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Roku to chime in with voice-controlled assistant

Roku to chime in with voice-controlled assistant

Roku's Entertainment Assistant plays a vital role in the new Entertainment Licensing Program, however. It all sounds pretty cool, but the platform will only shine if third-party hardware makers actually start building products using Roku Connect. "We fundamentally envision a broader Roku ecosystem where TV is the center of the home entertainment experience, but from your TV you can easily connect a smart sound bar to add better sound, wirelessly add surround sound speakers to create a full, immersive multichannel experience".

Roku Connect is a unified wireless audio platform that will let soundbars and other speakers work directly with Roku TVs like the TCL C-series and Roku media streamers like the Streaming Stick+.

Roku home entertainment network devices will exchange information via Roku Connect software. While Roku isn't planning on making any of these devices itself (don't expect to see a Roku-made smart speaker debut any time soon), it will license software and hardware references to third parties so they can build devices with Roku Connect.

Given Roku has pretty much gone as far as it now can with its streaming devices buy supporting 4K and HDR, it makes sense for the company to try and make inroads into the smart home audio world, particularly as numerous services now on offer tend to be proprietary systems that don't play nice with gadgets and devices from other manufacturers.

That's where the Roku Entertainment Assistant will also come in eventually. Optimised for home entertainment, it'll allow you to interact with Roku devices using simple voice commands.

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TCL will announce the first Roku Connect device at its CES press conference on January 8, and Roku will likely use the show to chat up speaker manufacturers that might license Roku Connect. Ahead of CES, the company is announcing the new Entertainment Licensing Program to broaden its range of entertainment products for your home further. Roku TVs accounted for more than one out of every five smart TVs sold in the US during the first nine months of 2017. Today, Magnavox is joining the ecosystem and will launch a range of Roku TVs in the Spring. As an example, Roku says that a user could say, "Hey Roku, play jazz in the living room", and a Roku Connect smart speaker will begin playing music, even if the TV is turned off.

Smart Soundbar: Designed to work with TVs that feature HDMI ARC.

The whole point of it all is to make it easier for consumers to put together their own smart audio system, using a single integrated platform - rather than having to deal with competing systems.

The Entertainment Assistant will be attached to devices that run Roku OS. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts and can be identified by terms such as "anticipate", "believe", "could", "seek", "estimate", "intend", "may", "plan", "potential", "predict", "project", "should", "will", "would" or similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. Copies of reports filed with the SEC are posted on Roku's website and are available from Roku without charge.