Roku makes some of the most popular devices for streaming internet video on a TV. Now you can also use a Roku as a sort of wireless display for your phone, tablet, or PC.
Blogger Dave Zatz uncovered support documents that show screen mirroring and video casting features are on the way.
Update: It’s official. Roku has announced screen mirorring beta. The feature begins rolling out to users today and should be available to all within a few weeks.
Screen mirroring lets a Roku display just about anything that’s on your phone, tablet, or PC screen. Want to watch a YouTube video without opening the Roku YouTube channel and searching for it? Just fire up the YouTube app on your phone, mirror your screen, and it’ll show up on the big screen.
More importantly this opens the door for beaming photos from your mobile device to a TV, viewing PowerPoint-style presentations, or maybe even playing mobile games on a big screen.
The Roku 3 Model 4200 and Roku Streaming Stick Model 3500 will support screen mirroring, which means the Roku 1, Roku 2, and older models probably won’t.
Screen Mirroring features will work with Android, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8 devices, which suggests that Roku may be using Miracast wireless display technology. All three of those software platforms support Miracast.
There’s also a page mentioning support for Firefox video casting beta. This lets you use an Android phone or tablet with the Firefox web browser installed to select videos you want to beam to your TV through a Roku. Not all video formats will work, but this opens the door for streaming individual videos while using your phone as a remote control rather than mirroring your entire display.
In other words, it offers functionality similar to what you could expect from a Google Chromecast or the upcoming Matchstick Firefox OS device.
Not bad for a device that also offers hundreds of channels of online content and a remote control-friendly user interface.
The Roku Streaming Stick sells for $50, while the Roku 3 has a list price of $100. Both devices are often available for much lower prices.