Following the January announcements of deals between Apple and several TV makers to bring AirPlay 2 streaming support to multiple 2018 and 2019 smart TVs, Roku and Apple today announced the release of a dedicated Apple TV app for some Roku devices — only the second non-Apple platform to support streaming of Apple’s iTunes video content. In addition to the app, Roku users will get full support for the Apple TV+ subscription service beginning on November 1.
While the Roku-Apple deal has been in the works since earlier this year, the full scope of support became clear today. Over 25 Roku devices are supported, including Roku Express, Streaming Stick, Premiere, and Ultra models, as well as Smart Soundbars and Roku TVs. At this stage, it’s unclear whether all Roku TVs will support the Apple TV app, as only models with 7000X, C000X, and 8000X software are listed and the app is not yet appearing on recent TCL televisions.
There are also some country-specific restrictions on Apple TV app availability. Users in the United States, Canada, and Mexico have access, as do users in some South American and European countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Additional countries will likely see support in the future.
Like the surprising January deal between Apple and Samsung, Roku is offering users access to their iTunes libraries of TV shows and movies, as well as the ability to stream, buy, and rent content from the iTunes Store. The app was originally shown as iTunes Movies when Samsung released images earlier this year but is now known as Apple TV.
To download the app, Roku users can select “Streaming Channels” from the Roku main menu and then search channels for “Apple TV.” Once the app is located, you can sign in using either a code at activate.apple.com, a QR code on the Roku screen, or a direct sign-in from the Roku app with Apple ID credentials. Roku notes that if the name Apple TV doesn’t appear, “it may not be supported on your Roku device,” leaving open the possibility that the app may not have propagated yet.
The Apple TV+ subscription service will officially begin streaming videos on November 1, with a $5 monthly charge that’s waived for the first year if you buy select Apple devices. There’s no charge to stream previously purchased or rented iTunes content to Roku hardware. As of now, Roku has not announced whether users will be able to stream content directly from iPads, iPhones, and Macs to supported Roku devices using AirPlay 2.
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