HOWTO: Play Roku TV Audio through Apple AirPods

We have a cheapo 55" 4K Roku TV that I think we bought for $398 at Wally World last year. It works well. I'm happy with it. It gets the job done. It is cheap enough, though, that the remote does not have a headphone jack, like other Roku TVs or streaming boxes have, nor does it seem to have Bluetooth support. But I found out that even without that, you can use an iPhone to stream sound from the TV to headphones connected to the iPhone. In my case, fancy new Apple AirPods that I just bought.

Here's how to stream audio from the TV to a headset:
  1. Connect (or pair) the headset to your iPhone.
  2. Make sure your iPhone and TV are both on the same wifi network.
  3. Install the "Roku" app on your iPhone.
  4. Launch the Roku app and use it to connect to your Roku TV.
  5. Click on the "private listening" button (it looks like a headset).
  6. The TV's audio will now play through your phone. Which will now play through the headset you connected in step one.
The audio might be a few milliseconds delayed, but I got over that after a few minutes. This came in very handy as a workaround for my Roku not having Bluetooth support!

It also worked much better than pairing my AirPods directly to my Apple TV. The audio dropped periodically when I tried watching TV that way. Not sure why -- my Apple TV might not be the latest model, or it's possibly just a hair too far away for the AirPods to stay connected reliably.

That's the only issue I've had with the Apple AirPods. They work great otherwise, and they are miles ahead of any other bluetooth headsets or earbuds I've tried. So much easier to pair, charge and use.

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