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Roku OS 10 adds Apple AirPlay, virtual surround sound, and better Wi-Fi

In addition to announcing a trio of new hardware devices, today Roku is debuting the latest version of its smart TV software, Roku OS 10, with a slew of enhancements aimed at helping Roku users get more from their streaming devices.

The free update starts rolling out today to select Roku players and is expected to roll out to all supported streaming players, including the new Roku Express 4K+ and Roku Streambar Pro, and all Roku TV models in the coming weeks.

Here’s what you can expect to see once your device gets the update.

Improvements for Roku players

Apple AirPlay 2 & HomeKit

Select 4K Roku devices got access to Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit in 2020, but OS 10 brings these features to select HD devices, including the Roku Express, and select HD Roku TV models.

AirPlay 2 lets Roku users stream, control, and share content from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to compatible Roku devices, letting them watch on a bigger screen. Compatible devices also get HomeKit support, which enables control via Siri or the Home app on Apple devices.

Instant resume

One problem when exiting a Roku streaming app (channel) is that you can’t quickly get back to where you were when you relaunch it later. You basically have to start from scratch. With instant resume, select apps will remember what you were watching and your progress, letting you get back to your movie or show much faster.

Instant resume will be supported on more than 15 streaming channels including AT&T TV, FilmRise, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Fubo Sports Network, HappyKids TV, Plex.tv, Starz, The Roku Channel, with more to come.

Customizable live TV channel guide

Roku OS 10 Live TV Guide
roku

If you’ve ever had to contend with a cable or satellite receiver that won’t let you hide the channels you aren’t subscribed to, you’ll appreciate the ability to customize the Roku live TV channel guide. You can now hide individual channels from view and add channels to a favorites list for a custom guide view.

You can quickly switch between guide views to see favorites, recently visited, or all channels.

Automatic Wi-Fi network detection

Roku OS 10 Automatic Network Configuration
Roku

Many of us have Wi-Fi routers that run multiple bands like 2.4GHz and 5GHz, but there’s a tendency to simply connect our wireless devices to the default 2.4GHz network. While that might be more than enough bandwidth for surfing the web, when it comes to high bandwidth streaming video, the 5GHz is often the better choice.

In Roku OS 10, your player device will automatically scan for Wi-Fi networks that have the same SSID (network name) as your current network, but that use the faster 5GHz frequency. If it finds one, it can prompt you to switch to that network, but you’ll still have to enter your Wi-Fi password.

Improvements to visual search results for Roku Voice

Roku added visual search results in Roku OS 9.3, giving folks an easier way to see matching content with categorized rows including relevant movies, shows, short-form entertainment. Now, when you initiate a voice search while within a streaming channel, those results will be displayed in a less disruptive partial overlay with content from the active channel in the first row, followed by rows of other matches from elsewhere on the platform.

Voice entry for select on-screen keyboards

This is a big one for those who are sick of hunt-and-peck on-screen keyboards. Your voice can now be used instead of typing. It doesn’t work with every on-screen keyboard within the Roku ecosystem but when it is supported, you’ll know, thanks to a microphone icon that appears when it’s an option.

HDR10+ support

You can still only get Dolby Vision HDR support on the Roku Ultra and select Roku TVs, but OS 10 brings HDR 10+ to the Ultra, Roku Express 4K, and Roku Express 4K+. These devices will automatically detect HDR10+ TV compatibility during setup or users can configure the Display type within the Settings menu.

Improvements for all Roku TVs

Automatic game console configuration

Roku OS 10 Automatic Game Console config
Roku

Roku TV users who connect a new game console to their TVs will benefit from some new automatic settings. When a supported game console is connected to an HDMI port, the input tile on the home screen will automatically change to the game console icon along with an appropriate label.

The TV will also detect the console’s capabilities and automatically enables settings like Game Mode, which reduces latency by turning off some of the picture processing that can introduce lag.

Depending on the Roku TV model being used, settings that get automatically configured may include HDR gaming, auto low-latency mode (ALLM), variable refresh rate (VRR), high frame rate (e.g. 4K at 120Hz), and THX Certified Game Mode.

Improvements for select Roku soundbars

Virtual surround sound

Roku OS 10 Virtual Surround Sound
Roku

Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Streambar Pro owners get an improved sound experience with a new virtual surround setting. It uses software to simulate a full 5.1 surround system using just the four speakers built into the soundbars.

You can access the new setting by pressing the “*” button on the Roku remote, then choosing the sound settings menu, or by accessing the audio menu within settings on your device.

Supported devices

Roku OS 10 is compatible with all Roku TV models and these Roku player devices: 9102X, 9101X, 9100X, 4800X, 4670X, 4662X, 4661X, 4660X, 4640X, 4630X, 4622X, 4620X, 4400X, 4230X, 4210X, 4200X, 3941X, 3940X, 3931X, 3930X, 3921X, 3920X, 3910X, 3900X, 3821X, 3820X, 3811X, 3810X, 3800X, 3710X, 3700X, 3600X, 3500X, 2720X, 2710X, and 2700X.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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