AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support coming to Roku in 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.
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.