Roku has moved a step closer to Apple's AirPlay abilities with a cool new trick in the latest version of its iOS app.
The 2.3 update expands on the "Play on Roku" feature introduced back in September 2012. That feature let you stream music and display photos from your iOS or Android device on your TV via a Roku device. On Thursday, the company added video to the mix--for iOS users only right now--allowing streaming of videos in your iOS device's Camera Roll.
That means you can play anything you've shot with your iOS device--family ballet recitals and 15-second Instagram video masterpieces, say--but not TV shows or movies you've synced with your iPhone. Which makes it somewhat less useful than the Apple TV's AirPlay streaming, but still a pretty cool addition.
I tried out the new feature with a Roku 3--Roku 2, 3, LT, HD, and Streaming Stick models support the new capability--and it worked as expected. I just launched the app, tapped the Play on Roku button, and tapped Video at the bottom of the list. From there, I was presented with Instagram and Camera Roll folders to choose from. I picked a video to play, and after a brief Exporting notification, the video played on the HDTV in the TechHive offices clear as day.
Think of it as a new Roku video channel for your home movies.