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Roku Moves Beyond the TV, Creates Whole Home Licensing Program
Not content with owning the living room, Roku wants to link smart speakers and soundbars in a home entertainment network.

In its earliest days, set-top box-maker Roku refused to be defined as "the Netflix box," and instead promoted itself as a device for reaching a variety of online services. Today, Roku refuses to be defined as just a TV device. Roku announced a whole home licensing program, with the goal of working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create a network of linked voice command devices.

Devices in the Roku home entertainment network will include TVs, soundbars, and smart speakers. Roku started its TV licensing program four years ago, and today announced that Magnavox has joined in. Magnavox is the ninth TV maker to create Roku OS connected TVs, and its models will go on sale in the spring.

Roku home entertainment network devices will exchange information via Roku Connect software. Branding on product boxes will let shoppers know which devices will work on a Roku network. Roku will also create a voice assistant called the Roku Entertainment Assistant that lets users issue commands by saying, "Hey Roku…" Roku Connect and the voice assistant will roll out to users in a software update this fall.

TCL is the lead OEM in the Roku home entertainment network, and it will announce the first devices in the program at its CES press conference on January 8.

“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,” says Roku CEO Anthony Wood.

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