CES: OS-Supplier Roku to Launch Its Own Line of Smart TVs

Roku, whose software the firm claims is used in a third of U.S. TVs, will release its own line of televisions this year. The San Jose-based company, known for its smart TV OS, plans two models: the Roku Select and a higher-end Roku Plus, according to an announcement at CES 2023. Available in 11 models ranging from 24- to 75-inches, the Roku Select and Plus Series TVs will focus on streaming features associated with the brand, with prices ranging from $119 to $999. The new Roku TVs will include access to free live TV, news, and sports, plus popular Roku features like Find My Remote and Private Listening.

The Select Series TVs will include Roku Voice Remote with push-to-talk voice controls. Plus Series models will feature the Roku Voice Remote Pro with hands-free voice commands. Roku will also offer a compatible Roku TV Wireless Soundbar featuring wire-free home theater setup. The TVs will start shipping this spring.

“Roku’s move into TV hardware has been rumored for some time now, and the company is lagging behind rival Amazon, which began selling Fire TV-branded 4K sets in 2021,” The Verge reports, noting that the announcement was light on specs.

“It’s worth clarifying that Roku isn’t directly manufacturing these TVs (or displays) itself,” The Verge adds. “They’re designed in collaboration with a hardware partner and coming from that partner’s factories stamped with a Roku logo. But the company isn’t revealing who that partner is.”

Roku has its work cut out for it calming the fears of existing Roku TV OEMs with whom the company will now be competing, and a manufacturing deal with a top client like TCL or Hisense could mitigate that somewhat.

“To better serve consumers, Roku-branded TVs will enable further innovation around the TV experience, and all innovations will be made available to the full Roku TV program, including current and future OEM partners,” the company said preemptively in a press release. Competing smart TV OS maker Google stands to benefit from any backlash, as Google “is unlikely to make its own television anytime soon,” The Verge concludes.

“These Roku-branded TVs will not only complement the current lineup of partner-branded Roku TV models, but also allow us to enable future smart TV innovations. The streaming revolution has only just begun,” ZDNet quotes Roku devices president Mustafa Ozgen saying. ZDNet also found noteworthy the fact that CES preview images emphasized “nearly bezel-less designs.”

The Roku TV news comes on the heels of the company’s October announcement that it was relabeling Wyze Labs smart home products to sell under the Roku name through retailer Walmart.

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