21 Comments

Summary:

YouTube never had an official Roku channel, but Roku users may have finally gotten a way to easily watch their favorite YouTube videos anyway: Twonky Beam, an app for Android and iOS, makes it possible to stream YouTube videos to the Roku in an AirPlay-like fashion.

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.

  1. You can do this with the plex app as well. You can bookmark videos from your browser and then via the plex app on roku, watch them on any device that has a plex app.

    Share
    1. That’s true. I think the beauty of this solution is that you don’t even need an app on your Roku, which makes it more like AirPlay.

      Share
      1. The Apple App Store says the Twonky channel needs to be installed on the Roku but the Roku channel store doesn’t have that and the Roku website doesn’t list a Twonky channel either. Thoughts?

        Share
  2. Not working with my Roku XD, and Roku is not listed on their supported devices web page. I’m on iOS 6 with an iPad 3

    Share
    1. Maybe you need to update your Roku firmware? I got it working on a Roku LT and a Roku XS… my understanding is that they’re going to officially announce it next week, after which it should show up on their website as well.

      Share
    1. Thank you Janko! As it turns out my circa 2011 Roku model is not supported. Nevertheless your article encouraged me to further exploration and I discovered a few alternatives. This is a really amazing space, one that has a lot of potential. Good to know you and GigaOm are exploring it too. I look forward to trying Twonky when I upgrade to Roku 2.

      Share
      1. So what did you end up finding that works for you?

        Share
      2. Can you comment more on “this model is not supported”. We have seen it work on the Roku XD. Please post more information at http://community.twonky.com Thanks!

        Share
      3. I have a first generation Roku XDS, I can’t remember how long ago I bought it, but it’s been definitely over 3 years, could it be 5???

        Works great with Twonky

        Share
  3. I can get YouTube channels on my Roku with the Videobuzz channel.

    Share
  4. Agree with Steve – I have used Plex for months to stream “in-house” movies so the addition in the latest version of Plex of not only a YouTube plugin but also an Apple Trailers plugin was just icing on the cake.

    Share
  5. Janko, our app PlayTo https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dayglows.vivid.lite has been doing for months – not just Youtube but close to 150 websites streaming to Roku, XBox, Apple TV, Google TV & many DLNA media players or TV’s. Please check it out.

    Share
  6. thank you Janko

    Share
  7. As of 01/04/13 the Twonky code is not recognized by Roku site. Have they removed Twonky?

    Share
    1. I just added it today via this link:

      https://owner.roku.com/add/mytwonky

      Complete instructions:

      You can follow the below given steps to install Twonky Channel on your Roku devices:

      1.Access the following link from a PC-based or mobile browser yo install Twonky channel:

      https://owner.roku.com/add/mytwonky

      2. If you are not already logged into your Roku owner’s account, you will be asked to enter the account credentials, or to create a new account if you don’t have one yet.

      3. When asked, acknowledge that you want to install the app on your Roku box.
      4. On your Roku box, enter the Channel Store app, then exit it. You should see a “Checking for updates…” message followed by a message indicating that the Twonky app is being installed.
      5. Check the end of your app carousel. You should see the Twonky icon.

      To view your personalized Twonky channels, playlists, and bookmarks, link the app to your Twonky portal account like this:

      1. Run the app and click the “About Channel” icon from the first screen.
      2. Choose “Connect MyTwonky Account” from the next screen.
      3. If you are not already logged into your Twonky portal account, enter your portal credentials when asked.
      4. You should see a web page asking you to enter an activation code. Enter the code that was displayed on the Roku screen. Hit submit.
      5. If the operation was successful, the Roku app should shortly recognize it and show an informational message to that effect. You can also click “Done” to force an immediate check of account link status.
      6. Once linked, you should see additional top level carousel items like “My Channels”, “My Playlists”, and “My Bookmarks”
      7. If you wish to disassociate your portal account from the device, go back to the “About Channel” screen and choose “Disconnect MyTwonky Account”.

      Regards,
      Kiran

      Share
  8. This is really slick. I don’t think this will personally replace the Plex app use for Youtube videos but it will be a really nice compliment to it. I’m definitely going to give this a run. I just wish there was someway I could just watch videos from my subscription feed on my damn roku without jumping through hoops. Damn you Google!

    Share
  9. Rachael Ropel Herrenbruck Saturday, January 19, 2013

    I’m getting a 404 error. Does this mean You Tube is OVER? on the Roku?

    Share
  10. Want YouTube on your Roku? Simply add VideoBuzz. It’s a private Roku channel, so it won’t be in the Roku Channel Store.

    Share
  11. Will roku LT work its airplay on ios 6.1 iphone 4s?thanks!

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post