TCL already uses the Roku OS to drive their Smart TV functions. At CES 2018 we'll see a new product from the Chinese manufacturer
12 January, 2018, 20:23
To help manufacturers incorporate the technology into their own products, Roku is providing reference designs for a smart speaker and soundbar. TCL, one of the first companies to offer Roku TVs, is coming onboard as the first Roku Connect licensee, and Roku says it will unveil its first product at CES-the mammoth electronics trade show-in Las Vegas next week. 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.
"Consumers will be able to add great sound to their TVs and audio around the whole home in a modern way", Roku CEO Anthony Wood said in the announcement. But the assistant could be asked to start music on a sound bar in the living room - or speaker in another room - even if the TV is not on by asking, for example, "Hey Roku, play jazz in the living room".
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. Users will be able to start playing music from a personal device, including phones and tablets, and then distribute it across the speakers in their homes through Roku Connect.
In addition to striking hardware licensing agreements with companies like TCL, Roku is also reaching out to the wider home audio ecosystem with a program called Roku Connect. Roku already has a TV licensing agreement with the Philips brand.
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"Being able to control a device by voice is already being used by Comcast and other remote controls", noted Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
"Amazon Prime and Netflix will be very happy to tap into Roku connect voice controls", he told TechNewsWorld. They have also officially unveiled their very own Roku Entertainment Assistant, or their version of Google Assistant and Alexa, a voice-controlled tech to verbally control Roku OS devices.
The free software update for the Roku OS is expected to roll out this fall. It also just announced that Magnavox has become the ninth smart TV maker to sign onto the OEM program. Roku announced a whole home licensing program, with the goal of working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create a network of linked voice command devices.
Google, Amazon and Apple all offer streaming-video boxes that connect with their respective voice assistants, but Roku has hung on to a large wedge of market share.
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