Roku: First TVs Expected in Fall 2014
(NEW YORK) -- The Roku 3 can turn any television set into a smart TV, but the company is looking to step up its game. Roku CEO Anthony Wood announced Sunday that the company is creating the Roku TV, which can access Roku's streaming services without needing a separate set-top box.
"The unfortunate problem with smart TVs is that they're not living up to their potential," Lloyd Klarke, the director of product management at Roku, told ABC News. "We tried to make [Roku TV] as simple as the players, so that people can get to the entertainment as soon as possible."
Roku isn't making the TVs itself but working with the TV manufacturers TCL and Hisense. Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, said that by partnering with less well-known brand names, Roku is giving those companies a chance to get streaming content they might not have access to otherwise.
"Samsung is rolling out their own service, and LG and Sony have partnered with Google TV. TCL and Hisense don't need to create their own streaming setup," he added.
People who aren't ready to ditch their cable box for Roku will still be able to use Roku TV. The new TVs will be able to connect to a standard cable box and work with old remotes. In addition, Roku will still continue to manufacture the set-top box.
Ben Bajarin, a tech analyst at Creative Strategies, said that Roku is in a good position to make this type of announcement. "It has an established base of content providers, not just with Netflix but also with Major League Baseball and Comedy Central and a host of others," he said. "It has something that the [TV] market needs, so it's a positive step for them."
According to Klarke, Roku TV will be available in the fall of 2014. The company has not revealed a price, though Klarke said that both TCL and Hisense are "used to making more value-oriented products," meaning cheaper.
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