Roku (teaser 001)

Good news, Roku set-top box users! A significant update to Roku’s iOS app has just been issued, enabling an AirPlay-like functionality that works with photos, music and iOS video content. In a nutshell, a new Play on Roku feature works similar to AirPlay, a media streaming technology from Apple. The freshly updated app can now stream content stored on an iPhone, iPad or iPod directly to a bunch of Roku’s set-top box products. Jump past the fold for more information…

In addition to the “minor bug fixes,” Thursday’s Roku version 2.3 update includes the all-new Play on Roku media streaming feature, which works with the Roku 3, Roku 2, new Roku HD and Roku LT players and Roku Streaming Stick.

Check out a quick video tour.

From the introductory blog post:

Now you can stream your carefully curated music playlists and flattering family photos straight from your iPhone or Android device to your living room big screen with our brand new Play on Roku feature. Yes, it’s true. You can even set your photos to music.

Other features include improved device discovery, the ability to voice launch channels (Android only) and the option to give unique names to multiple Roku players.

Roku for iOS (Play on Roku 002)Roku for iOS (Play on Roku 001)

Interestingly enough, the Play on Roku feature is an iOS exclusive initially as Android support is coming soon to select devices, Roku said. The new Roku iOS app supports the iPhone 3GS and later, iPad and third-gen iPod Touch and later.

Roku has also updated the Roku player firmware with video streaming from iOS devices and support for FLAC and WAV audio file formats, now available via the updated USB Media Player channel.

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Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Chromecast content options comparison.

Important caveat: unlike AirPlay which can stream just about any video from any app (unless a developer has specifically disabled the feature), including iTunes purchases and your own imports in the iOS Videos app, the Roku software can only stream your personal movies saved in the Camera roll so it’s more of a video channel for your home movies than the AirPlay replacement.

The app is available from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store for Android.

  • Dave Elg

    I was so excited about this until I read the line at the end (paraphrased): “Unlike AirPlay, the Roku software can only stream your personal movies saved in the Camera roll.”

    • Stephen Michael Simon

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I still want one because I feel it is a better value than the ATV.

  • grimmwerks

    Also – says you can’t have Google Play, iTunes and Youtube. Totally untrue. I’ve got channels for Play, Youtube and all my podcasts (though not necessarily iTunes). There’s SO many more private channels / customization, and I’ve previously had a jailbroken AppleTV. I’ve got 2 rokus now.