Own a Roku TV or streaming device? You're about to see a lot more ads on your home screen

Roku TV
(Image credit: Roku)

Roku has announced that more ads will be coming to the home screens of its devices and TVs in the near future, according to a statement made to the publication Adexchanger (as reported by FlatpanelsHD) at CES.

In the statement to Adexchanger, Roku’s VP of global ad sales and partnerships, Kristian Shepard, said that it will “immerse advertisers in more parts of the screen and home” via interactive and 'shoppable' ad formats.

The ads won’t reportedly be limited to entertainment or media, but will include ads for restaurants and cars. This follows on from Roku's introduction of interactive ads in June 2023 that acted as ‘virtual showrooms’ and allowed users to click around a ‘virtual catalog’, Shepard told Adexchanger. She also mentioned how they had tried this with Subaru and would be looking to expand to other areas such as travel. 

Roku is one of the better smart TV platforms on the market, thanks to its simple layout and its constant innovations including a bigger, better menu introduced last year and a free update that makes it easier to find movies and TV shows. Although ads are a necessary revenue for a lot of companies, especially one that prides itself on budget devices, do we really need more ads on home screens? 

Roku TV on wall with What to watch menu on screen

Roku's What To Watch update is a welcome addition to its smart TV platform  (Image credit: Roku)

Yet more ads 

In a time where several companies, such as Prime Video, are inserting more ads unless you pay more money, it’s disappointing to see that Roku, whose operating system we have praised before, is now trying to turn its home screen into an ad platform. This could mean that anyone with a Roku device could soon be going from a cluttered, ad-ridden home page straight into an app, say Prime Video or YouTube, that has even more ads in it. 

Interestingly, on Roku devices, the home screen is already taken up by a large portion of ads, usually up to one third, so what does it mean if Roku is looking to add even more? Currently, Roku does explain how you can change your ad preferences on its website, from what types of ads you see and even how to hide them. Will you be able to do this with these new ads after they’re introduced? 

Hopefully, there will be some way to mitigate these ads still, such as using Roku’s method above. But from the sounds of it, it is trying to put its devices in more homes and as Shepard said (via Adexchanger) with “more reach comes more opportunity for advertising”, which ultimately means more money for Roku. 

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James Davidson
TV Hardware Staff Writer, Home Entertainment

 James is the TV Hardware Staff Writer at TechRadar. Before joining the team, he worked at a major UK based AV retailer selling TV and audio equipment, where he was either telling customers the difference between OLED and QLED or being wowed by watching a PS5 run on the LG 65G2. When not writing about the latest TV tech, James can be found gaming, reading, watching rugby or coming up with another idea for a novel.