Roku TVs will finally live up to their name this year. At CES, the streaming device company announced that it'll be building its own smart TVs for the first time. When the Roku TV program debuted in 2014, it was a way for the company to bring its streaming software into TVs built by partners like TCL and Hisense. But now Roku is debuting it's own family of HD and 4K sets ranging from 24 to 75-inches, which are set to arrive in spring.
Value appears to be the key, as the company says the TVs will range from $119 to $999. That should help Roku's partners to rest easy — we've seen some sets like the TCL Series 8 scale into premium $2,000 territory. The company isn't divulging many technical details around these TVs yet, but don't expect them to have some of the nicer features TCL and others are including, like super bright MiniLED panels. Still, Roku's sets may eat into the lower-end offerings from its partners.
Chris Larson, Roku's VP of retail strategy, tells Engadget that the company isn't trying to directly compete with existing partners, instead it wants to have a bit more control over how some Roku TVs are produced. For example, Roku is bundling its voice remotes with all of its new sets, even the cheap HD models (Select Series TV's come with the Roku Voice Remote, while Premium Series sets include the rechargeable Voice Remote Pro) . That's something the company couldn't push partners to do, especially when it came to budget TVs.
Down the line, Larson says the new TVs will also bring Roku closer to component suppliers, like the companies behind screen panels and the chips that power smart devices. That could help the company "drive innovation in the TV process." These new Roku TVs will work alongside Roku's existing home wireless speakers and other home theater equipment, just like partner offerings. But the company could potentially cook up some new features that are exclusive to its TVs — or at least, capabilities partners may not want to implement.