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How to stream iOS music, photos, and videos via your Roku box

Roku's newly updated app adds support for video streaming. Here's how to beam your media from your iPhone or iPad to the big screen.

The Roku app now lets you stream videos from your phone in addition to music and photos.
The Roku app now lets you stream videos from your phone in addition to music and photos. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

About a year ago, Roku stole a little Apple TV thunder by adding "Play on Roku" capabilities to its iOS app, making it possible for users to stream music and photos from their mobile devices to their TVs via connected Roku boxes.

Last week, Play on Roku was updated to include support for videos. That brings Roku boxes one step closer to matching Apple TV functionality, at least for iDevice users. The Android version of Play on Roku still limits you to music and photos, at least for now.

Let's take a look at how to use this feature so you can start enjoying your phone- and tablet-stored media on the big screen.

If you haven't already done so, install the Roku app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. (If you installed it previously, make sure to check the App Store app to see if there have been any updates.)

Run the app, sign in to your Roku account, and get connected to your box. If you have more than one, choose the one that's connected to the TV you want to use, obviously.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

In the toolbar at the bottom of the Roku app, tap Play On Roku.

Now tap what you want to play (Music, Photos, or Video), then choose the exact content. It may take a few seconds for the streaming to start, especially if it's a video.

And that's the process in a nutshell. Just keep in mind that if you have multiple Roku boxes, you'll need to make sure you have the right one selected within the app as you move between TVs. Otherwise you'll stand there seeing nothing and wondering why. (I speak from experience. Sigh.)