Amazon was arguably the first company to really bring smart speakers into the mainstream. As of January 2019, over 52% of all American Households use them. And with more and more every day gadgets in your home working with voice assistants it was just a matter of time until video streaming players would integrate them as well.
Roku has been very open to adding different companies’ voice assistants to it’s functionality. Currently there are 3 different voice assistants – Alexa, Google Assistant and Roku’s own voice assistant – that work with the streaming pioneer. We have taken a close look at all three of them and will tell you which one you should get.
Alexa on Roku
Amazon’s Echo’s were some of the first smart speakers on the market. Thanks to Amazon’s continues updates and the overall great AI to this day Alexa is still one of the best and most popular assistance out there.
With Alexa you will be able to search for content and use playback functions like pause and fast forward, as well launch channels.
Another cool thing: Alexa doesn’t only work with Amazon devices but a host of different smart speakers.
Awesome Alexa-enabled Speakers
You can use Amazon’s Echo series, like the Echo Plus (check current prices).
But there also really good devices not made by Amazon. Ones you really should watch out for are:
- Sonos One – That one is really an absolute marvel in terms of sound quality and can even be paired up with a second one for more room filling audio. Check current prices.
- FABRIQ Chorus – A great value option, that looks nice and sounds wonderful. Check current prices.
- For your car: Garmin Speak – Works great for Bluetooth and AUX as well. Check current prices.
Alexa commands for Rokus
“Alexa, pause Roku”
“Alexa, launch HBO NOW on Roku”
“Alexa, find documentaries on Roku”
“Alexa, show me comedies on Roku”
Additional commands for Roku TV
“Alexa, turn on Roku”
“Alexa, turn up the volume on Roku”
“Alexa, mute Roku”
“Alexa, go to channel 5.1 on Roku”
“Alexa, switch to HDMI 2 on Roku”
How to install the Roku skill on your Alexa device
- Go to the Alexa-menu. From there go to Skills & Games.
2. Use the Search All Skills-bar to look for Quick Remote.
3. Select the Quick Remote app, then select Enable.
Google Assistant on Roku
Google has been really strong in the AI assistant game as well. hey haven’t given their AI a cute name, it just goes by Google Assistant. But it’s still one of the best and most feature rich AI assistants on the market.
If you have a Google Assistant device at home already, you you should link your Roku account to the Google Home app. This allows you to use it to control your Roku. Like with Alexa, you can use Google’s really, really smart AI to search for movies and TV shows, control media playback to play, pause, fast forward and tons of other stuff.
Awesome Google Home Smart Speakers
Our current top choice for an awesome Google Home Smart Speaker, that won’t break the bank, but still delivers in terms of tech and sound quality comes from Bose. Unsurprisingly the well-known company still develops some of the best speakers and the Bose Soundlink Revolve really knocks it out of the park. It sounds amazing, the Google Home integration works well and it also looks the part (check current prices).
We also recommend the following two smart speakers:
- Soundcore Model Zero+ (check current prices)
- JBL Link 20
Google Commands for Roku
“Hey Google, launch The Roku Channel on Roku”
“Hey Google, find documentaries on Roku”
“Hey Google, show me comedies on Roku”
“Hey Google, pause on Roku”
Additional commands for Roku TV
“Hey Google, turn on Roku”**
“Hey Google, turn up the volume on Roku”
“Hey Google, mute on Roku”
“Hey Google, change to channel 5.1 on Roku”***
“Hey Google, switch to HDMI 2 on Roku”
How to install Google Assistant for Roku
If you already have a Google Assistant, you probably also already own the Google Home app on your Android Smartphone or iPhone.
- Select “Add on the Google Home home screen.
2. Select “Set Up Device.”
3. Tap “Have something already set up?”
4. Scroll down and select “Roku.”
5. Sign into your Roku account on the webpage that opens, then tap “Sign In.” Select “Accept and Continue.”
6. Select the Roku you’d like to link to Google Assistant. Even if you have multiple Roku devices on your account, you can only have one linked to Google Assistant. When you’ve made your selection, tap “Continue to the Google app.”
You’ll jump back to the Google Home app, where you can review the device you just added. Select “Done.”
Rokus Voice Recognition
You can also use Roku’s built in voice capabilities that range from finding content on your favorite channels, to controlling your Roku TV. You won’t need a smart speaker, like it is the case with Alexa and Google Home. You just need either a Roku voice remote or the Roku mobile app for iOS and Android. This is a great way to use Rokus with you voice if you don’t already have smart speakers in you house.
So, how does it actually work?
With a Roku voice remote:
Step 1: Press and hold the Microphone button or Magnifying glass button. That’s it. But the Roku is only listening when the button is being pressed, so it
‘s a litte more inconvenient as say, Google Home Assistant or Alexa.
Wit the Roku mobile app
Step 1: Tap the Magnifying glass, followed by the Microphone icon and speak normally into your mobile device.
Step 2: Tap the middle of the screen when finished speaking.
Using voice search
With voice search you can easily find movies, TV shows, actors, and streaming apps. You can even ask your Roku device to launch a channel or play your favorite content. Generally it works best when you group titles, genres or people with the words “find”, “show” or “search” for. Here are a couple of specific examples that work well:
Find a specific movie or show
“find About time”; “show me The Talented Mr. Ripley”; “find The Big Bang Theory”
Search for your favorite actors or directors
“find all Hugh Jackman films”, “search for comedies with Melissa McCarthy”, “show me films directed by Joss Whedon”
Browse your favorite genres
“show me dramas”, “find thriller movies”, “look for kids british TV shows”
“open Netflix”, “launch Hulu”, “start Pandora”, “play Spotify”
Other general commands:
“OK”, “go”, “go now”, “cancel”, “stop”, “no”, “wrong”
“thumbs up/down”, “like/dislike”, “what song is this?”
“fast forward”, “rewind”, “pause” , “stop”, “resume”, “continue”, “skip” , “next”
Closed captioning commands
“turn on closed captioning” , “hide the captions” , “show captions during replay”, “turn on captions during mute”, “what’s my captions setting?”
Control your Roku TV
“switch the input to HDMI 3”, “switch to antenna TV”, “switch to Blu-ray player”, “turn the volume up”, “volume down”, “mute”, “set volume to 20%”
And the winner is…
It’s honestly hard to say. Google Assistant does have the best natural language skills and generally amazing support for different devices. While you can only use Alexa in conjunction with Amazon devices. So what kind of device you already own, or are planning on getting, really dictates which one you should get.
That being said, if you don’t already own a smart speaker, stick with Roku’s own Voice Assistant. All you need is the remote control, that you already get when buying a Roku. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the other two have, obviously. But for what it’s supposed to do, playback, finding titles etc, it just works really well.