most important, faster loading speeds.
Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.
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