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Roku Streaming Devices, TVs Gain Alexa Support

Amazon’s Alexa assistant can now be used to control Roku TVs and Roku streaming devices: Roku launched an official Alexa skill for its streamers Tuesday, making it possible to control video playback and more with the help of Amazon’s Echo speakers.

The new voice control feature comes after Roku first launched its own voice assistant, and then brought support for Google’s assistant to its devices.

“Consumers often have multiple voice ecosystems in their homes,” said Roku OS senior vice president Ilya Asnis in a statement. “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.”

The new Roku Alexa skill offers playback controls like play and pause, search functionality and the ability to launch individual apps on a Roku TV or streaming device. When connected to a Roku TV, Alexa can also be used to turn on the device, select an over-the-air broadcast channel or change the volume.

Owners of an Amazon smart speaker or similar device with Alexa built-in can find the Roku skill in the TV and video section of the settings menu of their Alexa smart phone app. The skill will work with TVs and streaming devices running Roku OS 8.1 and up.

Roku has been embracing third-party voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant and smart speakers made by both companies while also developing its own voice assistant software and smart speaker hardware. The company released a first audio product, the Roku TV Wireless Speakers, last summer.

However, attempts to establish its audio platform more widely have yet to materialize: TCL announced a Roku soundbar in early 2018, but never actually shipped the product. Roku CFO Steve Louden recently told Variety that the company would share additional details on its audio strategy in the coming months.

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