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Roku will add support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit later this year

Roku announced today that it plans to provide support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit features to many of its streaming players and Roku TVs by the end of the year. The move will allow people to send content – music, videos, photos, etc. – from iPhone, iPad or Mac to the Roku device. It’s the AirPlay 2 part, and HomeKit lets Roku’s products be controlled with your iPhone via the Home app or Siri, and they can also be included in smart home routines.

AirPlay 2 and HomeKit will be available on most of Roku’s current 4K-ready devices by the end of this year; 1

080p-only players do not get the features. They have already rolled out to many newer TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio and others, but the transition to the Roku platform is great. Amazon Fire TV currently does not offer AirPlay or HomeKit support.

Roku also shared other new enhancements coming in the company’s Roku OS 9.4 update. On Android and iOS, the ad-supported Roku Channel will now have its own standalone app; until now it is integrated as part of the Roku app, which also acts as a controller for your Roku player (s).

When you update to Roku OS 9.4, you will now find a “live TV” shortcut on the home screen. This is not for cable or live over-the-air programming from an antenna; instead, it takes you to the range of free live programming on the Roku Channel.

Other improvements include faster initial setup, a bunch of new themes and better volume control for those using a surround sound setup consisting of Roku’s own speakers. Roku says the 9.4 update will begin rolling out to streaming players this month, and Roku TVs will receive it “in phases in the coming months.”

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