Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Google Assistant control could make Roku a must-have streamer

Google Assistant control could make Roku a must-have streamer

Google Assistant support is coming as well.

Roku OS 8.2 is now being rolled out to Roku TVs with full implementation planned for November. "From movies and series on Netflix and Prime Video, to cable alternatives like Sling TV, access the most talked about TV across free and paid channels".

The only difference is the remote and where you'll be able to actually buy the devices when they come out.

Roku's new Premiere streaming player is available to pre-order from today and will be available to purchase at retail in early October along with the new Roku Ultra JBL bundle.

The new Premiere costs just $40 and has 4K HDR support, but it's only HDR10 and not Dolby Vision. OS 9 hits Roku streaming players in early November but won't reach Roku TVs until early next year.

Roku has leveraged low prices and vast app support to become one of the most well-known media streamer platforms. The press release simply says "select Roku devices".

Roku's top-tier Ultra box isn't going anywhere either, but the company has made a decision to throw some JBL headphones into the box, while retaining the $99.99 pricetag.

Now, in 2018, the reverse is true: the new Premiere will take the shape of the Roku Express - i.e. a petite, crescent-shaped player with rounded edges.

The Premiere+, which costs $49.99, offers the same, but comes packing a voice remote with TV power and volume control - much like the 4K streaming stick.

But in lieu of an immediate AI overhaul, Roku is making some more modest improvements to the voice controls in some of its remotes. Finally, there's iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn voice support, all of which will integrate with the Roku voice remote or - if you don't have that - the Roku app. Between both updates, support for controlling Roku devices with Google Assistant and the use of Pandora Premium will also be added. There'll also be Automatic Volume Leveling, which will massage the volume settings so that, as commercials interrupt shows, or as you switch between streaming channels, there shouldn't be jarring changes in volume.

Roku does not give a specific list of which Roku devices will see the Google Assistant update.

[Image: courtesy of Roku] To be fair, using your voice as the TV remote still feels rudimentary on those devices.

Amazon's Fire TV is normally listed at $US70, but the price has recently been lowered to $US40.

. It is great for HDTV today and even better if they decide to get a 4K TV tomorrow.”.

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