Roku Has Nearly Finalized AirPlay 2 Support

MacRumors last month reported that Roku was in talks with Apple about supporting AirPlay 2, and we've since learned that the negotiations are nearly finalized, according to a source familiar with the matter.


AirPlay 2 integration is expected to arrive in the form of a Roku OS software update for Roku media players, but it's unclear if all models will be supported. AirPlay 2 will also be supported by Roku-based smart TVs, available from brands such as TCL, Sharp, Hisense, Hitachi, Sanyo, and RCA.

Back in January, Apple announced that select AirPlay 2-enabled smart TVs are coming from leading brands such as Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony. AirPlay 2 support on Roku will greatly expand Apple's wireless streaming protocol to virtually any smart TV with a Roku player plugged into the HDMI port.

AirPlay 2 will enable Roku users to stream video, audio, photos, and other content directly from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to their smart TVs.

Apple and Roku are negotiating a launch date and marketing surrounding AirPlay 2. Roku has yet to publicly confirm the plans, with a spokesperson earlier indicating that "we don't have anything to share regarding this now."


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Roku in Talks With Apple About AirPlay 2 Support

Roku is in talks with Apple about supporting AirPlay 2, with the two companies currently working out details surrounding the partnership, according to a source familiar with the matter. The plans are not finalized and are subject to change.


We're told that AirPlay 2 support is likely to arrive in the form of a Roku OS software update for Roku media players, which can be used with virtually any smart TV. The update would likely extend to smart TVs with Roku OS preinstalled, including select models from Sharp, TCL, Insignia, Hisense, Sanyo, and RCA.

It's unclear when the software update might be released or if it will be limited to select Roku players and TVs. We're told the partnership may extend to Apple Music, suggesting that Roku OS could gain an app to access the streaming music service alongside existing apps for Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora.

Last month, we asked Roku if it was willing to work with Apple on AirPlay 2 support and a spokesperson said "we don't have anything to share regarding this now." Roku did not immediately respond to our follow-up request for comment today, while Apple rarely comments on its plans in advance.

With AirPlay 2 support, Roku users would be able to stream video, audio, photos, and more directly from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to their smart TVs. HomeKit is also coming to many smart TVs, enabling users to control volume, playback, and more using Siri or the Home app on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Last month, Apple announced that select AirPlay 2-enabled smart TVs are coming from leading brands such as Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony. Samsung's latest smart TVs are also getting an exclusive iTunes app for movies and TV shows.


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TCL on AirPlay-2 Enabled TVs: ‘We Are Currently Committed to Roku’

Earlier this week, Apple announced that AirPlay 2-enabled smart TVs are coming from leading manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony. Those four brands lead the TV market in the United States, but up-and-coming Chinese vendor TCL has made a name for itself stateside over the past few years.


When asked if TCL would be willing to work with Apple on adding AirPlay 2 support to its smart TVs, a spokesperson for TCL told MacRumors the company is "currently committed to Roku," which has a software platform for smart TVs.

TCL's partnership with Roku doesn't necessarily preclude AirPlay 2 support, but neither companies are willing to promise it right now. A spokesperson for Roku said "we don't have anything to share regarding this now." We also asked Apple if it would be willing to work with TCL, but did not receive a response.

TCL describes itself as "America's fastest-growing TV brand" and the "third largest TV manufacturer in the world." The company has been able to gain market share in the United States thanks to both Roku integration and its generally less expensive lineup of smart TVs compared to the likes of Samsung and LG.

Roku OS for TCL TVs is the same software used on its standalone media players, enabling users to stream content from a wide selection of services, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, HBO NOW, Pandora, and Spotify.

AirPlay 2 support would allow users to stream video, audio, photos, and more directly from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to TCL smart TVs, with multi-room audio support. HomeKit is also coming to many smart TVs, enabling users to control volume, playback, and more using Siri or the Home app on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

At least for now, however, those who want those AirPlay 2 features on their TCL smart TV will have to consider options from its competitors instead.


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Roku Announces New Devices Including $70 ‘Streaming Stick Plus’ With 4K HDR Support

Roku today announced five new streaming devices that are available for pre-order now, and will launch in stores around October 8. One of the notable unveilings surrounds the "Streaming Stick Plus," which allows viewers to stream 4K Ultra HD and HDR video content up to 60 frames per second for $69.99. This marks one of the cheapest entry points for a 4K streaming device on the market, and is over $100 cheaper than Apple's lowest-cost 4K box at $179.99.

The Streaming Stick Plus comes included with a remote control that supports voice control and TV power functionality, as well as a boost to wireless streaming performance thanks to an advanced wireless receiver built directly into the power cord. This helps the Streaming Stick Plus offer "up to four times the wireless range" of the Roku Streaming Stick from 2016. There's also a new version of the lower-cost Streaming Stick for HD streaming at $49.99.

“Our new streaming player line up provides performance, price and features to meet our users needs so they can sit back, relax and enjoy their TV viewing experience even more,” said Chas Smith, general manager of Roku TVs and players. “Consumers will love our new sleek Roku Streaming Stick+ with an innovative advanced wireless receiver that gives up to four times the wireless range and a remote that controls TV volume and power. It makes 4K and HDR streaming simple.”
Other announcements included a second-generation "Roku Express" and "Roku Express Plus," which are five times more powerful than their predecessors. The Roku Express Plus is a Walmart exclusive, similar to the previous iteration of the device, and includes options to connect to classic TVs through composite A/V ports. Roku Express costs $29.99 and Roku Express Plus costs $39.99.

The top-of-the-line "Roku Ultra" device is getting updated as well, with improved wireless performance, HD, 4K, and HDR streaming up to 60 fps, a port for an ethernet cable, and a micro SD card slot. The Roku Ultra comes with the company's voice-enabled remote control, which includes a headphone jack for private listening similar to previous generations. Roku Ultra is priced at $99.99.


Each new streaming device announced by Roku today can be pre-ordered now from Roku, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and a few other retailers, while in-store availability is said to be coming around October 8. Those who purchase a Roku device in October will receive a $10 Vudu credit so they can rent or purchase a film or TV show on the streaming service. This offer ends on October 31, but the company wasn't specific as to whether the deal will be available at all retailers.

Tags: 4K, Roku

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