Apple TV’s Rival Gets Brawny: Roku Unveils the Roku TV
Roku, the consumer electronics company based in Saratoga, California, is ready to increase its presence in the fast-growing smart TV market, and it is doing it via its very own Roku TV. The privately held company unveiled its new product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Sunday, before the annual trade show officially kicked off, and effectively made the smart TV market that much tighter. According to Recode, Roku has hinted about the possibility of expanding in the smart TV market for some time now, but the Silicon Valley company confirmed its ambitions Sunday as it announced its partnerships with Chinese manufacturers Hisense and TCL. Together, these three parties will bring the first Roku-branded TVs to the market sometime in 2014.
So, many analysts were right: Roku will have its software installed as an operating system for the new era of smart TVs. Many predicted it after the company raised $60 million in funding back in May 2013. However, the name “Roku TV” is still a misnomer, because Roku won’t be making any TVs. Rather, it will develop the software and services — which currently includes more than 1200 channels of Web video content — that will run on televisions made by other companies.
That’s where Hisense and TCL come in. These third-party manufacturers will provide the vehicle for Roku’s platform. Hisense and TCL are expected to ship their TVs in the U.S. and Canada this upcoming fall, and will offer products ranging in size from 32 to 55 inches. From these TVs, consumers will be able to access Roku-developed content, as long as they shell out the cash, and then Roku will be due to benefit. Recode explains that Roku won’t make money directly off of TV unit sales, but its software and service will still bring in the big bucks, because every time someone watches an ad-support TV show on the Roku platform, Roku will profit.