After announcing support for Google Assistant last fall, Roku is today doing the same for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. After installing the new Roku skill, you'll be able to control the company's streaming devices and Roku TVs with voice commands like “Alexa, open Hulu on Roku.”
You can launch apps, pause content, or search for something to watch with your voice. Roku TV owners can turn their TV on or off, adjust the volume, or change inputs using Alexa as well. You'll still need to mention “Roku” in each voice command instead of just “the TV,” however. If you've got an antenna hooked up to your Roku TV, you can also tune to specific channels.
Roku tells me that Alexa and Google Assistant have the same consistent functionality when it comes to controlling its devices. So there shouldn't be anything one voice assistant can do that the other can't.
As with Assistant, you'll need to already own an existing Alexa speaker like the Amazon Echo to control Roku. Roku hasn't built support for either platform into its own remote controls, which continue to run only the company's proprietary voice control system.
But Roku's voice commands are still in need of refinement. They can get the job done for simple requests, but that's about where it ends. By supporting both Amazon and Google’s alternatives, Roku is making its ecosystem a little bit more open as it works to improve its home-grown version.