At CES, Roku announced it would finally be building its own Roku TVs in addition to collaborating with partners like TCL and Hisense. Starting today, you can purchase one of these sets in stores and on the Best Buy website. Roku offers two series of TVs, both powered by its streaming platform: Roku Select sets from 24 to 75 inches and Roku Plus TVs from 55, 65 and 75 inches.
We’re still waiting for a full pricing breakdown, but Roku says Select TVs will start at $149 (with a possible drop to $120 this summer), and the Plus models will start under $500 . This corresponds to similar offers from TCL and other partners. At CES, Chris Larson, Roku’s vice president of retail strategy, said the company aims to deliver features that partners don’t always include, like voice-activated remote controls and automatic brightness adjustment (on the Premiere sets).
Roku doesn’t say much about its Select TVs, perhaps because there’s not much to say. These include HD and 4K models (after all, very small TVs don’t require using 4K), as well as the standard voice remote. Like most bargain TVs, they also rely on edge-dimming backlighting – so expect gray-like blacks and blotchy lighting. The Roku Plus sets are far more advanced: they include QLED panels, local backlight dimming for better contrast, 4K Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos-approved speakers. You also get Roku’s rechargeable voice remote.
While Roku told us it’s not trying to compete with its long-term partners, it’ll be interesting to see how those companies react. By making voice remotes the standard, perhaps TCL and others will follow suit. The company also unveiled a Roku OS update today that will include local news and support for premium subscriptions in the Roku Live Channel Guide.
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