You can now control your Roku devices with Amazon Alexa
In today’s episode of “Alexa learns a new trick.”
Whew, Amazon’s eponymous Alexa virtual assistant gets about a bit. Not content with controlling almost every other streaming thingy in existence, Alexa will now be able to control Roku devices.
All you need to do is install the Roku skill for Alexa, and your Alexa-enabled devices will all grant you the voice of the Dragonborn, being able to Fus-Ro-Dah your way into viewing pleasure. No wait, that’s the other Alexa skill, dammit Todd.
More about the new Roku skill
The Roku skill for Alexa will grant the assistant similar powers to the inbuilt Roku voice assistant. That means you’ll be able to say things like “Alexa, pause Roku,” or “Alexa, open Hulu on Roku.” You’ll also be able to search for entertainment options, play/pause, open channels and more. If you’re a Roku TV owner, that integration goes deeper, allowing control over volume, switching inputs or channels and powering on/off the TV.
You’ll need to be running Roku OS 8.2 or higher, and it only works in the United States at present. Oh, and you won’t currently be able to use Alexa to open Netflix or play Netflix content for some reason. As with all Alexa skills, you’ll start in the Alexa app, searching for Roku and then from there connect your Roku account and link your device.
Roku has supported Google’s Assistant for some time now, with the slightly-awkward phrasing of commands like “Hey Google, pause on Roku.” The Alexa skill is more fluid, being closer to a natural speaking pattern. While Roku does have its own voice assistant, Roku’s SVP of Roku OS, Ilya Asnis, says the company really wants to be the neutral platform for in-home streaming, so meeting users with the voice assistants they already use is a natural move.
Does that mean Cortana might appear in the future? Who knows, but it’d be cool.
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