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Juice app streams photos, music from Android phone to Roku box

Suffering from Apple TV envy? This clever app gives your phone or tablet the tools to beam songs and snapshots straight to your Roku.

With Juice for Roku, you can stream photos and music from your Android device to your Roku box.
With Juice for Roku, you can stream photos and music from your Android device to your Roku box.
Jigawatt Labs

You've snapped a bunch of cool vacation/party/family photos on your Android phone; now you want to show them off on your TV. If you have a Roku box and three extra bucks, you're good to go.

Juice for Roku turns your Android device into a media server for your Roku box, wirelessly beaming photos and music to your TV. It also doubles as a remote. It's a fairly limited app with a few quirks, but overall it works well.

The beauty of Juice is that it requires no desktop component, no server program that routes photos and music via your PC. That's the modus operandi for the majority of media-sharing solutions, but Juice spares you that extra hassle.

Instead, you simply install the app, add the Juice channel to your Roku box(es), then pair the two via your home network. In my tests with an LG Optimus S, this worked quickly and flawlessly.

From there you just choose the photos or music you want to beam to your TV. On the photo front, Juice lets you view all your photos or just those taken this month, this week, or today. You can tap one photo to view it or play them all as a slideshow.

Alas, the app offers no transitions to speak of, nor any way to adjust the photo interval or other slideshow settings. The good news is that photos travel from phone to Roku in just a second or two; there's very little delay.

Same goes for music, which Juice sorts by Artists, Albums, Songs, and Playlists. One gripe: although there's a "play all" option for any selected album, there's no similar option for songs. When you choose one, the app plays only that track. Here's hoping the developer adds a play-all and/or shuffle-play option in the next release.

Can't find your Roku remote? No problem: Juice does an excellent impression of one, matching the real deal's layout and functionality quite nicely. I expected a bit of lag time between screen taps and Roku-box responses, but menus and operations worked just as snappily as with the Roku's own clicker.

Juice for Roku costs $2.99, but there's a free demo version that lets you test-drive one photo and one song, just to make sure everything works properly.

I like the app a lot. It endows your Android phone (or tablet) and Roku box with some of the same photo-viewing and music-listening goodness as an iPhone and Apple TV.