Science and Tech


Roku Reveals First Standalone Smart TVs At CES

Roku announced it\'s developing six smart TVs, ranging in size from 32 to 55 inches and available in the U.S. this fall.
Posted at 7:03 PM, Jan 06, 2014

It’s a set-top box turned full-blown Smart TV — and we’ll just stop you right there: no, it’s not the long-rumored Apple TV set.

What it is, is a standalone Roku TV, introduced Sunday at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Via CNET)

Roku announced it partnered with Chinese television manufacturers TCL and Hisense to develop six smart TVs — ranging in size from 32 to 55 inches and available in the U.S. this fall. (Via News 12 Long Island)

According to Wired, “The Roku TV is an actual line of TVs, sort of like the mythical Apple TV HDTV. But, you know, real. The TVs will have the Roku UI built in, giving you access to Roku’s library of over 1,200 apps (aka ‘channels’) including Netflix, ... Rdio, Vudu, Pandora, and Amazon.”

That simple UI, or user interface, is what has drawn many to the company's previous set-top box offerings, and as Roku TV CEO Anthony Wood writes in a blog post, it will be front and center on the new TVs. (Via KSL-TV)

“Roku TV removes all of the complicated layers and menus, and unnecessary features and settings that plague smart TVs today, and instead provides a Roku home screen that brings together all content sources.” (Via Roku)

So, integrating their previous technology into a TV — what does that mean for the company long term?

According to a writer for Forbes it may be a huge gamble. “That all of our internet apps will eventually migrate inside the TV rather than remaining contained in some external box is an inevitability. Considering Roku made its name selling said boxes, this shift could either kill the company or give it a chance to achieve real dominance in the living room.”

But a senior vice president with the company doesn’t see the new device as such a risky move.

Rather, just an expansion into a larger market. The Los Angeles Times quotes him saying: "If you think about streaming, the two categories of products growing are set-top boxes like ours ... [and] smart TVs. We want as big a platform as possible for Roku."

Despite other companies building the hardware, Roku will remain in charge of handling software updates. No prices have been set on the TVs.

Oh, and if you were a little disappointed that Roku is launching a TV and Apple isn’t, keep in mind that the Apple box isn't even the most popular in the U.S. — that would be a Roku. (Via Fast Company)