Roku rolls out full screen mirroring for Android and Windows devices

roku rolls screen mirroring mirroing
If you’re not willing to walk around with a massive phablet protruding from your pocket, checking out content on your phone’s tiny screen can get old fast. Size envy from that massive flat panel calling you from the front of the room can be a frustrating affair. However, if you’re part of the Android or Windows faithful, Roku today announced a brand new way to get everything from the “second screen” to the first.

Available on its popular Roku 3, and Roku Streaming stick (HDMI version), Roku’s new beta screen mirroring system is designed to be an easy way to share anything from your phone — be it video, photos, or even games — on your TV over Wi-Fi. The service will roll out today for select devices including PCs running Windows 8.1 or higher, Windows 8 phones, and Android devices running Android’s 4.4.2 version or higher. While the company hasn’t submitted an exact list of compatible devices, it also stipulates that “hardware must support screen mirroring.”

That last point is a bit ambiguous, and compatibility may depend on which technology Roku has employed for its new mirroring feature, but the majority of Android and Windows phones offer mirroring in some form.

For those new to screen mirroring, there are already a host of ways to wirelessly send content to your TV, including the ubiquitous Miracast system, which works with multiple Android and Windows devices, as well as apps such as AllCast, which works across myriad devices and platforms, and iMediaShare, which is even compatible with Xbox consoles. Roku also has an available app for iPhone and iPad called Play that is similar to Apple’s Airplay system. However, many current apps not only offer limited content sharing, but often come with latency, making gaming, and even watching video clips a spotty affair at best.

If Roku can offer an enjoyable mirroring experience, today’s move will mark a powerful blow in the increasingly brutal battle for set-top supremacy. Google’s Chromecast just popped the mirroring bubble in July of this year, showing off near-latency free mirroring at Google’s I/O 2014 compatible with a host of Android devices. Apple’s aforementioned Airplay system also makes it easy to share a host of content to its AppleTV from Macs, iPhones, and iPads. However, true mirroring of your iPhone’s screen is still elusive, making the conspicuous lack of iOS support in today’s announcement all the more frustrating for the Apple faithful.

We’ll have to wait and see how Roku’s new system fares when it comes to latency and reliability, but if it can truly offer seamless screen mirroring, it will be a potent new weapon in its arsenal, offering yet another reason to go Roku — as long as you’re not an iPhone user, that is. We’ll continue to monitor the new service as it makes its way into Roku user’s living rooms, and will update this story as new details emerge.

Home Theater

Now-canceled ‘Daredevil’ was one of Netflix’s most popular shows

Netflix recently canceled Marvel's Daredevil just a month after the premiere of the show's third season, despite reports indicating that it was one of the service's most popular shows.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Product Review

Sennheiser brings audio perfection to wireless earbuds like no one else can

Sennheiser took its time entering the true wireless earbud market, and the results are what you’d expect from the storied audio brand. The new Momentum offer seamless operation, best-in-class sound, and a high price tag to match.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

OLED or LED? We pick the winner in the battle of competing TV tech

The acronyms OLED and LED sound and look very similar, but the two technologies are vastly different in terms of engineering, performance, and capabilities. Which technology wins when you pit OLED versus LED in a TV?
Home Theater

Sling TV ramps up its base programming with Discovery Networks for free

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!