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Roku devices in the UK will soon support Alexa and Google voice control

Roku devices in the UK will soon support Alexa and Google voice control
(Image credit: Roku)

Roku is updating its streaming devices in the UK with a new version of its operating system that brings user experience improvements and wider voice control functionality.

Roku's OS 9.3 will start rolling out to Roku players in the UK in April via a free, automatic software update, with Roku TV models due to receive the update in phases over the coming months.

Roku owners have been able to use Roku Voice to search for content across the platform for some time through the remote of the Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku mobile app (for all Roku streamers), but now that native assistant has been enhanced to understand more natural phrases, such as "Show me..." or "I want to watch...". 

With the new OS, owners will also be able to search for content by saying popular movie quotes, while more granular playback commands – fast forward, pause and activating closed captions, for example – will also be available.

Got an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device? It will be able to connect to and control Roku players and Roku TV, too, thanks to new ‘Works with Amazon Alexa’ and ‘Works with Google Assistant’ support (introduced Stateside a year ago). While search and playback can be controlled on Roku players through either assistant, Roku TV owners can use their Alexa or Google Assistant device to additionally tune into channels, change inputs, control the volume and switch the TV on/off.

Away from voice control, Roku’s OS 9.3 promises a reduction in device boot time alongside faster launch times for a number of the platform’s channels, as well as a more responsive home screen. 

Roku mobile app users will be pleased to read that it has been redesigned to include a new navigation bar for easier access to search and the remote control screen, plus quick access icons for launching features (such as recently viewed channels) without needing to exit the remote control screen.

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