It seems like Roku’s answer to the Fire TV Cube’s hands-free voice capabilities is building the functionality into their remote. Roku is reportedly selling a new flagship remote called the Roku Voice Remote Pro, via Zatz Not Funny. A photo of the new remote being offered for sale through an early access program on a Roku device has been posted to Reddit. It seems identical to Roku’s current top-end remote that is included with the Roku Ultra, except it ditches the two AA batteries for a rechargable battery and offers hands-free voice capabilities.
The switch to a rechargeable battery, which is reportedly charged via a micro-USB port, is likely a necessary byproduct of the new remote’s hands-free voice capabilities. Since the remote must always be listening for its “Hey Roku” wake-word, it likely consumes far more power while not being used, and would otherwise eat through far too many batteries if it weren’t rechargeable. The remote’s ad suggests “Hey Roku, find my remote” and “Hey Roku, play classic rock” as possible hands-free voice commands.
The new remote costs $29.99 during the limited time offer and only 2,000 units will be sold. It does not appear as though there is a way to purchase the remote unless you receive the invitation offered through a Roku device. The remotes are expected to ship on February 19 and Roku expects buyers to answer questions about their experience with the remote.