A bunch of Roku gamers simply bought much more helpful this week with the launch of Apple AirPlay and HomeKit assist.
When you’ve got a supported 4K Roku participant or TV and both an iPhone or iPad operating at the very least iOS 12.3, you should utilize AirPlay to ship movies, music, and images to your TV from a variety of cellular apps. That is the primary time AirPlay has been out there on streaming packing containers and sticks aside from Apple’s personal Apple TVs (although some latest good TVs assist AirPlay as nicely). With 4K Roku gamers beginning at $40, versus $180 for the Apple TV 4K, they’re a less expensive method so as to add AirPlay to any tv.
Whereas it would seem to be a small characteristic, AirPlay provides quite a lot of capabilities that Roku beforehand lacked, together with HBO Max assist, straightforward music playback out of your cellphone, and even big-screen video chat. I’d argue that the arrival of AirPlay is Roku’s most substantial software program replace in years.
Right here’s a rundown of some issues now you can accomplish on sure Roku gamers that had been troublesome or not possible to drag off earlier than:
Watch HBO Max on Roku
With AirPlay assist, there’s lastly a workaround for Roku’s lacking HBO Max assist: Simply join an iPhone or iPad to your Roku through AirPlay, then use the HBO Max cellular app to start out taking part in a video. You possibly can activate AirPlay in both of two methods:
- Open Management Heart in your iPhone or iPad by swiping down from the top-right nook. (In case your iPhone has a house button, swipe up from the underside of the display screen as an alternative.) Then, hit the AirPlay button on the prime of your playback controls and choose your Roku from the system record.
- Begin taking part in a video in HBO Max first, then hit the AirPlay button on the prime of the video display screen and choose your Roku from the system record.
In each circumstances, the video ought to pop up in your TV in full decision, with playback controls showing in your cellphone or pill. You can too use the common Roku distant to pause, quick ahead, or rewind.
HBO even appears to be encouraging this workaround, with its AirPlay assist web page calling out Roku assist specifically. It’s one of the simplest ways to observe HBO Max on Roku units whereas the 2 corporations work out their points.
Use your cellphone because the distant
In fact, AirPlay assist works with a lot of different video apps as nicely, together with Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and CBS All Entry. Simply use the identical strategies as described above to start out taking part in video on the massive display screen. When you’ve already bought your cellphone in-hand, this could be quicker than reaching for the distant.
Flip off your Roku (lastly)
One longstanding quirk of Roku gamers is which you could’t straight flip them off. In case your Roku distant has an influence button, it may well flip off the TV, however the Roku itself will keep on. And should you overlook to show the TV itself off, the Roku screensaver will run indefinitely.
It’s one other space the place Apple affords a workaround, due to HomeKit assist:
- In your Roku, head to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit, then hit “OK” on the distant.
- On the following display screen, scroll all the way down to HomeKit and choose “Set Up.”
- In your iPhone or iPad, open the Residence app, hit the + button, choose “Add Accent,” then scan the code in your TV display screen.
- Choose the room through which your TV resides.
Now, maintain the facility button in your iPhone or iPad and say “flip off the [room name] TV,” and your Roku will energy off accordingly. When you head to the Automation tab in Apple’s Residence app, you too can arrange the Roku to robotically flip off when everybody leaves the home.
Play music or podcasts from extra sources
Whereas this 12 months’s Roku Extremely helps Bluetooth for taking part in music or podcasts out of your cellphone, different Roku gamers aren’t so fortunate. In these circumstances, you’re restricted to Roku’s personal collection of apps, which isn’t dangerous, however is lacking sure sources like Apple Music, Overcast, and Spotify Stations. In addition to, trying to find artists in your cellphone is simpler than thumbing round with a distant.
AirPlay turns Roku into a way more versatile music participant. Simply comply with the identical playback directions as you’d for different apps like HBO Max to start out taking part in your tunes.
Launch music and video with Siri
For an excellent quicker technique to play movies or music, attempt utilizing Siri. When you’ve arrange HomeKit to show your Roku on and off, you too can say issues like “Watch Eater’s Information to the World in [room name]” or “Take heed to Thundercat on Spotify in [room name].” Your Roku ought to load the suitable content material with no additional enter. I’ve discovered this to be extra dependable with music than with video, however it feels fairly magical when it really works.
Set-up multi-room music
As an AirPlay system, Roku gamers might be a part of a whole-home music setup alongside different AirPlay audio system or soundbars. Simply open up Management Heart in your iPhone or iPad, then choose the AirPlay audio system you wish to play on.
(Honest warning: I did discover a delay between the Roku linked to my workplace TV and the Sonos Beam soundbar in my front room, and sadly Apple doesn’t present a latency correction characteristic for AirPlay audio system.)
Mirror your iPhone or Mac display screen
Roku’s cellular app is a pleasant technique to view images in your tv, however provided that they’re saved in your cellphone. For images from different sources, such Google Photographs, iCloud, or Instagram, you should utilize display screen mirroring. Whereas Android units have been capable of mirror on Roku gamers for years, AirPlay lastly makes it doable for iPhones and iPads.
Simply open Management Heart, choose Display screen Mirroring, then select your Roku from the system record. Something that seems in your iPhone or iPad show will then be mirrored on the TV. (For Macs operating MacOS Mojave 10.14.5, you too can mirror the display screen utilizing the AirPlay button within the menu bar.)
In fact, display screen mirroring has different makes use of past images. You can too communally browse the net, view shows in apps like PowerPoint, or showcase your gaming abilities in real-time. Better of all, you should utilize apps like Facetime or Zoom to indicate your video chats on the massive display screen.
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