The media streaming service is entering the smart home category, with a variety of smart home cameras, lights and other devices hitting Walmart next week.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Roku expanded the scope of its home entertainment ambitions Wednesday, as it unveiled a full lineup of smart home devices meant to be paired with the popular media streamer and controlled via your TV. The complete product line, which includes automatable LED bulbs, a color-changing light strip, a smart plug, a doorbell cam and a variety of other smart home cameras, will be available exclusively at Walmart starting on Oct.17.
"As the #1 selling smart TV OS in the US, the Roku platform is used by tens of millions of households, and now we're extending our ecosystem to include devices and services to power the modern smart home," said Mustafa Ozgen, Roku's president of devices. "Branching further into the smart home category is a natural extension of our business, and we're proud to partner with Walmart to make the experience simple and affordable."
Walmart isn't the only partner here -- the devices themselves come by way of a Roku partnership with Wyze, a budget-minded smart home brand that already has a wide range of devices in its portfolio, including lights, locks and cameras. Apart from getting rebranded Wyze-made gadgets into Walmart, the partnership gives Roku an immediate on-ramp into the smart home category while keeping the company free to focus on the software that'll sync everything with your TV.
"Wyze is an introductory partner and we are leveraging some of their systems to bring our Roku Smart Home products and services to market," a Roku spokesperson told CNET. "Wyze is managing the Roku Smart Home cloud, which stores videos and some customer info, but Wyze does not have access to this data."
Wyze storing the data but not having access to it suggests that the new Roku devices might be transmitting user smart home commands and video footage using end-to-end encryption, which would block anyone from accessing or viewing the data without the user's unique key. A Roku spokesperson didn't confirm that end-to-end encryption was an option with these devices when I asked, but I'll update this space if we hear more.
Users will be able to control their devices straight from their Roku-enabled TV, with dedicated smart home controls built into the smart TV interface's main menu. That includes keeping an eye on your camera feeds or adjusting the color of your lights, all using your Roku remote. You'll also be able to control everything using a new Roku smart home app for Android and iOS devices, or with voice controls via Google Assistant or Roku Voice with Alexa.
"Roku is a member of the Connectivity Standards Alliance and the Matter Working Group," the spokesperson told CNET. "We are involved with Matter and watching developments closely."
Watch this: Matter smart home platform could help your devices play together in 2022
Roku didn't have full pricing details to share at launch, but told CNET that the camera lineup will start at $27, presumably for the non-panning Roku Indoor Camera. Users will also be able to subscribe to a monthly camera plan that includes cloud video recording history, smart alerts and package delivery notifications.
The initial lineup of devices coming to Walmart on Oct. 17 follows below: