What you need to know
- AirPlay and HomeKit support is coming.
- Use a new app to access the Live TV Channel Guide.
- Audio product updates also.
Roku has announced significant software changes that are coming soon to its devices. The upcoming Roku OS 9.4 update introduces Apple AirPlay and HomeKit support, and also includes a new way to access The Roku Channel's Live TV Channel Guide on Roku TVs, and more.
New features coming to Roku devices include:
- Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit – Later this year, we're expecting to deliver Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on select 4K Roku devices. With AirPlay 2, you can stream, control, and share your favorite content directly from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your Roku device and bring the experience to the big screen. HomeKit allows you to easily and securely control your Roku device using the Home app and Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or HomePod.
- Live TV Channel Guide – Have a Roku TV? Now you can watch free live TV directly from your home screen by selecting the "Live TV" input tile. This gives you one-click access to an easy to use program guide with over 115 free live streaming TV channels. If you have an antenna connected, you'll be able to view a combined program guide with free streaming channels and over-the-air broadcast channels. Additionally, you can choose between two program guide views, including recently watched channels.
- Helpful Hints for Roku Voice – Helpful hints will appear directly on the TV screen to inform you of voice commands you can use on your Roku device. These hints are designed to help you enjoy quick, simple control of your Roku device using a wide variety of voice commands. Roku Voice is available on compatible voice remotes or via the free Roku mobile app.
- Surround level control for multi-channel audio – If you own Roku audio products with a multi-channel speaker configuration, you'll be able to adjust the volume of your rear surround speakers relative to the volume of your soundbar for sound levels that match your preference.
For non-Roku customers, you can now access The Roku Channels's Live TV Guide through an iOS and Android app. The free mobile app offers free and premium entertainment for all users. At the same time, Roku is offering more free live/linear channels, including Bloody Disgusting TV, The Craftistry, Circle, HappyKids.tv, Hi-YAH! – The Martial Arts Channel, iFood.tv, The LEGO Channel, Maverick Black Cinema, MOVIESPHERE, Skills + Thrills, VENN, and Weatherspy, as well as a variety of Spanish-language entertainment including Sony Canal Comedias, Sony Canal Compentencias, Sony Canal Novelas from Sony Pictures Television, and Tastemade en Espanol.
In total, there are 115 channels available through the Roku Channel app.
Roku OS 9.4 begins rolling out to select Roku players in the coming weeks. Roku TV models are expected to receive the update in phases over the coming months.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.