Along with price and release date details of its new Streaming Stick plus the launch of Vudu, Roku is announcing upgrades for its mobile remote control apps. Hinted at earlier this year when software updates went out to its newer boxes preparing them for future upgrades, the updates for its official app on Android and iOS bring a new "Play on Roku" feature. While it's not quite as feature-filled as AirPlay or DLNA streaming, it will allow owners to present images (JPG or PNG) and DRM-free music files (MP3 or M4A) right through their home theater with the press of a button. The update also includes international support, the ability to name different Roku boxes, a one touch quick rewind button and a few other tweaks. Currently there's no support for video or anything else more complicated, but we're told this is a first step as it plans to build up the second screen experience going forward. Hit your respective app stores to try out the new feature yourself, or check out the press release and demo video after the break.
Roku Announces Mobile App Updates; Introduces Play on Roku
'Play on Roku' Lets Customers Stream Photos and Music from iOS or Android Mobile Devices to Roku Streaming Players
SARATOGA, Calif. – Sept. 20, 2012 – Many Roku® customers take photos and download music on smartphones or tablets for easy access anytime, and anywhere. For these customers, Roku today announced updates to the Roku mobile app that include Play on Roku, a feature that allows customers to stream photos and music from a mobile device wirelessly to a Roku streaming player. The Roku mobile app – which essentially turns a smartphone or tablet into a Roku remote control – is now also available in all countries where Roku players are sold, including the U.K., Canada and Ireland.
Photos streamed on TV using Play on Roku can be viewed individually using a swiping gesture on the mobile device, or in automatic slide show mode. When music is streamed using Play on Roku, a screen saver with the song title, artist, album name and cover art will appear on the TV while the song plays. Photo slide shows can also be viewed with music streaming at the same time. Play on Roku is compatible with MP3 and M4A audio files and JPG and PNG image files.
"For most people, mobile devices are an extension of their lifestyle – they use their smartphones and tablets for almost everything, including capturing photos and curating music," said Jim Funk, senior vice president of product management at Roku. "With this in mind, we wanted to provide a mobile experience that gave customers different ways to enjoy their photos and music, while getting even more value out of their Roku players."
With the Roku mobile app, customers can control their Roku player without using the included IR remote. Additionally, customers can:
Assign names to Roku players
Instantly replay favorite movie moments
Quickly add and remove channels
Control and switch between multiple Roku players
Enter text easily with the included keyboard feature
Available for iOS and Android mobile devices, the Roku mobile app can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Play on Roku works with all Roku 2, Roku LT and Roku HD (model 2500R) players today and will work with the Roku Streaming Stick, expected to ship in October.
About Roku Inc.
Roku is the leading dedicated streaming platform for delivering video, music and casual games to the TV. Roku launched the first player to stream Netflix to the TV in 2008, and today the Roku platform streams more than 600 channels to millions of devices in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. Roku was founded by Anthony Wood, inventor of the DVR. The company is headquartered in Saratoga, Calif. For more information, visit www.roku.com.
Roku and the Roku logo are registered trademarks of Roku, Inc. in the United States and other countries.