Apple TV App Debuts on Roku

Mostly Ready for Prime Time 3.5 Stars

In anticipation of the launch of the Apple TV+ streaming service on November 1, Apple launched their Apple TV app on Roku in the last 24 hours. This marks the first time users have been able to access their iTunes movie and TV library on their TV without having to use an Apple TV device or connect a PC to their television.

At first glance, the app looks pretty much the same as it does on an Apple TV, with the same user interface layout. You can browse, purchase, or rent movies and TV shows, and subscribe to Apple TV Channels like HBO, Shudder, CBS All Access, Showtime, etc. While it is pretty awesome that Roku users like myself can now access movies and TV shows they collected on iTunes that were never able to migrate to other services like Vudu through Movies Anywhere, the app on Roku currently has a few hiccups.

First off, the app is a bit more sluggish on the Roku than it does on an Apple TV device, very likely due to the lower processing power and storage limitations of most Roku devices. It does appear that 4K video with HDR10 is supported. However, at launch, only Dolby Digital audio is supported – currently, there is no Dolby Atmos support. Also, currently there is no way to access a movie’s special features on the Roku version of the Apple TV app. Hopefully those issues will get rectified in future updates.

The Apple TV app is currently available on Apple TV devices, most 2019 and select 2018 model Samsung Smart TVs, Roku devices, and Roku TVs, and coming soon to LG smart TVs, smart TVs running Amazon’s Fire OS (aka Fire TVs), and Amazon Fire TV devices.

**UPDATE (10/16/2019 12:05PM Pacific)** Per Apple Support agent Bryce, Dolby Atmos and access to Special Features are coming in a future, unspecified update to the app.

Published by

Todd Erwin

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15 Comments

  1. As I mentioned in the other thread, right now I am not seeing all of my purchased content when I look at my library through the app. I own 7 or 8 TV series, for example, but only two of them show up under the TV Shows section of the library. The missing shows do show up under "Watch Next", but when selecting that I do not get the next episode, but instead something I watched quite awhile ago.

    I have not checked the movie section of my library yet to see what's missing.

    This will be great once they get the bugs worked out, as we only own a single Apple TV 4K, but have Roku devices attached to all five of the displays in our home.

  2. Scott Merryfield

    As I mentioned in the other thread, right now I am not seeing all of my purchased content when I look at my library through the app. I own 7 or 8 TV series, for example, but only two of them show up under the TV Shows section of the library. The missing shows do show up under "Watch Next", but when selecting that I do not get the next episode, but instead something I watched quite awhile ago.

    I have not checked the movie section of my library yet to see what's missing.

    This will be great once they get the bugs worked out, as we only own a single Apple TV 4K, but have Roku devices attached to all five of the displays in our home.

    Hmm, all of my content is there (close to 500 titles). Have you tried logging out and logging back in?

  3. Scott Merryfield

    As I mentioned in the other thread, right now I am not seeing all of my purchased content when I look at my library through the app. I own 7 or 8 TV series, for example, but only two of them show up under the TV Shows section of the library. The missing shows do show up under "Watch Next", but when selecting that I do not get the next episode, but instead something I watched quite awhile ago.

    I have not checked the movie section of my library yet to see what's missing.

    This will be great once they get the bugs worked out, as we only own a single Apple TV 4K, but have Roku devices attached to all five of the displays in our home.

    Yeah, only a couple of my TV shows has showed up. As to my movies, I suspect some of those are missing too.

    Another thing I noticed is my 4K/HDR movies don't have a separate category in which I can view all of my 4K/HDR movies like it is on my AppleTV unit.

  4. Todd Erwin

    Hmm, all of my content is there (close to 500 titles). Have you tried logging out and logging back in?

    Just tried that — didn't change anything. I also found another bug — the Roku remote app keyboard on my Android smartphone doesn't work within the Apple TV app. All the other buttons work, but I couldn't use the keyboard to log back in. Had to select all the letters / numbers for my userid and password on screen, which is slow and a pain in the butt. The keyboard works within other apps, though.

  5. After 30 minutes of waiting on hold, being transferred to the wrong department (iPad Support?), then having the agent not knowing where to transfer me to, and another 20 minutes until I got to the correct department, apparently Dolby Atmos and access to Special Features are something that will be coming "down the road" in a later update. I've updated the article.

  6. I subscribed to HBO, Showtime & CBS All Access through the Apple TV app on my Roku. Whenever I try to watch a show on one those three services the Apple TV wants to charge me $2.99 per episode. I won’t describe my level of anger over this.

  7. Panavision70

    I subscribed to HBO, Showtime & CBS All Access through the Apple TV app on my Roku. Whenever I try to watch a show on one those three services the Apple TV wants to charge me $2.99 per episode. I won't describe my level of anger over this.

    Are you sure you're not looking in the store portion? Those 3 services you subscribe to don't offer purchases…

  8. Panavision70

    I subscribed to HBO, Showtime & CBS All Access through the Apple TV app on my Roku. Whenever I try to watch a show on one those three services the Apple TV wants to charge me $2.99 per episode. I won't describe my level of anger over this.

    I get weird behavior like this with Game of Thrones on my actual Apple TV 4K – – I have not tried it on the Roku. I own Seasons 1 – 7 via a "complete series" digital code before the final season was out. When I try to watch via the "Watch Next" screen, Apple wants to charge me for each episode. When I access via the menu option "library" it works fine. Due to a current bug with the Apple app on Roku, GoT doesn't show up in my library on Roku.

  9. Cranston37

    Those 3 services don't even offer purchases – are you sure you're trying to access content within the services and not something else like the iTunes store?

    I tried every place there was to click. I assume they haven't worked out the bugs. Since subscribing to the three services through Apple TV begins with 7 days free to try it out, I will cancel on the 5th day.

  10. Panavision70

    I tried every place there was to click. I assume they haven't worked out the bugs. Since subscribing to the three services through Apple TV begins with 7 days free to try it out, I will cancel on the 5th day.

    You can cancel now, and the subscription will continue until your 7 day trial period ends. No need to wait if you intend to cancel.

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