Roku devices now support Amazon Alexa voice commands.
The company behind the popular streaming platform made the announcement earlier today confirming that owners of a compatible Amazon Alexa device can now issue voice commands to that device and have those commands relayed to their Roku device.
Both the company’s line of dedicated streaming players and TVs that come powered by Roku OS support the new Alexa skill. The only major caveat seems to be the OS level with Roku confirming Alexa voice commands currently only work with devices running on Roku OS 8.1 or newer.
Most Alexa-enabled devices, including Amazon Echo, Show, Dot, Spot and Plus are compatible.
Once activated the new support will allow Alexa voice commands to control various aspects such as turning on or off a Roku-powered TV, adjusting the volume and changing the channel, as well as searching for content to watch.
During the announcement Roku stated the new support is further designed to showcase “the value Roku offers as a neutral platform” and this would seem to be an accurate description as not only does the platform already support Google Assistant in the same way, but Roku also offers its own in-house voice assistant solution.
With Alexa now included, in addition to Roku adding another major player in the voice command sector, it has now made the platform even more appealing to those who are already tied-in and invested in the Alexa ecosystem.
The latter of which will not only appeal to current owners of Roku and Alexa devices who have been waiting for this support to go live, but also as a motivator for heavy Alexa users to consider Roku as a platform option next time they are in the market for new streaming hardware.
It is moves like this to expand the appeal to more users which has greatly helped Roku to gain impressive sales when it comes to its hardware solutions. Even as the market has matured with more people now owning a streaming device, Roku has maintained a high level of product sales and activations. Roku recently confirmed player sales saw a year-over-year increase in 2018 of over 30-percent.
In spite of the continued interest in the company’s hardware solutions, indications have already surfaced pointing to software as where Roku will see even bigger gains going forward and the company has been quick to ensure it capitalizes on that point with Roku having made big strides in expanding out its platform at the software level over the past year.
One of the best examples of this is the company’s "The Roku Channel." This service originally started as an option only on Roku devices that let users access some content for free. Since its debut, it has expanded out beyond Roku devices and now includes many paid-for content options through its ‘premium subscriptions’ feature.
As is typically the case, the new Alexa support will not be activated by default. Users therefore will first need to download the Alexa app and once opened enable the Roku skill and link the two accounts together.