Did you know that you can use your Roku to play things from other devices, just like a Chromecast? Many Roku owners don’t know that their device is actually capable of screen mirroring or do not know how to cast to Roku devices. Roku’s can mirror the screen of any compatible Android or Windows device. That’s right — you can play YouTube videos or Netflix on your TV, directly from your phone. The Roku is optimized for use with a remote, but it does have the same screen mirroring features as the Chromecast built directly into the device.
Using DIAL to Cast to Roku
The Roku allows screen mirroring through DIAL, which stands for “discovery and launch.” The protocol was developed in a partnership between Netflix and YouTube, and is widely available for many different devices. In fact, many smart TVs have DIAL directly built in. Unfortunately — and this is probably one of the reasons why you decided to invest in a Roku — the apps that come with your TV usually don’t run very well. The DIAL standard allows you to use Roku like Chromecast devices, and play content directly from your mobile. If you are not sure if your Roku device comes with DIAL functionality, use this Roku comparison chart to see.
If you are familiar with Chromecast, you can use the same exact “cast” button that you use for that to cast to Roku devices. The Roku should appear on the list of devices that appear in the drop-down menu, alongside any other DIAL-enabled devices that you might have connected to your network. You don’t even need to open the app on your Roku first, it will play as soon as the cast is initiated. This can be done from any device with DIAL capabilities, including PCs, Android smartphones, and nearly any Windows device.
One easy way to cast to Roku directly from your desktop PC is to install the Google Cast extension for Google Chrome. This places a button on the toolbar of your browser. When you click on it, the DIAL drop-down menu pops up, allowing you to cast media directly to your Roku device. This same button can be found in many media playing smart phone apps.
Enable Roku Screen Mirroring to Cast to Roku
Some of the newer Roku models also allow for screen mirroring, a feature that allows you to show the entirety of a device’s screen on your television, using your Roku device. This feature uses the open Miracast standard, which is built directly into any device using Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Phone, or Android 4.2+ that has the specialized hardware installed. The screen mirroring feature can be used to play movies or television shows from apps, videos from YouTube, or even just display your phone screen on your TV.
You can enable screen mirroring on your Roku device easily. Simply press the “Home” button, then click “Settings,” then “System.” Select “Screen Mirroring,” then “Enable Screen mirroring.” This will allow any compatible device to mirror its screen to your Roku. Sometimes, you will also have to enable Roku screen mirroring on the device that you will be casting from as well. Once you’ve enabled Roku screen mirroring on your Roku, you can always manage the devices that are allowed to cast the mirrored screen in a list in the same settings area that you went to, to enable the feature. If you need some more help, here is an in-depth guide on setting your Roku up for screen mirroring.
The Roku has become one of the most popular accessories for cord cutters because of its excellent speaks, wide range of apps available, and reliability. Many users aren’t aware that you can cast directly to your Roku device in the same way that you can on Chromecast (which also has its own channels now) and other similar streaming devices. Being able to cast and mirror your screen to your Roku device can be a lifesaver when you want to play something from a browser, or simply don’t want to bother with the remote. If you would like to learn more about little known Roku features, check out our recent article on the best free Roku channels.