Roku software update adds AirPlay 2 to players and launches app with free streaming content

Technology

Roku is making it easier to beam content from an iPhone to your big screen! They’re also launching their Roku Channel as a standalone app for free streaming content on the go. Also, Amazon has a bunch of updates to their devices, too. Let’s take a look!

Follow Tech Reporter Rich DeMuro on Instagram for more tech news, tips and gadgets!

Roku AirPlay 2

Roku is adding a useful feature to some of its streaming devices: AirPlay 2. The free software update will make Roku devices work better with iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. Users will be able to stream videos, music and photos from an Apple device to their Roku.

Many are already hailing it as a workaround to stream HBO Max to Roku devices since there is currently no app available on their platform.

AirPlay 2 will arrive later this year on Roku devices with 4K capabilities.

Roku Channel App

If you like watching streaming content for free, you’ll like Roku’s new app! The company has released its popular Roku Channel as a free standalone app for iPhone and Android. No Roku box or stick is necessary to watch and you don’t even have to sign up for a Roku account.

The Roku Channel app will have over 100 channels of free streaming content, from popular tv shows to live news and movies. The content is ad-supported.

Finally, there are two new ways to watch with Roku: a new $100 Ultra streaming box. This has better wireless range and Bluetooth so you can stream music from your phone. It’s the first time a Roku device has had Bluetooth built-in for this purpose.

Like the idea of a two in one? Roku is releasing a new $129 Streambar, which functions as a soundbar and a Roku player all at once.

Amazon’s new devices

Meanwhile, Amazon also announced new Fire TV devices. A $40 Fire TV stick has better WiFi support and a remote with dedicated power and volume buttons.

Fire TV Stick

A $30 Fire TV Stick Lite has a remote with voice control built-in.

Just be aware, neither of these two lower priced Fire TV sticks has 4K abilities, so if you have a 4K TV and want to take advantage of the improved picture quality, I’d still go with a 4K stick, although Amazon’s hasn’t been updated in a few years.

Fire TV Stick Lite

Amazon also redesigned it’s popular Echo devices with a new spherical look and added two kid-specific models that feature a tiger or panda design.

One of their more interesting new products is a new smart display with a camera that moves left and right, up and down, so you’re always in the frame!

The $250 Echo Show 10 will support Zoom video calls later this year. It will also let you watch Netflix in a future software update, so it’s sort of like a mini TV!

As for privacy, there is a slider that you can use to cover the lens when you’re not actively using the camera.

Echo Show 10

NOW: Listen to the Rich on Tech podcast, where I talk about the tech news I think you should know about and answer the questions you send me!

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