In a sign of how far Apple is willing to go to continue raising the profile of Apple TV Plus, the company has worked out a deal with Roku that will give the streaming video service its own shortcut button. This is the first time a branded Apple TV Plus button has appeared on any remote control.
You’ll find it on the new Roku Voice Remote Pro, announced today, which features a rechargeable battery, headphone jack for private listening, and two programmable shortcut buttons. The usual branded buttons include Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and now Apple TV Plus.
The Apple TV Plus button will also be on the remotes that accompany the new Roku Express 4K Plus and Roku Streambar Pro. Those don’t have the two customizable buttons, however.
Roku is believed to charge a hefty fee for such prime real estate on its remote controls. Bloomberg has reported it basically works out to $1 per customer.
But Roku has also taken steps in recent months to assuage Apple users: last year, the company added Apple’s AirPlay 2 to its Roku OS software on most 4K-capable streaming products. Now Roku says it will expand that rollout to include HD Roku devices. This makes Roku’s devices a tempting, much less expensive alternative to Apple’s Apple TV hardware, and it’s also a leg up over Amazon Fire TV and Google’s Chromecast, neither of which support AirPlay.