Roku, a specialist in multimedia streaming solutions, decided to start the year 2018 by setting new ambitious goals in a market that is somewhat related to the brand, but still a new territory to set foot in.
Roku, a Californian company best known for its multimedia streaming terminals that it has been trying to sell for some time outside US borders, will present in the framework of the next CES its ambitions in terms of connected speakers doped with artificial intelligence. And by AI, Roku obviously wants to talk about voice assistance, which will be called “Roku Entertainment Assistant”.
A wizard that will be found first integrated not Roku streaming box, but two speakers that will act as reference products: a soundbar and a connected home speaker. Products that will be easily interconnectable to the boxes of the Roku TV range and which will have to serve as master stallions to other enclosures of its kind, Roku intending to propose to other manufacturers to integrate its ecosystem on the principle of a business license.
For this, they will be able to rely on Roku Connect, the application layer of this program. Roku says it wants to impose a certain standard in terms of sound reproduction to its partners and would aim with its platform a rather high-end positioning.
A software update for the assistant
The assistant in question will actually arrive in a second time on these devices, Roku in the fall of 2018 for the provision of its artificial intelligence that will allow driving the entire audio-video channel connected at the Roku box. A simple software update should allow most current Roku TV products to take advantage of it.
A means of control more natural than the dictation proposed for the time through the remote control or mobile application Roku, knowing that this function is very limited in the number of interactions offered. This wizard will allow you to turn on the equipment, leaving the TV standby, from the moment the entire chain of compatibility will be respected.
To put Roku’s weight on the North American market, note that eight television brands (including TCL and Hi-Sense) sell connected TVs incorporating Roku’s services and that in 2017 a connected TV sold out of five in Canada and the US would have been a TV “Roku”. TCL is the first partner to sign with Roku in this new speaker-licensing program, and the manufacturer could exhibit products by leveraging its CES conference.
Roku also announces that Magnavox will manufacture TVs incorporating its services in 2018, which will be announced at the Las Vegas show. As everybody knows, the scope of Roku products and the Roku TV platform in Europe is much more limited.
Yet, Roku wants to try its luck in the European countries because nobody knows how well or poorly the company will perform in the regions outside of the US. It will be quite interesting to see how Roku will be accessed with a voice-assistant because if this functionality becomes smooth, then that will definitely open new doors of development.