Roku TVs and streaming boxes will soon be compatible with Google Assistant. The company also announced new features that will arrive with Roku OS 8.2 and later OS 9.
Roku OS 9 and Google Assistant
Roku is developing its own entertainment focused voice assistant but there is no update on the plans. Instead, the company announced that it devices will soon work with Google Assistant.
Google Assistant compatibility will let users launch apps, control video playback, search for content, and do other stuff via voice commands. It will work with Roku boxes, sticks, and TVs via Google Home compatible speakers or a smartphone. Some commands such as the ability to turn on/off the TV and adjusting the audio volume will be reserved for Roku TVs.
- “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, SVP, 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.”
Lastly, Roku detailed new features that will be available as part of Roku OS 8.2 and OS 9. Refer to the table below for details. Roku OS 8.2 is rolling out to Roku TVs now. Roku OS 9 will begin rolling out to Roku streaming players in November, and Roku TVs early next year.
New features across the Roku platform
- Google Assistant – Soon, you'll be able to use Google Assistant devices to control select Roku streaming devices to pause and search for content and launch channels. Additionally, Roku TV owners can turn their TV on and off, turn up the volume, mute, switch inputs and change channels if there is an OTA antenna connected. - Pandora Premium support – With Pandora Premium, listeners can search and play any song, album or featured playlist, with the option to create their own, and access personalized soundtracks based on changing moods. Available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now.
Roku OS 8.2 for Roku TVs & 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, TVs & 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.