Roku Inc (ROKU) Plans Its Own Voice Assistant, Shares Surge

Roku will be updating existing devices with its own voice assistant

However, while other voice assistant manufacturers such as Amazon and Google produce their own speaker hardware to house this software, Roku's plan is to rely exclusively on third-party manufacturers. TCL, which now manufactures Roku TVs, will be the first partner and is expected to announce its plans during its January 8 CES press conference in Las Vegas. Instead, the company's virtual assistant is primarily focused on home entertainment, allowing you to quickly play content from its services on Roku hardware and other third-party products that use Roku's software.

Roku announced today that it's developing the Roku Entertainment Assistant, a voice assistant that will be integrated into its operating system in a free update by this fall.

You'll be able to use the Roku Entertainment System for playing music on your Roku Connect speakers, controlling media playback on your Roku TV/streaming box, turning off your television, and more.

When it comes to streaming audio and video in the home, Roku provides one of the most comprehensive solutions.

That's where the Roku Entertainment Assistant will also come in eventually.

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The Roku Connect platform is now being offered to hardware manufacturers for use in upcoming devices. Roku Connect allows devices to wirelessly communicate with each other, and can be controlled via a single remote (or through the Roku smartphone app) or with voice commands. The company also announced the expansion of its licensing program to cover soundbars and smart speakers. Roku already has a TV licensing agreement with the Philips brand. The company hired a number of staffers with expertise in voice control and smart assistants, including the co-founder of a startup that built an Amazon Echo-like smart speaker, as Variety was first to report in September.

While Roku Connect and the voice assistant will be offered in smart TVs, smart soundbars, and smart speakers, they aren't limited to new hardware.

"Amazon Prime and Netflix will be very happy to tap into Roku connect voice controls", he told TechNewsWorld.

Roku said that TCL is the main brand that will have a gadget under Roku's new diversion licensing program, however it declined to share precisely what sort of device this will be in front of CES. The company also highlighted Magnavox will become the ninth TV brand to sell Roku TVs. Like the Amazon FireTV box and FireTV Stick, and Google's ChromeCast, Roku's own streaming boxes and streaming sticks have turned many a "dumb" TV into a Smart TV.

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