Roku users — finalmente — will soon be able to use voice controls and conduct searches in Spanish on the streaming-media platform.
With the Spanish-language support, Roku customers in the U.S. and Mexico will be able to speak commands en español into their remotes and other voice-enabled Roku devices to launch channels; search for titles, actors, or genres; and control media playback on their devices.
It’s one of the new features in the Roku OS 9.3 operating system software, which will start rolling out automatically to currently supported Roku devices starting in April 2020. The company expects Roku TV models to receive the update in phases over the coming months.
The version 9.3 update also provides enhanced Roku voice features in English for customers in three international markets: Canada, Ireland and the U.K. Those will offer a greater variety of supported voice commands (including the ability to speak more natural phrases like “I want to watch…”) and media playback controls such as “fast forward” or “pause” and device control such as “Turn on closed captions.” Roku OS 9.3 also provides Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support in Canada, Mexico and the U.K.
Overall, the company says, Roku OS 9.3 provides faster device boot times, speedier launch for a select number of channels (with more supported channels coming soon), a more responsive home screen and faster navigation when using features like the Featured Free menu.
Other features coming to Roku devices with OS 9.3 (for now just in the U.S.) include:
- Visual search results: Roku Voice search results will now be displayed in with categorized rows including relevant movies, shows, and short-form entertainment. Search results will offer a list of channels featuring a search-for title, sorted by price.
- Playback from search: More than 50 streaming channels will support direct playback from search results when using Roku Voice by directly playing the show or movie when possible, rather than displaying search results.
- News-related voice commands: “Show me the news” will now direct a user to a Roku Zone filled with available news channels. Telling Roku to “Play the news” will launch a live stream of the free ABC News service on the Roku Channel. If you say “Play the news on…” and specify a news channel, Roku will launch the channel and remember that preference for future commands.
- Customized themes: Home-screen wallpapers and screensavers are now accessible from a single Theme menu item located in Settings.
- Additional Roku Smart Soundbar settings on Roku TV: Access more soundbar settings directly from the TV interface, eliminating the need to switch back and forth between menus or use multiple remotes. In the Roku TV Settings Menu, you can pair an external device (such as a mobile phone) to the Roku Smart Soundbar for audio playback via Bluetooth or pair other Roku audio products to the soundbar (such as the Roku Wireless Subwoofer and Roku TV Wireless Speakers).
In addition, the Roku Mobile app in conjunction with the Roku OS 9.3 update will feature a new navigation bar at the top of the mobile screen when users are connected to a Roku device. The nav bar will provide access to Roku Search; a drop-down menu of devices to let you switch between different Roku devices you want to control; and a shortcut to the remote screen.