HBO Max suddenly worth subscribing to but oh, the commotion (and the nuisance for those who use Roku)

HBO Max and Warner Media are both part of AT&T. HBO Now, HBO Go are both gone and HBO Max with its premium charge of $14.95 hasn’t drawn many viewers.

Warner Media’s solution? They have 17 big-budget movies scheduled to open in movie theatres over the next 12 months from Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas to Dune, Matrix 4, and more. Warner decided that they’d appear on HBO Max for the first 30 days they were in the movie theatres.

As you can imagine, the directors are screaming. Actors whose pay is tied to movie theatre revenues are undoubtedly screaming too but have been quieter about it.

What Warner is doing is Great! for those of us who aren’t going to go out to a movie theatre yet, except for one small glitch. HBO Max is on Apple TV but Roku and HBO Max don’t have an arrangement yet — and I use the latter to watch the various streaming media. Turns out if you move a small step up in which type of Roku you use, its software now includes Airplay so you can throw your HBO Max from your iPhone to the TV. That may sound like Greek but it’s pretty easy. And I definitely do want to see Wonder Woman 1984 on my TV, not my computer screen. Here’s what I’m doing to make that possible.

You Can Finally Cast to Roku From Your iPhone

Brendan Hesse11/12/20 4:30PMFiled to:ROKU231

Illustration for article titled You Can Finally Cast to Roku From Your iPhone
Photo: AhmadDanialZulhilmi (Shutterstock)

Don’t skip the latest Roku OS update, especially if you’re mixing and matching Roku streamers and Apple devices in the same house. Roku OS 9.4 adds HomeKit and Airplay 2 to several of the company’s most powerful streaming devices, including:

  • Roku Ultra
  • Roku Streambar
  • Roku Smart Soundbar
  • Roku Streaming Stick+
  • Roku Premier
  • Select 4K Roku TVs

With HomeKit, you can add your Roku streamer or TV to your Apple smarthome setup, allowing you to control your Roku device with Siri voice commands through an iPhone, iPad, Mac, HomePod, or Apple Watch.

The other new addition, Airplay 2, lets you cast media from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your TV via your Roku device—which, among other things, will finally give Roku users an easy way to access HBO Max from their iPhones or Macbooks. Airplay will also let you control your Roku TV’s volume, change inputs, and turn the TV on or off from your Apple device instead of with a remote.

How to update your Roku devices for HomeKit and AirPlay 2

The dedicated Roku streaming boxes and sticks can install Roku OS version 9.4 right now via a system update, while supported 4K Roku TVs will receive the patch within the next few weeks. OS patches are typically installed automatically, but you can manually check for and download the latest updates if you don’t have HomeKit or AirPlay 2 on your device yet. The update process is the same for all Roku devices:

  1. Press the Roku remote’s “Home” button. 
  2. Scroll over and select “Settings.”
  3. Go to System > System Update.
  4. On the system update page, select “Check now.” 
  5. Your device will check online for any pending updates (including any “channel” updates), then download and install them.
  6. Wait for the installation process to finish. The Roku device will reboot once the update is complete.

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