The streaming firm wants to both enhance the audio around the TV experience and allow the consumer to stream entertainment throughout their home. The new whole home entertainment licensing program will enable OEM brands to build soundbars and smart speakers, surround sound and multi-room audio systems.
Entering into territory that crosses over both audio specialists such as Sonos and the smart speakers of Amazon and Google, Roku Connect devices would connect wirelessly and be controlled by voice commands and a single remote.
TCL has been confirmed as Roku’s lead OEM partner and is expected to unveil its first device at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday.
“We’ve always focused on making it incredibly simple for consumers to find and enjoy streaming entertainment on their TVs, and with an expanded Roku ecosystem, consumers will be able to add great sound to their TVs and audio around the whole home in a modern way,” said Roku CEO Anthony Wood. “Consumers will love the benefits of a home entertainment network, such as having more affordable options, adding one device at a time, using their voice, having a simplified set up and Wi-Fi connectivity, and holding just one remote control. And, of course, OEM brands benefit by offering their products in a more appealing way to our already large and engaged audience of millions of active accounts.”
Roku also announced plans to develop and launch a voice assistant, the Roku Entertainment Assistant, optimised for home entertainment. It, along with Roku Connect, is expected to be rolled out as a free software update to the Roku operating system by the autumn to most Roku TV models and Roku players.