Roku’s latest update to Roku OS 9.4 add HomeKit and Airplay 2 to several of their streaming devices and select 4K Roku TVs. The list of devices updated include:
- Roku Ultra
- Roku Streambar
- Roku Smart Soundbar
- Roku Streaming Stick+
- Roku Premiere
- Select 4K Roku TVs
To take advantage of this new ability with Airplay 2, you’ll also need a compatible Apple device: an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12.3 or later, or a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14.5 or later.
One of the great things about this addition; letting you cast media from your Apple device to your Roku device, is that it will finally give us Roku users an easy way to view HBO Max on our TV.
How to update your Roku devices for HomeKit and AirPlay 2
The compatible Roku streaming boxes and sticks can install Roku OS version 9.4 right now via a system update, while supported 4K Roku TVs will be receiving the patch within the next few weeks. The Roku OS patches are typically installed automatically (mine typically apply overnight) but you can manually check for and download the latest updates if you don’t have HomeKit or AirPlay 2 on your device yet. This update process is the same for all Roku devices:
- Press the Roku remote’s “Home” button.
- Scroll over and select “Settings.”
- Go to System > System Update.
- On the system update page, select “Check now.”
- Your device will check online for any pending updates (including any “channel” updates), then download and install them.
- Wait for the installation process to finish. The Roku device will reboot once the update is complete.
Watch HBO Max on Roku
As was previously mentioned, with AirPlay support, there’s finally a workaround for Roku’s missing HBO Max support: To watch HBO Max, just connect your iPhone or iPad to your Roku via AirPlay, then use the HBO Max mobile app to start playing a video. You can activate AirPlay in either of two ways:
- Open Control Center on your iPhone or iPad by swiping down from the top-right corner. (If your iPhone has a home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead.) Then, hit the AirPlay button at the top of your playback controls and select your Roku from the device list.
- Start playing a video in HBO Max first, then hit the AirPlay button at the top of the video screen and select your Roku from the device list.
HBO seems to be encouraging this as they already have an AirPlay help page that specifies using AirPlay on a Roku device, which right now, it’s your best method of watching HBO Max on a Roku device.