Today Roku announced a new program called Roku Connect that will bring Roku to your Smart Soundbar and Smart Speaker. The new whole-home entertainment licensing program will enable manufacturers to build soundbars and smart speakers, surround sound and multi-room audio systems that use Roku Connect software to work together as a home entertainment network. This frees the manufactures of the expensive development and maintance that comes with the software side of hardware.
Roku also announced that TCL plans to offer the first device under the new program at its press conference at CES on January 8th. (Note: Cord Cutters News will be at the January 8th press conference and will have full coverage of the new line of Roku products from TCL.)
Roku Connect devices working together they will be able to connect wirelessly and be controlled by voice commands and a single remote. In addition, manufacturers will be able to license smart soundbar and smart speaker hardware reference designs along with the Roku operating system, Roku OS for free. Roku even went on to say that “In addition, Roku does not expect licensing revenues, if any, from smart speakers and smart soundbars to be material in the foreseeable future.” From the looks of it, Roku plans to once again make money from digital content vs trying to make the money upfront from the hardware.
“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.”
Here is a quick break down of all the new products and features Roku announced today:
- Roku TV – A smart TV powered by the Roku OS. To be updated with Roku Connect and Roku Entertainment Assistant by this Fall.
- Smart Soundbar – Enhances the TV audio experience. Designed to work with any TV that has a HDMI ARC, and expected to have features to allow it to work better with a Roku TV. To be powered by the Roku OS and include Roku Connect and Roku Entertainment Assistant.
- Smart Speaker – Stand-alone speaker or extends audio from another device for a multi-room experience. To be powered by the Roku OS and include Roku Connect and Roku Entertainment Assistant.
- Roku Connect – Enables OEM brands to build home entertainment devices that connect wirelessly to Roku OS powered devices and other Roku Connect devices within a home entertainment network. Roku Connect devices will be identified by a Roku Connect logo.
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