As Apple prepares to launch its video-streaming service, it’s been expanding support for its Airplay 2 streaming technology to gear made by other hardware manufacturers, an unprecedented move for the company. So far, Roku hasn’t been among partners receiving Airplay 2 support, but that may soon change.
MacRumors reported Monday that Apple and Roku were in “nearly finalized” talks to add Airplay 2 support to Roku streaming-TV players and Roku-powered smart-TV s made by Hitachi, Sharp, and others. Media players using Roku’s platform would integrate with Airplay 2 through an update of Roku OS, MacRumors said. Roku’s stock rose 4% on the news.
Apple’s Airplay technology allows iOS users to stream video, audio, photos, and other digital content to HomePods, Apple TV players, and other compatible devices, like Sonos speakers. The technology is important to Apple, which may be launching its subscription-based streaming-TV service—including Apple’s original programming—at a March 25 event in its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters that Apple announced Monday. Apple may be using the Airplay 2 compatibility to make its streaming video service available on as many devices as possible, to increase its subscription base.
Roku had 27 million active accounts at the end of 2018, an increase of 40% from a year earlier. In early January, when Apple announced Airplay 2 would be integrated into smart TVs made by Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio, Roku was conspicuously absent—and its omission caused the company’s stock to fall nearly 10% in a single day.
MacRumors said that the two companies are currently negotiating a launch date and marketing plans for Roku’s AirPlay 2 support. Following the report, Roku’s stock closed up $2.85 a share, or 4%, at $74.12 a share. Apple’s stock gained $5.99 a share, or 3.5%, to $178.90 a share.