Roku Moves Beyond the TV, Creates Whole Home Licensing Program

James Marshall
January 12, 2018

The TV streaming device maker said that it would be developing its own voice assistant that will help users to play music, shows and movies in an easy and convenient manner using voice commands.

The first Roku Connect device is being made by TCL, the same company that made the Roku TV that was released past year.

Ahead of CES 2018, Roku announced plans to put its software into a bunch of new home entertainment devices-but the company is leaving it up to third-party manufacturers to do so. Along with Roku Connect, it's expected to be rolled out as a free software update to the Roku OS by this fall to most Roku TV models and Roku players. Roku is setting that up for single-room and multi-room audio set-ups and a way for those speakers to connect and integrate with Roku TVs and Roku streaming players. More than half of Roku's revenue comes from sales of its devices, though the company has been generating more from advertising and taking a cut of subscriptions for video streamed through its service.

The company will show off its new assistant and reference speaker designs next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which kicks off on January 9.

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

They are calling this ecosystem Roku Connect and it will be able to connect to Roku devices wirelessly to form a completely wireless home entertainment system. Roku devices have had voice search for some time, but they've been limited to looking for content rather than controlling devices or getting additional information.

Roku said TCL, its lead manufacturing partner, will announce a device under the licensing program Monday.

Today streaming device maker Roku announced plans for voice control of consumers' home entertainment devices. Roku already has a TV licensing agreement with the Philips brand. Keep in mind it's separate from the voice control setup Roku already uses. "With the launch of our Mgnavox Roku TVs, we bring the latest smart TV technology to this trusted brand", says Peter Swinkels, general manager, product planning, Funai Electric. Roku said Magnavox is becoming the ninth TV manufacturer to license its discovery technology, meaning that one of every five smart TVs sold in the US features a Roku user interface. Roku Connect will effectively act as the central hub of all of your entertainment devices in your home, controllable with the new Entertainment Assistant.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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