YouTube on Roku: Twonky gets it done, AirPlay-style

Roku LT

YouTube is finally coming to the Roku box. Sort of, anyway: San Diego-based second-screen specialist PacketVideo is going to show at GDGT Live Thursday night in San Francisco that its Twonky Beam app now works with Roku players as well as Microsoft’s Xbox 360, meaning that users will be able to beam all sorts of videos straight from their iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android mobile devices to their Xboxes and Roku players.

That kind of second-screen action is neat — but in the case of Roku, it also opens the doors for content previously not available on the device. Roku never had an official YouTube channel, and an unofficial implementation was taken down last year after Google complained. There have always been somewhat cumbersome workarounds to get at least some YouTube videos playing on the device, but finding and playing content with Twonky Beam is actually more convenient than navigating the UI of many native Roku channels.

Take a look for yourself:


The PacketVideo folks told me during a meeting Thursday that the company is still looking to launch an official Roku app, which would help to promote the service as well as hook into the Twonky server to allow personal content sharing within the home network. But Twonky Beam already works with Roku without the app, and the experience is very similar to AirPlay, save for the occasional crash that I experienced during playback.

Aside from Roku and Xbox, Twonky also supports beaming content to AT&T Uverse receivers as well as DLNA-compatible devices like the PS3.  “Our goal is to be on any connected device,” I was told by PacketVideo’s vice president of marketing Thomas Huntington.

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