Roku’s First-Ever Smart TVs are an Absolute Bargain
If you ask the brand, Roku’s first-ever Smart TV was born at the crossroads of “streaming leadership” and “hardware expertise. It’s a bold claim for a first attempt, but the streaming-first company is going beyond accessories and devices, diving head-first into the highly competitive TV space. The move, which sees Roku unveil its own range of affordable Smart TVs, essentially makes the brand an unexpected competitor to its entire clientele. What better way to achieve complete dominance over the digital entertainment market than by being the one-stop shop for customers who are either looking to stream or want an all-inclusive viewing experience?
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Roku has debuted 11 new models ranging from 24 to 75 inches that are now exclusively available in the US via Best Buy. The prices start from USD$119 and go up to a still highly competitive USD$999, with the Roku TV offering two variations – Roku Select and Roku Plus Series. While both are engineered to give viewers the best-in-class entertainment, there are some pretty noticeable differences between the two lineups. The Roku Select series is being billed as an entry-level range that’s available in a mix of HD and 4K TVs. The HD models are available in 24 32, and 40-inch sizes, with only the 40-inch model available in 1080p resolution.
These only support 2.1 stereo sound and Wi-Fi 4 for internet connectivity with no option for Ethernet. You don’t get any HDR here either. The 4K variants come in 43, 50, 55, 65, and 75 inches and have Wi-Fi 5 with Ethernet, as well as support for the Roku Voice Remote with push-to-talk controls. They also employ HDR10+ and automatic brightness but miss out on Dolby Vision.
On the other hand, the more premium Roku Plus Series flaunt the QLED panel and is available in screen sizes of 55, 65, and 75 inches. All variants support 4K and have support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. These also get Wi-Fi 6 as standard and feature the Roku Voice Remote Pro for hands-free voice control. Some more exciting features include the presence of a brand new Roku TV Soundbar perfect for a wireless home theatre setup. Additionally, you can also enjoy private listening via Bluetooth connectivity and god forbid, if you happen to lose the remote, the Roku TV has an inbuilt capability of finding it.
While revealing their first-ever smart TVs, Mustafa Ozgen, president of Devices at Roku said, “Our goal is to make everything about a smart TV delightfully simple, from finding the TV that’s perfect for you, to opening and unboxing, to enjoying your favourite movies and TV shows, we made purposeful decisions to ensure that our Roku Select and Plus Series TVs embody what users love most about the Roku streaming experience, and we brought in our expertise in picture quality and audio to give consumers an entertainment upgrade at an incredible value.”
While Roku’s debut TVs aren’t exactly groundbreaking or revolutionary, they’re great entry-level options that pack in all the streaming goodness the company is known for. During the big reveal, Chris Larson, vice president of Retail Strategy at Roku seemed pretty excited about the partnership between Roku and Best Buy, stating, “We’re excited to launch Roku Select and Plus TVs exclusively at Best Buy, offering their customers even more choices from Roku, a brand they’ve come to know and love.” Now it’s for us to see whether Roku’s first attempt at piercing through the hardware space will be a winning attempt or if there will still be more expectations waiting to be met!