Roku Nears Integrated TV Debut
Roku is closing in on its debut as a TV-integrated streaming platform that does not rely on separate boxes and dongles.
Roku, which revealed its TV integration plans in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, said TCL is now taking pre-orders for four Roku TV models, at Amazon.com, and will make them available from major retailers nationwide in the “coming weeks.” Hisense, meanwhile, said it’s primed to start selling four Roku TV models of its own starting in “late September.”
TCL will offer four TCL Roku TV models. Beginning today consumers can pre-order models from Amazon.com. TCL Roku TV models will be available from major retailers nationwide in the coming weeks.
Pricing and sizes for TCL’s initial wave of Roku-powered TVs are as follows:
- 32” 32FS4610R ($229)
- 40” 40FS4610R ($329)
- 48” 48FS4610R ($499)
- 55” 55FS4610R ($649)
TCL is expected to start shipping those models by August 22, according to a Roku spokesperson.
Hisense’s H4 Series will integrate Roku on 40-inch, 48-inch, 50-inch, and 55-inch models in late September, but has yet to reveal pricing.
Roku TVs from both TCL and Hisense come with remote controls with buttons that provide one-button access to Amazon, Netflix, Vudu and Rdio.
Roku’s coming launch on TCL- and Hisense-made TVs enters the picture as Roku continues to grapple with the Apple TV, Amazon’s new Fire TV box, the Google Chromecast streaming adapter, and Android TV, an emerging platform from Google that will seek a home inside TVs as well as gaming consoles and specialized streaming devices.
If its debut on TCL and Hisense TVs proves successful, Roku should be able to parlay those partnerships into users of a platform that now supports more than 1,500 “channels,” including several authenticated TV Everywhere apps such as HBO GO and TWC TV. Roku announced in January that it had shipped about 8 million devices in the U.S., but hasn’t released any new figures, including how many devices it has sold outside of the U.S.
TCL and Hisense are the only TV makers so far to announce direct integration deals with Roku. However, several other TV makers, including Curtis, Element Haier, Insignia (Best Buy’s CE brand), Oppo, Apex, and Polaroid, have developed or are developing TV models that are compatible with the MHL-powered version of the Roku Streaming Stick.
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