Roku has revealed that Google Assistant is coming to its devices via a software update in the coming weeks.
This means that you will soon be able to control your Roku-branded streaming device by uttering a voice command into your Google Home speaker or the Google Assistant app on your phone, with similar functionality landing on TVs that run the Roku operating system.
Those with a Roku streaming device will be able to play and pause videos, search for content, and launch channels, while anyone with a Roku TV will be able to turn their TV on and off, alter the volume, change channels, and switch inputs.
This is a notable update from Roku and one that may surprise some, given that Roku already offers some voice-control smarts of its own through its voice remote and the Roku mobile phone app. Plus, Roku recently announced plans to launch a rival to the likes of Google Assistant and Alexa with the Roku Entertainment Assistant. It appears this isn’t quite ready for prime time, though its launch was originally scheduled for sometime this fall. The company is also planning to launch Roku-branded wireless speakers shortly.
“As we broaden the Roku ecosystem, allowing consumers to add new devices to their home entertainment networks, we are in a unique position that is unlike any other TV streaming platform,” said Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS. “Our single operating system running across Roku TVs and Roku TV wireless speakers gives us the ability to innovate how consumers experience audio and entertainment in their homes.”
In other Roku-related news, the company announced it would support Spotify again — after the music-streaming giant pulled its app last year, citing poor user experience. Additionally, Roku will now support Pandora Premium subscriptions, having been limited to Pandora Plus and the free ad-supported incarnation.
Finally, Roku revealed a handful of new devices, including the Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+ 4K streaming players, starting at $40.