2019 is shaping up to be the year that major TV and streaming device makers start playing ball with Apple. With LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio getting either an iTunes Store or AirPlay 2 support built into their TV, it seemed inevitable that Roku and Amazon’s FireTV products wouldn’t be far behind.
AirPlay 2 integration is expected to arrive in the form of a Roku OS software update for Roku media players, but it’s unclear if all models will be supported.
Even if the feature is limited to Roku’s more powerful streaming boxes, it seems likely that Roku-based smart TVs from TCL, Sharp, RCA, Sanyo, and others would also reap the same benefits.
Unlike the Apple TV’s built-in TV, Movies, and iTunes Store apps, AirPlay 2 is a more limited feature. While it’s possible that Apple and Roku could agree to adding an actual “Apple Video” app, AirPlay 2 would be limited to playing back content streamed from an iOS device or Mac, similar to Google’s “Cast” feature.
Adding some flavor of support for Apple video content to Roku devices could have a massive impact for Apple. The low cost devices can be added to nearly any TV, which could greatly increase exposure and availability if Apple does introduce a streaming video service.
Apple is expected to hold an event later this month, where they’ll discuss their subscription news service. Many are also expecting some details regarding the Cupertino company’s streaming tv service. Such an announcement would mark a perfect opportunity for Roku to show off AirPlay 2 or Apple Video support.
Apple’s efforts in creating a library of TV has been a pretty poorly kept secret. At this point, it’s just a waiting game on when they decide to launch and what it’s going to cost. We’re crossing our fingers for March 25.