Roku OS 9.3 adds enhanced voice commands, improved search results

Mike Wheatley

Popular home entertainment firm Roku Inc. has started rolling out a new update to its video streaming platform. Version 9.3 of the software expands Roku’s voice command system and its understanding of natural speech, and provides “new ways to find entertainment such as searching by a selection of popular movie quotes”.


The update adds support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in the U.K., Canada and Mexico, which means viewers with a smart speaker will now be able to use them to control their Roku devices and TVs.

In addition, Roku has gained support for Spanish voice commands, which makes it possible to search for shows and control playback in that language.

A more noticeable change is the new visual search result feature, which the company said organizes results into categories to make it easier for users to find the content they’re looking for.

Some Roku devices come with an enhanced voice control remote, and this now responds to new commands such as “show me the news” by popping up the various news channels it offers. Meanwhile, saying “play the news” will immediately cause ABC News to start playing. Alternatively, users can say “play the news on...” and mention the specific channel they would like to watch. In total, there are now more than 50 streaming services on Roku that can be accessed through voice commands, instead of navigating through the menus, the company said.

Roku OS 9.3 also adds ‘themes’ consisting of different wallpapers and screensavers, which can be enabled in the Settings menu.

On the performance side, Roku said the system should now boot up faster than before, while some channels will also load more quickly. There are also more settings for Roku TV and Roku Smart Soundbar users in the TV interface, and they also gain the ability to pair with Bluetooth devices.

Roku said the update will begin rolling out to select devices starting next month, while Roku TVs will have to wait a little longer, with the update set to roll out in the “coming months”.