Last month, we reported that Apple was in discussions with Roku to add AirPlay 2 Support to Rokudevices. It appears to be getting closer to release. In an updated report from MacRumors, the two companies are finalizing a launch date and promotion around the feature. This would let users stream music, podcasts, movies, and TV shows from their iOS devices to their Roku players.
The report suggests that the addition of AirPlay would come as part of a Roku OS update to both streaming players like the Roku Ultra and Roku Smart TV’s by Sharp, TCL, and others. The Roku OS platform is now integrated in 25% Smart TVs sold.
The news comes as Apple is aggressively partnering with TV manufacturers to add support for AirPlay in Smart TVs. At CES, it was announced AirPlay 2 and HomeKit would be available in LG, VIZIO, and Samsung’s entire 2019 line-up. Additionally, 2018 Samsung TVs and any VIZIO TV with SmartCast will be able to use it with a free software update later this Spring.
Many believe the recently renewed interest in partnerships with TV manufacturers comes as Apple is expected to launch a Netflix-competitor this year. They plan to mix original programming, third party services, and the ability to subscribe to other services through Apple, like the deals the Amazon has with HBO and Showtime.
The company has partnered with A24 who produced films like Lady Bird and Moonlight to make films for the service and announced a multi-year deal for original shows from Oprah. They have quietly acquired programming including a J.J. Abrams limited series starring Jennifer Garner, Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, a futuristic drama from Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence, and thriller series from M. Night Shyamalan.