Roku is best-known for its streaming media devices. But it’s branching out with a whole-home strategy that will see a range of smart-home gadgets, including security cameras, lights and plugs, go on sale next week at Walmart, the company said.
But a report indicates the company isn’t saying yet whether its new gadgets will work with the new Matter smart-home connectivity standard supported by Apple and other companies. It’s designed to let devices from different makers work together on systems like Apple’s HomeKit and others.
Roku’s lack of clarity is a bit odd, given that it’s among the companies supporting Matter, and that might give some would-be purchasers pause.
Roku rolls out cameras, lights and other gear for smart homes
Roku said in a press release it plans to start selling its new smart-home products at Walmart starting October 17. In addition to working with Walmart on sales, it’s partnering with Wyze for its camera products.
“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 Roku President of Devices Mustafa Ozgen.
“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,” he added.
The new products will support Roku streaming devices. As shown in the photo above, for example, a doorbell camera will beam imagery to a Roku TV. The Roku website indicates the products work with Google Home, with Amazon Alexa voice support coming next month.
People who own Roku devices can use the new Roku Smart Home app for iOS or Android to control the new smart-home products, according to Wired.
What are the new products?
Roku lists the new products, starting at prices as low as $27, as follows:
- Floodlight Camera
- Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
- Indoor Camera 360°
- Video Doorbell & Chime
- Smart Bulbs (white and color)
- Smart Light Strips
- Indoor and Outdoor Smart Plugs
The Wyze partnership and data security
Roku’s reliance on budget-friendly camera maker Wyze for several of its new products may remind some folks of Wyze’s recent security controversy. It kept the lid on a flaw that rendered cameras vulnerable to hackers, not revealing it for three years.
But Roku characterized Wyze as an “introductory partner” helping Roku bring some products to market, CNET reported.
“Wyze is managing the Roku Smart Home cloud, which stores videos and some customer info, but Wyze does not have access to this data,” Roku added.
But will they support HomeKit and the Matter standard?
The questions of whether this new smart-home gear will work with HomeKit and support the new Matter standard remain.
You’d think it would be “yes” on both counts, given that Roku, Wyze and Apple are all stakeholders in the groups that developed the Matter home-automation standard — the Connectivity Standards Alliance and the Matter Working Group.
And yet, rather than confirming compatibility with the new standard, Roku would only say to CNET it’s “involved with Matter and watching developments closely.”
So it remains unclear. And that might make some folks who are eager to start automating their homes through HomeKit — and any and all Matter-compatible gadgets — hesitate before picking up the new Roku gear at Walmart.