Roku today announced new major updates for its devices in November, with OS 8.2 coming to Roku TVs — and bringing with it support for the Roku Wireless Speakers — and Roku OS 9 starting with its streaming players. Also, Google Assistant and Pandora Premium is on the way for all Roku devices.
The new operating system updates also have pushed the release of the Roku Wireless Speakers to November.
Also: Roku has announced two new players — Roku Premiere, and Roku Premiere+ — in addition to a new Roku Ultra bundle.
Here's what you need to know:
Coming to all Roku devices
First up is support for Google Assistant. It'll allow you to search for channels, pause content, turn the TV off and on, and control the volume. If you've got an OTA antenna plugged into a Roku TV, you'll also be able to change channels.
Also, Pandora Premium is available now as a channel in the Roku Store.
What's coming in Roku OS 8.2
If you've got a Roku TV, be on the lookout for Roku OS 8.2 It's bringin with it voice support for iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn. You'll also gain automatica volume leveling, as well as a night mode that lowers the volume for louder scenes, and boosts it for the quieter ones.
Roku OS 8.2 also brings "Speech Clarity," which boosts the frequencies that you need to better hear a human voice. This one's meant for the new Roku Wireless Speakers, though.
And, finally, Spotify is back on Roku after a few months away.
The OS 8.2 push is expected to be complete by December.
What's coming in Roku OS 9
If you have a Roku device with voice support, you'll be able to browse free content on Roku by simply saying "Show me free sitcoms." Or comedies. Or whatever. You'll also get automatic volume leveling, and Spotify support.
Roku OS 9 will start pushing to Rokus streaming players in November, and to Roku TVs in early 2019. The push is expected to be complete by April.
Roku OS 9 to Offer New Voice Control, Search and Volume Leveling Features
Customers Can Use Their Voice to Search for Free Entertainment and Control iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn
Plus, Control their Roku Devices with Google Assistant
LOS GATOS, Calif. – Sept 24, 2018 – Roku, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROKU) today announced Roku OS 8.2, a software update for Roku TVs that enables new features for seamless compatibility with upcoming Roku TV Wireless Speakers; and Roku OS 9, a new software release with a variety of enhancements to give Roku customers new easy ways to search and control their entertainment experience. Roku will soon enable the ability to use Google Assistant devices to control Roku streaming devices. In addition, premium music services Spotify and Pandora Premium support are coming to Roku devices.
"As we broaden the Roku ecosystem allowing consumers to add new devices to their Home Entertainment Networks, we are in a unique position that is unlike any other TV streaming platform," said Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku. "Our single operating system running across Roku TVs and Roku TV Wireless Speakers give us the ability to innovate how consumers experience audio and entertainment in their homes."
NEW FEATURES ACROSS THE ROKU PLATFORM
- Google Assistant – Soon, you'll be able to use Google Assistant devices to control select Roku streaming devices to pause and search for content and launch channels. Additionally, Roku TV owners can turn their TV on and off, turn up the volume, mute, switch inputs and change channels if there is an OTA antenna connected.
- Pandora Premium support – With Pandora Premium, listeners can search and play any song, album or featured playlist, with the option to create their own, and access personalized soundtracks based on changing moods. Available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now.
** ROKU OS 8.2 FOR ROKU TVS AND ROKU TV WIRELESS SPEAKERS**
- Access and control iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn by voice – Launch live radio stations from across the country, podcasts, custom artist stations and more with iHeartRadio; Playlists, stations and more via Pandora; and live radio stations, play-by-play sports, news, etc. with TuneIn. Use simple voice commands using Roku voice remotes, Roku Touch or the Roku mobile app. Subscriptions not required and premium features available with upgraded services.
- Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling enables a uniform audio level across various types of content, so it will no longer feel jarring when a commercial comes on or when streaming channels are changed. Night mode lowers the volume level for louder scenes, and boosts it for quieter ones. The volume mode setting will be accessible by pressing the star button during video playback when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
- Speech Clarity – This feature looks for voice frequencies and boosts them to address intelligibility. Speech Clarity will be available via the star menu when Roku TV Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV.
- Spotify – Spotify is the world's most popular music streaming service. Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
ROKU OS 9 FOR ROKU STREAMING PLAYERS, ROKU TVS AND ROKU TV WIRELESS SPEAKERS
- "Free" Genre Voice Search – Browse free content available on the Roku platform with simple voice requests such as "let's see free sitcoms," "show me free comedies," "free dramas" and more.
- Automatic Volume Leveling – Automatic Volume Leveling will be available on select Roku streaming players, as well as select Roku TVs whether paired or not to Roku TV Wireless Speakers.
- Spotify – Discover, manage and share over 35M songs for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, Spotify Connect and ad-free listening. Roku customers will be able to launch and navigate the channel using a Roku remote or via Spotify Connect on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
Pandora Premium is available via the Pandora channel in the Roku Channel Store now. Customers will be able to control Roku streaming players and Roku TVs using Google Assistant devices in the coming weeks.
Roku OS 8.2 is rolling out to Roku TVs now and is expected to be completed in November.
Roku OS 9 will begin rolling out to Roku streaming players in early November and Roku TVs early next year. It is expected to be completed in Q1 2019.
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