Roku joins voice assistant race to rival Alexa and Google Assistant

  • Roku joins voice assistant race to rival Alexa and Google Assistant

Roku joins voice assistant race to rival Alexa and Google Assistant

Rather than creating its own smart speakers, Roku will license out its tech and the Roku Connect platform to third-party OEMs (not unlike what it does with Roku TVs).

Roku Connect devices will connect to each other wirelessly and will be controlled by a single remote control.

Not content with owning the living room, Roku wants to link smart speakers and soundbars in a home entertainment network. Consumers won't have to wait too long to get these Roku-centric products; TCL, the company that makes Roku Smart TVs, will soon announce its first device that'll be launched under this program.

Both the Roku Entertainment Assistant and the Roku Connect software will be rolled out as a free update to the Roku operating system this fall. It will enable Roku owners to speak simple commands, such as "play classical music in the kitchen", for example.

Roku, Inc operates television streaming platform.

Voice assistants are increasingly becoming popular and Roku has now confirmed that it's throwing its hat in the ring as well.

The extension of the Roku environment, including voice control, is undoubtedly being watched closely by pay TV operators, including Comcast, that are trying to develop comprehensive, whole home voice-controlled solutions like X1 to distance themselves from over-the-top competitors like Roku.

The company isn't new to licensing efforts either, with Roku launching a smart TV licensing platform just a few years ago.

In addition to striking hardware licensing agreements with companies like TCL, Roku is also reaching out to the wider home audio ecosystem with a program called Roku Connect.

Roku launched its TV licensing program at the 2014 CES. Once the assistant is available, anyone with a voice-supported Roku device will be able to use voice commands to interact with their devices. Roku says that Roku Connect devices will be identified by a Roku Connect logo.

Roku, which sells its own streaming video devices and makes streaming video software for other companies' TVs, says it will roll out its own version of Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant later this year.

A new 40-inch Roku TV model carrying the Philips brand comes way of Roku's deal with Funai, which today announced that it will also extend its Roku TV licensing agreement to include the Magnavox brand.

Google, Amazon and Apple all offer streaming-video boxes that connect with their respective voice assistants, but Roku has hung on to a large wedge of market share.