Roku streamers already hold two of the top five places in our best streaming devices list — and a new OS update is about to make them better still.
Roku OS 10 delivers such treats as an Instant Resume feature, wider support for Apple Airplay 2 and HomeKit, smarter Wi-Fi connectivity and more. It's already rolling out to the likes of the Roku Streaming Stick Plus and will arrive on all Roku devices — including the new Roku Express 4K+ and Roku Streambar Pro — in the coming weeks. Here's everything you get.
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Roku OS 10 update: Instant Resume
Our favorite new feature in Roku OS 10 is Instant Resume, which lets you jump right back into whatever you were watching as soon as you launch a channel.
While not exactly groundbreaking, it's the kind of quality-of-life upgrade that you don't appreciate until you're using it, at which point you wonder how you ever coped without it. Simply click on the channel you want, and you'll resume watching the show you quit halfway through the previous night.
That said, Instant Resume won't work on every channel yet; right now, it's available on "15+" channels, including AT&T TV, FilmRise, FOX Business Network, FOX News Channel, Fubo Sports Network, HappyKids TV, Plex.tv, STARZ and The Roku Channel.
So, no Netflix or Amazon Video to start with — but Roku does say there'll be more to come, so here's hoping they're arriving soon.
Roku OS 10 update: Apple Airplay 2 and HomeKit support
Apple AirPlay 2 allows for easy streaming and control of streaming boxes and TVs directly from Apple iPhones, iPad and Mac devices, but Roku support is currently limited.
Until now, the only Roku players that support Airplay 2 have been the Roku Streambar, Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick Plus and selected 4K Roku TVs, but that will all change with the OS 10 update.
Support for Airplay 2 will now roll out to other devices, including HD Roku streamers such as the Roku Express and selected HD Roku TV models. Roku hasn't confirmed which models won't get the update, but it says "most" will get it this year.
The same devices will also now work with Apple's HomeKit — so "Siri, turn up the volume" is now a thing for all Roku owners, rather than just a handful.
Roku OS 10 update: Automatic Wi-Fi Network Detection
Auto network detection is another seemingly minor new feature that could prove really useful in practice.
Anyone with a router capable of pumping out standard 2.4GHz and fast 5GHz Wi-Fi speeds will already know how annoying it can be when your device stubbornly chooses the slower connection.
Roku devices will now recommend the optimal wireless network during setup. Then, when a better network connection is available, they'll prompt you to connect to that network instead, reducing the likelihood of buffering and improving the experience.
Roku OS 10 update: Live TV Channel Guide customization
The Live TV Channel Guide, for users in the U.S. only, now offers more customization options including the ability to hide and favorite individual channels. You'll also be able to easily switch views between Favorites, Recently visited and All Channels.
Roku OS 10 update: Virtual Surround
Roku has introduced a new Streambar Pro soundbar, and both it and the older Roku Smart Soundbar will work with the new Virtual Surround feature.
This creates "spacious sound that moves around the room" — which sounds great in theory, but which we'll have to hear before we can really pass judgement. Either way, it arrives with Roku OS 10 and can be accessed via the Audio menu on Roku devices.
Roku OS 10 update: Auto Game Console Configuration
This one's only for Roku TV users, but given that it's the most-used Smart TV OS in North America, with one-in-three smart TVs sold in the U.S. running it, that's plenty of people.
Gamers using a Roku TV will now get autotic console detection as soon as they connect to a supported console, enabling extra settings such as the low-latency Game Mode. Roku says the exact features available will depend on the model of TV, but they could include settings for HDR, high-frame rate and a THX Certified Game Mode.
There's no word yet of which consoles will be supported, but we'd expect next-gen devices such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X to be among them.
Roku OS 10 update: Other new features
And there's more. Roku OS 10 will also bring improvements to visual search when using your voice, with results now showing in a partial overlay over whatever you're watching. There's also voice entry for a wider variety of on-screen keyboards, plus support for HDR10+ on Roku Ultra, Express 4K and Express 4K Plus devices, assuming your TV can handle it.
Expect to see these new features arrive on your Roku device in the very near future.
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