The Amazon Echo Alexa Roku skill is here! Forget Anymote. Forget Logitech Harmony Hub. You don’t need to spend more money on extra devices to make your Echo voice assistant talk to your Roku streaming player or Roku TV.
By installing the Quick Remote app on your Android device or Apple iOS and then enabling the Echo skill, Alexa commands from your Echo, Echo Dot or Tap can now easily navigate your Roku menu and start playing your favorite channels. You can also play, pause, rewind, fast forward, or stop your favorite shows just like you would with your regular remote control. You can launch a specific channel, like Sling TV or Netflix. Navigating Roku’s menu by saying go left, right or select is also available. It can follow multiple commands at once and control multiple Roku streaming players. You can even ask for it to wait for your next voice command.
One caveat is that your phone or tablet’s wifi need to stay on in order for this app to work. It’s most likely using the app on the mobile device to do some sort of routing. Of course we’d prefer a native solution, but for now, this is the best Alexa Roku integration out there. See important note from the app developer:
“Your phone’s Wi-Fi needs to ALWAYS stay on during sleep for it to receive commands from Alexa devices and send it to your Roku. Also, if your phone has trouble connecting with your Roku then turn off battery optimization for this app in Android Settings > Battery Optimization”
If you have an iPhone, enable Notifications for this app in Settings. Enable ‘Background App Refresh’ in Settings. Charge your iOS device if the remote stops working because it may delay push notifications to save battery. Also, try not to force-quit the app, press the home key to close it.
Another important thing to remember is that not only does the free version of the app contain ads, only 50 commands are allowed per month. You can subscribe to the Full Pass version at $10 per year for unlimited commands and no ads in the app. That’s a small price to pay for convenience.
View Appestry FAQs.
Amazon Echo, Roku streaming devices and Roku TVs* are the most popular devices in their respective categories so we see this as a step forward in making Alexa Roku commands a seamless part of the smart home ecosystem. It’s what we’ve been waiting for– controlling TV with our voice commands instead of using a traditional remote!
* Roku TVs have the Roku OS built into the smart TV set. Currently, the following brands offer Roku TVs: TCL, Philips, Insignia (Best Buy brand), Sharp, Hisense, Hitachi, RCA and Element.
Watch a quick demonstration on YouTube
Amazon has published a new Video Skill API which will enable app developers and manufacturers more flexibility in developing voice control commands for their video streaming devices. The future of voice control for TV entertainment is getting better!