As giant consumer electronics show CES gets under way in Las Vegas, streaming software platform for delivering video Roku has unveiled Roku TV, a new generation of Smart TVs designed to give consumers a simple entertainment experience in a complex connected world. The company plans to license the new reference design platform and software stack to manufacturers to build and distribute Roku TV models. TCL and Hisense are the first partners.
TCL is the third largest global TV manufacturer in the world and shipped nearly 12 million TVs in 2012, accounting for five per cent of the worldwide TV market. Hisense is the fifth largest global TV manufacturer in the world and shipped more than nine million TVs in 2012, accounting for nearly four per cent of the worldwide TV market. TCL and Hisense are aggressively expanding their presence in the U.S. market and are expected to gain market share quickly.
“Consumers will enjoy the ease and satisfaction of Roku TV while manufacturers leverage our design specifications, content relationships and software expertise. At the same time the content community will gain additional distribution and revenues through an already popular and trusted streaming platform – now in the TV,” said Roku Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood. “I’m very excited about our partnerships with TV manufacturers and the first Roku TV models planned for release this fall from TCL and Hisense.”
According to the firm, Roku TV simplifies the notion of a so-called Smart TV by removing all of the complicated layers and menus, and unnecessary features and settings that plague TVs today. Instead, Roku TV gives consumers a Roku home screen that unifies all content sources in one place making it easy to watch live programming, stream a movie or listen to a song in just seconds. The TV and the remote control feature only the necessary settings and buttons. For example, the Roku TV remote control has 20 buttons – half the number found on traditional TV remotes. Roku TVs can be controlled by either the TV remote or mobile devices using the Roku app for Apple iOS or Android. Roku TV supports modern casting standards including DIAL, which streams content from a mobile device to the TV.
In a move to drive the platform’s roll-out, TV manufacturers will receive the Roku TV reference platform complete with TV and remote control design as well as software and support to build and maintain the best TV experience. Just like Roku streaming players, Roku TVs will have full access to the Roku Channel Store filled with more than 1,200 channels that offer 31,000 movies and feature TV shows and live sports plus news, music, kids, food, science, tech, fitness, foreign language and other programming – more options than all the other Smart TVs on the market. Roku will manage the entire software ecosystem for all Roku TVs which includes securing and updating all of the streaming channels available and providing frequent software updates to deliver new features and experience enhancements.
Roku TV models are expected to be available for purchase this autumn from major retailers in the US and Canada. They will be available in a variety of sizes ranging from 32 to 55 inches. Pricing will be determined by the manufacturers and should be released later this year.