Roku building a voice assistant as it chases Amazon, Google

Key Points
  • Roku announced a new voice assistant on Wednesday.
  • It plans to launch it to current devices sometime this fall.
  • Partners will be able to build smart speakers with the voice assistant tech built-in.
Anthony Wood
Source: CNBC

Roku is getting in on the smart voice assistant market.

Roku said Wednesday that it will launch a voice assistant that will allow users of existing Roku players and TVs to control the devices by voice.

The company said its third-party partners will build new speakers and other audio systems that can link right into the Roku Connect ecosystem. It will enable Roku owners to speak simple commands, such as "play classical music in the kitchen," for example. TCL, one partner, will unveil its first Roku voice assistant product during the CES gadget show in Las Vegas next week, Roku said.

Roku didn't provide any additional examples as to what users might be able to do with voice controls. Google Home and Amazon Echo products allow users to play music, control their TVs, check the weather, ask trivia questions and more.

Amazon and Google also offer streaming sticks, the Chromecast and the Fire TV Stick, respectively, which compete directly with some of Roku's products. Voice controls may help it play a bit of catch-up in the space.

A software update that includes the new features is set to arrive this fall, Roku said.