Roku started making cheap, effective streaming set-top boxes long before Google TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Android TV, and Amazon's "I can't believe it's not Chromecast." But before today, users who were smack dab in the middle of Google's universe found a notable hole in Roku's otherwise wide array of content partners: the Play Store's selection of movies and TV shows. In a surprising move on Google's part, a new Play Movies channel has been added to the Roku lineup.
A couple of weeks back the Slingplayer app for phones was updated to include the long-overdue Chromecast streaming feature. And because Sling Media still seems loathe to make a single app that works across both phones and tablets (hang on a second... yup, it's still 2014), the tablet app is getting that feature today. Slingbox owners with compatible hardware can download it now for the hefty additional price of $15.
Roku already gave users the ability to stream content from their Android devices to their set top boxes, but now the company is taking things a bit further. Instead of select files, the company will give people to capability to stream whatever is on their screen. We've seen this from Miracast devices, we've seen it from Chromecast, and now we're seeing it from Roku. Update: In fact, Roku is using Miracast to deliver this functionality.
Seagate has a dedicated Android app for accessing music, photos, videos, and other files stored on one of its wireless drives. The latest version of said app adds the ability to stream things to Chromecast, LG TV, and Roku devices. This way you can get files from one thing onto a different thing using another thing entirely. Welcome to the future. Again.
Since the future is starting to look familiar now, you already know what to expect here.
There's no doubt that Chromecast is cool. You know what else is cool? Casting stuff from your phone or tablet to AppleTV, FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox 360, Xbox One, WDTV, a SmartTV, or other DLNA-certified devices. And that's exactly what Koush's AllCast app does – makes streaming locally-stored and some cloud-stored (Dropbox, Drive, G+, or even a server) media simple and easy.
Along with beta support for streaming from Google Drive and to FireTV, Koush also recently added another new feature to AllCast: redemption codes to enable premium features.
I know this is Chromecast country, but Roku was here first. The humble little WiFi streaming devices are competent and powerful, and they work with at least some online media sources that Chromecast doesn't. (Lookin' at you, Amazon.) If you're a happy Roku customer like me, then the Android remote app is probably a big part of your entertainment center. The new and improved version overhauls the user interface and adds one much-needed change.
The Roku app is great for controlling a Roku set-top box, but that's what you have a remote for, right? The app previously included audio and picture streaming from Android devices, but now it goes one step further. The new update allows Android devices to stream video directly to the player over WiFi.
The 'Play on Roku' tab in the interface has a new entry for videos, which should pull up all the compatible videos on your device organized by folder.
Roku owners, rejoice! An official app is now available in the Market that lets you use your Android device as a remote control for your Roku box as long as both are on the same Wi-Fi network.
The app allows you to navigate your Roku box from afar, including launching channels, control media playback, and finding new channels. It also offers text entry via your devices on-screen keyboard, as well as back and options buttons.