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The streaming media leader on Tuesday announced a new whole home entertainment licensing program that'll enable OEMs to build connected audio products like soundbars, smart speakers and multi-room speakers. Using Roku Connect software, these products will be able to work together as part of a home entertainment network and can even be controlled wirelessly by voice commands.
For example, you could say, "Hey Roku, play rock music in the living room" and a connected speaker would do just that, even without having to turn on the television.
It may seem like an unusual path for a video streaming specialist to take but the expansion makes a lot of sense. The set-top box and streaming video market is already quite saturated due to high customer adoption but it's a different story on the audio side. Many consumers don't bother with aftermarket audio, instead electing to use the integrated speakers on their televisions. By adding intelligence and convenience to connected speakers, consumers are much more likely to adopt aftermarket audio solutions - a win for consumers, manufacturers and of course, Roku.
TCL, Roku's partner in the TV space, will announce its first device under the new program during its CES press conference on January 8. The Roku Entertainment Assistant and Roku Connect software will be rolled out as a free update on most Roku TV models and players by the fall.