In addition to the standard physical controls, many recent Roku devices also allow you to search for content and control functions using your voice. Below, we’ll walk you through how to set up and use your voice with your Roku streaming device.
Getting Started with Roku Voice Controls
First up, you’ll have to determine if your device is compatible. You need to be running Roku OS 8.2 or newer and have access to a supported control device, like the Roku enhanced voice remote, the Roku TV Voice Remote, or Roku Touch tabletop remote. You can also use the mobile app on iOS or Android mobile devices. You can find more device compatibility details over at Roku’s site.
You can issue a voice command on Roku remote controls by pressing and holding the microphone button (marked with a microphone icon) or the search button (magnifying glass). Once you’re done speaking, release the button and your device should get to work on your request.
For the mobile apps, you can access voice controls through a few different methods. On the Channels section, tap the search icon (magnifying glass) to load the search page. From there, tap the microphone icon and speak your command. If you’re in the Remote section, you should see a microphone icon near the top of the screen. Finally, in the Search area, tap the magnifying icon and then the microphone icon to issue a voice command.
What Can I Say?
With voice commands, you can search for specific titles, actors, and directors. You can also search for genres, like comedies and kids TV shows. In addition to search, you can use your voice to issue commands like, “Open Netflix,” or “Start HBO Now.”
Playback can also be controlled via voice, enabling you to fast-forward, rewind, pause, and more by saying the appropriate command. Beyond that, some streaming channels, such as the company’s own The Roku Channel, offer more nuanced options like, “fast-forward 2 minutes,” or, “go back 30 minutes.”
On Roku TVs, you can enable a feature called Fast TV Start via the settings menu, which lets you play music and other audio media with the screen off. You can use voice commands to control music apps in this mode, but you can also use your voice to wake your Roku TV, including specific commands, like launching straight into an app or switching to a connected Blu-ray player.
For more information about the types of questions and commands you can use with your Roku device, check out this support page.
Some Fine Print on Roku’s Voice Controls
Despite the flexibility and convenience of Roku’s voice controls, there are some limitations to consider, including:
- Voice search and control is currently limited to English and Spanish.
- The feature is available in the US, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, and the UK.
- A more visual search results page, which uses movie and TV show art instead of a text list, is currently only supported in the US.
With those caveats in mind, we hope this helps you leverage your voice with your Roku devices. And if there are other how-to guides and resources you’d like us to cover, feel free to let us know in the comments below.
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