For most people, when they think TV and streaming, they think Roku. That's how popular the media streaming device maker is. Although, before now, Roku only produced the streaming devices or sold its software licence to TV makers so you can unwrap your TV and find Roku functionality waiting. Most TV producers making their own products received not only Roku's software license but also some patented hardware reference designs which Roku believes would make the hardware more compatible with their software.
Currently, the software company is taking huge steps to expand its reach with the new Roku Connect Platform. The new platform is intended to connect smart audio devices like smart speakers and soundboard together. It will be possible to control this connection using your usual Roku remote that works on your Roku functional TV.
The first device from this new connect platform is set to be launched at the CES on January 8th this year. In addition, Roku has made public its plans to create a competitor to the Alexa, from Google and Siri from Apple, digital voice AI assistant. Roku hopes its own voice assistant will help them achieve their vision of owning every aspect of your smart home entertainment system.
￼The new kid on the voice assistant block will be called Roku Entertainment Assistant. With it, you can use voice to control audio devices like your speakers, TVs and soundbars. So, you could be in the kitchen and ask your TV to play a music. Even Roku in its press release said: "Hey Roku, play jazz in the living room." Cool right?
To get the new Roku Entertainment Assistant, you do not need to purchase new hardware. By this fall, you'll be able to access the Roku Entertainment Assistant by updating all Roku related software in your speakers, TVs, TV sticks and boxes.
Full details on what exactly the new voice assistant would be able to do have not yet been made public. Nevertheless, there's a strong assumption that most functions would be related to entertainment. Else, why would that particular word be included in its name?
This does not, however, imply that non-entertainment functions like checking traffic, the weather or even news update would be unavailable. It only emphasizes the fact that Roku is making the voice assistant primarily to give users a brand new way to play around with content on their Roku TV, soundbars and speakers.