Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa can already perform a number of tasks and execute a variety of commands, the list of which keeps getting longer thanks to announcements like this morning’s about yet another new Alexa skill. The enabling of that skill means that Alexa can now interact with Roku devices such as the Roku streaming player and TV, which adds more flexibility in how Roku owners control their devices and consume their entertainment.
Roku senior vice president of Roku OS Ilya Asnis said this offering helps underscore the value proposition Roku offers as a foundation for lots of different home entertainment choices. “Consumers often have multiple voice ecosystems in their homes,” Asnis notes. “By allowing our customers to choose Alexa, in addition to Roku voice search and controls and other popular voice assistants, we are strengthening the value Roku offers as a neutral platform in home entertainment.”
In terms of how this new Alexa skill can actually be used, owners of an Alexa-enabled device like an Echo Show or Echo Dot can do things like pause a show, launch a streaming channel and search for entertainment options. All you have to do is speak a command like “Alexa, find comedies on Roku” or “Alexa, open Hulu on Roku.” Similarly, Roku TV users can also do things like turn on their TV, change the volume and switch channels if there’s an OTA antenna connected by speaking a command like “Alexa, turn up the volume on Roku.”
To get this set up, you’ll need to open the Alexa app and chose TV & Video from within “Settings.” After that, enable the Roku skill and link your account, and you should be good to go. One thing to keep in mind is that customers will need to be running Roku OS 8.1 or greater on their Roku devices.
As a reminder, the Roku OS offers access to more than half a million movies and TV episodes via thousands of free or paid channels. The Roku Channel offers more than 10,000 free ad-supported movies and TV episodes, and there is currently an update rolling out to The Roku Channel whereby customers will be able to browse, trial and subscribe to Premium Subscriptions from popular channels like Epix, Showtime and Starz.