If you're comfortable with the phrases "Hey Alexa" or "Hey Google," you'll be interested in the latest move by streaming media box company Roku.
The company has just announced Roku Connect, a voice assistant platform for third-party speakers, soundbars, and other connected devices. The service will let users control media playback using the command "Hey Roku."
It's not entirely clear what other voice-activated functions will be available at launch, but the company says it will license the technology to OEMs such as TCL, who are set to showcase the first Roku Connect-powered devices at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show on January 8th.
Roku Connect is not designed to compete with voice-activated devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Instead, it's targeted specifically at home entertainment devices. Of course, some of those functions are also handled by the Google and Amazon devices, so expect to see increased competition to be the default entertainment device in your home.
Roku's biggest advantage in this battle is that unlike its competitors, it isn't partnered or integrated with a content platform. The company hopes to capitalize on that independence by offering its Roku Connect software free to developers. It plans to make money through its Roku platform and through advertising on channels such as its new free Roku TV and movie channel.