Roku recently added support for Alexa so you can control your Roku experience completely hands-free. Here’s how to get started.
Roku this week announced that its devices will now be compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. So, in addition to Roku voice search via the remote, you can use your Amazon Echo to control your Roku hands-free.
Last year, Roku had also announced it was adding compatibility for Google Assistant. After it rolled out, we showed you how to control your Roku with Google Assistant. Of course, the idea here is similar, just with different devices. To make it all work, you will need an Alexa device like the Amazon Echo and a Roku device running Roku OS 8.1 or higher. That includes Roku sticks, set-top boxes such as the Roku Ultra, and Roku-enabled smart TVs.
Control Roku with Amazon Alexa
Most modern Roku devices should already be updated to Roku OS 8.1 or above. If you’ve bought your Roku device in the past six years or so, it should run it. I have an older Roku 3 box that runs it with no issues and my Roku Ultra is already running version 9.0. For my tests, I used the first gen Echo and the Roku Ultra and I also was able to use the Roku 3 and the first gen Echo Dot. So, as long as you have one of each device, it’s probably going to work.
To verify the OS your Roku is running, head to Settings > System > System Update. There you will see the current software version and check for an update if needed.
Once you have that, to get started you will need to get the Roku Skill for Alexa. Launch the Alexa app on your phone or tablet and go to “Skills & Games” and search for the Roku skill and enable it. You can also head to alexa.amazon.com from a browser to enable the Roku Alexa Skill.
Once you enable the Skill you will need to link your accounts and sign in to your Roku account.
After that, you will need to link your Alexa device and your Roku.
After you have your accounts and devices linked up, you can start using your Echo to control your Roku. You can use voice commands such as: “Alexa, find comedies on Roku,” “Alexa, pause Roku” or “Alexa, open Hulu on Roku.” If you have a Roku TV, you even turn on the TV, change the volume, mute the TV, switch inputs and change channels if there is an OTA antenna connected. A couple of commands you might use are: “Alexa, turn on Roku” or “Alexa, turn up the volume on Roku.”
From my testing, it is easier to use an Alexa device versus Google Assistant on a Google Home, for example. The voice commands feel more natural and are easier to remember. Give it a try and let us know what you think.