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Roku throws its hat into the voice assistant arena

by Sean P. Aune | January 3, 2018

The day is rapidly approaching where you will be able to give voice commands to everything your house, and that includes your Roku devices.

Ahead of CES 2018, Roku has announced that it is launching a new voice assistant program with the first devices expected to launch in the fall. The Roku Entertainment Assistant will be optimized for home entertainment and will allow you to issue commands such as “Hey Roku, play jazz in the living room” which will then feed the music to a soundbar with Roku Connect technology embedded.

“We’ve always focused on making it incredibly simple for consumers to find and enjoy streaming entertainment on their TVs, and with an expanded Roku ecosystem, consumers will be able to add great sound to their TVs and audio around the whole home in a modern way,” said Roku CEO Anthony Wood. “Consumers will love the benefits of a home entertainment network, such as having more affordable options, adding one device at a time, using their voice, having a simplified set up and Wi-Fi connectivity, and holding just one remote control. And, of course, OEM brands benefit by offering their products in a more appealing way to our already large and engaged audience of millions of active accounts.”

The Roku voice assistant will be offered to manufacturing partners free of charge for inclusion in soundbars, smart speakers and televisions. It is due to roll out in the fall, but the first device to include Roku Connect will be a soundbar from TCL that will debut at CES in Las Vegas next week.

What isn’t known yet about Roku’s voice assistant is if it will follow in the footsteps of Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home and integrate with third-party smarthome devices or be able to give you information such as weather and answer questions. That remains to be seen.

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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...