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Roku launched its first video streaming set-top box way back in 2008. Since then, the company has sold lots of streaming boxes and sticks, and its Linux-based Roku OS has been installed on smart TVs sold by third parties like TCL, Hisense, and Element for nearly a decade. Today, as part of CES 2023, the company announced plans to sell its own branded Roku smart TVs, which it says are the first such televisions to be designed and made by Roku.
A total of 11 different models will be part of the initial Roku smart TV launch, with the screens ranging from 24 inches to 75 inches in size. Two lines of TVs will be released. The cheaper Roku Select TVs will come with Roku Voice Remotes, which support button-based voice commands. The more expensive Roku Plus Series TVs will come with the Roku Voice Remote Pro, which allows for hands-free voice commands.
The new TVs will also connect to other Roku devices, including its lineup of speakers and smart soundbars. The company also announced plans to launch a new wireless soundbar that will work with the new Roku-branded TVs in the spring of 2023, but further details about that product have yet to be announced. Prices for the new TVs will range from $119 to $999.
Roku claims that these new branded TVs will complement the ones made by its many third-party TV hardware partners while also allowing the company to offer more innovative features in the future. It does seem clear that these launch models and prices are being aimed at the budget TV consumer rather than at the high-end home media or theater enthusiast.
However, that could change very soon. It was also announced today that a new reference design for Roku TVs with an OLED display is now available. So far, no Roku OS-based TVs have been released with the advanced and more expensive OLED technology, which is available on some TVs made by companies like Samsung, LG, and Sony. OLED televisions typically have better contrast, darker blacks, and more vibrant colors compared to displays with LED or QLED tech. QLED TVs also typically offer better viewing angles.
The new Roku OLED TV reference design is now available for all of the company’s third-party TV hardware partners to access, so we should soon see Roku OS-based televisions with that display tech sometime in the near future.