Roku has announced that its first Roku-branded TVs are now available in the US, exclusively through Best Buy. Previously was teased during CES 2023The new TVs are divided into two series, Roku Plus and Roku Select, and will be sold with screen sizes from 24 to 75 inches.
The Plus series TVs are QLED models with a layer of quantum dots and locally dimmable LED backlighting. best 4K TVs. They support Dolby Vision and HDR10+ high dynamic range, Wi-Fi 6 for streaming, and auto brightness control that adjusts the set’s light output based on ambient light.
The sound on the new Roku TVs has also been highlighted, with the Plus series featuring built-in Dolby Atmos-certified speakers and Auto Speech Clarity. Wireless expandability will allow you to add Roku’s upcoming wireless soundbar along with a wireless bass subwoofer and wireless speakers to the back of the room for a full surround sound package. Private Bluetooth listening with wireless headphones is another audio option, and the Roku remote also has a headphone output for connecting wired headphones.
There’s a lot going on with the Roku TV remote beyond that headphone jack. Pressing the microphone button allows hands-free voice control of the TV, while another feature allows you to locate the remote by saying “Hey Roku, where’s my remote?” It also has a rechargeable battery, which immediately makes it a greener option than the vast majority of TV remotes.
- Roku 75-inch Plus Series: $1,199.99
- 65-inch Roku Plus series: $799.99
- 55-inch Roku Plus Series: $649.99
The Select Series TVs are divided into 4K and HD offerings. These are standard LED TVs (no QLED or local dimming) with HDR10+ support on 4K models. 4K TVs also come with an improved voice remote.
- Roku 75-inch 4K Select Series: $799.99
- Roku 65-inch 4K Select Series: $599.99
- Roku 55-inch 4K Select Series: $429.99
- Roku 50-inch 4K Select Series: $379.99
- Roku 43-inch 4K Select Series: $319.99
OS Year Updates
Being Roku TVs, the new Plus and Select series models are obviously powered by the company’s proprietary Roku OS smart interface – the same one found on Roku streamers and third-party TVs. The company also announced numerous updates to its Roku OS, including a Local News feature that allows users to personalize news by location, as well as stream it from major US cities. According to Roku, AI-powered news recommendations are now available for fully curated viewer experiences.
Sports is also included in the Roku OS update, with a personalized sports experience that uses the viewer’s location and preferred sports and teams to determine the content source. According to Roku, CBS Sports, MLB.TV, NBA App and NBC Sports will soon join the list of supported channels.
Another recently added feature, Continue Watching, gives viewers a central place to revisit shows they previously watched (and probably forgot), and now offers instant updates. Prime Video and Discovery+ have been added to the list of supported channels, joining HBO Max, Netflix, Paramount+ and The Roku Channel.
Roku app updates
The Roku mobile app is also receiving updates with key changes to the account center and home screen. Previously available for TVs running Roku, the “Guide” button now allows viewers to launch a live TV channel guide from the mobile app while streaming through a Roku player. Roku’s photo streams have also been enhanced so that viewers can now upload photos directly from their phones to Photo Stream for viewing on TV, as well as edit streams and set screensavers. Roku’s photo streams now support up to 1,000 images, a significant increase over the previous limit.
Analysis: Could Roku-branded TVs be the new affordable option?
Whereas Roku OS was previously built into TVs from brands like Hisense and TCL Series 6, this marks the official debut of the full Roku TVs. It’s a welcome development as the Roku’s simple and easy-to-use Smart TV interface also supports some of the best streaming devicesenjoys well-deserved popularity (according to the company, there were 70 million active Roku user accounts at the end of 2022, according to the company).
By selling TVs with its own popular smart TV streaming interface, Roku is more fully attracting viewers to its product ecosystem, which now also includes affordable sound bars and wireless speakers and subwoofers. Conveniently, these audio add-ons can be wirelessly connected to your TV, and set up and configured in the Roku smart interface. And since the Roku channel is proving to be one of the more popular FAST (ad-supported free TV) options – the company claims to be number one in the US – it also gives viewers a wide variety of free streaming shows (while also ensuring, of course, a regular stream of revenue from ads).
These are all smart moves taken previously by Amazon, which along with its own family of streaming devices like Fire TV Stick 4K Max, sells Amazon-branded Fire TVs. Amazon also has its own FAST service, FreeVeeand its TVs can be wirelessly paired with Amazon Echo speakers and controlled with the Alexa voice assistant.
With Roku’s affordable prices and screen sizes for the new TVs ranging from 24 to 75 inches, there will be a Roku TV option for everyone, much like Amazon Fire TVs. Where Roku has a chance to stand out is its expansion into audio integration and smart TV features like personalized sports and news portals. Privacy is another area where the Roku can excel – no one has a problem barking commands to the Roku’s voice-activated remote, while many people get annoyed with Alexa monitoring them.
This is going to be a major budget TV battle between the two brands. Is there room for both? That’s something we’ll have to wait and see, but anyone looking to get their hands on a relatively feature-packed cheap TV now or during the Black Friday sales season will certainly be looking to Roku and Amazon.