Today, Roku is introducing integration with Alexa, offering full-on support for Amazon’s voice assistant. While the streaming platform already has its own built-in AI and Google Assistant capabilities, introducing a Roku Alexa skill brings a whole different sphere of users into the mix. Cord-cutters can now issue commands with Alexa by simply adding “on Roku” to the end of any statement, which will then trigger the new skill for Roku’s streaming devices. Head below for more.
Roku Alexa Skill delivers Echo control for streamers
The Roku Alexa skill delivers a whole new world of voice control for streamers and cord-cutters. At its core, basic actions like calling up genres or launching apps will be a central part of this new feature. For example, users will be to issue commands like, “Alexa, show me action movies on Roku,” or “Alexa, launch HBO NOW on Roku” to quickly call up content.
But this new Roku Alexa skill won’t just stop at set-top boxes. TVs with built-in Roku functionality, which are becoming more and more popular, will also be privy to new voice control features. Simply by calling up Alexa, users will be able to switch from various inputs and even power on or off the TV. We previously saw this level of functionality when Amazon announced the Fire TV Cube, but even that promise of a voice-activated future wasn’t completely fulfilled.
How to enable the new Roku Alexa Skill
Ready to start streaming with Alexa? You’ll need to make sure that your Roku set-top box or TV is running Roku OS 8.2 or higher to enable this functionality. You can confirm your current software version by navigating to Settings > System > About on your device.
Obviously, you’ll need to have an Alexa-compatible device in your home to fully leverage these new features. There are plenty of options out there, ranging from low-end third-party options all the way up to fully capable speakers. A Roku account and the Alexa mobile app are also both required to enable this new Roku Alexa skill. More details on setup can be found here.
Today’s announcement make sense for both parties, but it’s not without some quirks. For Roku, introducing Alexa control to the mix may make its streamers more enticing for a broader audience that prefers Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem. That said, those customers are probably already looking to the Fire TV lineup as a streaming solution.
For Amazon, this new Roku Alexa skill is a funny fit from the perspective that these streamers compete with its own in-house lineup. Given how much Amazon has fussed about competitors on its marketplace in the past, this is still a somewhat surprising move. But you have to give credit where it is due, and Amazon continues to look past any conflicts of interest as it expands the ever-growing library of Alexa skills.