An incoming Roku update will give the affordable streaming hardware a major boost in the battle against pricier rivals like Sky Q.
Roku’s Enhanced Voice Search functionality does exactly what is says on the tin, giving users the ability to find content simply by asking questions relating to film and TV show titles, actors, genres and directors.
Previously available in the US, the feature headlines the Roku OS 8.1 update coming to the UK from May 1 and will be available through the Roku Streaming Stick Plus‘ voice-enabled remote control, as well on other Roku devices via the Roku mobile app (Android and iOS).
The addition of voice controls means that Roku’s set-top boxes and streaming dongles will be able to better compete with immediate rivals like the Alexa-enabled Amazon Fire TV Stick and offer similar functionality to top-tier offerings like Sky Q.
So, for instance, if you’re in the mood for something light-hearted, you’ll be able to ask your Roku to “find me comedies” – or you can tell it to fire up the NOW TV app if you already know what you want to watch.
We haven’t tested its accuracy, but Roku says it will be a ‘quick and easy’ process to use Enhanced Voice Search . Those with the Roku Streaming Stick Plus will simply speak into their remote, while those with other Roku hardware will need to use the app and speak into their phone.
Why should you care?
For starters, Roku consistently produces some of our favourite streaming devices – the Streaming Stick Plus got a nearly perfect 9/10 score when we reviewed it – that are especially attractive to value-conscious consumers.
In addition, while voice search initially seemed like a bit of a gimmick for your TV, we can now safely say we find it difficult to live without, making this a very welcome addition to the Roku arsenal.
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As we’ve said, the new feature will rollout in the UK as part of a May 1 OS update, so there’s not long to wait.
Does the addition of voice search tip the scales in Roku’s favour? Share your thoughts on the 2018 streaming wars with us @TrustedReviews.