Streaming stick-maker Roku has announced that it is getting into the TV game with two lineups of Roku-branded TVs. The new models will complement third-party sets that currently licence the Roku smart TV interface, and are a logical next-step in the company’s expansion into hardware manufacturing following the arrival of Roku-branded soundbars and wireless speakers in 2021 and 2022.
The two forthcoming Roku TV lineups are the Select and Plus Series, with the latter offering a local dimming LED backlight. There will be 11 models in total, with screen sizes ranging from 24 inches up to 75 inches. Details about screen resolution and HDR support weren’t made available in the press release the company timed to coincide with the start of CES 2023, though all models are said to be shipping in spring.
The main difference between the Select and Plus TVs appears to be the inclusion in the latter series of a Roku Voice Remote Pro feature that allows for hands-free voice commands. Select models, meanwhile, will come with a standard Roku Voice Remote with a built-in mic offering push-to-talk control.
Roku’s release also mentions a new Roku TV wireless soundbar which will integrate with the new sets and other Roku wireless speakers, and has a spring 2023 ship date.
OLED Roku TV reference design
Along with the new TVs and soundbar, Roku has announced the availability of a premium OLED reference design that the company’s partners can use as a basis for future Roku-branded OLED TVs. While no Roku-branded OLED sets were announced for CES, this news indicates that less pricey OLED Roku TVs from third-party makers could be forthcoming later in 2023 or 2024.
Analysis: Roku TVs were inevitable, but a Roku OLED TV is a welcome surprise
Roku’s products have consistently ranked among the best streaming devices, and models like the Streaming Stick 4K continue to be a popular option due to their combination of low cost and desirable features like Dolby Vision HDR support.
The streaming hardware market has become very competitive, however, with companies like Amazon with its Fire TV Stick 4K Max selling streaming sticks that compete well with Roku on features and price. Even Apple has lowered the price of its latest-gen Apple TV 4K to the point where someone buying a Roku streamer might consider Apple’s hardware instead.
At the same time, the Roku interface, with its Live TV portal, is used by TV brands like TCL and Hisense has also gained plenty of competition from the likes of Google TV, Amazon Fire TV, and now also TiVo. Clearly, Roku needs to diversify to remain competitive, and home entertainment hardware is the obvious answer. With Roku-branded soundbars, wireless speakers and subwoofers, and even smart home devices now on the market, Roku-branded TVs were inevitable.
The upside for viewers here is that Roku hardware has traditionally been sold at affordable prices, and the company’s forthcoming TVs, which top out at $999 for a 75-inch model, will follow that model — and also provide stiff competition to Amazon’s own Fire TVs. We look forward to hearing more details about the new Roku TVs, and especially a future OLED model, which based on value alone could end up on our list of the best OLED TVs.
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Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine.
When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.