March 19, 2018

Roku will be updating existing devices with its own voice assistant

12 January 2018, 08:24 | Lucia Cruz

Roku To Launch Own Voice Assistant & Expand Product Suite

Roku will be updating existing devices with its own voice assistant

Roku, best known for making the most popular media streaming devices in the USA, announced plans on Wednesday to expand its licensing program to include soundbars and smart speakers, as well as surround sound and multi-room audio systems. The company has officially unveiled Roku Entertainment Assistant, its own voice assistant for verbally controlling Roku OS devices.

Expect Roku to reveal more information about these upcoming products at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 in Las Vegas next week. Instead of marketing the software as artificial intelligence that can schedule your appointments, turn off your bedroom lights and order your groceries, the Roku assistant's primary job will be to help you play music and video on devices throughout your house.

When launched, the Roku Entertainment Assistant will enable consumers to use voice commands to enjoy entertainment on voice-supported Roku devices. Customers could then use Roku's voice remote to control these devices with commands like "Hey Roku, play jazz in the living room".

Roku is the most popular streaming device in the USA, beating out competing hardware from tech giants Apple, Amazon and Google, according to Parks Associates. It plans to expand its licensing program and launch "Roku Entertainment Assistant".

The move is a critical part of Roky's strategy because Roku will not make any of these connected devices.

The audio gadgets will run Roku's own operating system and be able to connect wirelessly to each other to do things like sync audio.

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The assistant is called Roku Entertainment Assistant (bit of a mouthful, that) and is expected to roll out to all Roku devices sometime this autumn.

The Los Gatos, Calif. -based TV streaming tech company plans to have its Roku voice-powered Entertainment Assistant update available this fall for most Roku TVs and players.

We're sure Roku has more to say about this new program as well as its streaming boxes and smart TV platform, so be sure to keep an eye on our CES coverage. Ahead of CES, the company is announcing the new Entertainment Licensing Program to broaden its range of entertainment products for your home further.

Since then, eight TV brands have started selling Roku TVs in North America.

Roku began licensing its software to TV manufacturers four years ago.

Asked whether an OEM could use a Google Assistant or Alexa, or if it was just confined to the Roku Entertainment Assistant, a Roku rep told CNET that it would be up to the OEM.

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