Fans of Apple Music with Roku devices would have been delighted to discover that they can now access the music streaming platform as an app on the Roku Channel Store. However, that excitement will quickly turn to disappointment when they learned that Apple Music on Roku is missing the platform’s best feature, Spatial Audio.
While the Roku update brings over 90 million songs and 30,000 curated playlists to owners of the brand’s TV streaming devices (or those who own a Roku TV), the omission of Spatial Audio is a huge shame.
It means that anyone who wants to stream Apple Music through their Roku device is missing out on the unique three-dimensional audio provided by Apple’s Spatial Audio technology, and the amount of content available in this format is constantly growing, preventing users from accessing it. having to these numbers seems like a strange decision.
A transforming effect
When done right, Spatial Audio can have a transformative effect on the way we perceive music – even albums we may have heard hundreds of times. By placing the different instruments in a virtual sphere – which are then accurately spatialized thanks to the smart head-tracking technology in the AirPods Max, AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro headphones – each element of a track has the space it needs to to shine.
It means you can hear things you may never have noticed before, making your favorite songs sound like new again. Sometimes the effect is so convincing, it feels like you’re in the studio with the bands you love.
Sure, Spatial Audio won’t work for every piece of music, but it’s a huge selling point of Apple Music, and something that sets it apart from other streaming services, like Spotify — and that’s not all Roku device owners will miss.
There won’t be support for Lossless Audio either, so you won’t get the highest quality streams (even if you have a pair of high-end stereo speakers hooked up to your TV). Again, that means you may not hear every element of the music you love, which is a big deal for all audiophiles.
These omissions are not unique to Roku. In 2021, the PS5 finally got support for Apple Music, with users previously limited to Spotify if they wanted to choose their own music to soundtrack their gaming sessions.
Again, the Apple Music app on PS5 does not support Spatial Audio. While Sony didn’t give us a reason for this, we speculated at the time that it may have felt there were too many technological hurdles to take to deliver spatial audio to Apple Music subscribers.
After all, you’ll need to use compatible Apple or Beats headphones to enjoy the format, which requires you to connect a Bluetooth adapter to the PS5 – you can’t just plug wireless headphones into the console.
It’s a little easier to do this with Roku devices thanks to a feature called Private Listening, which lets you hear your content through your wireless headphones using the Roku smartphone app – you just need to pair your headphones with your smartphone. over Bluetooth.
There’s a pretty simple solution for anyone looking to use wireless headphones with their Roku device — which makes it all the more baffling that the company wouldn’t make Spatial Audio available for its new Apple Music app.
Perhaps Roku thought it was unnecessary – if you’re going to pair your headphones with your smartphone anyway, why not just use the Apple Music app on your phone to access Spatial Audio tracks? Why bother doing this on your TV?
The answer lies in Dolby Atmos soundbars and speakers. You may have one connected to your Roku TV or streaming device, which means you should be able to play Spatial Audio tracks from Apple Music out loud for room-filling sound.
Well, you could if Apple Music on Roku really made this possible. For now, you’ll have to stick to the smartphone app – which makes the new Roku update feel a little pointless again at this point.