Roku is adding Google Assistant to its OS, introduces streaming devices

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Roku will be sending Roku OS 8.2 and 9 with Google Assistant support over-the-air, so keep an eye out for that.

Just about every company has some form of voice control with their devices. Amazon has Alexa with their Fire TV, Apple has Siri for Apple TV, Samsung has Bixby on their Tizen OS for their TVs, and LG uses Google Assistant on theirs. Roku, the famous streaming player company, is adding Google Assitant to their devices letting you use your voice instead of typing with the remote and controlling your TV by voice.

“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 at Roku. “Our single operating system running across Roku TVs and Roku TV Wireless Speakers give us the ability to innovate how consumers experience audio and entertainment in their homes.”

Google Assistant will be coming soon to Roku devices letting you control the streaming device with your voice. If you’re a Roku TV owner, you’ll be able to turn on/off your TV with your voice, or turn up/down the volume, mute, or change the inputs on the TV. Roku will be sending Roku OS 8.2 and 9 over-the-air, so keep an eye out for that.

Roku OS 8.2 for Roku TVs and Roku TV wireless speakers

  • Access and control iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn by voice – Launch live radio stations from across the country, podcasts, custom artist stations and more with iHeartRadio; Playlists, stations and more via Pandora; and live radio stations, play-by-play sports, news, etc. with TuneIn. Use simple voice commands using Roku voice remotes, Roku Touch or the Roku mobile app. Subscriptions not required and premium features available with upgraded services.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling enables a uniform audio level across various types of content, so it will no longer feel jarring when a commercial comes on or when streaming channels are changed. Night mode lowers the volume level for louder scenes, and boosts it for quieter ones. The volume mode setting will be accessible by pressing the star button during video playback when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Speech Clarity – This feature looks for voice frequencies and boosts them to address intelligibility. Speech Clarity will be available via the star menu when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
  • Spotify – Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming service. Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Roku OS 9 for Roku Streaming players, Roku TVs, and Roku TV wireless speakers

  • “Free” Genre Voice Search – Browse free content available on the Roku platform with simple voice requests such as “let’s see free sitcoms,” “show me free comedies,” “free dramas” and more.
  • Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling will be available on select Roku streaming players, as well as select Roku TVs whether paired or not to Roku TV Wireless Speakers.
  • Spotify – Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Roku has also introduced two new streaming devices today that will be available starting in early October. First is the Roku Premiere, selling for $39.99USD and open for pre-order right now. The bigger brother, the Roku Premiere+, will retail for $49.99USD. Both players will offer 4k content at a much lower price. The Roku Premiere+ will be a Walmart exclusive and includes a voice remote with TV power and volume buttons.

“Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+ are the easiest and most affordable way to stream in outstanding picture quality. Tens of millions of 4K TVs will be sold this year; we’re seeing more content, even live sports, produced and streamed in 4K and HDR as each week goes by,” said Lloyd Klarke, director of product management, Roku. “At under $40, the new Roku Premiere is our lowest-priced 4K streaming player ever, and it’s going to give consumers the best picture quality their TV can handle. It is great for HDTV today and even better if they decide to get a 4K TV tomorrow.”

Both devices feature:

  • Clear, immersive picture quality in HD, 4K Ultra HD, and 4K HDR
  • Powerful quad-core processor
  • Low profile form factor
  • Includes Premium high-speed HDMI cable
  • Easy to use remote with channel shortcut buttons
  • 802.11 (b/g/n) wireless support
  • Dolby® and DTS Digital Surround pass through over HDMI

What do you guys think about Roku adding in Google’s voice assistant to their streaming devices? Does anyone plan on getting Roku’s new devices? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Roku (1)  Source: Roku (2)
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