Roku building a voice assistant as it chases Amazon and Google

Roku building a voice assistant as it chases Amazon and Google

With this then voice commands and remote controls can be detected and prompt the devices to play music.

Roku announced that it will launch its own voice assistant entertainment controller for Roku-enabled products.

The Roku Entertainment Assistant voice control will expand Roku's current voice command capabilities to include requesting and playing a movie title and controlling the Roku streaming device or Roku TV. Equipment makers also will be able to license smart soundbar and speaker hardware reference designs, as well as the Roku operating system, Roku said.

Roku has always been the easiest-to-use streaming player and brought that simple menu to Roku TVs. However, Roku Entertainment Assistant will not entirely resemble other voice assistants like Siri and Alexa as it only deals with entertainment controls.

Roku captures about 23% of connected-TV users, according to an October report from research firm eMarketer.

Source Emmanuel Carrillo
Source Emmanuel Carrillo

The company is also launching a licensing program that will allow device manufacturers to build soundbars and speakers that will use Roku Connect software to link them together in a single home entertainment network.

"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. Roku Connect will roll out as a software to existing customers this fall. It will be available via a Roku TV or streaming player remote or on Roku's excellent remote app on smartphones.

Victoria Petrock, an analyst with eMarketer, said Roku's new voice assistant will only make its already competitive product easier to use.

Moreover, the voice-poweredRoku Entertainment Assistant will make it possible for users to give commands such as "Hey Roku, play hip-hop music in the living room", and the jams start to play. However, with so many other popular voice assistants on the market, Roku might be limited in the long term if it can not integrate its system with others' or expand the voice assistant to offer other services. Funai Electric announced that it will be releasing a Magnavox Roku TV in the spring of 2018 along with the previously announced Philips brand Roku TV.

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