Roku preps 4K, extends set deals

Entertainment streaming platform specialist Roku has revealed plans to support 4K Ultra HD streaming for future Roku TV models. The company has prepared a Roku TV reference design for 4K smart TVs for license to TV OEM partners. Global TV manufacturer TCL, which released TCL Roku TV models last year, is an initial partner to build 4K models. In addition, Roku is working with Netflix to provide 4K content for streaming on the Roku platform.

“As one of the first streaming services to offer 4K Ultra HD content to our customers, it’s important for Netflix to work closely with partners like Roku to give consumers more streaming options,” said Neil Hunt, chief product officer of Netflix. “We look forward to bringing Netflix 4K Ultra HD content to Roku customers.”

Roku has always had an eye towards value for the consumer and now that the prices of 4K TVs are dropping rapidly, they will soon be within reach of the majority of consumers. According to Business Insider Intelligence, between 2012 and 2014, prices for 4K TVs in North America decreased nearly 90 per cent.

“With the maturation of 4K, including the dramatic price reductions of 4K TVs, the growing amount of 4K content available for streaming and the increased consumer awareness of the benefits of 4K, the time is right for Roku to offer Roku TV 4K solutions to global TV OEMs,” said Roku Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood. “We are very bullish on 4K as we believe that streaming will be instrumental in its adoption. Bringing 4K to the Roku platform will give consumers even more choice and control of their entertainment viewing, and deliver the best streaming experience available.”

“The reception of the TCL Roku TV models we launched last fall has exceeded our expectations. Together with Roku, we delivered a smart TV that consumers and industry experts truly love for its ease of use, streaming channel selection and value,” said Chris Larson, vice president of sales and marketing at TCL North America. “We are thrilled to now be working with Roku to develop TCL Roku TV 4K models that will bring the latest in TV design together with the best smart TV experience available. TCL Roku TV 4K models will be exceptional smart TVs available for the growing number of consumers who want 4K Ultra HD content.”

Also at 2015 International CES in Las Vegas Roku announced that consumers will soon be able to purchase Roku TV models manufactured by Insignia. Beginning this spring, Insignia Roku TV models will be available for purchase exclusively at Best Buy stores and at BestBuy.com. Roku TV is a new generation of smart TVs built by TV manufacturers using the Roku TV reference design and the Roku operating system (Roku OS).

“Roku TV has set a new bar for the smart TV experience. From the personalised home screen, to Roku Search that searches across many top streaming channels, to the largest selection of streaming channels available on a smart TV, Roku TV delivers an experience consumers truly love,” said Chas Smith, general manager of OEM for Roku. “Insignia is an outstanding TV brand and combining its TV design with Roku’s powerful OS, content relationships and software expertise will provide Insignia customers with the best smart TV experience available at an affordable price.”

Separately, Haier America and Roku announced that new Haier Roku TV models will be available for consumers to purchase in Q3 2015.

“Haier is focused on delivering an immersive entertainment experience, and the new Haier Roku TV models provide the ultimate streaming experience for our customers,” said John Homlish, senior vice president of Haier America’s Digital Living Business Unit. “With Haier’s great picture quality, enhanced sound and new bezel designs, combined with Roku’s operating system, channel selection and streaming expertise, Haier Roku TV is a smart TV that is second to none.”

Roku’s Smith said the new Haier Roku TV models would be “great for consumers looking to get one of the best smart TVs around.”

The Haier Roku TV 4 Series Smart LED TVs will be available in sizes ranging from 32-inches to 65-inches.

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