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Apple TV app coming to Roku players, Roku TVs today ahead of Apple TV Plus

Roku owners can access Apple TV Plus when it launches on Nov. 1, as well as iTunes TV shows and movies today.


Starting today owners of Roku media streamers and Roku TVs can download Apple's TV app, allowing access to Apple's video content on their devices for the first time. The app is the exclusive home for Apple's upcoming Apple TV Plus service, due Nov. 1. The service is a Netflix rival that will launch with nine confirmed titles, including a drama called The Morning Show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, the post-apocalyptic thriller See starring Jason Momoa and a comedy about poet Emily Dickinson. It costs $5 per month and buyers of new Apple devices will get a year of access for free.

With the launch of the TV app on Roku, Apple expands the potential audience of Apple TV Plus significantly. Roku is the most popular streaming media platform, with 39% of the installed base of media streamers according to Parks Associates. And televisions powered by Roku's operating system, including the TCL 6-Series, are among CNET's favorites thanks to their ease of use and affordability. Currently the seven best-selling TVs on Amazon are TCL Roku TVs.

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In addition to Apple devices like the Apple TV 4K, iPhones and iPads, Apple's TV app has been available on Samsung smart TVs like the Q70 QLED since April. But the Roku launch brings the app and Apple TV Plus down to a much more affordable level of hardware: Roku players start at just $30. The Apple TV box costs $150 for the basic version and $180 for the 4K model.

Read more: Will Apple's TV app on Roku, Fire TV and Samsung kill the Apple TV box?

Beyond access to Apple TV Plus, the app also lets Roku owners rent or buy TV shows and movies from Apple's iTunes service, and provides a place to watch iTunes content they already purchased. In addition the app offers Apple TV Channels, services like HBO, Showtime and Starz that users can subscribe to and watch from within the TV app, without having to download those individual apps.

Apple says its TV app is coming to other devices, including the Amazon Fire TV platform as well as smart TVs from LG, Sony and Vizio, "in the future."

Roku's representative confirmed to CNET that Roku devices do not yet support Apple's AirPlay 2 standard, which allows users to control video and music using their iPhone, iPad or Mac devices. Samsung TVs, as well as smart TVs from Vizio, Sony and LG added AirPlay earlier this year. 

Updated with confirmation from Roku of lack of support for Apple AirPlay.