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Home / Tips and Tricks / Watch YouTube TV on Roku: Stream with Apple AirPlay, Android or Windows

Watch YouTube TV on Roku: Stream with Apple AirPlay, Android or Windows



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Getting YouTube TV on your Roku just got a little more complicated.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you have a subscription to YouTube TV and a Roku streaming box, you have probably received emails about a dispute between the two companies. Roku says Google wants more user data, search results manipulation and hardware requirements. YouTube calls the allegations “baseless and untrue”

; and says it “wants to extend the YouTube TV deal under existing reasonable terms.”

For now, the main consequence of the dispute is that the YouTube TV app is not available on the Roku channel store. Roku owners can still use the YouTube TV app they already have, but if they delete it or get a new Roku, they won’t be able to download it again. (Note that the dispute does not affect the free YouTube service, whose app remains on Roku, only YouTube TV, which is a separate live TV streaming service that costs $ 65 per month).

Fortunately for new subscribers and anyone who wants to watch YouTube TV on Roku, there is a decent solution. It’s similar to what we recommended during a similar dispute between Roku and HBO Max.

The easiest option is to use Apple AirPlay, which requires a Apple iPhone, iPad or Mac and a Roku streamer or TV. If you don’t have an Apple device, you can also use Roku’s built-in screen mirroring, which works with most Android phones and Windows PCs. Here’s how.

How to Stream YouTube TV via AirPlay on Roku

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Numerous Roku devices now support Apple’s AirPlay 2.

CNET staff

According to Roku’s support page, the following devices are required for AirPlay:

  • 4K From the TV year or 4K Roku streamer, including the Ultra, Streaming Stick Plus, Premiere or Streambar, with Roku OS 9.4 or higher. You can check the software by going to Settings, then System and About.
  • Note that non-4K Roku TVs and streamers such as the Roku Express also becomes access AirPlay. The Roku support page states “Devices running Roku OS 10.0 will receive batches of AirPlay support for the next several weeks.” You can check out compatible Roku devices here.
  • An iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (with iOS 12.3 or higher)
  • A Mac computer (with MacOS Mojave 10.14.5 or higher)

If you don’t have an Apple device and / or a compatible Roku, you can try Roku’s screen mirroring feature (see below).

To use AirPlay with Roku, the first step is to make sure that your Roku is updated to the latest software and that your Apple device is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku.

After that, it’s pretty easy.

  • Open the YouTube TV app on your iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch.
  • Tap the casting icon in the top right corner and choose AirPlay and Bluetooth devices.
  • Select your Roku under the ‘speakers and TVs’ pop-up. You should see your iPhone mirrored on the Roku.
  • In the YouTube TV app, tap what you want to watch and it should play.

You can play AirPlay from a Mac by going to System preferences, than Displays to get the AirPlay option and click the box to show AirPlay in the menu bar. However, YouTube TV doesn’t have AirPlay built into the Chrome player for computers, so this is a bit more complicated if you want to stream YouTube TV without broadcasting your entire computer

  • First, you need Google Chrome.
  • Go to tv.youtube.com and install the YouTube TV Chrome web app.
  • Click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar, tap your Roku.
  • Click on it again and choose “use as separate screen”.
  • Open the YouTube TV app, drag it to your TV and make it full screen.
mirror iphone

Put the screen of your iPhone, iPad or Mac on your TV with AirPlay.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

In my experience on a recent Roku TV, this worked quite well, although you will have to switch channels with your Apple device. And because you’re mirroring directly from the YouTube TV app and not the entire iPhone / iPad, you don’t have to worry about notifications or an incoming call disrupting the stream or switching apps and performing other tasks. Mac users should set their computers to Do Not Disturb to minimize interruptions.

One more thing, you’ll want to keep your device powered on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network to ensure that the stream doesn’t drop.

read more: Play AirPlay to a TV from your iPhone, iPad or Mac

Stream YouTube TV from an Android device

android mirroring

Mirror your Android phone or tablet to your TV screen in just a few steps.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

If you have an Android phone, you can cast from this phone using screen mirroring. This feature has been available on Rokus for years and has been found on most Android phones for a while (except Google Pixels, which don’t support it) and brings your phone’s screen to the TV. Most Roku TVs and streamers support the feature.

However, enabling this feature is a bit complicated as different phone manufacturers have given it different names. Samsung calls it Smart View on its latest Galaxy phones, for example, and can often be accessed by pulling down the notification shade.

Other names for the position include:

  • Smart display
  • Connect quickly
  • Share smartly
  • AllShare Cast
  • Wireless display
  • Mirror view
  • HTC Connect
  • Screen casting
  • Cast

Once you’ve found the name, it’s pretty easy to set up. To get it working on a Galaxy S21 Ultra I had to make sure my device was on the same Wi-Fi network as the Roku, opened Smart View from the notification screen, and tapped my Roku TV from the list of devices. I then saw a prompt on my Roku, clicked Allow and I was good to go.

If you don’t see the Roku in the screen mirroring list and you are on the same Wi-Fi network, make sure screen mirroring is turned on. You can check this by going to Settings, System and then Screen Mirroring. Make sure “Screen mirroring mode” is set to “prompt” (the default) or always.

Read more: Three easy steps to cast or mirror your Android phone screen on a TV

Note: As with AirPlay, this is not the same as Chromecasting sending something to your TV. Mirroring makes everything visible on your phone, which means that notifications and text messages can appear and a call can disrupt the stream. Closing the YouTube TV app on your phone will also minimize or close the stream on the TV.

In short, you want to make sure that “do not disturb” is turned on and be prepared not to look at your phone while you’re watching.

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David Katzmaier / CNET

Watch with a Windows PC

You can also use Windows to mirror the screen to your Roku. To open this on a PC, open the action center, the little chat bubble icon at the bottom right. From there, tap on Connect, which should display the available screens. Choose your Roku and your Windows PC should now be visible on your Roku.

Another option is to tap the Windows button and search for “project to a wireless display” in the bottom left search. From there, just open YouTube TV in Chrome and you should be good to go.

I couldn’t test this method myself, but my colleague David Katzmaier got it working on both a Roku Ultra and a Roku TV with HBO Max when Roku and WarnerMedia were fed up. He reported some breaking up and stuttering at times, as well as a slightly softer image, but the video was still generally viewable.

Until Google and Roku bury the hatchet, you should be able to watch using any of the above methods without needing the real YouTube TV app on Roku. And if AirPlay and screen mirroring seem too annoying, it might be time for a new streamer with the YouTube TV app, something like the excellent Chromecast with Google TV.


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