All posts in “Amazon Alexa”

Roku devices now play nice with Amazon Alexa

Roku's new 4K-ready streaming stick.
Roku’s new 4K-ready streaming stick.

Image: roku


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Own a Roku media streaming device or Roku TV? If you also have an Amazon Echo smart speaker or smart display, you can now control your Roku device with Alexa voice controls.

Starting today, Roku users with Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Show$129.99 at Amazon, Echo Dot, Echo Spot$129.99 at Amazon, or Echo Plus can pause a show, launch a streaming channel, or search for content using Alexa voice commands, Roku announced. To try it out, open the Alexa app, go to settings, select TV & Video, enable the Roku skill, and link your account. Note that your Roku device needs to be running Roku OS 8.1 or higher for this to work.

Once you get it set up, just utter a command like “Alexa, find comedies on Roku,” “Alexa, pause Roku,” or “Alexa open Hulu on Roku.” If you have a Roku TV with an OTA antenna connected, you can also use Alexa voice controls to turn it on, change the volume, switch inputs, and change channels.

You can already control Roku devices with other virtual assistants, including Roku’s own and Google Assistant. The addition of Alexa support gives Roku users another option.

“Consumers often have multiple voice ecosystems in their homes,” Roku OS Senior Vice President Ilya Asnis said in a statement. “By allowing our customers to choose Alexa, in addition to Roku voice search and controls, and other popular voice assistants, we are strengthening the value Roku offers as a neutral platform in home entertainment.”

This new voice control option should help users “get to the entertainment they love faster so they can enjoy more of it,” Asnis added.

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You can now ask Alexa to control your Roku devices

Roku this morning announced its devices will now be compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. Through a new Roku skill for Alexa, Roku owners will be able to control their devices in order to do things like launch a channel, play or pause a show, search for entertainment options and more. Roku TV owners will additionally be able to control various functions related to their television, like adjusting the volume, turning on and off the TV, switching inputs and changing channels if there is an over-the-air antenna attached.

The added support for Amazon Alexa will be available to devices running Roku OS 8.1 or higher, and will require that customers enable the new Roku skill, which will link their account to Amazon.

Roku has developed its own voice assistant designed specifically for its platform, which is available with a touch of a button on its voice remote as well as through optional accessories like its voice-powered wireless speakers, tabletop Roku Touch remote or TCL’s Roku-branded Smart Soundbar. However, it hasn’t ignored the needs of those who have invested in other voice platforms.

Already, Roku devices work with Google Assistant-powered devices, like Google Home and Google Home Mini, through a similar voice app launched last fall.

Support for the dominant streaming media platform — Amazon Alexa — was bound to be next. EMarketer said Amazon took two-thirds of smart speaker sales last year, and CIRP said Echo has a 70 percent U.S. market share.

The Roku app will work with any Alexa-enabled device, including the Amazon Echo, Echo Show, Echo Dot, Echo Spot and Echo Plus, as well as those powered by Alexa from third parties, the company confirmed to TechCrunch.

Once enabled, you’ll be able to say things like “Alexa, pause Roku,” or “Alexa, open Hulu on Roku,” or “Alexa, find comedies on Roku,” and more. The key will be starting the command with “Alexa,” as usual, then specify “Roku” is where the action should take place (e.g. “on Roku”).

One change with the launch of voice support via Alexa is that the commands are a bit more natural, in some cases. Whereas Google Assistant required users to say “Hey Google, pause on Roku,” the company today says the same command for Alexa users is “Alexa, pause Roku.” That’s a lot easier to remember and say. However, most of the other commands are fairly consistent between the two platforms.

“Consumers often have multiple voice ecosystems in their homes,” said Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku, in a statement about the launch. “By allowing our customers to choose Alexa, in addition to Roku voice search and controls, and other popular voice assistants, we are strengthening the value Roku offers as a neutral platform in home entertainment.”

Amazon Alexa exec says data privacy is vital to the success of voice assistants

In this special edition of MashTalk, Mashable sits down with Pete Thompson, Vice President of Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, at CES 2019.

Thompson discusses the expansion of Alexa services on brand new smart home and automotive products, competition with Google Home, and the importance of data security for customers.

Amazon has paused sales of its Echo Wall Clock due to connectivity issues

Amazon launched an Echo Wall Clock before the end of last year but, less than a month later, things aren’t running to schedule. The e-commerce giant has paused the sale of the $30 Alexa-powered smart clock after a number of customers reported connectivity issues, according to The Verge.

The clock is still listed on Amazon but, as of Tuesday, it is “currently unavailable.”

“We’re aware that a small number of customers have had issues with connectivity. We’re working hard to address this and plan to make Echo Wall Clock available again in the coming weeks,” Amazon told The Verge in a statement.

The clock is pitched at existing Alexa users who could use it to set timers, countdowns or alarms, while it automatically adjusts to seasonal time changes. It is unashamedly basic, both in design as well as functionality, but it is an interesting addition to Amazon’s expanding home appliance push. That also includes an Alexa microwave (less impressive), a singing fish (ok…) along the more established cast of home speakers, the “Show” video screen, a subwoofer and more.

The best UK deals for Thursday: Amazon devices, Hive smart cameras, Logitech remote controls, and more

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Smart devices at smart prices.
Smart devices at smart prices.

Image: amazon photo composite

Just in case you didn’t get the news, Amazon has released a new version of its massively popular Fire TV Stick that comes with an all-new Alexa Voice Remote. It’s fairly big news in the tech world and we expect there will be plenty of interested customers looking to pre-order the latest Amazon device.

This type of product is always popular, and the reason why is because they make your life easier. There really isn’t much to it other than that. Good technology is easy to use and makes a positive impact on your day-to-day. Simple.

To celebrate the launch of the Fire TV Stick with all-new Alexa Voice Remote, we have tracked down the best deals on similarly clever smart devices that improve your home life and take the hassle out of daily tasks. Not forgetting that you can now pre-order the Fire TV Stick with all-new Alexa Voice Remote for just £39.99.

We have hand-picked the best deals on smart remotes, Amazon devices, Hive products, and Arlo security cameras. You can save on a Hive Active Light starter kit, an Arlo Q Smart Home full security camera, and a Logitech Harmony Ultimate remote control and hub. There are also a lot of bundle offerings from Amazon. If you buy two devices you can save big, and why have one when you can have two?

These are the best deals from across the internet for Jan. 17.

Smart remotes

Pre-order today.

Pre-order today.

Image: amazon

Amazon devices

Buy two and save £100.

Buy two and save £100.

Image: amazon

Hive smart home devices

Save over £40.

Save over £40.

Image: amazon

Arlo security cameras

Keeping a watchful eye over everything in your home.

Keeping a watchful eye over everything in your home.

Image: amazon