Some Canadian Roku owners are soon going to be able to control their TV setups with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa as the company rolls out ‘update 9.3.’
Roku says that the update is releasing on select players in April, and all portable Roku players that support the update will have it in a few weeks. Roku TV owners are a little less lucky and will receive the updates in phases over the coming months. Slow updates is an issue that plagues a lot of smart TVs, and it’s unfortunate Roku hasn’t found a way around that hurdle yet.
The update includes snappier home screen performance and faster boot times for both Channels and the device itself.
Roku has had a built-in voice search option for a while now, and the company is just starting to roll out its more natural command language selection to Canadians. This means you can say things like, “I want to watch movies with Mark Ruffalo,” or, “show me TV shows with Will Arnett.” Previously users could just say keywords, like, “Mark Ruffalo.”
Voice controls are being added to other aspects of the OS as well. In version 9.3, you can control media playback like play/pause and fast forward with your voice.
Roku has also finally added Canadian Alexa and Google Assistant integration to its devices. Once you update, you’ll be able to link your TV to your smart speaker and ask it to turn your TV on and off, swap inputs and control media playback.
This feature has been available in the U.S. natively for roughly over a year now, so it’s nice to see it finally come to Canadians.
The final update is an app update to the mobile Roku app on iOS and Android. The main goal of this redesign is to make it easier for people to browse their channels while they’re using the remote app. The press release also mentions a new top navigation bar.