Today streaming device maker Roku announced plans for voice control of consumers’ home entertainment devices. Roku’s voice strategy sets the stage for hardware announcements at CES from TCL and other Roku partners.
Roku, Say Hi to Google, Alexa and Siri
Roku Connect will let soundbars, smart speakers and other devices communicate wirelessly with a Roku-based smart TV or Roku Stick. Consumers will issue voice commands to play music and video.
Roku’s Entertainment Assistant will go beyond Roku Connect’s simple voice commands. When you issue a natural voice command like “Hey Roku, play Britney Spears by the swimming pool,” “… Baby One More Time” will blast from your poolside speakers.
“Consumers will be able to add great sound to their TVs and audio around the whole home in a modern way,” Roku CEO Anthony Wood said in the announcement.
Roku’s Instant Ecosystem
Later this year, Roku will push an update adding Roku Connect and the Roku Entertainment Assistant to all of its streaming media sticks, set-top boxes and Roku-based smart TVs. The update will instantly create a multi-million-household install base.
The move is a critical part of Roky’s strategy because Roku will not make any of these connected devices. It will rely on third-party manufacturers to license the system for their own products.
“OEM brands benefit by offering their products in a more appealing way to our already large and engaged audience of millions of active accounts,” Wood added.
Roku has already seen great success with this approach in the smart TV category. Most recently, Funai announced that its Magnavox and Philips-branded smart TVs will be based on Roku. Funai will join brands like TCL, Sharp and Best Buy’s Insignia on the retail shelf later this year.
With an instant ecosystem, it seems that Roku’s voice strategy could quickly catch up with Google, Amazon and Apple.
Chris Casper is a former tech industry product manager who escaped from California for New Mexico. Now he writes about science and tech while searching for the perfect green chile sauce.